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posted: 7/28/2012 1:00 AM

Repurpouse odd spaces for more functional uses

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  • Tara and Chris discovered that turning their awkward space into a multipurpose space was a story with a not-so-happy ending.

      Tara and Chris discovered that turning their awkward space into a multipurpose space was a story with a not-so-happy ending.
    SHNS photo courtesy HGTV

  • The lounge area, which is the focal point of this space, has a new layout that is functional and flows easily from turret to television area.

      The lounge area, which is the focal point of this space, has a new layout that is functional and flows easily from turret to television area.
    SHNS photo courtesy HGTV

 
By Candice Olson
Scripps Howard News Service

Tara and Chris live in a gorgeous old storybook home with a ton of character. Its crowning glory is a romantic turret that gives the house a royal air. The turret is what first attracted the couple to this home, but they quickly discovered that turning that awkward space into a multipurpose space was a story with a not-so-happy ending.

With only one closet in their entire top floor, storage was virtually nonexistent. Dim lighting and odd angles contributed to a choppy layout that lacked flow and functionality. Creating a new bedroom, office and lounge on the top floor of Tara and Chris' castle was a tall order, but with some ingenuity, the right materials and a royal touch inspired by the turret itself, we got the job done.

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To make the most of this space, I created a plan that moved the bed out of the turret and over to a more convenient location beside the bathroom. The TV and media cabinet moved to the wall across from the bed, and in the corner I designed a luxurious lounge area. To expand the precious closet space, we added on to the outside of the existing closet, and installed a comfy reading nook in front of the window. As for the turret, it is the perfect space for a very funky office. It inspires creativity while segregating the workspace from the bedroom-and-lounge area.

We found some wonderful vinyl flooring that looks like reclaimed wood, and laid that down throughout the entire space. A subtle-patterned wallpaper was hung on the room's long wall, helping the eye transition from TV and entertainment unit to lounge area. The rest of the space received a fresh coat of delicate green-gray paint.

One of Chris and Tara's biggest complaints about their multipurpose third floor was the lack of lighting. To brighten things up, we chose some classy black-and-gold pendant lights and hung a grouping of them over the lounge area. Floor and table lamps, a ceiling fixture with fan and a couple of bedside table lamps all help banish the shadows, but the piece de resistance is the cylindrical beaded chandelier that hangs in the office. Now that's a light that really means business.

The third floor of this charming old home is accessed by a narrow staircase. That fact really limits the type of furniture you can bring up there, so we had to choose carefully. I was excited to find a lovely modular L-shaped gray sofa for the lounge area that breaks down into separate pieces. We positioned it under the pendant lights, added a throw and some cushions that bring in the colors found in the bedding, and finished it off with an area rug and a round wooden coffee table with intricate carved detailing.

We had some fun incorporating royal touches throughout this space. One of Tara and Chris' existing chairs was recovered and now features a silk-screened crest with the couple's initials. A dresser and the new closet doors were adorned with stick-on vinyl lettering spelling out regal terms like "lord," "lady," "duke" and "duchess." The reading nook in the window beside the closet is built on top of a custom cabinet base, and features a cheery striped cushion with even more throw pillows. This is one window seat that invites you to stop and stay a while.

Finally, we tackled the turret, also known as the office. The beaded chandelier drops down over an elegant, open-legged table desk. Gold draperies and a red patchwork area rug continue our royal theme. Since the turret is not a very large space, I was careful to keep it uncluttered.

When the lord and lady of the manor were permitted to return to the turret, they were amazed at the transformation. The third floor of their elegant old home now feels cozy and comfortable. Decorative and functional lighting helps give the space a lot of character, while the grouping of black-and-gold pendant lights is pure artistry in itself. Immediately, Tara and Chris gravitated to the lounge area, which is the focal point of this space. The new layout is functional, and flows easily from turret to television area.

We were able to make the most of an awkward space, turning it into a welcoming retreat for the king and queen of this lovely old castle.

• Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV's "Candice Tells All."

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