Tag Archives: Storage space

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Buried Treasures the Hidden Potential of Odd-Shaped Rooms

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Buried Treasures the Hidden Potential of Odd-Shaped Rooms

Discover the hidden potential in odd-shaped rooms and unlock extra storage in your home

I remember studying the layout of my soon-to-be-built condo unit, thinking with its square footage, storage space would be at a premium. I decided a wall-to-wall storage system of built-in cabinetry for the entry hall and master bedroom would be the only way to go. It was all custom designed and installed before I moved in, and I’m still happy with it. Order in my surroundings is very important to me, so having everything organized and behind closed doors suits me perfectly. I’m still grateful I had the time to plan for it in advance.

Tucked under the stairs, the reading nook was outfitted with shelves to fit the space and drawers under the bench seat add more storage space for toys or cosy blankets.

Generally, we are living in smaller spaces with increasingly more stuff. So much so, according to a July 2017 Canadian Business article, the self-storage industry is experiencing a boom in Canada. It cites that Canadians now have an average of two square feet of storage per person. For some, it’s cheaper to pay an extra couple of hundred dollars a month for an off-site storage facility than to buy a bigger home.

But I see another solution. Finding more living or storage space in an existing home takes some ingenuity, good design choices and a willingness to put that long-term storage investment into your own home.

A simple wall separates the office area from the children’s reading nook. Undermounted lighting is a great space saver, even in the office.

UNEARTH EXTRA SPACE

I love discovering a home’s hidden potential. Sometimes a solution is straight-forward, like adding an ottoman, bench or bed with storage. Or looking up and taking advantage of an unused attic or investing below grade into the basement. It may only be a nook or even a cranny (is there a difference?), but it may hold the key to more storage or living space.

We created more space by pushing the table close to the wall and building in a bench for extra storage.

One client was moving to the city due to a sudden job transfer. The family barely had time to look at multiple residences before making a purchase. The house they bought was in good shape, but lacked their personal touch and storage space.

Because of the second-floor layout, the master bedroom would be located in the underused attic space. With lots of measuring and many discussions with the contractor, we were able to design and install built-in cabinetry. We worked with the existing roof line and gable walls to make sure the space didn’t feel closed in. In this case, investing in custom-made cabinetry spared the homeowners having to renovate and add an entire third storey.

Customization may be your only option when working with awkward angles. Here, we opted to eliminate ceiling trim, so the fixed drapery treatment would add volume to the desk nook.

“FINDING MORE LIVING OR STORAGE SPACE IN AN EXISTING HOME TAKES SOME INGENUITY, GOOD DESIGN CHOICES AND A WILLINGNESS TO PUT THAT LONG-TERM STORAGE INVESTMENT INTO YOUR OWN HOME.”

WIN-WIN SPACE SOLUTIONS

With small children, a closed off space for an office isn’t always viable. But the client needed to be able to work from home on occasion and have the children close by. We accommodated both needs by creating a cosy seating area in the basement, under the stairs for the children, right next to the new, expansive office space.

When you’re working with an existing layout, it can be difficult to figure out where the furnishings will go, and where storage can be built in or added. Putting a bed under a window or installing a headboard on a landing may be your only solution. The key is to plan in advance, lay everything out on paper first, so you know you are truly gaining more living and storage space.

There’s nothing better than a dreamy sleep under the eaves, or an addition of practical, yet beautifully designed storage to keep you feeling balanced and stress-free.

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New homes today offer countless benefits

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New homes today offer countless benefits

Buyers of new homes today expect more – more space, more windows, more closets, more conveniences and more dazzle. The kind of “mores” you just don’t find in older homes, no matter how cozy they are.

While many homebuyers are attracted by the mores new homes have to offer, they also say they find the lesses very appealing. Less maintenance. Less repair work. And less costly heating and cooling bills. Builders are listening closely to what buyers are demanding. And they’re responding with new home designs that offer a whole new world of attractive style options and amenities at an affordable price.

Sure, older homes can be quaint. But when it comes to design, comfort, convenience and value, nothing compares to a brand new home. When asked what factors motivated them most to buy new, home shoppers across the country cited the following reasons:

LIVEABLE FLOORPLANS

New homes these days feature maximum light and spaciousness. Whether modest or grand, new home layouts combine informal areas for family activities, workable kitchens for comfort and ease, gracious formal rooms for elegant entertaining and cozy areas for privacy.

IMAGINATIVE DESIGN

Open and airy design appeals to a majority today’s new homebuyers. To accommodate this trend, even small compact homes are being built with soaring ceilings, dramatic entryways, deluxe master baths and innovative windows for a feeling of spaciousness.

LOTS OF LIGHT

A house filled with natural light bestows warmth, charm and uplifting feelings on those inside. To capture as much sunlight as possible, builders are making use of innovative strategically planned windows, skylights and a variety of sun spaces that make new homes look and feel more open, inviting and spacious.

