Special spaces for every family member


Great rooms aren’t always great and often single bedrooms don’t quite fill the family’s needs. In an era where great rooms open up the communal living space with kitchens and living rooms and even television spaces all combined as one, people still need their own private spaces. Builders are starting to provide those rooms in bonus rooms as well as in extra add-ons to the great room itself.

“In addition to great rooms, people want more multi-functional rooms,” said Lisa Alves-Antunes of Alves Development .

In this year’s Big Brothers Big Sisters show home, Alves Development used sliding doors to connect the great room to a wine room. It features six crisscrossed wine holders as well as an upper bank of maple cabinets as well as lower cupboards and drawers. Open shelving provides a space to hang wine glasses from their stems and central to all of this is a slab table where people might sip their beverages.

“It’s an example of an extra room that might be used for different purposes,” Alves-Antunes said. “Not everyone wants a wine room. Not everyone wants a sunroom.”

One Alves show home does feature a sunroom however, with two side walls built from brick and sliding doors to the main home. The solarium is heated.

“It’s a perfect space for sitting and relaxing with friends or just as a room to be away from everyone in the great room, because it is quiet,” Alves-Antunes said.

Many families develop the bonus room over the garage as a family relaxation room and some builders develop a computer-area with multiple computer stations. Exercise or yoga rooms and often craft rooms are added into the area over the garage.

In some show homes, even the dog gets a corner, with a special lowered dog sink in the mudroom but those kinds of fixtures would be used by any gardener or by folks with small children.

Veneto Homes built a sunroom that attached to its Big Sisters Big Brothers’ show home through sliding glass doors. The all-season, 14 x 14 foot room was meant as an extra entertainment area, complete with a huge cooking area and barbecue.

“It had a fridge, a barbecue, a cutting station and a sink. You simply opened the patio doors from the dinette area and walked out. We didn’t design it with an eating table, but it could easily have one in there,” said Adrianna Chiumento, from Veneto Homes.

The room featured half-screened Plexiglas windows that could be folded back in summer or left screened. It had a gas heater that was separate from the main home’s furnace.

“We opened January 12 when it was minus 30 outside and it was comfortable in the sunroom. You could sit out there all year long,” Chiumento said.

In its latest show home, Veneto developed a theatre room under the garage slab.

“It’s extra space under the engineered concrete. We’ve also developed a third-storey loft with a kids’ room or a playroom,” Chiumento said.

For some years home offices or dens have been popular, but like the great room concept itself, they don’t work for every family, Chiumento said.

“For people who don’t need a home office, I’ve seen people use that space as a playroom for small kids so all the toys are not in the main living area. In addition to being a flex room for kids, it could be a second TV room or a music room. I know one family, where music is taught, has a piano in that office room. Another family added a closet and a built-in Murphy bed and called it a bedroom,” Chiumento said, as she explained that the labels, or what a room is called, don’t really matter.

“It all depends on your lifestyle and what your family needs that space for,” she said.


About Author

Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.