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It's their "do-everything" room.

"It's a do-everything room," say the owners of an 18- by 30-foot addition that serves as a home office, guest room, library, family room, workshop, storage shed, and occasional indoor basketball court. Although the room plays many different roles, they're not apparent at first glance. What does catch the eye is the room's spaciousness, built-in features, sense of privacy from the neighbors, and balanced daylight.

Space and budget limitations were major factors in determining the project's scope. Space was limited by the site--formerly the location of a separate two-car garage. A hall connects the new 13-foot-high room to the rest of the house. (Since covered parking is required, a carport was built in front of the addition.)

A contractor framed and enclosed the structure. To cut costs, the owners did much of the finish work, building the bookcases, counters, cabinets, and carport; installing the wood floor; and painting. Completing the project, including landscaping, took a year and a half.

Light and privacy

Architect Kwan-Lam Wong of Albany, California, devised a plan that gives the room a custom look despite budgetary constraints. Much of that look stems from thoughful placement of windows.

The windows purposely limit views while allowing daylight to enter the room from both sides. Of six 2-foot-square windows in the fireplace wall, only one is at eye level, and it looks into a stand of young birch trees rather than at a neighboring house. The rest of these east-facing windows force views over the neighbor's roof and into the sky. The lower four windows are fixed; the top two open for venting. Above the closets at the other end of the room are two openable windows that face the street and admit afternoon light.

The room's main view is diagonally across the yard through a 9-foot-wide opening with a sliding glass door. No windows interrupt the bookcase wall; a 2-foot-square skylight, set close to the wall, brightens the area with diffused light.

Generous but unobtrusive storage

Built-in features on three sides of the room reduce the need for furniture. A broad, low coffee table and an L-shaped sectional couch with a pull-out bed are the only freestanding pieces. Half of the room is left open to allow space for setting up a ping-pong table, laying out crafts projects, or playing indoor basketball.

Two 9-foot-wide closets with bifold louvered doors fill the wall that backs up to the carport. One closet stores the ping-pong table, extra chairs, and art and office supplies. The other contains a shop table, tools, a small refrigerator, and a 9-foot-long counter.

The closets' slightly pitched roof angles up to two high windows. Mounted to the roof is a half-size basketball backboard; its rim sits 9 1/2 feet above the wood floor. Only foam basketballs are allowed, and the angled roof rolls missed shots back.

Like the closets, the 16-foot-long bookcase wall was framed into the room and wrapped with wallboard. Its lower section projects 30 inches from the wall, topped by a desk-high counter with cabinets below and 18-inch-deep bookshelves above. In the middle, a blank section of wall masks built-in down lights above an office.

To the right of the bookcase, the counter drops to seating height (15 inches), becoming an L-shaped bench that extends across the fireplace wall. Built-in wood-storage bins flank the fireplace; slate tiles pave the hearth.

Outside, behind the bookcase wall, a 3-foot-deep, 22-foot-long storage compartment rises over 10 feet. Although shallow, it houses more storage and shelving than were found in the old, narrow garage.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Words:588
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