Raising the Dead | How To Use Your Home's Dead Space

Every home has space—under stairs, in lofts—that's tough to use. It's better known as dead space, and we show you how to bring it back to life.

Raising the Dead

You've seen those lifeless zones in every house, and it's not pretty. We're talking about the wasteland under the stairs, high up in the ceiling and in lofts and attics with knee walls or rooflines that slope all the way to the floor. Our pro Matt Franklin, design manager at PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes in Meridian, Idaho, waves his expert design wand to show you how to transform every inch of dead space in your home.

Resurrection #1: High Ceiling
Don't be afraid of higher storage! "This holds especially true in the kitchen, where the top of the cabinet is roughly 8 feet high, leaving a good couple of feet on top of that to work with," says Matt.
     The idea here is to take cabinets up a notch—literally. Let them get up close and personal with your 10-foot ceiling by topping them off with another series of cabinets. Stock this high-in-the-sky space with things you rarely use.

Resurrection #2: The Stairs
Unless you're installing a custom set of stairs that are open to below, your staircase will be closed in with a framed wall. If a closet under the stairs is just one too many, try built-ins with open shelving, or create an art niche.
     "Instead of rows of shelves, this is an open cavity where you can hang artwork," Matt instructs. You even can install top lighting as a way to accent your low-to-the-floor masterpiece.

Resurrection #3: Attic/Loft
"The triangular area up in the attic or loft is the dead space you run into quite a bit," according to Matt. This platform, with its 5-foot-tall knee walls, provides a lot of opportunity. For instance, you can wall it off and install a half-height door to use for storage.
     If you're covered in the storage department, you still can erect a knee wall, but instead of hanging a closet door, drop in recessed shelving for stacks of books and board games. Or create several smaller built-in niches to display favorite decor items.

Read the full story in the October 2006 issue of Log Home Living.

Country Log Homes photo by John P. Hamel

COPYRIGHT: 2006 by Home Buyer Publications LLC, Chantilly, Virginia. This publication may not be reproduced, either in whole or part, in any form without written permission from the publisher.