It looks small but can host a bunch. When Kelly McKenna and her then husband bought the Duxbury, Mass., house in 1991, they had dreams of a head-to-toe reno. But it wasn't until 2010 that Kelly, a financial executive, had saved up enough money and decided to do the overhaul.
A Place for Everything and Everyone
Kelly says, \"My kids, Bella and Thomas, were having more and more friends over, and they would all cram into the little TV room. I wanted to make the house comfortable for a crowd.\" She remodeled this borrowed space from the garage to create an organized back entry. Since she's a total clutter hater, Kelly loves that there's a dedicated space for everyone's stuff here: built-in cubbies for Thomas' and Bella's backpacks, coats and shoes; another for Riley's leashes and dog biscuits. They drop beach towels and gym clothes in the rolling laundry bins on their way into the house.
On most days Kelly has a houseful of teenagers — and only two of them are hers. \"I wanted the kind of house where my kids' friends would always come over,\" she says. Boy, did she get her wish! Kelly McKenna's kids, Bella, far right, Thomas, standing, and their friends use the table constantly. It didn't get nearly as much action when it lived in the dining room.
Welcoming Eat-In Kitchen
The big farmhouse table can easily seat a crowd, and comfy armchairs mean guests actually want to linger around the table when they're done eating. \"Kids love coming over. Another mom told me it's because I'm the 'favorite mom,' but I think it's because the house is so inviting and easy to be in.\" Clearly the feeling is mutual. \"I love having everyone around,\" says Kelly. \"They're so full of life.\" Collaborating with her contractor, Bill Wennerberg, Kelly knocked out interior walls in the 18th-century cottage to open up the main floor, creating an expansive kitchen perfect for pizza parties, with plenty of room in the pantry for snacks.
Kelly had always envisioned using a sliding barn door in her house, and the pantry seemed like the perfect place. She had this door built from reclaimed pine that her contractor found at a nearby sawmill. Inside she stores an unlimited supply of snacks in glass jars and baskets so everybody can help themselves.
Comfy Sitting Room
Slipcovered pieces make this area off the kitchen kid- and pet-friendly. The sofa is dog Riley's favorite spot. The yellow table was a rescue. Kelly happened to spy it in her friend's driveway, where it was en route to the dump, and instead hauled it home.
The staircase landing became a gallery for the family's photos, a mix of new and old portraits that go back as far as Kelly's great-grandfather.
Dining Room Upgrade
It seemed a waste that the dining room was used only on major holidays, so Kelly found a fun new purpose for the space: Ping-Pong The table measures 5 feet by 9 feet. Kelly had a builder craft three wooden leaves to sit on top of it, expanding the table to seat 18 for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. \"When the kids' friends first saw the room, I think they were in shock. There was a lot of 'I can't believe there's a Ping-Pong table in your dining room!' and 'This is so cool!' They can't get enough of it,\" says Kelly.
Sleeping bags won't do when you have as many overnight guests as this family. Kelly had wanted a bunk room in addition to her traditional guest room ever since she saw a picture of one in a magazine years ago. The built-in twin bunks really max out the small space.
Everyone loves sitting around the fire talking late into the night. \"I like to unwind out here with friends over a glass of wine,\" says Kelly. The pit's ledge is wide enough for people to sit on, so there's plenty of room for a big group. The actual construction was simple: A fireproof brick box was covered with fieldstone and topped off with a bluestone ledge. \"With the fire pit, we can spend time outdoors almost year round. We even used it last New Year's Eve.\"