Plan for multipurpose rooms.Who needs a dedicated dining room when everybody eats in the kitchen? Lining it with bookshelves turns it into a library and adds a warm atmosphere. The Dowds combined their home offices with their leisure interests: Hers is a sewing center; his displays his array of fishing rods, which get plenty of use near their Newport Beach home.

Go behind the walls. Use cavities behind a room’s four walls to carve out storage closets and cabinets. A shallow gas fireplace in the master bedroom left room for a narrow closet off the deck for stowing seasonal items like tablecloths and beach gear. A small cabinet above their glassed-in shower stores Christmas decorations.

Add windowed bumpouts. Putting a square bay off the Dowds’ master bedroom allowed for a window seat with a water view. A bay window in a bath or kitchen provides a shelf for toiletries or potted plants.

Create convenience. After seeing how well the dog’s bookcase door to the courtyard worked out, Steve now wants to remove a base panel elsewhere in the living room to hide a robot vacuum that could automatically tuck itself away when the sweeping is done.

Minimize halls, where you can. Using seldom used or public rooms as passageways for foot traffic, rather than carving out long hallways, saves precious square footage for the living areas themselves.
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