Drôle House Blog

Postcard 12

{Postcard 12}: "How can I get the most out of a large closet?" - Submitted by Divyang

{Postcard 12}: "How can I get the most out of a large closet?" - Submitted by Divyang

Divyang and Kushbu's toddler son has an underused closet in his room, and they want it to put it to better use. They wonder if there are any hidden opportunities in this tall, squarish enclosed space. 

Divyang's design challenge includes:

  • a 35"Wx40"Dx100"H enclosed closet with no organized shelving currently
  • the need to store LOTS of beloved toddler books, clothes and diaper boxes
  • an adaptive layout that their son could grow into without having to rebuild it completely 

The suggested closet layout has three parts that turns it into a mini-library and play space. The first part is a 18" deep shelving unit with two levels, one for books within reach for a toddler, the higher level for folded clothes and diapers. The second is a narrower 8" shelving unit with integrated ladder affixed to the wall and ceiling. The third is a netted crow's nest that makes use of the upper 30" of head space, which also includes a new opening (netted for safety) above the existing closet door. 

A strip of LED lighting can be installed beneath the lowest bookshelf to brighten the pillow-covered toddler sized reading nook on the floor. That bookshelf is within reach, but the upper clothes +diaper one above is just beyond toddler grasp. Similarly, the first rung on the ladder is off the floor by two feet, which means only kids aged 3 and up will be able to hoist themselves up there to reach the crow's nest. The upper crow's nest/hideout then is suitable for kids aged 3-8.

As their toddler grows into a tween, the modification to the layout would be to:

  • remove the ladder and 8" shelf unit
  • lower the 18" unit to dresser height and add drawers
  • cap the upper opening with a panel in the same style of the existing door
  • convert netted crow's nest into traditional upper shelf for long term storage

The hanging rod stays at the same 5'6" height in both versions. Just a few screws to remove, holes to patch and voilà!

Could your closet be this fun?


Name *

Postcard 8

{Postcard 8} - "Is there another way to use my long driveway for storage?" - submitted by Aaron

{Postcard 8} - "Is there another way to use my long driveway for storage?" - submitted by Aaron

This design challenge hails from Halifax. Aaron demolished his 12'x22' delapidated garage this summer, but noticed how awesomely large his yard could be for his kids if he didn't rebuild it in the same place. He wonders if there is a way to rebuild something for storage and privacy while benefiting from a larger yard.

This design challenge includes:

  • an already demolished garage
  • an underused, 11 foot wide, ridiculously long driveway that is a pain to shovel in the winter
  • the need to maintain the access through the backyard for oil tank refilling
  • the need to store a snowblower, winter tires, bikes and a plethora of kid and yard equipment

Aaron is not concerned about keeping the garage for future resale, he'd rather have a bigger backyard and more accessible storage for the next decade.

Suggested solution:

In this schematic design, two smaller structures - joined by a gate - replace the garage. One is an 8'x8' shed, situated right adjacent to the wall of the house, between the side door and the first floor window. An overhang can be included in the shed's hipped roof to serve as a shelter for the side entrance (bonus!), as well as partially cover the walkway. Access doors to the shed can be on any of the three sides, depending on what needs storing. The second structure is a beefed-up fence to create privacy from neighbours and provide amble storage for yard tools and toys.

There are many benefits to re-imagining exterior storage space. 

Benefits include:

  1. By locating the shed further along the driveway, there is still room for two cars but cuts down on a 150 sqft worth of winter shoveling. Score!
  2. Two smaller structures (built at the same time over over a couple of summers perhaps), the square footage falls under 100 sqft (or 10sqm) which takes his build legally outside of building permit territory.
  3. Aaron and his family can properly enjoy the large tree in the corner where the garage used to be...a place to build a treehouse or patio perhaps?

What has your garage done for you lately?


Postcard 3

{Postcard 3} - "How can I get more efficient storage into a small living room?" - Submitted by Laura

Laura's challenge includes a narrow living room with:

  • toys, books and electronic equipment to store
  • a large fireplace mantle smack dab in the middle
  • limited circulation around a sectional couch

Ah, toy storage...the bane of parents' existence. Having kids certainly compounds the storage woes of old homes because kids not only grow out of things so fast, but you can't quite get rid of anything in case you have more kids! Generally speaking, if you were to reduce the toy-load by half, the living room would open up. If you do need to build something, it should at least hit two birds with one stone. In this response, a wall to wall built-in bench with storage drawers below also adds seating to the small living room. Keeping vertical storage to a minimum helps the space look wider, and can feature the window more prominently. 

Can anything fun be done with a fireplace you don't use? Televisions have long since replaced them as the hearth of a home. As a bonus idea to this challenge, here is a reimagining of the function of the fireplace mantle. Traditional looking on the outside, fun and flexible when opened up!