Soaring ceilings and tall, cathedral-sized windows—the room may look impressive, but ironically, it may have “shortcomings.” Rooms with tall two-story ceilings can feel vast and impersonal—and look like a waste of space. The current trend in home and commercial space is reconfiguring wasted space into living areas. A mezzanine, an intermediate floor created above an existing two-story room, is an ideal solution! A mezzanine makes a space look more inviting and also creates valuable additional floor space.
Several of our clients have asked Popham to repurpose their two-story family rooms. Popham has also repurposed two-story grand entrances in commercial buildings. Two-story rooms were originally created for the “wow” factor. The voluminous space may look dramatic, but many have found more cons” than “pros.”
For example, we all know that heat rises. Even with the use of ceiling fans directing heat downward, it can be a constant struggle to keep the first floor warm in the winter months. Another factor is noise. One client noted, “It’s noisy when we try to watch TV at night in the family room that’s open to the upstairs where the kids sleep.” Sound travels both ways, too. A business owner told us, “Noise from the main floor reception area sometimes causes upstairs office workers to close their doors or even wear headphones.” Heating and air as well as soundproofing should be part of a construction plan, not an afterthought.
And then there’s the issue of cleaning those unreachable upper walls, ceilings, and windows. Lastly, furnishing and decorating a spacious two-story open area can be challenging.
Adding a mezzanine floor just makes practical sense! Mezzanines offer an unexpected area for a cozy retreat, library, office, or whatever you choose. Before you start planning a new mezzanine, you’ll need to know if it’s possible to add a mezzanine floor to your home or business. Your existing space needs to have at least a 14’ ceiling because according to Indiana building codes, the clear height above and below the mezzanine floor construction should not be less than 7’.
If you’ve passed that hurdle, begin gathering photos and ideas about the mezzanine that you envision. houzz.com is a great source for inspiration—search for mezzanine photos. While browsing, think about size, function, aesthetics, materials, and lighting (see headings below). After you’ve researched and have ideas in mind, consult with a contractor to discuss your goals. The contractor will also assess the space to determine size and possible configurations. In addition, you’ll discuss more boring, but practical aspects of a new mezzanine space like heat, air, safety requirements, stairs, and sound-proofing options.
Space determines Function
Decide the function of the space, and make sure that the amount of space for your mezzanine is suitable for the function. For example, if you had hoped to add an office, but the available space is smaller than you had envisioned, think of another use. Don’t try to cram your office into an area that’s too small.
Aesthetics are Important
The mezzanine should visually balance within the entire space. A top-heavy design draws constant attention—and not in a good way! Running the mezzanine around two or three sides of the room (depending on window placement) creates interesting spaces beneath the mezzanine. The support structure can include columns and arches to divide the spaces beneath into activity-specific areas. A study or library on a mezzanine level can add visual interest to a large room.
The structure should make maximum use of transparent materials to create a feeling of openness and light, in a contemporary home. Consider clear, translucent and colored glass; architectural acrylic; metal mesh grids and grills; and wooden grills.
The Right Lights
Choose lights that enhance your mezzanine’s function. You may need bright task lighting for a hobby room or reading lights for a book nook. Be sure that the lighting can be controlled from both in the mezzanine area and from below. Doing this can let you turn on and off the lights even when you are not in the mezzanine.
Transform wasted space into usable space!
To discuss the possibility of adding a mezzanine level to your home or business, Make Plans with Popham! Please Request a Free Consultation or call Popham at 812-479-5850.