Staircase Understairs. Monday , October 22nd , 2018 - 23:01:15 PM
'Small spaces are more economical to run,' points out Elizabeth Wilhide, author of Small Spaces. 'And because the surface areas you are dealing with are more limited, you can choose more luxurious materials and high-end details. Small-space living also concentrates the mind as, with less room to play with, you need to be quite focused and selective - which is no bad thing.'
Play den. How often have your kids complained that they have nowhere to play? Children love hidden nooks and crannies, so converting the cupboard under the stairs can be a great alternative to an outdoor play house - especially in winter. If possible, cut windows and a doorway into the side panels of the staircase. This will allow light in and stop the den feeling claustrophobic. Strips of leftover curtain material stapled to the windows make a nice homely touch. Use a beanbag or some large cushions to create a comfy seating area. Finally, encourage your little ones to personalise their new hideaway with some books, toys and, if there is room, a small desk for drawing or writing.
'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.'
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