Now that we’re self-isolating for the foreseeable future, some key aspects of our renovation are indefinitely on hold. We’ll be waiting for permits to remove our load-bearing walls, trades to become available, suppliers to be open again.
Of course, staying in right now is absolutely necessary. And while in some ways it’s frustrating, the longer timeline is also presenting a luxury of a different sort: time.
Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact, and no matter how many times you’ve moved/built/renovated, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll miss a detail. It may be a newer, better, more durable or prettier option coming on the market after your home is complete. Or it may simply be an oversight made in the thick of 100,000 decisions – like friends of ours who build extraordinary luxury homes but somehow have missed a shower niche in at least one shower, more than once.
If you’re contemplating a renovation or dreaming of building new, now might be a great time to really optimize your plans to pack in as much function as possible. There are so many no- to low- cost ways to make a space work harder for you – and some may be even possible without a renovation.
In no particular order, here are a few ideas I’m considering for our plans:
- A designated dog zone. While unfortunately I don’t think we’ll have space for a dog shower, a functional zone to store all our pet stuff is a priority. I’d love a pull-out bucket (repurposed pull-out garbage can?) with a scoop to store kibble, hooks for leashes, bins for treats and a drawer or basket to corral all the toys.
- Charging stations. In our last home (above), we added four electrical outlets with USB chargers in our mudroom and had a well built to store our devices. While I’m not sure how much longer USB cables will be relevant, some sort of technology drop zone would still be a plus.
- A utility pantry. I don’t think this is officially a “thing” … I’m pretty sure I just made it up. But planned storage for extra light bulbs, batteries, paper towels, etc. is a must. This usually lands in our laundry room cabinets, and I want to make sure we accommodate the overflow here, too.
- A laundry chute. I’m a fan of the main-floor laundry and my love affair with the chute runs deep. It’s a non-negotiable in my books.
- A gift wrap station. It’s a nice-to-have, but if we can work one into a nook somewhere it does make life easier. I’m hoping we can accommodate a wall of floor-to-ceiling storage in the basement hall, and wondering if we could build a shallow niche at one end to store wrap, ribbon, tape, etc. It’s not a priority, but we’ll see.
- Wine storage. While I’m not certain a refrigeration room is in the cards, some form of beautiful and functional bottle storage would be a nice bonus.
- A coffee station. This one may not make the cut … but a built-in espresso system with all the bells and whistles? Or at least a pretty and organized cabinet with all the goods for necessary caffeination? Swoon. On my list.
- Sports storage. I’d love to create a more functional drop zone in the garage for hockey bags, basketballs, tennis stuff … all the things related to all the activities. I’ll need to give it more thought, but think this one could be simple – shelving and pegboard might do the trick.
- A library. Our new plans call for a combined office/sitting room with a fireplace, and I’d love to give it a library feel with built-in bookcases and hidden storage space for files and the printer. In fact, if we could move the wine and coffee there too, that room could pretty much be my own little apartment. Hmmmmm …
- A system for all the paper. The forms to be returned. The schoolwork. The mail. The stuff coming home from the office. We’ve never really had a great system for all of it, so now’s the time. I’ll be looking for Pinterest inspiration for this one, but suffice to say the plan is not the kitchen counter.
- A fully functional mudroom. Our mudroom in this house will be less of a room and more of a hallway, so we’re going to have to use every square inch. I’m thinking a combination of open and closed storage with designated spaces for backpacks (my nemesis!), tall boots, keys, winter hats and scarves, etc. There’ve been news stories about thieves hacking car fobs, so maybe we should build in a metal box to store our keys? A huge mirror to pull in the light and check the lipstick? All food for thought.
So tell me – what’s on your list? Mine keeps growing … would love to hear your ideas too!