Who: Stephen and Eva Carbonaro
Where: Barnstable, Mass.
Making diminutive digs functional often means built-ins, and plenty of them. Such was the thinking behind Stephen and Eva Carbonaro’s breakfast nook redo in their 800-square-foot 1950s Cape Cod–style cottage. By borrowing space from a basement stairwell, they carved out a niche for a coffee station, with dishware storage below, in an area previously reserved only for the kitchen table and chairs. Now, bleary-eyed house-guests can get their morning joe and have a seat outside the hustle of the cook space, says Eva, a graphics designer. She worked out the logistics while Stephen, a finish carpenter, did the construction. "They’re all Eva’s ideas," says Stephen. "I just make sure the carpentry is correct." Filling the niche are white-painted wood cabinets fitted with recessed panel doors that Stephen crafted himself, a beadboard back wall, and a shelf with a row of cup hooks. But the best part is what you can’t see: Behind pantry doors are a washer and dryer that are just a dish-towel’s throw from the kitchen. When every inch counts, that’s a seriously smart use of space.