Friday, May 27, 2005
Tap unused space in house, garage for extra storage
By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon
Something about spring invokes the urge to get rid of winter clutter and tidy up the home. If you've "de-junked" your home but still feel like you don't have enough room to hold everything, it's probably time to create more effective storage space. Well-designed storage spaces not only make it easier to be organized, they can also add charm and value to your home.
First, consider ways to convert unused space into attractive storage space. For example, many kitchen cabinets extend only to a foot or so below the ceiling. Replacing them with cabinets that reach the ceiling gives you a lot more kitchen storage space while making the ceilings appear higher.
Extending some kitchen cabinets down to the countertop or even down to the floor will also increase storage space while adding interest and charm to your kitchen.
Similarly, if you have a good-sized bathroom countertop, you might consider installing a shallow linen cabinet that extends from a section of the countertop to the ceiling.
Another option is to add narrow shelving around a room at the height of the top of the door. Used instead of crown molding, this shelving gives character to a room while providing a place to store items such as books and dolls in a children's room or cookbooks, plants, and attractive serving pieces in the kitchen.
Bookshelves can be built-in on either side of a window and a charming window seat placed between them. Besides adding storage space, this structure accentuates a window and creates a lovely focal point in the room. In addition to the obvious storage space that the bookshelves create, window seats can have storage under them. Be sure to install drawers under the seat rather than cabinets for easier access.
Further options include installing attractive cabinetry, shelving, and drawers under a staircase, or placing small closets in the "knee space" in the corner walls of a finished attic.
In addition to converting unused space into storage spaces, you can also maximize the storage space you already have. Effective closet, garage and pantry organizers will make it possible to store more items. Replacing stationary, deep shelves in lower cabinetry with "pull-out shelves," as well as using full-extension hardware on drawers, will allow you stow items in previously hard-to-reach places. There are companies that can design and install such features for you, or you can buy them yourself at your local home improvement store.
So next time everything falls out of your overstuffed closet when you're trying to retrieve a hard-to-reach item in the back, consider creating and maximizing efficient, attractive storage space in your home.
Correction: A misprint appeared in last week's column on attics. A straight run of stairs requires an area of at least 3 feet by 16 feet. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.