Do you have too much to store and too little space? If you're like many homeowners, finding enough storage space can be a challenge. Thankfully, remodeling professionals can help you create new ways to tuck away your family's treasures in a resourceful and sophisticated way, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
Finding storage solutions doesn't always mean undertaking a major remodel. Sometimes it's about using the square footage you already have. Remodelers can help you plan and reallocate storage to accommodate your family's changing lifestyle. Getting creative with storage can improve daily living and boost the resale value of your home.
Look in Unusual Spaces
Veteran remodeler Don Van Cura, CR, CLC, CKBR, and owner of Chicago-based Don Van Cura Construction, recently won a regional CotY Award for a clever storage solution he designed for stashing canned goods under a kitchen staircase. "I'm a space freak and I don't believe that any part of the house should be wasted," he explains. "Almost every section of home has a void in it that can be made into storage -- and the older the house, the more nooks and crannies you can find."
For his stair solution, Van Cura created storage bins under the wooden treads of a staircase. He did this by attaching each tread of the staircase to the frame using hidden piano hinges, which allow each tread to open like a storage chest. The homeowner could then use the space under the tread to tuck away dry goods and cans. This storage strategy can be used in many areas of a home. In the foyer, for example, the hidden cubbies under stairs can stash shoes and outdoor gear. In the basement they store cleaning products or seasonal accessories. For a short run of stairs, remodelers can also install a set of custom drawers underneath the stairwell with access from the either the side or the back -- another great use of space.
Any good stair installer or skilled remodeler should be able to do this project, but it demands a structurally sound staircase, fine cabinetry skills and careful preparation. "It's easiest if you're planning a new set of stairs, but it can also be done as a retrofit to existing stairs," Van Cura notes.
Reconfigure Rooms As Needed
Perry Szpek, design sales associate for JDJ Builders in Milwaukee, Wis. recently created more storage for a family of six by reconfiguring two existing rooms and adding some square footage. The family's mudroom was once a cramped hallway that led from the house to the garage. "Not having a place to put on and take off their shoes was their biggest pet peeve," Szpek said. As a solution, he designed two furniture-style storage units that provide both seating and a place to store outdoor gear.
On one side of the room, a large boot-bench and locker cabinet gives the kids a place to sit down or hang up coats. The bench features storage beneath the seat and wicker baskets on a shelf above the hanging area. Drawer cabinets also flank each side of the bench, creating a personal spot for each child to stash hats, gloves and mittens.
Across the room Szpek planned a shorter boot bench for mom and dead that offered flip-top storage under the seat and hooks to hang coats behind them. Both storage pieces were accented with traditional beadboard backing, crown molding and a medium-brown distressed birch finish.
In the family's 120-square-foot laundry room, Szpek created a beautiful and storage-smart workspace. Upper and lower cabinetry provides plenty of storage for detergents, brushes and sponges, and a long countertop gives mom ample space to fold clean laundry. Under one area of the counter, Szpek designed cubbies that accommodate six laundry baskets -- one for each member of the family. "When mom's done folding clothes, she can separate the loads into a separate bin for each member," he says. "The abundance of storage space worked great for this family of six."
Where to Start
While some homeowners may think that a bigger home will solve their storage dilemma, this is not always the case. Often, having better storage is about making better layout choices and putting things within easy reach. Before talking to a remodeler, homeowners should take a thorough assessment of the square footage they have and how much stuff they need to store. In addition, it's important to think about day-to-day schedules. Some areas of the home, like foyers, mudrooms and laundry rooms, could use additional cabinetry or places to drop cell phones, keys and wallets. Sometimes the project is more about reworking traffic flow or designating specific spots for tasks like folding laundry, putting on outerwear and storing cleaning products.
NARI Certified Remodelers can help homeowners plan smart and attractive storage for any size home. Log on to RemodelToday.com to find a remodeler in your area.
About NARI: The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only trade association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry. With more than 7,700 member companies nationwide, the Association -- based in Des Plaines, Illinois -- is "The Voice of the Remodeling Industry."TM For membership information, or to locate a local NARI chapter or a remodeling professional, visit NARI's Web site at www.RemodelToday.com, or contact the national headquarters office at 800-611-NARI.