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Having a home that functions well takes careful planning from start to finish.  After 15 years of designing homes, I have collected many tips and tricks for how to make your space function FOR you. When it comes to log and timber homes, we often want big, open spaces; exposed beams, logs and timbers; cathedral spaces and open vaulted ceilings.  In doing so, you lose a lot of the storage area you typically see in a conventionally framed home. I’m sharing SIX of my secrets for how to incorporate great storage into smaller spaces. These six secrets can really help stretch a small floor plan, and many of these details are featured in our Feather River home design. 


“Building up” into a second floor is the most efficient way to get more space in a smaller footprint. From fewer building materials during construction to more efficient heating/cooling maintaining the home, this is the #1 way to get more bang for your buck. Being from Vermont, I can’t imagine living in a house without a full basement….the BEST place for more storage!  They are less popular out west, but depending on where you are building and the code requirements, you can use that space for storage, a garage, a family room, media room, utilities, and more.


Many of you love an open Loft, which is also a great way to add floor space and extra room. Typically, a loft is merely floor beams (your choice of exposed round log or square timbers), decking, and finished flooring, so the actual construction of creating the space is very economical.  Over the life of the home, a loft is easier and more economical to heat and is a great way to incorporate extra living for extended family or guests.

 One of my favorite ways to use the lower space? Build bunks with shelving and drawers into that space, killing two birds with one stone by getting sleeping AND storage into the space!  In doing this, you free up the center of the loft for family space, whether it be a play area for kids or a seating area for watching TV. 

SECRET #3. Storage UNDER stairs:

If you aren’t going to have a finished basement space under your first floor, and you have stairs going up to a Loft or second floor, use the space under stairs wisely. 

Stairs can showcase a beautiful open log or timber staircase…or be a tremendous waste of space in a small home. 

I often use that space to pack in as much extra storage as possible, like a stackable washer/dryer, utility space, shelving, drawers, a bed for Scooby Doo, or even a small 1/2 bath.


SECRET #4. Free Up Floor Space:

Planning your space includes furniture planning as well as finished cabintry and other storage options.  Using strorage and furniture that can hang on the wall or under other furniture helps stretch the space.  Drawers under beds,  forgoing the big entertainment center for a wall mounted TV and hanging cabinets in the bathroom will provide storage you may not have room for otherwise. Tucking shelves into the ends of a hall or even a door are great options to make your space function FOR you.

SECRET # 5:  Kitchen DE-Clutter:

It’s easy to lose wall space for cabinets in a smaller space, so you need to consider what you have, what you need, and how to best organize the space.

An L Shape kitchen with island is a great use of a small space as it doesn’t impede traffic flow, allows for extra base cabinets, a good work area, and can include extra seating.

After that, it’s all in the details of how to pack the most punch in the space.  Great cabinetry organizers and extras will allow you to add more storage in tight places, like this slide out pantry tucked next to the refridgerator.


SECRET #6: Eating Options:

In a smaller home, you often don’t have space for a formal dining room. But what you can do is make it flexible to maximize the space while it’s just a few of you, but be able to accomodate more for gatherings. Having a Kitchen that flows into the Dining with some kind of breakfast bar that gives you some extra seating is ideal.

One of the best ways I have found to add a great seating area is bench seating with leaf table.  This can be built in front of a window, with some storage on either side, on the back side of a kitchen peninsula, or the side of a wall. It maximizes the space by not requiring push-out room, and when you have more people, the leaves in the table can fold out to accomodate more.

Designing for small spaces can be FUN and FUNctional!  Ready to start designing your new home?  Schedule your Personal Planning Session today and we can get started!


Check out our new log and timber floor plan portfoilio:




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