From the start, it was a battle of the boxes. On the first day I met Kara she said, “Don’t mind the boxes, I’m sorting through all that.” But as a building owner with multiple tenants, renovations and projects to manage, her reality is an endless amount of *stuff* that needs a place to live. Short on square footage and closets, her one-bedroom had one valuable untapped resource: having been carved out of the parlor floor of an 1890s rowhouse, the ceilings were nearly 12 feet tall. There was no place to go but UP. The other big challenge was how to fix the ungainly 1970s remodel that had left a mishmash of random ceiling and door heights, and shoe-horned an ugly brown kitchen into a tiny, ill-ventilated alcove. The key change was to pull the kitchen out into the central space and turn the old kitchen into a laundry room / pantry. Powerful wall fans ensure good ventilation and energy efficiency. A unifying wood frame tames the doorways, and the dead space above is now a large attic that absorbs all the boxes. Refacing the fireplace and adding tomato-red lights, cheery wallpaper and a few hits of black accents snaps this Victorian into modern life.
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