It’s hard to afford, or sometimes even find, more space in mature communities where lots are small, and houses tight. As an architect in the Washington DC metro area, I have often been asked to make the small house feel bigger without extending spaces. I like to visually borrow space, so while room size stays the same, your eye can go places.

Replacing a wall with a half wall allows your eye to travel from room to room, say from Living room to Dining room, and if that half wall becomes built-in cabinetry with glass doors, showing off your collection, perhaps with columns to an architrave above, you have found storage as well as a visual feast. Then, to continue opening walls, I love to replace those dining room windows with French doors…glass to the floor…, to the garden or deck…or if you can’t get out at that point, just open the doors to a railing/balcony, that way you feel invited to another place, making this place more interesting and feeling less cramped.

Now your eye can have a delicious journey across the Living room, stopping at the bay window to the front garden, (an invitation in itself,(more on bays later)), through the cabinetry with columns half wall to the Dining room and then out the French doors, down the steps to the patio and garden…..and you haven’t changed your square footage!

beautiful living room of wood

“Dining room borrows a long diagonal view across the living room and up the stairs.”


More on bay windows and expanding internal space and axis later.