Living Large in a Tiny Apartment

Think you don’t have enough space? You might be surprised!  We loved a recent story on Houzz about transforming 225 square feet into a fully functional apartment. The key is a storage wall that serves as a Swiss Army Knife of function. A bed, table, computer screen, wardrobe, audio visual equipment and more simply slide out of the storage wall when in use.

You can see the images in this slide show display. Simply click on any image to view the full story on Houzz.com.

 

 To find out more about maximizing small space, check out some of our previous blog posts:

 We love coming up with creative ways to maximize space. Please contact us if you would like to transform your own home in the Boston metro area!

Tags: small space design, small home renovation, small space

Small Spaces are a Big Thing

Cambridge MA small space renovation

The Tiny House Movement is catching on across the country as a way to minimize your environmental footprint and free yourself from the financial burden of purchasing and maintaining more house than you really need. As the Movement states on its website, “The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet.”

Few of our client want to live in a home that is quite that small, but we are seeing great interest in remodeling small homes to maximize space, rather than building big additions or moving to big houses in search of square footage. The high price of real estate in the Boston area, coupled with the region’s older housing stock, often make a smaller home a given. Nonetheless, many of our clients savor the convenience of living in efficient spaces where every foot is used effectively.

Small House Transformation is one of the most viewed galleries on our website and many of you have taken the time to read blog posts dedicated to small spaces, including Make the Most of a Tight Entryway, The Beauty of Built-Ins to Maximize Space, and Small Space Renovation: Living Large in a Small Space.

If you live in a small home, you may also be interested in this slideshow from Houzz. It has been on the site since 2014, but  is well worth viewing (and reading on the Houzz website) because of the emphasis on creating flexible spaces that do double (or triple) duty. We love living in a home that embodies many of points made in this slide show! Just click any of the images to go to the full article on Houzz.

 

Ready to get started making the most of your spaces?Contact us today to discuss our design/build renovation services!

Tags: small space design, small space, small space renovation

The Ins and Outs of Attic Remodeling

Morse_Constructions_Attic_Playroom-340287-edited.jpg

Do you want to add space without adding on? Your attic may offer the perfect solution. Attics have been converted into wonderful master bedroom suites, playrooms, home offices, reading nooks, guest bedrooms, teen hideaways, and the list goes on.Could you be making better use of your attic?

Here is a checklist of construction considerations when evaluating the feasibility of an attic remodel:

Building Code Requirements
Building codes may vary according to municipality, but all Massachusetts towns require minimum ceiling heights and egress windows.

Dormers
Dormers are a great way to open up space that would otherwise be unuseable because of the slope of the rafters. There are several types of dormers, but classic doghouse-style or shed dormers are the most common in attic conversions. Not sure the difference? Here’s a quick overview article on Houzz.

Dormers are a cost-efficient way to meet building codes for ceiling height and add windows for light, ventilation and egress in case of fire. However, the style of your roof will dictate whether or not dormers are a viable option. A well-conceived dormer should enhance the exterior of your home and add architectural interest.

Stairs
Most existing attic stairs do not meet code for living spaces. Existing steep or narrow stairs may need to be rebuilt or relocated depending on ceiling height at the top. When considering the footprint of a stairway, a spiral staircase requires the least square footage, followed by a straight run and a staircase with a landing and two runs. Many homeowners find the room for the staircase by sacrificing a closet on the floor below the attic and tucking storage space under the newly constructed stairs.

Floor Joists
The floors of many attics are not built to current code requirements. If they do not meet code, they may be reinforced by sistering additional joists to existing ones or replacing them with larger joists.

Skylights and Windows
If you are adding dormers, windows are sure to be part of your plan. If not, you may want to add windows, skylights or both to provide maximum light and ventilation.  If you plan to use the new room as a bedroom, code requires at least one window to provide egress in case of fire. If you don’t have wall space for several windows, skylights are a great way to let in light and air while picking up a few inches of headroom in a slanted ceiling. As with dormers, carefully consider window and skylight placement to enhance the exterior aesthetics of your home.  

Plumbing
Every home has what is called the “main stack”, which is the large pipe that carries wastewater to your sewer or septic tank and provides ventilation for proper drainage.  If you are installing a bathroom in your converted attic, consider placing the new bathroom directly over existing plumbing in the floors below to minimize costs.

Heating and Cooling
Hot air rises, so your attic room is going to be warmer than the rest of your home during the summer. Spray-in-place foam insulation will help keep your new space cooler in the summer and hold the heat in the winter.  If your existing system has the capacity to heat and cool your attic room, consider creating a special zone for optimal climate control.  Other options for heating and cooling are a mini-split heat exchange system or a small traditional style furnace/air conditioner.

Storage
Slanted attic ceilings can pose a furniture placement challenge. We like to minimize the need for freestanding furniture by building in storage whenever possible. For example, knee wall space (the area where the rafters slant down to connect to the outer wall) is far too low to be comfortable for living, but is ideal for built-in drawers and shelving. Smart use of built-ins will maximize your use of space.

Is your home right for an attic renovation? Please contact us to get more information to help plan and create your new attic space. Just look how one recent client added a master suite in their attic in these in-progress photos!

                                 Attic_renovation_in_Boston_area-507064-edited               Bathroom_in_renovated_attic-283391-edited
 

Tags: remodeling, renovation ideas, small space

Home Design: How to Make the Most of Existing Space

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.

To pack lots of living into your existing space, consider the following when planning a renovation:

 

Flexibility
Think about 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 your space, explore the possibility of having it perform multiple functions.

 

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

 

Efficiency
A room must 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 clear paths 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 or unused corners, around doors, and even hidden beneath stair treads.

 

This Houzz Ideabook highlights 1,000 to 1,500 square foot homes with big personalities. It's a great way to see the potential for lots of living in smaller spaces. Just click any image to go to the Ideabook on Houzz or use the arrows at the bottom of each image to scroll through the slide show.

 

 

Please feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help you make the most of existing space.

Tags: home design, small space