by Marcia Lyon

22102   Non-Addition



When spaces are not ‘defined’ for a specific use, they become collecting spots for miscellaneous things that have no home. Each area of your home should be defined, providing logical use of each function.


This home is on a corner lot in a historic area of town. The lots are close together and the property lines dictate to a large degree, what can be done with the house. Corner lots effectively have two “front setbacks” as far as the city is concerned, further restricting buildable land.

The homeowners already chose to re-direct traffic to the driveway side, where family and friends park. They made the decision to convert the former front porch (not sown) to useable space in the home. This was the only way they could expand their house.

The entrance (A) was always used, so they improved it to treat it as the main entrance of the home.

Guests could go straight into the living room (B) and dining room (C).

The kitchen (D) is somewhat obscured from the more formal spaces. The end of the kitchen (E) is something like a ‘no man’s land’ and collected ‘stuff’ over time. There was not a door to access the diminutive backyard (F).  The occasional time the family used a grill, it was outside on the driveway (G).

The homeowners wanted to update the kitchen and just generally reevaluate their space. They didn’t like the idea of formal and informal space because they wanted to (and needed to) live in every part of their house.


Their side entry (A) needed a small gable roof (H) to provide some cover for the door entering right off the driveway.  This addition is both visually appealing and practical.

The living room (B) was large but not laid out well for furniture. With the addition of a wall (I) the living room furniture was more contained, and the French pocket doors allow the sharing of natural light and can contain some sound.  The large windows in the living room offer nice views of greenery on their non-buildable land.  Nicely landscaped, the views are stupendous.

Although the living (B) and dining (C) rooms are combined under a lovely, beamed ceiling, I felt that too much space was dedicated to the dining table, which was rarely used.  I added another large window and centered a round table under one of the beams, tucking it closer to the exterior wall.

Grilling outside was done on the driveway (G) without a graceful path from the kitchen.  I chose to add a back door (J) and small entry deck (K), providing a close spot for grilling and a more direct way to get into the kitchen (D). Creating this new entry, a bench and coat hooks were added.  Also in this space is a closet style pantry which helped this kitchen with few wall cabinets.

The table in the kitchen (M) was more of an obstacle than a help since the tabletop was 30” high and had four chairs around it. When the appliances were rearranged, it made more sense to make an island as more prep space, storage, and eat in feature. Hopefully with the dining area (C) improvements, more meals will take place there.

A refrigerator and range are not really great neighbors. Both take up space and a range requires elbow space with counter on both sides.  The refrigerator moved to the end by the new pantry (L), and we sacrificed one window to do this.  Also, there is a relationship between the refrigerator and the microwave because almost everything you put into a microwave comes from either the refrigerator, freezer, or sink. This appliance should be a raised to be at the cook’s eye level, with counter space below.

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 archimeatus@gmail.com; or phone 515-991-1300.   Her website is http://www.creatingspacesdesign.com


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