A Modern Great Room That Fits a Family

See how contractor and designer Chip Wade of HGTV's Elbow Room turned this family's too-small 1970s living, kitchen and dining areas into a spacious great room — all without adding a single square foot.
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November 25, 2014
By: Liz Gray

A Total Makeover

The Webb family loved their neighborhood in Stone Mountain, Ga., but the tiny rooms in their 1970s ranch-style home left this family of four wishing for room to stretch out. Designer and contractor Chip Wade transformed their cramped quarters into an open, modern great room. See how he maximized their space.

Before: Cramped Living Room

Before the remodel, the Webbs had no good place to gather as a family. Lots of space-wasting walls broke the home into tiny rooms, and no single space — kitchen, dining room or this living room — was large enough to support all their nighttime activities, like working on the computer, doing homework and cooking dinner.

Before: Tight-Squeeze Kitchen

Pre-demolition, homeowner Farrell Webb found it hard to prepare meals in her pint-sized kitchen. The Webb's son wanted to help with meal prep, but the tiny space left everyone feeling crowded.

Before: Deserted Dining Room

The family’s seldom-used formal dining room wasn’t a good use of precious square footage.

Open and Airy

Removing all the walls and raising the ceiling several inches opened up the family’s main living area. Low-slung furnishings make the ceilings appear even higher, while bright white walls and new windows create an airy feeling. A modern sectional sofa provides enough room for the whole family to lounge.

Fiery Focal Point

Chip replaced the dated brick fireplace and mantel with a custom-cast metal fireplace surround and a sleek, modern nook for the family’s new flat-screen TV.

Swing-Arm Desk

Before the remodel, the Webbs used TV trays as makeshift computer desks in the living room. Chip upgraded the family’s office space with this custom, swivel-arm desk for two. The desktops swing out, allowing Mom and Dad to face the family while they work. The desks tuck back into the wall when computer work (or play) is done.

Hidden Storage

Tired of staring at eyesore remotes? Tuck them inside a sliding pocket on an end table like Chip did here to keep clutter at bay.

Simple Entryway

A sleek Parsons console table and a classically curved lamp keep this entryway simple yet modern. Family photos add a little personality, while wicker cubes provide clutter-free storage for odds and ends.

Study Time

Demolishing most of the walls in this living space created room for a homework nook for the Webb’s middle-school daughter. It’s private enough to allow for concentration, but open enough that she can still interact with the rest of the family.

Living Wall

Air plants and rocks tucked into hanging glass globes make a statement against blocks of cheerful yellow paint.

Airy and Open

The spacious new kitchen overlooks the living and dining spaces, so Farrell can take part in the conversation while she whips up dinner. There’s also plenty of room for little hands to pitch in on the meal.

Double-Duty Drawer

To make it simpler for the family to reach the ceiling-level kitchen cabinets, Chip transformed one of the drawers into a super-strong step stool. The slip-proof cover rolls up when the family needs to reach for extra dishes, and back when they want to access the drawer below.

Odds and Ends

Baskets and jars on open shelves keep toys, crayons and other odds and ends accessible but organized.

Modern Luxury

Glass tiles in a herringbone pattern create a statement backsplash in the new, open kitchen.

Colorful Meals

Chip created this custom dining table that’s big enough to seat the extended family. A built-in, cast concrete trivet in in the center makes it easy to go straight from stove to table. Orange hues stimulate the appetite, so it’s the perfect color for this bright accent wall in the dining room. It also happens to be Farrell’s favorite color!

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