Clever storage uses every nook and cranny

August 31, 2004


Including a fireplace in the entertainment center required careful execution. Because of the large arch window above the entertainment center, the possibility for a chimney was nixed, and Walker Construction had to come up with a clever solution. Walker chose a self-contained, direct-vent fireplace that discharges at the rear of the home. A gas pilot that is triggered by a multivolt switch powers the fireplace, and a thermostat controls it, so the fireplace functions independently of the home's electrical system. Crews also did all casework on site to ensure the best fit for all the components. "From the start, the most important part is having enough space and distancing all the components," Walker says.
Company: Walker Construction, Building and Design Inc., Warrenville, Ill.

Project location: Wheaton, Ill.

Age of home: over 30 years

Scope of project: 512-square-foot room addition designed with wheelchair access

For Todd Walker, president of Walker Construction, doing this job was a refreshing change of pace in that the homeowners approached him with definite ideas about what they needed to accomplish.

"Twenty-five years ago, jobs were done from a very functional perspective with a very specific purpose, and that was the case here, too," Walker says. "This project was modest in scale, but there are a lot of careful details."

Among those careful details were a multi-purpose entertainment center that houses a fireplace and storage solutions for the items used during the homeowners' weekly Bible study. To accomplish the latter, the custom window seats each hold 18 folding chairs. The window seats also include speaker components that connect to the entertainment center.

The homeowners also wanted the room addition to be accessible by wheelchair from the existing home. Two exterior entranceways lead to a 200-square-foot cedar deck with built-in benches and to an existing paved brick patio at grade. Walker Construction also clad the home with maintenance-free aluminum siding with accompanying soffit and fascia.

French doors between the living area and dining room allow for easy room expansion or division, as desired. Vaulted ceilings give way to natural light and leave more wall space for displaying paintings and family portraits. The custom-built, quirky bookshelf space above the French doors is accessible by rolling ladder.

Walker believes this 10-week project had a noticeable effect on remodeling in this neighborhood. The home's subdivision is adjacent to another subdivision filled with homes valued at $1 million and above. He feels the exposure from this project helped homeowners realize they can accomplish a great deal even if their projects cost under $100,000 (in this case, $98,329.)

"It opened up room, dollarwise, for people to do more work and really upgrade their property values," he says.

Windows: Pella Lighting fixtures: Juno, Leviton Siding: Rollex Insulation: Owens Corning

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