I see dead spaces

We live in a small pre-war walk-up building.  When we moved in, it was a new renovation and all of us were first-time homeowners. There are only 12 units and each one is unique with bits of original details from the early 1900s. In a condo like this, without a doorman or management on site, things can get a little tricky with personal property.

Our apartment is on the first floor and all of the other residents have to go upstairs to get into their homes. After a few years and a few babies, suddenly the hallway to our apartment was clogged with giant strollers. At one point, there were four of them that ran the length of the hallway to our door. Not being a mother, I tried to have compassion for the exhaustion and all of the steps to climb with children in tow but it was becoming an unsightly burden that we had to navigate daily. Ultimately this was a problem I needed to solve without making enemies.

All of the units in the building have a washer/dryer hookup and in the hallway right outside our front door was a small laundry room which contained another rarely if ever used ventless all-in-one washer/dryer and enough room for two people to stand inside the space. In a city known for the shortage of storage space and multiple laundromats a stone’s throw away, it seemed like a waste of space.

I was desperate to find a solution before making the problem the focus. While I hadn’t created my business yet, I felt confident about my idea. I spoke with one of the board members and asked them to see about moving the washer/dryer under the landing of the stairwell which would open up the laundry room to become a shared storage closet. I was told it wasn’t possible, but I didn’t accept it. I needed this to work.

I asked why:

-it won’t fit

Really? I measured both the unit and the landing. Let’s look again.

-not sure if the water pipe can be moved

How do we find that out?

-might be a problem if it leaks

Can we place the unit inside a tray for protection?

-heat will build up

What if we drilled holes in the panels for ventilation?

After speaking to another architect and the guys who originally renovated the building, I was beyond pleased to see my vision become a reality. My favorite part about it is that we were able to keep the integrity of the staircase panels and it’s a completely hidden solution. Not to mention a hallway free of clutter.


One of my superpowers is my spacial awareness. I am so lucky to be able to use it for the benefit of my clients and contribute to many space saving and efficient ideas. I find in my business that there are some contractors and handy people who say something can’t be done in order to get out of doing the work or because they don’t know how. It’s always important to keep asking and to get another opinion if you are looking for home improvements to make your life more functional. Just because no one ever did it before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Have you ever been frustrated by a home improvement project you were told couldn’t be done? Email me some photos and I’ll be happy to offer suggestions.

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Becky LinotComment