Home Tour: Storage-Savvy Split-Level Home Renovation

See how a 1954 split-level suburban home benefited from a within-the-box remodel that added lots of storage without increasing the home's size.


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living area with floating shelves
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Fun-Focused Family Room

    Thoughtful planning and clever fixes transformed an ordinary split-level house into a storage-rich home--without adding to its footprint. For example, the ottoman/coffee table in the family room (designed by the homeowner) has a rotating top with an upholstered side for putting up feet to watch a movie. The other side is topped with hardwood to hold snacks when watching football games.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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A Modern-Classic Mix Dining Room

    Architect Fred Wilson opened the home's dated floor plan by removing walls, enlarging passageways, and combining spaces. With each change, Wilson incorporated storage solutions and built-ins. Paint and new glass shelves transform the dining room's traditional, basic built-ins into a sassy, mod-style wall unit.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Dining Room Wall Storage

    "Anytime we had an opportunity, we added doors and drawers," Wilson says, noting the inconspicuous addition of drawers to the dining room window seat. Rich red paint makes the white cabinetry pop and creates a dramatic backdrop for glassware neatly organized on the shelves.

    From Simply Perfect Storage® magazine.

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Sunny Kitchen Storage

    Glass-front upper cabinets installed over a wall of windows create display storage without sacrificing natural light. A slim band of closed upper cabinets capitalizes on underused space. The geometry of the glassware also adds a layer of visual interest.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Storage-Friendly Hallways

    Thick passageways between rooms include built-in bookshelves and display space. Now books and favorite objects can be readily accessed and enjoyed. Designed in the same style as the kitchen cabinetry, the hallway cabinets make the room feel larger. Closed cabinets on the lower portion protect and conceal lesser-used items.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Kitchen Communication Center

    The kitchen communication center features a computer and a flat-panel television on an articulated arm that can be concealed behind bifold doors. It's a perfect place for doing homework or catching up on e-mail. Plus, family messages are never lost.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Bookcase Divider

    The perfect divide-and-conquer strategy, a bookcase unit bridges the kitchen and sitting room. It holds cookbooks, magazines, and the children's essential toys (in color-coded bins). To re-create the look in your home, add plywood backing to an off-the-shelf bookcase and decorate to fit your space.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Banquette Dining

    Red birch banquette seating in the kitchen was selected for its cozy 1950s feel. The homeowner says the design enables the family to "cram a million people into the kitchen" while the cook prepares or presents a meal. The freestanding red birch table was custom-made to maximize seating. The bench on one side gives the generous dining area a streamlined look.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Banquette Storage Bench

    No potential storage space is overlooked in this house. Drawers under the sleek bench seating hold place mats and napkins. These kid-accessible drawers make it easy for anyone in the family to set the table. Think about where you most need storage space and who needs to use it, and unexpected solutions such as this one will become obvious.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Built-In Reading Lounge

    The light-filled homework and reading lounge on the landing outside the children's bedrooms packs function into the often-overlooked space at the end of the hallway. Book storage wraps under and above a curvy built-in couch that comfortably accommodates two young readers or one catnapping adult.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Kids' Computer Center

    A computer center occupies a sliver of space between the children's bedroom doors. A frosted interior window lets in natural light from one bedroom. Sized for junior "pilot and copilot" Internet surfing and gaming, the space can be reconfigured when the children grow up.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Floor-to-Ceiling Storage

    Only 12 inches deep, the bookcases in the master bedroom are perfect for passionate readers and collectors. For visual interest, architect Fred Wilson designed a notched cubby at the top of the units. Shallow built-ins like this use just a smidge of floor space but add a ton of storage.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Main-Level Floor Plan

    The storage and organization features throughout the house blend in perfectly with the rooms. Savvy storage takes advantage of the structure of the spaces--built-ins that wrap walls, dividers that are shorter and more interesting than full walls, and taking advantage of the space under fixed seating such as benches.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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Upper-Level Floor Plan

    Bedroom and hallway bookcases add scads of storage without taking up much floor space. As a bonus, built-ins such as these reduce the amount of furniture needed in a room, easing the sense of tight quarters in small bedrooms.

    From Simply Perfect® Storage magazine.

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