DURABLE, LOW MAINTENANCE MATERIALS

New home builders are wise to affordable, Earth-friendly, low maintenance building materials that make it possible to conserve natural resources without sacrificing comfort. For example, engineered wood – a manmade composite lumber – uses half of the wood fibre of sawn lumber, but is considered stronger and cheaper than the conventional product. A wide variety of other innovative materials – many of which are recycled – are also finding valuable uses in new home construction.

COST SAVINGS

Here’s a fact that hooks many a new homebuyer — new homes consume half as much energy as homes built prior to 1980. Thanks to more efficient heating and cooling systems, better windows, controlled air filtration and improved insulation, new homes can save owners substantial sums every month. Besides the economical advantages, HVAC systems in new homes also provide more comfort and convenience year round.

SAFETY MEASURES

Occupants of new homes are almost six times less likely to die in fires than occupants of older homes. A growing number of new homebuyers are aware of this statistic and factor it into their purchasing decision. Builders are offering the latest smoke detection systems, circuit breakers and ground fault interrupters making new homes a safer choice for concerned families.

HEALTHY LIVING ENVIRONMENT

When it comes to health risks, new homes offer clear advantages. Asbestos – which can cause serious respiratory disease – has been removed from shingles, piping, cement board, roof tar, floor tiles, ceiling tiles and insulation. Lead is no longer used in paint or as solder for plumbing. Formaldehyde emissions from particleboard and hardwood plywood also have been eliminated. What’s more, in certain regions of the country, new radon prevention techniques are being built into new homes to prevent potential health problems.

STRONGER, QUIETER CONSTRUCTION

Extra bracing and framing anchors help new homes withstand high winds, storms and even earthquakes. In addition, new building materials make roofs and floors stronger and quieter than those older homes where board sheathing was used. New kinds of trusses for roofs and floors increase strength and also allow builders to offer a much wider range of design possibilities by eliminating most bearing walls.

ABUNDANT STORAGE SPACE

Closets, closets and more closets. It seems new homebuyers just can’t have enough of them. Homebuilders realize that storage space is something their purchasers crave. They’re responding with walk-in closets, built-in shelving and innovative storage areas to meet their buyer’s growing demands.

LESS UPKEEP, LESS HASSLE

With siding, windows and trim that never require painting, new homes are not only easy to maintain, they also keep their fresh attractive appearance year after year. Also worth noting, decks that embellish new homes these days are typically made of pressure treated lumber designed to resist rot and insects and retain their beauty from season to season.

MORE LUXURY AND CONVENIENCE

Enter a new home and you’ll immediately notice amenities designed to add ease to your lifestyle. You’ll find state-of-the-art kitchens with beautiful and functional built-in appliances, high-efficiency central heating and air conditioning, numerous electrical outlets and USB charging ports, plus luxurious bathrooms with large vanities, mirrors, enclosed showers and free-standing tubs. Look around. You’ll see that new home communities tend to look even better with age. As owners add personal decorative touches and landscaping, the homes in a new community acquire added charm … and added value.

A HOME THAT WILL AGE WELL AND APPRECIATE

Research shows that in many cases new homes appreciate more than older homes.

NEW HOMES ARE BETTER HOMES

If you’re hunting for a new home that satisfies all of the items on your wish list, new is definitely the way to go. So why deprive yourself any longer? Once you’ve made your move to your new dream home, you’ll wonder how you survived so long without it.

ALL IMAGES OF ALLEGRO IN AURORA BY GERANIUM

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Special Report: What Buyers Want

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Special Report: What Buyers Want

Room To Stow

New homebuyers top requirement is storage space, lots and lots of storage space

New homebuyers are asking themselves the same question: Where do I put all my stuff?

As the price of housing per square foot in the GTA continues to grow, homes are getting smaller in order to make them more affordable. It’s a natural response to market conditions, but homebuyers are finding that shrinking space is creating storage issues.

Is it any wonder, then, that the No. 1 “Must Have” for buyers in the GTA is storage; walk-in closets, linen closets and large garages are on just about everybody’s wish list, according to research conducted by Avid Ratings Canada for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA).

Avid’s research, which polled 2,775 new homebuyers across Canada, found three recurring themes: the need for storage, kitchens must be modern and bright, and energy efficiency is essential.

Breaking down the responses by region, Avid’s finding for buyers in the GTA align with the rest of the country.

Mississauga-based In2ition Marketing has also conducted research on what condominium buyers in the GTA would like to see in their new homes and have some interesting facts to report. For instance, its research found that buyers are shying away from “over-amenitised developments,” fearing rising maintenance fees. Buyers want a focus on maximizing the usage of the amenity space with function rated over quantity. What they do want, however, is hotel-style lobbies with 24-hour security and well equipped fitness centres.

