WRITER | JEANINE MATLOW
PHOTO | K.C. VANSEN
One way to maximize your space and get the most from your furnishings is with multifunctional furniture pieces. Whether you opt for custom creations or readily available styles, these high performers can help around the house by providing flexibility in function.
Local pros, like Dan Davis and Paul Johnson who co-own Dan Davis Design in Ferndale, often feature multipurpose pieces in their projects. One included a custom ottoman in a client’s foyer that provides convenient seating and can double as a table or a footrest when needed.
For another project, a long narrow living area was complemented with the addition of a new fireplace surround that mixed custom built-ins, mantel storage cubbies, and a surface for AV equipment. This clever configuration gives the space a focal point that’s also user-friendly.
Beds with built-in drawers can be a great solution for a room without a closet, while an ottoman that converts to a bed can be another space saver. In a kitchen, a chair that doubles as a footstool and a folding table that extends for dining are among many multipurpose options.
Davis says they often utilize multifunctional furniture for extra storage in a tight space. “There are a lot of old homes in Ferndale and Royal Oak that were not designed for how we live in our rooms today. You have to kind of outsmart the homes,” he says.
That’s exactly what he did in his own abode with innovative built-ins like a hollowed-out step that holds shoes near a side door and a wooden hood above the stove that opens to reveal a place for storage.
In an awkward space by the kitchen, a dining table serves as a surface for his displays and becomes a convenient bar area for parties. A sleeper sofa in a multiuse space provides a cozy spot for friends to sit and comes in handy for overnight guests.
As Davis explains, accent pieces can be flexible, too, such as trays arranged on a wall as art that can be taken down to top an ottoman. A cement pot from the garden can be brought inside and filled with sand for an incense urn.
Johnson also has versatile accents in his house — items such as a vintage Indian cooking pot that can hold throws or be a colorful vessel for beverages on ice. His storage solutions include kitchen cabinets that conceal a coat closet and a broom closet. “You can create multifunctional spaces,” he says. “Your cabinets don’t always have to hold pots and pans.”
They also don’t have to hide pretty items like a client’s teapot collection in a custom built-in near the kitchen. “Rather than store them in a cupboard, we put them out in the open,” says Johnson. “This becomes a functional display of objects, so you get double duty out of them as art and functional pieces.”
Multipurpose furnishings. What better way to make the most of your furnishings and your space?