As a result of the downturn in today’s real estate market, many homeowners who planned to upgrade to a larger home are opting to stay put and renovate their existing homes instead. Homeowners and contractors need to get creative to find space in existing homes that is seldom used and converting it into a more useful living area. A new home office, mudroom or larger kitchen may be right in front of your eyes if you examine your living space carefully. Below are some examples of unique renovations that will not only maximize the living space and functionality of your home but will increase it’s resale value as well.
For most families, the kitchen is the most highly trafficked area of a home. If your family is outgrowing the size of your kitchen you might find the space you need in adjacent rooms. Many kitchens—especially in older homes—are built with a dinette area or breakfast room. Likewise, formal dining rooms are often the least used rooms in a home. If they aren’t load bearing, the walls that separate these areas can be removed so that both rooms are incorporated into one to give your kitchen a more spacious feel. If the dividing wall is load bearing, you can still combine the rooms, but will have to incorporate some header and support beams into the design.
Ever heard of an “offet”? An “offet” is a home office that’s been created out of a closet. Whether you work from home or just need an area to keep household paperwork, bills, etc. consider converting a closet into a home office. A walk-in closet of sufficient square footage would be the obvious choice, but even a standard three-foot deep closet can be used. To maximize space, construct a desk in the closet with one or two fold-up wings. To use the desk, simply open the closet doors, fold down the wings, and you have your desk space. Keep your phone and computer situated on the fixed part of the desk.
Most families with children—particularly younger ones—can appreciate the benefits of a mudroom. Coats, backpacks, boots and sports equipment all have a place that’s out of the way and easily accessible. Often, extra space for a mudroom can be found by stealing a little room from an attached garage. It’s generally an entry point to the home and overrun with clutter that could convert into valuable space. Select a corner of the garage that is adjacent to the house, then enclose it with two additional walls. Raise the floor up in this area with new joists to put the new room at the same level as the existing house. One wall can be used for closet space and another for cubbies and/or hooks. Since a mudroom constructed from an attached garage may be cooler than the rest of the house, insulate and heat the room well. Radiant heat that warms the floor may also be a good option for this area. Install a weather proof and fire resistant door to the exterior of your home and maybe add a portico to create a more appealing side entrance.
You may find the extra living space your family needs right outside your back door. With a growing number of Gen-Y-er’s looking for jobs and living at home longer, work at home parents in need of office space and/or senior citizens looking for a place to live that’s close to family, sheds can be an ideal option. If local zoning laws in your area allow it, an outdoor shed with the proper plumbing and wiring can be just the added space your family needs. And, several manufacturers produce modular, pre-wired abodes that come with everything but the contractor to install them.