Remodelling Older Homes – Size Matters
We often get called into a project where a homeowner’s challenge is that they don’t have the space for some necessary function – like a family room that’s connected to the kitchen, or an additional bedroom, or a master suite. In most cases, our homeowner comes to us with the belief that they’re in need of an addition to their house. After studying the problem, we often find ourselves in the happy position of advising not an expensive addition, but rather a reconfiguration of existing space within the house!
Most older homes consist of separate, contained rooms, and often have rooms that are under-used (like that big old living room or dining room that’s totally disconnected from the rest of the house!). Today’s lifestyle calls for connectedness and openness in our living spaces. So in the quest for extra room we usually tear out walls and rearrange room functions in a new way, and can often create the spaces desired without adding any square footage.
The driving philosophy here: smaller is smarter. In some cases, you don’t really need more space…you just need what you’ve got to work better! It’s a win-win situation: Smart design gets you all you need, without the baggage of a bigger house. Less cost, less maintenance, more sustainable, more yard! There are some tricks to this approach though. Spaces should serve dual functions; since every inch counts, smart storage details are essential; and to make a home feel expansive, connection to the outdoors is critical. There are many more tricks – these are just the basics.
There are some really good websites/publications that speak to this directly. The master of living less large is Sarah Susanka. Her books are fantastic, but check out her website: http://www.notsobighouse.com/ And of course Dwell Magazine always inspires us! www.dwell.com