Built–ins
Not all families want to look at life's conveniences 24/7, whether it's the coffeemaker on the kitchen counter, the printer in the home office, or the flat–screen TV in the media center. Thank goodness for built-ins. The Espley–Joneses designed as much storage as they could into their 3,726–foot house. Every room from the kitchen to the powder room contains carefully designed cabinets, bookcases, and storage cubbies to contain clutter and make small rooms feel larger. When the homeowners realized there wasn't enough space to construct walk–in closets in the children's rooms, they opted for old-fashioned built-in wardrobes instead. "Not only do they hold more than a closet," says Patricia, "but they add to the character of the house."

Home building know–how:
To give built–in cabinets, wardrobes, and desk units a furniture look, don't run the units all the way up to the ceiling; top them with crown molding that matches what's elsewhere in the house and give the pieces feet or legs, suggests designer Lynn Pries.

Cleverly designed built–ins are a way to reclaim dead space in a house: Lazy Susan—style swing–out shelves provide undercounter access to hard–to–reach base–cabinet corners. Storage closets can fit under dormers or staircases, and bookshelves can line hallways or wide stairways, and surround interior doorways.

While you'll want to figure built–ins into your home design when constructing, don't fret if your renovation budget can't accommodate them. Architects actually suggest living in a new space first to better determine traffic flow and what your storage needs are.
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