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Small House Design Ideas Small Space Solutions This Old House

Small House Design Ideas Small Space Solutions This Old House Small House Design Ideas Small Space Solutions This Old House

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to widen a refrigerator alcove

Flooring: Lumber Liquidators Floor installers: Neale Flooring, 973-748-7105 Carpet, furniture, and accessories: ABC Carpet & Home Window treatments: The Shade Store Pendant light: Rejuvenation Hardware General contractor: MRS Inc, Brooklyn, NY; 718-832-5958 Woodwork restoration: John M. Thomas Studios, New York, NY; 646-573-7105

Tips and tricks from TOH’s New York City project for making tight quarters look and feel positively palatial

Some great inspiration for small kitchens, from the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Design Competition…

Reconfigure the layout to get the most utility out of a limited footprint. Though costly, sometimes an effective floor-plan alteration works wonders. Take a close look at a small room’s layout and see how you can maximize space. To make the most of this tiny master bath, the homeowners tucked the tub in just below the window (and shortened the window for privacy). This gave them enough room to pack in a double vanity where the old tub used to be. “Turning the tub also helped aesthetically,” says Streaman. “A toilet, tub, and vanity all along one wall make a bathroom look like a bowling alley.”

But to save money, the couple is renting out one and a half floors of the house, leaving about 1,500 square feet of narrow living space for them and their three boys. “In New York City terms, this is a huge apartment,” says Karen. “But with our growing family, we needed it to feel even bigger.” Squeezing a family of five into a two-floor apartment posed several logistical challenges, but they managed to make a compact space feel like a roomy home. Here are a few of their best solutions for making a small house feel bigger.

Exterior restoration: Park Slope Brownstone Restoration Wrought-iron paint: Rust-Oleum

Cabinetry: American Woodmark Plumbing fixtures and medicine cabinet: Kohler Countertops: CaesarStone Floor tile: Dal-Tile Wall tile: Mondial Tile Plumbing contractor: Aladdin Plumbing Corp.

A landscape designer’s strategies for maximizing the beauty and utility of a modest-size lot

TOH Tip: Install cabinets under a soffit to mimic built-ins that recede into the wall instead of sticking out.

Opened-up to adjacent spaces, removed doors, and scaled-down walls and appliances made the existing footprint feel…

Paint crown molding to match the ceiling to widen a narrow room. Painting both the crown and ceiling white in this skinny space creates the illusion that the ceiling is wider than it is, minimizing the tunnel-vision effect. Here’s another trick: Install flooring, whether it’s wood or tile, in a diagonal pattern to help make rooms appear wider than they are.

Transform hemmed-in rooms with 10 hues handpicked by our color pros. Their range may surprise you

Install a compact spiral staircase to conserve floor space. Creating access to an upper story—say, for an attic conversion or addition—can gobble up valuable square footage. A spiral staircase is a compact alternative to a traditional one. The homeowners opted to install this salvaged stair—found on Brownstoner, a neighborhood blog—when they designated the house’s main staircase as tenants’ access. It fits neatly into a 5-foot-square area and gives them a way to move between floors without stepping into the hallway.

Urban living for young families is on the rise, but with it comes a need to think creatively about making the most of limited space. Karen Shen and Kevin Costello loved the extraordinary craftsmanship of their four-story 1904 Renaissance Revival brownstone in Brooklyn, New York, site of the current This Old House TV project.

Get the latest This Old House news, updates and special offers every week, direct to your inbox.

Appliances: Miele Sinks and faucets: Kohler Cabinet hardware and wall sconce: Rejuvenation Hardware Countertops: CaesarStone Backsplash tile: Mondial Tile Custom cabinetry: MRS Inc., Brooklyn, NY; 718-832-5958

Place large mirrors facing each other to create the illusion of more space. One looking glass is enough to expand the perceived depth of a room, but two facing each other amplifies the effect even more. Here, a pier mirror on the front parlor wall faces another one in the front hallway, extending the illusion of added space and light indefinitely.

Take that water closet off the backburner and make it a showpiece with these design ideas

TOH Tip: Narrow doors make rooms look bigger by leaving more uninterrupted wall space.

Cabinets stacked to the ceiling and smart built-ins create maximum efficiency in a small space

Choose simple profiles and reflective materials to open up rooms. The flat-panel cabinets in this tight in this 10-by-12-foot kitchen don’t add any complicating and oppressive details, making the room feel airier. Stainless-steel appliances and shiny fixtures and hardware reflect more light, making the small space feel more expansive.

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Use double-height cabinets for vertical emphasis and maximum storage. A second set of upper cabinets draws the eye upward, taking attention away from the limited counter space underneath. The extra cabinets also add much-needed storage space. “You have to take advantage of high ceilings,” says general contractor Mike Streaman. “Sure, you need a footstool to access them, but they’re a great place to store things you don’t use much, like holiday dishes.”

Use tall furniture and built-ins to draw the eye upward. Scale and shape play a large part in convincing the mind that a room has volume. The flared crown that tops the original overmantel in the master bedroom forces the gaze to pan up to the molding above, making the 9-foot ceiling appear higher. “Higher ceilings always increase the sense of space,” says Streaman, “even when you have a limited floor plan.”

Architect: Susanne Lyn, RA; Brooklyn, NY; 718-941-8596 Plumbing/HVAC: Aladdin Plumbing, Brooklyn, NY; 718-783-4621 Electrical Contractor: Super-Charged Electric, Staten Island, NY; 718-981-7173

Maximize square footage and natural light with bay windows. When this house was built more than a century ago, the standard width of a rowhouse in New York City was a mere 20 feet. Bumping out bay windows was a common architectural trick for gaining precious square footage. It also created room for three ample windows that flood the rooms with sunlight.

This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, and plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey team up to tackle…

How to build a small bookcase with more than 10 square feet of shelf space

How one homeowner transformed her tiny backyard into a lush oasis for outdoor living

Use cool colors to make walls recede. In rooms where paint color makes a decorating statement, choosing cool shades (blues and greens) for the walls expands the space visually. The contrast between the rich, warm hues of the wood window and door trim and the pale lavender on the walls in this master bedroom makes the trim pop and the walls fade away.

Tips from a pro on making compact rooms feel calming and comfortable

The folks at Apartment Therapy share nifty, thrifty interior-design ideas in a new book

How one couple maximized function and upped the comfort factor in their cozy cottage home

TOH Tip: Keep compact rooms simple by using small-scale furniture instead of overstuffed pieces.

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.

TOH Tip: A large landscape painting creates a virtual “window,” making a small space appear bigger.

Stair restoration: DVS Iron & Aluminum Works, Brooklyn, NY; 646-573-5953

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