Staircase Understairs. Saturday , October 13th , 2018 - 08:17:48 AM
'Built-in bathroom cabinets don't need to be any more than 4in deep,' says architect Mark Dyson. 'It's possible to dismantle a stud wall and replace it with structural MDF carcases to create storage without devouring precious floor space.' 'Lift units off the floor,' says Guy Morgan Harris. 'A room looks bigger if you can see the whole floor up to the walls.' 'Mirrors can be used to great effect, but too much can look kitsch,' says Mark Dyson. 'An L-shaped mirror [that goes round a corner] can quadruple the feeling of volume.' Boxed-in cisterns provide the opportunity to create extra storage, and why not reclaim the area under a built-in bath with bespoke drawers for towels or bath toys? 'We installed a raised walk-in shower where the floor lifts up to reveal a bath,' says architect Paul McAneary. 'It also turns into a steam cabin, so it's multifunctional and compact.'
Straight doesn't have to equal dull, and it's possible to modernise less than lovely stairs with cladding, such as timber, tile or stone. Many modern homes have stairs built in concrete, which is ideal for resurfacing. If you're updating a less sturdy staircase, make sure it's sound by cladding with marine plywood before affixing any sort of tiles, otherwise they might crack. 'You can re-clad a staircase in oak for about £500-£1,000, depending on the balustrade you choose,' says Vanessa Garrett, director of Broadleaf Timber. 'This is a much more accessible solution if you don't have a huge budget, would rather not embark on big structural changes or are limited by space.'
'In stairwells, remove the balustrades and fill the gap with book shelves. You can also use landings or even half landings (where stairs turn) to house a condensed work station or mini library,' says architect Mark Dyson. A compact office can be hidden in a cupboard, so it's instantly tidied away at the end of the day. A window ledge can be widened to create a cosy seat. Spiral stairs can be a great space saver, as can alternate-tread ones that allow staircases to rise at a steeper angle.
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