I have read many design blogs and articles over the years and the ones that interest me are the re-purposing ideas that clever people have created.
It is always interesting to read about a product, item or space that once was unusable or tired and to see it transformed into a workable solution.
While I find the crafty things interesting and fun to look at, what I’m more curious about are the stories about spaces that have been transformed and given new life and those homeowners who have the vision for a new use for parts of their home.
This curiosity came early for me as I rarely lived in a home that wasn’t somehow altered.
My mom was constantly moving and shaking things up at home with design projects and ideas which rarely involved something as simple as a coat of paint and some drapery. She was removing walls, laying stairwells bare and re-purposing rooms in ways that are hard to imagine.
One old house we had contained a bathroom on the main floor adjacent to the kitchen; when you live in a two-storey house a main floor bathroom is a wonderful addition and MOST people wouldn’t mess with that convenience, I say, MOST people.
My mother immediately had walls removed and plumbing fixtures tossed as she created an alcove for her kitchen appliances because the kitchen was too small. Was it amazing? Yes.
Was it inconvenient to run upstairs while playing outside to use the bathroom? Also yes, but she had a vision and the result was a workable, quaint kitchen with a brick covered alcove with a curved ceiling which felt like an old European workspace.
In most renovation projects, rooms and items stay where they are, and people decorate and improve around them. I don’t know if it’s fear or inexperience that makes people back off from changing basic elements of a home but often they are hesitant to do anything that will alter what is already built.
The perfect example is the typical bungalow or bi-level home that has three bedrooms at the end of a long hallway, most of the time these are small bedrooms which are not handy but by combining the two end bedrooms (usually the master and second bed) you can create a large walk through closet which leads to a dressing room or a larger ensuite.
More often than not, clients will not venture forth and keep that spare room with a bit of furniture stored and stay in their cramped rooms and my question is why?
Just because a house was built a certain way, you have unlimited options when it comes to creating your own space or expanding where you need to or adding more light.
All these options are available if you open your mind and think creatively.
Even structural or load bearing barriers can be removed with the addition of weight bearing beams which enable you to open your space.
A closed closet can be opened to reveal more shelving and that silly space under your steps can be reused for shelving and storage which is more accessible from the other side of the wall.
You may have more amazing features in your home than you realize, and it’s all waiting to be discovered!
Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Kim Wyse Associate Royal Lepage Tamarack Trail Realty’.