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Renovation:  approx:  1280sf  (ie. a three-car garage size!!)                       Costs:  approx $10,500

The treasure in my attic is SPACE!!  

Having lived for 33 years in a house (3600sf) with no attic, basement, or garage and paying for 2-3 storage rooms we recently downsized to 1800 sf and feel we now have more space!   How?  

I am an architect, you would normally expect beautiful architectural glamour photos from me.   Today, none of that!  Here is my behind the scenes secret to gaining more space in your home and saving a lot of money at the same time!!

As all “Space Gurus” mantras preach…..learn how to rethink using the space you already have and to do that you have to change your attitude about your spaces.


Our new home had a pull down attic stair.  Too awkward and dangerous to use that efficiently now or as we age!!   The attic is low and unusable for real rooms with the sloping ceiling at the peak being 6 feet 7 inches high.

Easy Solution:  Construction  

We took 3 ½ feet out of the long end of the Living Room to build a walk-up attic stair.  Then we had the attic ceiling (not floor) professionally sealed & insulated and added a HVAC unit (which we keep at a low temp of 60 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in the summer……just enough to make it usable for great storage - the real treasure).    The bonus…..we are now saving about $100 a month on our utility bills in this house, about $150 + + a month on the storage unit, and a lot more than that with cutting our square footage in downsizing (mortgage, insurance, taxes)!

 Original Living Room 

Before - Living Room where new stair will go       

 New Living Room w/ stair behind wall          Door to attic stairs

 After - Renovated LR with hidden staircase to attic             Hidden attic door behind wall

Hard Solution: Attitude 

To change our attitude about that space we needed to see it as “our found treasure”.   We had to use money to save this treasure.  Efficiently used, with this new found space, there was no need for expensive additions and cabinetry to the kitchen, closets, and home offices to store all of our nice (but rarely used) stuff.  In those main floor rooms we only store everyday used items. This is what keeps your expensive living space square footage to a minimum.

I renamed the attic – now calling it “The Shopping Mall”……if I am in the kitchen and need an extra large cooking pot….I just run up to the “Mall” and pick one out on the open shelves….everything is openly displayed on shelves like at a store.  Beauty?? Not here! Only functionality and low cost fixtures!!  All of our old beat-up looking shelves, drawers, etc were utilized for this “store”. Need spring clothes?  In the attic closets!  Luggage? On the shelves!  Fine china, silver, and crystal for a party?  In the Fine China department.  Wrapping paper?  Use the wrapping table and ribbon drawers!  Office copier, books, and files? In the office department.  Weekend project?  Tool department!

Everything is set up to be easily accessible in aisles….and therefore useful !!

Other considerations:  Cleaning? 

No problem!  Professionally sealing the attic holes and crevices lowered the dust factor considerably and keeps the temperature even!! 

Main aisle      Secondary aisle     

Main Aisle                                                            Secondary Aisle

Luggage room

Luggage Room

Closet doors                             Clothes closet second shelf  

Clothes Closets                                                 Clothes Closet interior shelves                      

Clothes closet second shelf 2  

Holiday decorations on clothes closet interior shelves


Home Depot shelves                     Bookshelves     

Home Depot metal & fiber board shelves                                Office library resource books        

bookshelves 2

Office file books


Office copier-files             office flat files and supplies           

Office copier and files                                         Office flat files

 Office files

Office file drawers and archives


Linen cabinet                           China-Crystal dept  

Linen Cabinet                                                    China-Crystal Department

 China shelves

China shelves


candlesticks-vases                       wrapping center

Misc accessories  Candelsticks & Vases                                    Wrapping & Sewing Center

This kind of space is what I truly "Covet and Lust"!!!




Lindsay Daniel provides residential design services to Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding communities.