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Home Information and Links Reasonableness, Dreaming and Preparation

Reasonableness, Dreaming and Preparation


Planning ahead is crucial and Fall is sometimes the best time to be planning. The process takes longer than people expect, so by starting early you can hit the ground running when the weather breaks. So, while you are planning or dreaming, consider the following ideas. They apply to both renovations and new construction.


·         A welcoming and functional entry is important. Don’t just pour visitors into the living room; give them some sort of arrival. It also helps with departures, giving you a step between an activity and leaving, to say goodbyes, get the coat, and remember what you brought…

·         Consider fewer walls and less compartmentalization: For instance, develop a great room and eliminate the formal living room and dining room spaces, or in renovations, open up between the two. A word of caution: This suggestion is aimed at increasing the usefulness of the spaces you have. Sometimes, being too open can result in losing privacy, or not being able to “get away”. 

·         Try to include a “respite” space, or what architect/author Susan Susanka calls an “away space”—a room outside of the great room that allows for alone time. This could be a family room where the kids can go if the living room is being used, or a private space to get away to; 
Create flex rooms that are multifunctional and can be used in different ways such as an office or as a den—depending on styling and furniture. 

·         Be careful about wasting too much space for circulation. 

·         Don’t sacrifice warmth-inducing touches, such as built-ins and fireplaces. Think about special details like a window seat or special windows to add natural lighting and create the illusion of space.

·         Consider visually interesting ceiling treatments—beams, coffers, lighting or just a paint color other than white; 

·         Look for storage opportunities using wasted space, such as under the stairs, for storage. Try extending kitchen cabinets to the ceiling, with smaller units at the top for rarely used items. 

·         Don’t neglect outdoor areas, from the porch to the patio. Look at those spaces as a way to expand the living area. Many older homes have poor connections to wonderful back yards. 

·         Rather than a passé U-shaped kitchen, remove cabinets from one side and add a center island, which can create a gathering place in the kitchen, while keeping visitors out of the cook’s way, or allow them to help in preparations. 

·         Use color: White walls don’t inspire and make small spaces feel dull. 


Above all, don’t be boring or cookie cutter. There is always room for amenities and luxurious touches. Just design them in carefully.