Breathing Room: ideas for space-saving family homes

space-saving family homes
A staircase slides to reveal a motorbike at architect Duncan McLeod and set designer Lyndsay Milne McLeod's playful west London home
space-saving family homes
A space-maximising layout incorporates a double-height living room at Lansdowne Crescent, London W11
space-saving family homes
The hallway of Granelli House, Alvechurch, Worcestershire, is well-equipped for family life
space-saving family homes
The end of the garden at Broomfield Place, London W13, has a large storage shed
space-saving family homes
Cabinets stretch the entire length of one of the walls of the kitchen at Elliot Square, London NW3
Keeling House, The Modern House
Storage space within easy reach of the bed at The Water Tank, Keeling House, Claredale Street, London E2
space-saving family homes
A bed within a bed at The Water Tank, Keeling House, Claredale Street, London E2

When people talk about space-saving family homes, what they actually mean is storage space — lots of it — well-thought-through layouts and perhaps a secret cupboard or two.

The paraphernalia of family life can be bulky and cumbersome, and having somewhere to put it all restores a sense of order. Here, we share our favourite examples of space-saving family homes from our sales roster and ‘My Modern House’ series.

Lansdowne Crescent, London W11
Architect Jeremy Lever’s challenge when he acquired the site for his self-designed family home was to maximise the plot’s width, which measures only 13 feet and two inches, tapering by six inches at the top.

Lever’s breakthrough moment came from ditching a conventional layout design in favour of a site-specific arrangement, which has six storeys at the front and seven at the back. The core of the ingenious design is an impressive double-height split-level floor that mediates between the others.

Granelli House, Alvechurch, Worcestershire
The entrance hall to a family home should be a locker room of sorts, with ample space for coats, shoes, toys, bags and, of course, those oh-so-easy to lose set of keys.

At architects Remo and Mary Granelli’s self-designed family home, the entrance hall features a long stretch of shelves and cabinets, ideal for stuffing with things that are best kept from spoiling the interior of the Grade II-listed house, with features like terrazzo floors and teak detailing.

Architect Duncan McLeod and set designer Lyndsay Milne McLeod’s playful west London home
Architect and part-time motorbike teacher Duncan McLeod encountered a problem when designing his family home in Kilburn. He wanted to store his bike indoors but his wife, Lyndsay, understandably didn’t want to see it.

Duncan’s solution was to create a sliding staircase, which conceals the motorbike when it’s not needed. A simple lesson in space-saving economy.

Broomfield Place, London W13
Sometimes, no matter how clever your architect has been at sneaking a cupboard here or there, what you really need is a big shed to throw in things you just don’t want to deal with.

At this three-bedroom house in West Ealing, the garden features a large storage shed well-suited for bikes, a spare fridge or that family heirloom that doesn’t quite match your interior design preferences.

Elliot Square, London NW3
If there’s one room in the house that people prize storage over all others it’s the kitchen. Blenders, food processors, and all manner of good-idea-at-the-time appliances need an out-of-sight home, after all.

The kitchen of this 1960s townhouse near Primrose Hill has walnut-veneer cabinetry running the entire length of one of its walls, perfect for cramming just about anything even the adventurous home cook would care to need.

The Water Tank, Keeling House, Claredale Street, London E2
Storage space is just about everywhere you look at this duplex penthouse, converted from the former water tank that sits atop Keeling house, one of London’s most-cherished Modernist residential blocks.

Lock up storage outside the front door sets the tone of things to come inside, where a coat cupboard has been included in the entrance area. In the bedroom, meanwhile, a raised OSB bed manages to include a child’s bed underneath it, and stepped storage space.

If you’re looking for a bit more breathing space, get in touch to see how we can help

Related stories