21702    Expansion into Garage

Lots of times a house seems to have plenty of space, yet it doesn’t “flow” or “feel right”.  Traffic needs to accommodate the functions of the family.
We are affected by volume of spaces.  Big isn’t always better.  If there is a view, find a way to capitalize on it. These are blanket statements but they are valid.


This semi-split level house was a work in progress for the owners.

There was a lake view (A) that the elevated living room (B) presented well, however, the main ‘working’ part of the house had no view at all.  The seldom used deck (C) off the equally seldom used dining room (D) was rarely accessed.

The active part of the house comprised of the kitchen (E), dinette (F) and the family entry (G), directly off the new and enlarged garage (H).

Off the family entry is the laundry room (I) and a tiny office (J) that was not used.

The front entry (K) is pleasant and offers a nice entry into the house for guests.  For the family, this entry functioned primarily as a hall to the living room (B) and access to the basement stair (L).  The stair in the living room (M) leads up to the bedrooms.

A half bath (N) is well placed in the active part of the house.

To these homeowners, improving the kitchen and the family entry were their main priorities. To them, the view (A) was good enough from the living room (B), but I wanted to find a way to improve that.


It was a challenge to find the additional space needed to improve this plan.  When I asked the husband if he would give up five feet of his garage (H), I was surprised and pleased.  Husbands rarely will do that and it was the key that helped solve several problems.

The five-foot invasion (O) allowed us to shift some functions, gaining space for a new walk-in pantry (P).

The office (J) was expanded and a sink added to make this space a craft room for the family. Two glass pocket doors allow borrowed light into the family entry.

The family entry (G) gets a second closet, a “To Go” shelf and a chair.  The family calendar can be located above the shelf.

The laundry equipment moved slightly and the additional five feet (O) allows the laundry room (I) to have two windows; lots of counter space with a sink; wall and base cabinets for storage; and an open hanging space for laundry fresh out of the dryer.

The kitchen (E) is modified to put the sink on the outside wall, beneath three windows (Q). [Ah! A view!]  The new pantry (P) is just a step away behind a pocket door and has its own window. The refrigerator is next to an end wall, and the range is on its own wall, with counters on either side. The centerpiece of this kitchen is an expansive island, offering prep space for several cooks, a buffet surface, a place for meals, and an ideal homework place.

The homeowners wanted the dinette (F) area to change into an elevated lounge (R).  It will be a great hang-out place for the kids.  The dinette was no longer needed with the addition of the island, plus the dining room (D). It was opened up and will be used regularly, as with the removal of the wall, the connection with the kitchen is strong.

The homeowners wanted to add windows (S) up high in the dining room to share more light.  The light from the sliding glass door in the dining room will be appreciated in the kitchen.

The deck (C) was expanded and angled out toward the lake view (A).  To draw people out toward the view, the angled part of the new deck has a charming pergola (T). The deck is more accessible and inviting from the kitchen, making grilling out easier.


MARCIA LYON is a professional remodeling designer and freelance writer, producing projects locally and several other areas across the US and Canada. Like Creating Spaces on Facebook! Reach Marcia at; or phone 515-991-1300.   Her website is




  1. Rudy Brynolfson says:

    Happy to find this site, as Buffalo News and St. Paul Pioneer Press no longer reliably carry your column. Please keep posting new articles; they are great.


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