In less than two weeks we are moving and though it’s still bittersweet it’s starting to feel a lot more exciting than it was in the beginning. The feeling of being ready to cry at a moments notice has gone away and instead I’m thinking about all those things that I’m incredibly excited about. Is it weird that the thing I’m most excited about is a linen closet and a broom closet? Before we move I wanted to highlight some of the ways we made our small space feel larger than it did when we purchased the house.
During the spring, fall and summer this porch has added the equivalent of an extra room to our house. The kids love playing out here, we love watching our neighbors drive by and we can be outside without worrying about sunscreen (which I’m always worried about with Elle being as fair as she is). This porch cost us $11,500 which is far cheaper than an addition and, as a bonus, it really increased our curb appeal.
Though our downstairs still feels small it’s amazing how airy and open it feels with four windows in our living room and in our kitchen. An all glass door in our mini mudroom let’s in a lot of light as well which makes the small space not feel claustrophobic.
Three weeks after we moved in I was on a business trip to Florida when AJ called me and told me he took down the ceiling in the stairway. I was doubtful and couldn’t picture what he was talking about but this was one of the best, and nearly free, decisions. The ceiling formerly was where the Driftwood Gray paint ends in the photo below, so picture seeing none of the white walls or ceiling there. The stairway felt like a tunnel and now it certainly doesn’t.
AJ also raised the ceiling on the master bedroom. Nothing was changed structurally here, he just boxed in the supporting beams and we added drywall around the space where the raw unfinished space of the attic was.
In this photo you can see a few spots that we’ve changed to make the space feel larger and airier. The stairway previously wasn’t open and the space to the doorway to the foyer from the kitchen was widened. The area to the right is the pass through from the kitchen to the back mudroom which also takes you to the basement and pantry doors. AJ doubled the width of that doorway because it wasn’t functioning as well as it could because it was creating almost a hallway to get to the pantry.
We took down a non-load bearing wall in between the kitchen and dining room and created more of an open concept eat-in kitchen. The space is now much better for watching the kids and being part of the action when we have people over. Anyone in the kitchen rarely feels left out with this floor plan. The bonus from taking down the wall is that the front space is brighter than it would have been otherwise because our best light comes from the back of the house.
Another incredibly great brainstorm AJ had was to use the area under the eves. This previously drywalled in and unfinished area has amazing storage potential and when we ripped off the existing drywall in our master it was the natural choice to insulate, drywall and create two closets.
See the tiny wall to the left of Drew’s desk? That is an area we could have done the same thing but didn’t once we decided to move.
The area in the under the eves closets aren’t glamorous but they are certainly functional. AJ put up a little bar to hold some clothes but the real benefit is the amount of things I can cram in there. I have bags of pillows, a Rubbermaid container of sheets and towels, the long low container holds my winter clothes and even behind the orange container I have room for a couple boxes. This space is amazing for items I don’t want in the basement or that I may use on a semi-regular basis.
Because Elle’s room is smaller the previous owners (or builders) added in built-in drawers and a mini closet into the under the eves area. It’s a great way to use previously unusable space.
Last but not least, an idea that can be used in any size house: corral your kids’ stuff. I’ve found that our house has felt so much smaller since having children and just having a designated spot for almost all of our downstairs toys has helped considerably.