SMALL SPACES, BIG PURPOSES
Turn Limited Square Footage into Areas You Can’t Live Without
Compiled by Barbara Kuntz
Those nooks, crannies, bare walls and even small rooms in your home are just waiting for revival into functional and livable areas. And you’re wondering, “What to do?” and “How?”
We share, with a lot of help from our expert friends, ideas to help you use every square inch in the best fashion possible — with a few “for-fun” options in the mix.
Skip the breakfast table in the kitchen with an inviting window seat just off that hub of the house. Big bay windows set the stage for a light and bright place to gather for eating, socializing and relaxing. Then you take it from there.
“The client loves color, so we thought the colorful pillows and upholstery were the perfect additions to their all-white kitchen,” says Laura Umansky of Laura U Interior Design.
This breakfast nook cleverly combines an upholstered banquette, fantastic stools and a snazzy table to create a cozy spot for conversation.
These passageways don’t have to be blank spaces without personality. Decorative sconces with soothing illumination, framed family portraits or mirrors used in collections for making the often-contained areas seem larger are a few ways to bring decor here — as is paint.
“Ranch-style homes have lots of hallways,” Kelly Gale Amen of KGA Design says. “This color grid profile creates art, function and a playful, usable surround.”
Amen and a client set out to make a hallway and closet work together, determining polished concrete flooring for the base and then eyeing multiple paint swatches for the color grid.
“This hall and closet space now are a living-working transition,” Amen says. “And instead of the selection of just a few colors, we did more. As the client said, ‘Let's use them all!’ And we did.”
An inviting work environment is conducive to productivity whether you work from home or commute to an office. Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors offers tips and tricks for any workspace to get your creative juices flowing.
• Lighting. “Look for a space with windows that serve up ample natural light,” Flanigan says. “You should always incorporate ample task and accent lighting through the use of table and floor lamps.”
• Organization. “Cleanliness and organization are your two best friends when it comes to a productive work environment, and the modern market offers countless ways to keep things nice and tidy,” Flanigan says.
• Storage. Ensuring you have plenty of shelf space is another key to achieving a highly functional office. “We incorporate built-ins whenever possible,” she says, “but a solidly crafted bookshelf will do the trick nicely.”
• Cozy & Lively. Place a soft-to-the-touch rug underfoot, as well as throw in a dose of color through paint or a piece of art. “Bold hues tend to excite the mind and heighten positive energy, ensuring that your office will be a gold mine of productivity,” Flanigan says.
Transform a cranny or bare wall into a “munchie” haven for children and adults alike in the family room, den or in an outdoor kitchen, for example.
“This home is located in The Woodlands and was built by the owners with a heavy focus on wanting to design dedicated spaces for their grandkids,” Umansky says. “The munchies bar is located in the theater room and is the perfect space for the homeowners to enjoy quality time with their grandkids.”
The sign from The Neon Gallery is a novel — and fun — component in this setting and announces goodies!
Another home office was in dire need of style and functionality. The room felt cluttered, incohesive and small, but the homeowners did have wonderful glassed-front cabinets, which were put to immediate use in the renewal.
“We took a blocked room for an at-home office and transitioned it so it flows and shares as a creative wine room,” Amen says. “The collection of beautiful cabinetry, textiles and art, doors, grills and textures makes the magic. This once closed, hidden closet office space now is open for transition and multi-function.”
OWN AN ORIGINAL
Ladies, you can bloom in a “she shed” of your own as early as this fall, kit-style or customized, built by the same company as the featured getaway on the cover of the book that created the phenomenon, “She Sheds,” by Erika Kotite.
The book, released by Quarto Publishing, began this women-only-escape craze when it was released earlier this year as the female answer to the “man cave.”
Dana O’Brien of A Place to Grow in San Luis Obispo, Calif., is working on shipping models of her totally “green” sheds after already having done several remote projects. Price points, not including shipping costs, will range from $6,000-$20,000, with the vast majority being in the $10,000-$15,000 range.
Buyers will need a flat and level surface and a contractor or handyman (or handywoman) to assemble the sheds once they are delivered. The decorating is your fun job!
Products used are reclaimed and salvaged materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill, from vintage windows and doors to salvaged corrugated metal to barn and marine wood. O’Brien sees the sheds to be “functional art,” in that no two are the same due to the nature of the reclaimed materials used in them.
“At A Place to Grow, we are creating sacred spaces for our clients to grow or heal in whatever way they need to,” she says. “We have found that women need quiet, creative, contemplative spaces to retreat from the hustle-bustle of daily life once in a while, from a crazy job, from keeping a home or from raising a healthy family, to capture some true ‘me’ time.
“In the 21st century, women everywhere are stepping up and demanding more for themselves. Women are craving their own sacred spaces and doing something about it. So, introducing the ‘She-Shed.’ Move over, Man Cave!”
“She Sheds: A Room of Your Own” by Erika Kotite, Quarto Publishing, cover photo by Kim Snyder, cover shed and styling by Dana O’Brien of A Place to Grow, www.recycledgreenhouses.com
Laura U Interior Design
4306 Yoakum Blvd.
Accessories, pillows and table
High Fashion Home
3100 Travis St.
Kravet and Robert Allen
All The Marbles Inc.
7700 Renwick Drive
Marie Flanigan Interiors
2525 Driscoll St.
Cabinet woven wire
Kent Design & Manufacturing
High-back campaign chair
Pin board fabric
“Key Largo Check” in “Zinc”
Laura U Interior Design
4306 Yoakum Blvd.
The Neon Gallery
1416 W. Alabama St.
THE SHE SHED LOOK (reclaimed supplies)
Discovery Architectural Antiques
409 St. Frances St.
Habitat ReStore Houston
6161 S. Loop East
Historic Houston Salvage Warehouse
1200 National St.
The Reclaimed Wood Shop
2012 W. 34th St.
1901 W. Alabama St.