The house building industry is changing quickly along with our economy. For many years the trend was toward more and more and MORE square footage. The “bigger is better” trend is giving way to smarter and smaller home designs. This trend forces us to rethink all aspects of design. Creative storage solutions can help save square footage AND dollars.
When building a lake house, one of the first questions to ask is, “Where will I keep all my toys?” Cars, boats, Jet Skis, Golf Carts, 4 Wheelers and the like take up a lot of space. When you add in wake boards, skis, and life jackets, you can spend as much money on an adequate garage as you would a small lake house. Consider dedicating an area of the basement for “Toy Storage”. Most basements have enough room to include a garage door that leads to a shop/storage space. If you’re planning to store a boat in the basement, you may need to lower the basement slab in this area. Unused space under a porch can also make great lake storage. If you live at the lake full time, you probably want a garage. If the lake house is a second home, the garage need not be a critical part of the design.
Storage inside the lake house is just as important. Adequate and convenient food storage is critical. This is especially true if you live in Outback Cove and don’t want to waste an hour on a “quick” run to the W.M. Grocery. A convenient walk-in pantry is ideal. If space is at a premium, consider taller kitchen cabinets, or decorative metal bins on top of the cabinets to store food. The key is to plan ahead and take advantage of every inch of space in the kitchen and the house.
The space under stairways can provide great storage. Add a doorway to access this space. Custom drawers or shelves that can be accessed from the side of the stairway provide great storage and an interesting look. Also consider tucking a bunk bed under a staircase to save space.
Don’t forget to take advantage of attic space and the sloped area behind knee walls. These spaces are great for seasonal storage that you don’t access often.
If you are really trying to design a minimal yet functional cabin, consider using furniture for clothes storage rather than closets. In our cabin, we bought an old wardrobe for $20 and put a coat of paint on it. My shorts, blue jeans, and t-shirts look right at home in that old cabinet.
Don’t forget the space under the bed when looking for convenient storage spaces. Consider building a bed with pull out drawers or baskets underneath. This type of furniture can be fun, provide great storage, and give your room a “one of a kind” look.
There are a thousand ways to tackle complicated storage issues. The important thing is to plan ahead. Make a thorough list of everything you’ll need when at the lake. Then have your builder or designer help you find “unused” pockets of space and “use” them.