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Creating Spaces: Home transforms for three retiring ladies


Remodeling projects are usually initiated by a change in the family unit. The maturing population is creating new options to age in place.

A great option is to bring families together and modify the home to accommodate separate and together spaces.


21637 BEFORE

I was called to a home that three sisters planned to share. This home had some problems to begin with. The front door (A) was hidden from the driveway (B) and entered directly into the living room (C). In this cold climate, this door was a weather liability.

The entry used all the time was the side door (D) off the driveway (B). This was essentially just the landing for the basement stairs (E). A really tiny hanging space (F) was barely functional. Three steps up (G) brought people into the kitchen (H).

The dining space (I) was in a bay window in the kitchen and was the prime spot of this house.

The back part of the house had three small bedrooms (J, K &L). The smallest of these (K) was turned into the access to the backyard and garden, with the addition of a sliding glass door (M). This change made this impossible to use as a bedroom. The only bathroom (N) was compact and was in need of an update.

The detached garage (O) had an attached porch (P) that was used in the summer to enjoy the garden.

 The homeowners were three sisters — independent women — who had decided to join forces and live together. They knew that an addition was needed but had no idea how the puzzle would work.


21637 AFTER

We started with the back-corner bedroom (J) to develop a new family entry (AA). The side entry (D) was eliminated and the basement stairs (E) were reconfigured, to be accessed from the new family entry (AA).

This entry has everything — a closet, shoe tower, bench and “to-go” shelf. It even has a direct entry into the enlarged bathroom (BB). This bath has two sink counters and a large tiled shower.

The path from the family entry into the kitchen (H) now has a closet style pantry.

The living room (C) was expanded toward the front (DD) and an air lock entry (EE) was added, bringing the front entry forward and more visible.

The enter bedroom (K) was eliminated and became a proper entry (FF) to the deck and garden. Part of that bedroom was used to create a walk-in closet that one of the sisters requested for bedroom (L).

The addition (GG) made two bedrooms and bathroom possible  A new bright hallway (HH) offers a view of the garden.

The second bedroom (II) has a pocket door into the new bathroom (JJ) that has a whirlpool tub. The same bathroom access is in the back bedroom (KK), which is the largest and could be consider the master bedroom for resale purposes.

Now the public parts of the house work well for indoor and outdoor entertaining. The bedroom wing is private and separate.

 Marcia Lyon is a professional remodeling designer and freelance writer, producing projects in Western New York and across the U.S. and Canada. Reach her by email: or call 515-991-1300.

Editor’s note: She will be consulting in Western Nw York March 1 to 5.

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