Best Use of Space: Adding Living Space Without Adding On

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“My kitchen is too small.”
“I don’t have enough storage.”
“It is difficult to entertain in my house.”
“I don’t have a space where my grandchildren can play.”

When our house is not working for us, many of us have a knee-jerk reaction that we need more space. In many cases, however, what we really need is better space – space that supports how we actually live our lives.

It takes more creativity and resourcefulness to make existing space meet new demands, but the results are often dramatic. For example, Morse Constructions worked with a client in Cambridge, MA to renovate an unheated, underused, 4’ x 15’ front porch into a multi-function room. After the renovation, the room is used as a playroom/sewing room/guest room and even as a laundry drying area. Our client wrote: “Part of the reason that the extra 60 square feet from the sunroom feels so amazing is that it is 60 square feet of high-use living space.”

To make the best use of space, consider the following when planning a renovation:

  • Flexibility
    Consider all the different uses that you would like to make of the space before beginning a remodeling project. Do you want to use the kitchen as a place to do homework or pay bills as well? Will the family room also serve as an exercising or entertaining area? Could the space under the stairs also be used for storage or as a reading nook? To squeeze the most living out of a space, make sure that it performs multiple functions.

  • Adaptability
    Children grow up, grandchildren come, we get older or get new hobbies … your spaces should accommodate your ever-changing life. Think about your needs today and a decade or two from now when planning a renovation.

  • Efficiency
    A room should be easy to use. You shouldn’t have to walk around obstacles or get down on the floor to access important storage. There should be easy access into and out of your space.

  • Smart Storage
    With careful planning, it is possible to discover all kinds of untapped storage spaces without expanding a home’s footprint. Storage can be tucked into niches, under staircases, around doors and even hidden beneath stair treads.

A remodeling project should always begin with probing questions to get to the heart of what you need to make a space work for you. At Morse Constructions, we ask exploratory questions that range from what you like and don’t like about your current space, to the hobbies that you enjoy, to your entertaining style, to how you envision your life in the future.

Give us a call to find out how we can help you make the most of your existing space.

Tags: best use of space

Make the Most of a Tight Entryway

When you, your family and guests first enter your home, how are you greeted? Is there a place for you to sit down and pull off snowboots or put heavy parcels down? Is there a clearly defined place to hang coats, place a wet umbrella or place a handbag?

An entryway is a gracious and convenient transition space before entering the primary living areas, but what if your home does not have an official entryway? When we renovated our compact, Victorian-era home we extended an interior wall by just one foot to create more of an entry area near the front door. We also changed the front door so it swings out, opening up space for an efficient storage unit. A sunken entry rug prevents trips, while unobtrusively trapping moisture and dirt.

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We switched to a space-saving Runtal radiator in the entry area to accomodate a small bench for removing shoes or setting down mail and packages.

For more ways to create an entryway, please scroll through the slide show from Houzz that we embedded below. Just click any image to go to the full article on Houzz.com.


For more information about Morse Constructions or to discuss your renovation plans, please give us a call at 617-666-4460 or contact us online.

 

Tags: small space design, best use of space, small space renovation

Home Renovations for Readers: Innovative Book Storage Ideas

Boston is known for its highly educated population -- which means that even in this era of e-readers, homeowners tend to have a lot of books. It is not unusual for book storage and display to play a role in our home renovations for clients. In one recent project, we actually had to create a basement library before we could proceed with renovation plans for first and second floor spaces. The books were occupying as much room as the furniture!

Our most popular photo on Houzz.com is this simple bookcase tucked into a hallway.

Cambridge MA hallway with bookcase

We've designed and built some very creative solutions to the book storage dilemma, but we're always open to new ideas. We found some in an inspirational Ideabook on Houzz.com called "Bye, Bye Bookcase: Inventive Ways to Store Your Reads". Take a look!

[use the photo scroll bar to view the arrows to control the slide show or click on an image to view the Ideabook on Houzz]

Tags: home renovation, houzz.com, best use of space, book storage

Make the Most of Small Spaces

Small is big right now. The media has been filled with stories about microapartments in cities from Boston to San Francisco. Recently, the Boston Globe even reported on a student who lived in a 130 square foot cottage in the middle of the Hampshire College green as part of a class project.

While most of us will probably not live in a space as small as 130 square feet, there is widespread interest in living more efficiently. At Morse Constructions, we’re definitely finding that more homeowners want to maximize their existing space rather than add on square footage.

How do you make the most of your space? Here a few tips:

Use an open floor plan: Hallways eat up valuable floor space, so your best bet may be to simply do away with them. Remove non-weight bearing walls to allow one room to flow into the next. An open floor plan will make your space feel bigger.

Reduce door swing:  Replace traditional interior doors with sliding panels or pocket doors that tuck out of the way when not in use. You can make better use of the space on either side of the door if you don’t have to worry about accommodating door swing.

Choose built-in storage: Overhead storage or built-in cabinetry use space far more efficiently than stand-alone units that clog up walking and living areas. For maximum space efficiency, consider notching out a non-load bearing wall and creating a storage nook or small reading alcove.

Think vertical: Are you making the best use of your walls? Floor-to-ceiling shelving or storage is wonderfully practical, yet can be visually stunning, as seen in this photo.

beautiful bedroom storage

Expand outside: Just look outside if you want more living space without increasing your home’s interior footprint. A patio, deck or porch will expand your living and entertaining areas during the warm weather for a fraction of the cost of building a full-fledged addition. When temperatures drop, you’ll be glad not to be heating extra square footage!

Need more ideas? Contact us about your project!

Tags: home renovation, small home renovation, best use of space