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Little house is big on efficient space


by: REVIEW, TIDINGS PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Debi Bradway dreamed up an innovative way to move her washer and dryer out of a tight kitchen closet/pantry. The appliances are recessed into the closet space from the dining room side, and enclosed in a custom buffet cabinet in her dining room. The doors slide back into the cabinet when open.

Nestled in a neat and tidy neighborhood off McVey Boulevard in Lake Oswego, Debi and Joe Bradway’s home is a prime example of efficient use of space. Debi Bradway has an ingenious sense of efficiency, and over the years she has transformed their original 1,700-square-foot home into a much more spacious and comfortable abode.

To the original single-level home the Bradways added two rooms at the back of the house that they now use as an office and a sitting room, bringing the square foot measurement up to about 2,400. They also added “the double decks,” private outdoor living spaces that they use heavily during warm-weather months. The larger of the two decks is behind the garage, just to the left of the front door; the second, small deck overlooks the waterfall and garden at the back of the house.

Bradway and her husband and guests enjoy using the outdoor living room in summertime.

“This is what we use as our living room in the summer,” she said. “We get lots of animals and birds; it is so peaceful out here.”

The decks are made of composite material to keep maintenance to a minimum. The outdoor living areas are furnished with chairs, tables and accessories and beg for guests to linger in the garden area.

With the help of designer Patricia Thompson, Bradway expanded a bathroom in the home by replacing the traditional shower curtain with a liner that can be pulled out of view and tucked behind a panel, which gives the room more depth. Mirrored surfaces are used in strategic locations to bring in more light and make the spaces look more expansive.

Modifications that added greater efficiency in the kitchen included:

A hanging cabinet that extended the length of a kitchen counter was cut by about a foot, and then mirrors and glass shelves were added to give a more airy and open feeling.

The overhead kitchen cabinet was cut and woodshelves replaced with glass shelves to give a more airy feel.

A spice cabinet that measures about 6 inches deep was built between studs in a kitchen wall. Handles were not added to the doors, which are magnetic; instead, just tap the door panel to open.

A spice cabinet was added between studs in the kitchen wall, giving plenty of storage.

“That keeps it smooth and doesn’t intrude into the tight space of the kitchen,” she said.

The project with which the Bradways are most pleased is the expansion of the kitchen closet/pantry, which called for moving the washer and dryer out of the closet and into the dining room, where they are hidden beneath a custom-made buffet table.

The pantry was crowded with the hot water heater, washer and dryer and deep shelving on the opposite wall. A hole was cut in the pantry wall and the appliances recessed from the dining room into that space. Debi Bradway had a granite-topped cabinet custom-made to cover the appliances and be used as a buffet table. She insisted that the cabinet doors be built to slide back into the cabinet so they wouldn’t take up space in the dining room when open. A tricky part of the project was to find appliances with doors that could open to the right and left; Electrolux fit the bill.

The width of the shelving in the kitchen closet/pantry was reduced, but it still is deep enough to hold the microwave and toaster oven easily. Bradway said the project cost just under $5,900, including the new washer and dryer.

“It’s really a better design,” said Bradway. “We have a useable closet and pantry and the buffet is a pretty piece of furniture.”