Home Kitchen

Maximizing space without sacrificing design and function

Now that it seems that the Mac Mansion is a thing of the past, that smaller houses will be in style, the first thing to reduce is traffic. Instead of a series of spaces enclosed by walls and connected by a hallway, consider removing the hallway and combining multiple spaces. For example, combine the living room, dining room, and kitchen into one Great Room. But do not enter the house directly into the Great Hall. Enter into a small foyer, which is separated from the Great Room with a built-in cabinet surrounded by 6″-0″ tall walls on three sides.

To create efficiency and organization, add built-in features. Perhaps instead of a separate laundry room, put a closet in the kitchen or hallway and put the washer and dryer in the closet.

Instead of small windows on the exterior walls, consider using large, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. These large expanses of glass with natural light entering the areas will make any room appear larger and integrate the interior with the exterior. Instead of the standard 6′-8″ tall sliding glass doors, using 8′-0″ tall doors will give rooms an openness not often seen in basic model homes. If the project has the budget, single panel French doors can also be another attractive alternative.

If the spans between the walls are not too long (16′ to ridge), consider using regular joists instead of trusses with flat bottom chords. Another option would be to use scissor trusses. Any of these can create a vaulted ceiling.

Instead of just planting trees and grass, consider a backyard pergola and deck. Again, this will give the house an area for expansion. If properly decorated with outdoor furniture, it will provide additional space to congregate.

Instead of an eat-in kitchen, provide an island or counter for eating. With a luxurious granite countertop or an equally expensive material, there’s no reason the kitchen shouldn’t be visible from the Great Room.

Use patterns on bathroom floors and tub/shower walls. Use contrasting colors of a similar tile for a dramatic effect.

Lastly, paint the house in a basic color like white, off-white, gray or beige. Then, choose one wall in each room and paint it a bold, contrasting color. It can be the same bold color in each room, or it can be a different color in each room.

Houses that are smaller don’t have to be dull and boring. They can contain interesting spaces with unusual finishes. Creativity is not limited by size.