Hidden Spaces | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


Consumerism has put a great need in our lives to accumulate things (useful or not).
We are seeing more boxy container furniture with dual functionality to make up for the lack of space, providing additional storage and serving other functions as well, such as seating arrangements. Many corners in the house are now utilized to the fullest of their potential with various creative solutions. Lot of them are showing up in up on my Pinterest board.

This means that many people are thinking about this problem and finding solutions anywhere they can. I will point out some good solutions to emulate and others not as good to copy.

Wet Bar – It is a perfect idea to utilize a dead space under the stairs for a wet bar in an informal basement or family room. However, I would not like to see kitchen cabinets style, appliances and plumbing fixtures in an elegant space such as living room. With state of the art Italian technology, a faucet can be hidden behind moveable walls and doors. Take a look at this video, you will be surprised to see how beautiful technology can be.

I would disguise cabinets and appliances with panels made of the same wood style and colors of furniture present in the room. The wet bar will not look like a small kitchen cramped under the stairs.


(photo above: http://hamtana.com/basement-wet-bar-under-stairs-inspiration-decorating-3-2764-design.html)

Library on Landing – Great use of both spaces. Stair landing are usually treated as transition areas with little importance and often left undecorated. At times even lighting is not adequate to travel that route. In this digital era, it is sad to see the lack of books in homes. For me, adding books around windows, doorways and landing together with a comfortable seating area, show that anytime is a good time to stop and read, even when doing the laundry upstairs.

(Photos above and below: BH&G)


Craft and Hobby Room – Nice solution if everything needs to be in open view. A standard base cabinet is 24” deep, there is enough space to make a slide-out cabinet from the back. After accounting for backings and sliding mechanisms, the two base cabinets might be reduced to 8-10” each. Furthermore, keep in mind that a little bending down might be necessary to reach that back slide-out cabinet.


First Step – That first step must hold the full weight of a person. To make parts moveable and operable for storage it is necessary to reinforce the tread (where foot rest) of the first step, otherwise it could cave in.


(Photo above found on: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-make-your-stairs-into-s-38329. They say these stairs with drawers are made by an Australian company, Unicraft Joinery).

Banquette – Filling a window area with something useful such as a banquette and storage underneath is always a good idea to use as seating and storage for extra china or linens.

(Source: HGTV)

Stairs Drawers – Of the two examples, I prefer the drawers, but both are good use of the under stairs space.


(Photo above: http://www.idesignarch.com/under-the-stairs-storage-ideas-to-maximize-functional-spaces)

Kitchen Cellar Stairs – I would have to say a big wow to this idea. Sure it is nice to go down below to get a bottle of wine while cooking, for me at least, but the building code requires the stairs tread (horizontal part) to be at a min. of 11” wide and at least 7” high for the riser (vertical part). Big pain! The idea is nice, but the stairs as they are built appear to be dangerous.

(Source: via thekitchn.com)

Implementing these small solutions can only improve the life of the people living in the house. The expense is only paid once, but the reward is immense, you get more space, a better-organized life and value added to the house.
Like what you read? Sharing is caring. Pass it along to someone who’d benefit. Ciao,


Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola, is the principal designer and owner of Valentina Interiors & Designs. She is a trained designer and has been in business since 1990. She works on consultation and produces drawings for remodeling, upgrading, new home construction, décor restyling and home fashion.  “Vogue Italy” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15.
©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, her new book on colors is about ready to be published.
Find her books on 

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bluebutterfliesandme
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 03:43:56

    Love the post, all great ideas.



  2. Amy
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 14:57:20

    Creative, stylish, and practical! Wow, I did not know these elements could go together until I saw your designs. Thank you, Valentina!



    • Valentina
      Jul 08, 2012 @ 16:33:45

      I like to pass on to others my knowledge of designs and to be an inspirational source.
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.



  3. livvy30
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 18:03:30

    You have a lovely blog and great Pinterest boards! I’m currently doing up my house and getting lots of ideas there. I’ll be following your blog closely for more ideas! Thanks for stopping by and for pinning!



    • Valentina
      Jul 01, 2012 @ 18:18:02

      I love to get to know you. Your pictures are great and it is my pleasure to repin them on my Pinterest.
      Thank you for stopping by, dear.



  4. bigsmileu1
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 13:35:01

    I love the pull-out under the stairs to use as extra storage. I have a stairway that leads to two up-stairs bedrooms. There is a closet under the stairs but it is not very useful due to its dark slanting shape. Those pull outs would be so much better for storage. Thanks for sharing! Lots of great ideas. 🙂



    • Valentina
      Jul 01, 2012 @ 17:10:35

      I have seen those closets many times.
      In one of my client’s house I created a cute powder room in pink, yellow and grey, but I had to change the swing of the door.
      You might feel encouraged now to convert the small closet under your stairs into pull-out drawers and if you do it, send me pictures, please. I would love to share them.
      Thank you for stopping by and taking time to comment.



  5. jo
    Jul 01, 2012 @ 08:40:41

    Thanks for this post which I found v. interesting and also for mentioning your love of books … a house without books is just too sad! The video of the ergonomic kitchen was great too … I live in relatively v. little space (90 sq metres) and had to worry about storage a lot when we refurbished our flat. The kitchen in the video must be about 6 metres long? would you say and probably costs how much to buy? 20-25,000 euros? It is usually less well off people who have smaller houses/apartments and who thus need to worry about space and functionality … and it is my opinion that ‘open spaces’ are not at all a good idea …because it is walls (and stairs) that offer a place which can accommodate storage … the more walls the more storage! Very practical in my case was a custom built stone sink that was very deep (50cm) … I didn’t have space for two sinks you see… I have the tiniest of galley kitchens and it was all about storage … I manage to pack more cooking utensils in that tiny space than many of my friends with large kitchens!



    • Valentina
      Jul 01, 2012 @ 17:04:09

      Absolutely, I agree Jo.
      Open spaces do not offer many opportunities for storage as much as walls, partitions, stairs, nooks and crannies.
      The ergonomic kitchen in the video is a bit expansive, I put it there to show what it can be done.
      BTW, I always say that “small kitchens are for geniuses”. Good for you to have a found a way to pack as many kitchen utensils as you could in your small space.
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.



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