One of the essentials that should never be overlooked when planning a renovation or new home is storage.
Integrating extra space into the building is a prerequisite now for new homes, but can often be a challenge to achieve in older homes. With development pressures reducing the average residential unit size, the convenience of having some extra cupboard space for stashing accumulated possessions has meant that architects can now offer the most innovative solutions to combat the problem.
1. What’s outside the box?
Firstly, have a look at what you’re already planning and think outside the box. A popular solution when designing a rear extension is to devote one side of the extension to full height cabinets. Handy for storing children’s toy or hiding an entertainment system, they can be concealed as subtle storage by abandoning handles for a push-open latch system. As far as roof extensions are concerned, if yours will be under a pitched roof the edges are usually too low for any practical use. These spaces can easily be used as storage, again with a concealed push-open latch system.
2. Look under the stairs
Space under the staircase is often overlooked, or simply hidden by cabinet doors; the area soon fills up with things that are hard to reach and eventually forgotten about. One idea here is to build large drawers which can be pulled out to easily get to wellies, tools and other useful objects, nice and close to the front door.
3. Don’t forget the kitchen.
We so often leave large, empty spaces above the upper cabinets, which are only good for collecting dust on and accumulating cobwebs. Extra cabinet space up to the ceiling would usually require a couple of steps to access, but where better to store a sewing kit or a fondue pot? One good solution when storing at a high level is to use plastic or fabric boxes, which keep things nice and neat and are easy to pull out and access the items inside.
Although these are the most common areas to find storage space, a little imagination can go a long way. Lower ceiling space in the entrance hall, utility room, bathroom and other small rooms, where we rarely spend long bouts of time, can provide great long-term storage. These spaces can be accessible from the side of the ceiling bulkhead or through cabinet doors outside the area.
4. What’s outside
External spaces such as old coal cellars and garden sheds, as well as basement crawl spaces, can make for good storage, but do keep in mind that unless these are waterproofed and insulated, damp can play havoc with your belongings. These are places perfectly suited for a lawnmower, not a silk dinner jacket!
Finally, it is important to bear in mind that each home is unique, and storage spaces can be conjured from your context; an unused nook for example, or a floor safe in a lower ground floor flat. The only real limit is your imagination.
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