Real Estate

Designer's Corner: Turning Unused Spaces into Rooms

Posted May 26, 2011
Updated May 27, 2011

New Homes & Ideas

If you’re a homeowner, chances are you’ve spent a little time daydreaming about adding some special space to your home — a media center, a gaming room, an office, a home gym, a teen lounge or even a wine cellar. But did you know that it’s entirely possible to make those daydreams a reality without adding a single square foot to your home? Just as likely as your dreamy musings about a showcase for your prized collection of fine wines or in-home movie nights with friends and family, is the reality that there is unused or underused space in your home, just waiting to be repurposed to fulfill those dreams?


Attics, basements and garages are commonly unused rooms that can fairly easily be converted to functional space, but there are also probably other little-thought-of places in your home that may look pretty, but are rarely used — bonus rooms, lofts, formal living rooms, spare bedrooms, even your dining room. The key to finding and transforming these areas is to really think beyond the way spaces look to the way you actually live in them. How often does anyone in your household spend time in your loft? What is it about the space that discourages you from using it? Could items stored in your basement or attic be better organized and consolidated to free up the space for more practical use? It’s all about prioritizing your family’s personal and unique lifestyle needs and tailoring your home’s square footage to meet those needs, rather than some routine roster of rooms in a home.


The folks at Ashton Woods Homes have done just that; they’ve listened to their clients and redesigned the lofts in their homes in Morrisville’s Chessington neighborhood to be more than a bland passive room that is passed by far more than it is used. “What we were hearing from clients,” says Hampton Pitts, division president of Ashton Woods Homes, “was a need for a place designated for growing kids to spend time, but also a space allowing for some passive parental supervision.” The loft, with its open design and central location lends itself perfectly to this modern-day necessity.

The Chessington lofts are outfitted with L-shaped built-ins that feature both seating for TV-watching, laptop computing, gaming, studying and socializing, as well as easy-to-access storage for games (board games, as well as video games), movies and computer equipment. The room is configured with a flat screen TV and all the wiring necessary for gaming and computing. Bean bag chairs offer the seating style of choice for tweens and teens. “We opted not to build a desk in this space because kids just don’t use them,” comments Pitts. “Kids work lying down with their books or computers in their lap.”

A bright and modern décor is the finishing touch to this room that is sure to become the hub of activity for growing children. With just a bit of thought and design savvy, a little-used area is reformatted so that kids have a space to call their own, to do their kids’ thing, which is also a space that Mom and Dad can keep a discreet eye on — a win-win all around.


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