My top renovation requests from City Families.

A family that lives in a city is sometimes short of space. Using the space they have efficiently is crucial.  Here are the top renovation requests that I receive from these families. 

  1. WALK-IN CLOSETS: Walk-in closets are great because they allow your wardrobe to be seen at a glance in a single space. They are always at the top of the list of renovation requests. Build them with double hanging for jackets, pressed shirts and trousers . Even a small walk-in closet is a great addition to your space. They need not be big but they should be efficient. Don’t forget a bit of single hanging for long coats or dresses. Have a drawers for underwear, handkerchiefs and scarves. Also add floor to ceiling shelves – 15 inches deep for sweaters and folded casual shirts and shelves for shoes. Put belt racks and tie racks on the wall. This will make it a real time saver; no need to walk about the bedroom pouncing in and out of various small closets and bureaus. As important, however, is that they can keep clutter out of the bedroom if you add lots of hooks near the door and a large hamper. No more clothes thrown about the room. If you have the space make the closet large enough for a stool or even a small armchair and make a little “me” space. If you are concerned about taking space out of your bedroom to do this, imagine the peaceful setting you can create around your bed without all the bedroom clutter.
  2. FAMILY STORAGE: A family storage closet maybe with a pair of doors and deeper than a regular closet is a lifesaver in your entry hall or area.  It should have cubbies and hooks and be able to hold kids atheletic equipment. Create places for muddy boots and umbrellas.
  3. A KITCHEN PANTRY: A Kitchen Pantry  are an old fashioned idea that make a lot of sense and, indeed, are making a comeback as evidenced by the number of renovation requests I get for them.  Pantries can be big enough to walk into or as simple as a floor to ceiling cabinet. They are a great way of storing non perishable food stuffs like rice, pasta and canned goods; big bags of onions or potatoes, oils and vinegars ; canned goods ; crackers and cereals as well as extra paper products. The great thing about pantries is that with everything at a glance – its easy to make a shopping list. Kitchens are often very visible in smaller apartments and are sometimes open to other spaces so they are great compliments to today’s kitchens which boast a clean, minimal uncluttered look. Kitchens are often very visible in smaller apartments and are sometimes open to other spaces.
  4. LAUNDRY ROOMS: Sometimes Laundry Rooms are tough to achieve in city apartments. Nonetheless, they are a top renovation request. They require access to water risers and to a waste pipe. Building managers and boards are concerned that waste pipes will become overburdened and cause water back ups into apartments so this will take a little negotiation with them. Dedicate a closed area as large as you can manage. If it’s closed, the mess is easily shut off by a door. Always allow space for a few shelves for detergents and if you can manage install a wall mounted drop down folding shelf. A folding shelf helps you keep laundry activity within the dedicated space. My clients are usually happier in the end if the laundry space is located nearest bedrooms and bath rooms where most laundry is generated. If you can only get access to water and risers in the kitchen, then try to set up a defined area just for laundry. Separate them asa much as possible to keep from being overwhelmed by both kitchen and laundry tasks. 
  5. POWDER ROOMS:  Few older apartments were built with powder rooms. They are a great addition because they keep your guests out of private family space. There are code requirements governing the size of powder rooms. Usually you need to allow for a 5’-0” x 7’-0” space.
  6. MULTIPLE SINKS: Having more than one sink in the kitchen is great two dedicated sinks are better than one large sink idea. One for clean up and one for prep. The clean up sink should be large enough to scrub a pot. The prep sink can be small but make it deep, at least 7 to 8 inches to prevent splashing. In the master bathroom, people are accustomed to having two sinks. Try it in a shared children’s bath if you can; it will make the morning go more smoothly.
  7. SNACK STATIONS: Snake Stations are great for families and may consist of a simple under-counter fridge and adjacent cabinet. There are three great things about these. Firstly, there will be less fumbling around in the big fridge looking for small items constantly opening and closing the door. Secondly, they allow a parent a bit more control of what the kids are snacking on. Thirdly, they just add a little more fridge space and its logical to separate these food stuffs.
  8. NEW WOOD FLOORING:  Renovation requests from my clients often include new wood flooring. In many older buildings, the floor may be in disrepair and in newer ones the quality of the floor may be less than desirable. The right choice for a new wood floor will add both monetary and aesthetic value to your co-op or condominium. Wood floors add warmth by adding texture and natual material with dimensional color. 
  9. RECESSED LIGHTING:  Since many New York Apartments have limited natural light, improvements in overall lighting levels are often part of any list of renovation renovation requests.. Recessed ceiling lighting is a great way to add light to a room. Its best to think clearly about the layout of the room and to be judicious with recessed lighting. Don’t cover the ceiling with them in a grid. That may be ok for a kitchen but not for living spaces. For living spaces think about the furniture plan. Place two over the general area of a conversation group of sofas and chairs, or to supplement a decorative dining room fixture. Corners should be considered. Lighting in these areas visually expand a room rather than being lost in the shadows.  For recessed lighting get the fixture with the smallest aperture. These are by far the most appealing since they conceal the light source as much as possible. Also buy ones with adjustable light heads rather than stationary. They will give you the ability to make small adjustments after installation. Light sources can be turned so as to not shine into the eyes in a seating area for example or to focus on a coffee table.  

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