The Little Things 2

How to make your house a home.

I am a carpenter, and I got into this business to help people.

I fix houses. If your house is broken, flooded, or otherwise destroyed I can fix it back to the way it was. But my favorite thing is to take a house that is just livable and make it into a home where you love to live. Sometimes we remodel the whole house. We take out the walls we don’t like, and build the walls we do. We move a staircase, or cut a new exterior door. With unlimited money and time, you can change any house into exactly what you want. But even small changes can make your home a little more comfortable and a lot more livable.


Mudrooms are a great place to start. How many of us have kids that come home from school and pile their stuff by the door? You’re glad to have the kids home, but the pile of backpacks, coats, mittens, skateboards, boots, shoes, skates, soccer balls, jackets, hats and books that collects near the door that the kids use most must go. If you have this pile, you need a mudroom.

I like to build a mudroom on a strong foundation of shoe cubbies. The shoes are stored under a bench that you can sit on while you put on those shoes. I like to leave the bottom of the shoe cubby the same material as the floor–it’s usually tile or vinyl and it stays water resistant. Wet boots and shoes can ruin woodwork.

Moving up, I like either lockers or an open space. Either way I add hooks for those backpacks, jackets, coats and hats. Lockers can have doors or not depending on how destructive your kids are. I like to build the lockers so we can add doors after the kids grow up and move to their own houses.

Above the coat/backpack space we add more cubby holes. These can be filled with totes or baskets, or they can have cabinet doors. These cubbies are perfect storage and organization space for off-season clothes, sports paraphernalia and less used items. Baskets, totes, or doors hide the mess from view, which might be every homemaker’s dream.

Outdoor Space

One of the most common problems people bring to me is not enough room in the home. Not to worry, let’s take the party outside. Outdoor living spaces are an awesome solution. Decks, pergolas, fire places and gazebos offer year-round entertaining outside and bring everyone together.

Pergolas don’t block all the sun, but they provide just a little shade to make your outdoor space comfortable. They also provide a great place to hang a swing. Combined with a deck, it’s also a place to keep your barbecue and patio furniture. Build it high to capture a view, or low so you can have privacy.

Small Changes

A built-in entertainment center can bring your whole family room together. Unsightly wires and stacks of DVDs will have a place of their own. Even kids’ books and toys can have a place, and that may also be every homemaker’s dream.

With adults doing work and kids doing homework, the office is the information center for your home. I like a home office built-in near the kitchen or family room. Keeping the computer in a common area is safe and it brings homework time into family time.

Is the fridge covered with school artwork with no room for more? Let’s add a magnet board to show off all those masterpieces.

Fireplaces can be big or small. Handrail can open up a wall. Custom cabinets can make a unique bathroom. A new front door can breathe life into a home. There are a hundred small ways to make your house more livable; I can help you find them.

After all, I got into this business to help people.