Make Space for Your Life: How to Minimize Remodeling

Think you need more room? Before building an addition, look closely at how you use your current space.

| March/April 2006

For most people, remodeling means building an addition; if the current spaces aren’t working for them, they assume that more square footage is the answer. Yet more space means higher construction costs; more material resources used; more house to clean and maintain; and more energy required for heating, cooling and lighting. By reorganizing and rearranging the space you have—or just changing the way you use rooms and closets—you often can solve your problems with less expense, fewer headaches and less consumption of natural resources.

More space or better space?

Many houses have plenty of floor area, but much space is wasted because the rooms don’t relate to each other well or match family activities. Making space is about designing around the activities that you and your family enjoy. After all, what is comfort but the ability to move through your day with ease: waking in pleasant surroundings, bathing with bliss, finding your keys, sorting the mail, cooking meals with the food within reach, gazing into the garden, relaxing in a cozy space and sleeping in a quiet area. Making space is about evaluating your home, your climate and site, what you love and what you need, then massaging the space so that it works for you. Only consider building an addition after you’ve been creative with what’s already there.

Start by evaluating how you use your house now: Where are the problem areas? What works well? What rooms are seldom used and why? Ask yourself, “What would it take for me to use all of these rooms every day?” Moving a doorway, opening up a wall between a kitchen and living room, or installing French doors to a garden patio is often all it takes. Seldom-used rooms can do double duty. For example, with built-in bookcases and drawers for storage, a formal dining room can host guests at holidays and also serve as a study for after-school homework or bill paying.

How rooms relate

Many older homes were designed for the lifestyles of a previous age when wives stayed home. Kitchens in these houses are often isolated from the main living spaces and too cramped for modern appliances. Today, with parents and children away most of the day, families crave the comfort of preparing and eating food together at the end of day. In more modern houses, the kitchen has expanded into one big “great room” that accommodates dining, socializing and food prep, but the competing needs of the various spaces often make great rooms chaotic.

Anabell Jones
12/15/2013 8:53:23 AM

The idea of making space for oneself is not practical enough without adding some acoustical art to the living room. It is the place indeed from where come in and do the job that simple designing cannot do.

Anabell Jones
12/15/2013 8:31:12 AM

The idea of making space for oneself is not practical enough without adding some acoustical art to the living room. It is the place indeed from where come in and do the job that simple designing cannot do.

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