TOP 10 MUST HAVES

  1. Walk-in closets
  2. High-efficiency windows
  3. Overall energy-efficient home
  4. Kitchen islands
  5. Energy-efficient appliances
  6. Linen closets
  7. Open-concept kitchens
  8. Two-car garages
  9. Certification/rating by an energy program (Energy Star, etc.)
  10. Large windows

SOURCE: AVID RATINGS CANADA

KITCHEN WISH LIST

  • Quartz countertops rank higher than granite (laminate ranks lowest).
  • Kitchen islands rank as important and are trending up.
  • Energy-efficient appliances rate high and are trending up with smart appliances on the rise.

SOURCE: AVID RATINGS CANADA

MASTER BEDROOM/ ENSUITE WISH LIST

  1. Double sinks
  2. Oversized showers
  3. Private water closets

SOURCE: AVID RATINGS CANADA

CONDO UNIT WISH LIST

  1. Full-size fridges
  2. Pocket doors
  3. Walk-in closets
  4. Window coverings
  5. Engineered flooring
  6. Kitchen islands
  7. Smooth ceilings
  8. Smart wiring
  9. Multiple outlets for charging devices

SOURCE: IN2ITION MARKETING

WHERE WE’RE HEADED

  • Move towards families living in multi-unit buildings with family-friendly amenities
  • Electric car docking stations
  • Common area social hubs
  • Communal gardens

SOURCE: IN2ITION MARKETING

UPGRADE WISH LIST

If you had an extra $10,000 what would you spend it on?

  1. Interior finishes
  2. Larger lot
  3. Finished areas
  4. Energy efficiency
  5. Larger house/condo

SOURCE: AVID RATINGS CANADA

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Keep It Together

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Keep It Together

Condo-living storage solutions

Condo living is a great option, especially if you’re always on the go. It’s convenient for homeowners who want a turnkey, hassle-free lifestyle. If you have the travel bug, there’s nothing like turning the key and not having to worry about outside maintenance, and the like, while you’re away. However, condo life can have its draw-backs when you are at home, and living with the baggage of everyday life. And when I say baggage, I don’t just mean the traveling kind.

STORED AWAY

A condo-sized home often correlates with living with less. Whether you’ve downsized from a large household to a smaller space, or like me, you just prefer the maintenance-free condo lifestyle, it can take some creative solutions to make room for all of your stuff.

I’m a big fan of built-in cabinets, as these pieces offer the most versatility. I know a couple who looked at the plans for their condo unit during construction and realized that there just wasn’t enough storage. Their solution was to line an entire wall, floor-to-ceiling, with custom-made cabinetry. They chose flat panels with no visible hardware so that it resembled a regular panelled wall.

Drawers are an easy way to access stored objects, because you can see everything at once when opened. Remember that the inside of each door offers more valuable surface space where you can incorporate hooks for long jewelry storage, keys, bulletin boards or a mirror. In fact, hooks are a great addition throughout your home. You’ll gain more towel storage in the bathroom, and extend your closet space for coats, clothing, keys, a dog leash, etc.

Many buildings are touting architectural details like high ceilings, so be sure to take cabinets as high as possible to provide compartments for infrequently used items like wrapping paper, seasonal decorations, linen, dishware, etc. For higher cabinets, install flip-up doors, rather than those with side hinges, for easier accessibility.

ORGANIZATION IS THE KEY

NEW & IMPROVED

Not to take away from the always handy step stool, but new ideas are always being introduced, like pull-down clothing racks. Japanese appliance and home goods manufacturer, Panasonic, offers an entire line of unique space-saving products. They’ve introduced a soft pull-down shelf system that brings everyday items to you. With a simple pull, the entire shelf lowers. They’ve also created a mechanized rotating system for hanging clothes – similar to what you would see at the dry cleaners. You can store, view and remove clothes with little effort, and it’s designed for narrow, deep, often wasted spaces. Adding a pullout or pull-down shelving to deep cabinets, as well as turntables to upper cabinets, and pull-down, ceiling-mounted laundry drying racks that tuck away when not in use, all help to simplify life’s storage dilemmas.

“When we clear the
physical clutter from
our lives, we make
room for inspiration
to enter. ”
– JANE LOCKHART

DOUBLE DUTY

A Murphy-style bed can be custom designed to fit with your decorating style, and to include added storage space built around it. Built-in storage drawers, or rolling boxes that fit snugly underneath, are included on select bed designs. The bottom cushions of some sofas lift to hold storage within the base frame.

Convert the den in the classic ‘one-bedroom plus den floor plan’ into a walk-in closet or an office, and add more floor-to-ceiling storage. However, I do need to add a caveat – make sure that it’s attractive, as well as functional. You don’t want to look like you live in a warehouse.

I love my condo and all the benefits that go along with it. Having multiple storage solutions helps me to feel organized, which helps me to enjoy my time at home.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., Founder & Principal Designer Jane Lockhart Interior Design. Jane is a multi-award winning designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, including six successful seasons as creative director and host of W Networks’ top ranked Colour Confidential, currently in reruns and airing on HGTV U.S. JaneLockhart.com

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