House Tour: Greg and Laura’s Space Maximizing Bungalow
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Name: Greg and Laura
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 720 square feet
Years lived in: 8 years
Converting a small house into a chic, modern home was the task Greg met when he first bought this Austin house in 2000. When he married Laura a few years ago, the task officially became a challenge on how to fit two people happily in 720 square feet. Homeowners are sure to find inspiration for their own small homes with Greg and Laura’s innovative and ingenious space maximizing ideas that have made this house gorgeous and functional.
There are space saving ideas everywhere in this house. In the living room, custom bookshelves flank the comfortable seating area to maximize storage for the couple’s books. Greg brilliantly converted an unneeded door into a much-needed open media unit. The bedroom features a large but unimposing closet they built into the room. Sheer curtains help lessen the closet’s potentially bulky appearance and clever interior lights were installed for early morning wardrobe searches. Even in the bathroom, empty space over the door is converted into a shelf to hold colorful towels.
Perhaps the best space saving ideas are in the home’s small kitchen, which Greg and Laura swear can fit between 6-8 guests. Small, but effective storage improvements have helped make this kitchen functional for two serious foodies: overhead shelving was placed around the room for big pots and pans, custom shelving was placed in existing cabinets to maximize storage space and an old water heater closet was converted to an ultra-useful pantry. A dinner booth is able to accommodate many dinner guests without taking up much space and perfect-sized appliances (like a dishwasher, wine cooler and trashcan) were hunted down to fit into the smallest of dimensions. Our favorite space saving idea: Greg installed a flip-down shelf over the kitchen sink, so that when they are preparing foods, they have a spot to place their cookbook and drink. When they’re done preparing food, the shelf flips back up into its locked position flush to the wall!
Along with all their clever space maximizing ideas, also making the home enjoyable is their generous backyard living area, which they’ve utilized fully. With a casual seating area, outdoor dining area and lovely herb and vegetable garden, it’s easy to see why Greg and Laura often leave their backdoor open, extending their house into their yard. Our favorite part of their outdoor retreat: Greg’s ingenious handmade fountain to help disguise traffic noise.
Our style: Functionality that supports a good vibe. For instance: no tables that require a coaster; wine on the furniture, no problem!
Favorite Room: First place: our patio and backyard. Second place: the kitchen.
Inspiration: A problem that needs to be solved.
Favorite Element: Our eating space/kitchen table. Its cozy but we’ve actually had a seven person christmas dinner around that table. The fact that it’s built from a butcher block also allows us to serve/cut bread, pizza, cheese, salumi etc right on the table- the more knife marks the better.
Biggest Challenge: Converting a small house (720 sq feet) that was purchased for 1 person into a functional space for 2.
Most Talked about Element: Folks dig the kitchen, patio, fountain, and garden area pretty much equally.
Biggest Embarrassment: I thought this was about the house.
Proudest DIY: Probably the patio structure and the kitchen space. We’re also proud of the vegetable garden and the landscaping as well.
Oldest Item you Own: We have a jar of relish in the fridge that I believe is a grandmother.
Best advice: A dimmer switch on *every* overhead light (bathroom and patio included).
Cleaning or Organizing Tip: Know when to utilize open space and keep space open.
Dream Piece of Furniture: King size bed.
Favorite Store: Hardware.
Place You Buy Things for the Home: Farmers market.
Biggest Indulgence: Our screen doors (by Austin artist Susan Wallace).