Big returns on small spaces


carefully planned and executed, small spaces feel good and return higher per-square-foot value.

   Whether you live in a small house you’re going to remodel or moving to a smaller place, think
and plan with four words in mind: inviting, open, bright and efficient. Toward that end, here are tips to help
you make the most of your small room or house:

   • Front yard. Start by getting rid of overgrown trees
and shrubbery that make the house look small. The entry should invite visitors. Design your entry with proper
scale, materials, lighting, full-light French door (with obscure glass) and side windows that suggest harmony

   • Rear yard. Design a patio with a wood patio
trellis/sun shade structure, landscaped gardens, a fountain or barbecue feature area adjacent to the kitchen
that adds recreation and outside dining and entertainment space.

   • Flowing, multipurpose rooms. Design space
or remodel existing space to combine living and family room and eliminate dining rooms. Incorporate other
design ideas that follow for space definition, openness and light.

   • Skylights. Kitchens and bathrooms will stay
bright and fresh with operable skylights. Frame the plenum (light shaft) with flares to give the ceiling opening
a larger light frame extending down from the skylight. An added benefit is passive ventilation and free natural
light to put on your best face.

   • Recessed lighting. Recessed lighting is
clean looking with long-lasting design advantages. Installation is not a difficult job for your remodeler
and, when finished, it makes a dramatic mood change and appearance.

   • Closet organizers and built-ins. You’ll
be amazed at the amount of stuff your closets will hold if you hire a design/build closet organizer company
to assess your needs and build in drawers, shelves and clothes hanging areas.

   • Floor coverings. Limit floor covering choices
to one light color carpet for all carpeted areas. Allow the floor plan to flow without changing flooring materials
from carpet to tile to wood as you travel through the house. Think light (colorwise) and keep it simple to
achieve the look.

   • Wall colors and materials. Ask an expert
for help to coordinate your color choices and textures. Smooth wall surfaces or very light trowel "knock down"
texture with an off-white latex paint color work well. If you must change colors, they should be monochromatic.

   Steve Lusk is a certified graduate remodeler and owner of Lusk Building & Remodeling
Co. in San Diego, Calif.