We’ve all spent more time at home over the past year, and many of us are finding we need more space. We’re cooking more at home, and many older kitchens need more room for storage and better traffic flow. We’re also seeing demographic changes, such as the rise in multi-generational households, and remote work or schooling is more productive in a dedicated area.
Whether you’d like to add a private home office, an extra bedroom (or two), an in-law suite, or an expanded kitchen or living space, a home addition may be the answer.
No. 1 Adding a Room
Building onto your existing home, usually to the side or the back, is the most common and expected way to add the space you want. You can add a family gathering space, create a larger kitchen with an informal dining area, a sunroom, or an in-law suite. Mudroom additions on the family’s main entrance build in buffer zones for boots, shoes, cleats, jackets, backpacks, and all the other “stuff” that can clutter your main living area.
You’re not limited to only adding space to the first floor. Adding another story to the addition is another factor to consider. The second story can be joined with the existing second level to create better flow, a more private primary suite, a home office, craft room, or kids’ hangout.
One of the drawbacks of building out is the increased time it takes for site preparation, excavation, and foundation work. One of the benefits is that it’s all taking place outside of your main living space.
No. 2 Building Up, Not Out
In many cases, building up may be better than building out. It’s not the first thing people expect when you talk about additions, but it can often be the right choice.
There can be limitations to how much of your lot can be used, due to site conditions or zoning requirements. You may have to work with setbacks dictating the building envelope on your land, or you’re on too steep of a grade to make it work. There may be restrictions on the amount of “impervious surfaces” — things like roofs, driveways, and patios that shed rain — due to water runoff and other issues. Other structures such as play equipment, patios or a pool may limit your usable space. You may simply love your outdoor space, and want to keep it.
That’s when building up is the best solution.
Adding space above your existing floor plan avoids taking up yard space, takes advantage of your existing foundation, and adds valuable square footage. It can turn a standard ranch home into a gracious and roomy two-story home.
No. 3 Pop the Top
Attic space can become a full-floor bedroom suite, home office, or extra family living space. Even if you have a small A-shaped attic with little headroom. A whole new silhouette can be created for the exterior, front and back, with a new roofline and added windows for light and ventilation.
If you want to preserve the front elevation and look of your home, more space can be made by adding a shed dormer to the back of the attic area. This creates enough headroom for comfortable living. Converting and remodeling the area over an attached garage is also a popular option.
No. 4 Face the Front
Often, there’s room for an addition to the front of a home. A generous and gracious front porch can boost curb appeal and add comfortable outdoor living space. Many homes built in since the 1960s have front doors that open directly into the living room. Adding a new entryway ushers family and friends into your home in a more welcoming way, and can add closet space.
No. 5 Style Matters
Because you’re adding to the exterior of your home, the design style matters to create a cohesive look. If the current exterior style of your home isn’t to your taste, it’s a perfect opportunity to upgrade materials or colors of stucco, siding, or paint.
To see a real-life example of how we approach adding space and style to a home, below is a video that shows just what’s possible with creative thinking and fine craftsmanship.