Articles » Special Spaces

When is a room not a room? When it's a special space. Today's lifestyle seem to require many specialized spaces for functions that don't require an entire room, but which need a degree of separation and privacy.

Once upon a time, when homes were smaller, they often had more of these mini-rooms - such as cozy sitting nooks built around a fireplace, benches inside an entry, butler's pantries, and built-in bookcases serving as room dividers. But as homes became bigger and builders looked for ways to reduce construction costs, many of these charming features were stripped away.

For example, people often want a place to keep household management information handy to the kitchen. A home command center can integrate a desk and computer with security and home management hardware in one convenient place. It can either be built into the kitchen, or in a small room by itself.

Most homes don't have space for a dedicated library. But a mini-library can fit into a 5'x8'space and provides a quiet and convenient space for study and reading. Often these pocket libraries can be placed in otherwise wasted space such as hallways or stairway landings. Adding one foot of depth to the landing allows enough space for the bookcases, and provides convenient access to both floors.

A butler's pantry is a special space that seems to be gaining in popularity. Originally designed as a place to keep food and silverware convenient to serving dinner, it provides a transition between the hubbub and efficiency of the kitchen and the relaxation of the dining room. Even in the modern age, when few families have butlers, it recalls an earlier, more elegant time.

Exercise rooms can be installed in niches adjacent to the master bath. Entertainment centers can provide a place for family to relax, as well as a focal point for a larger room. Small kitchenettes can be added to master bedrooms and family rooms for greater convenience. And all of these can be done without adding a great deal of expensive floor space to the home. When you add these special spaces to a house, you add both livability and delight to the home, and increase its resale value.