Add a Room to Improve Your Living Space
Have you decided to add a room to your existing home, or to finish your basement, or another unfinished room? We can help you select quality products and assist in selecting paint colors, tile, plumbing and lighting fixtures. We do quality work and are never satisfied until you are. From planning to execution, we do our best to match roof lines, siding materials, proportions, molding, and the overall style of your home for both the interior and the exterior. People who haven’t been in your home before won’t be able to tell that they are looking at an addition.
The Sky is the Limit
In planning your addition, think in all three dimensions: you could expand to the side, to the back and even up! Building a second story onto a rancher is possible if your home is in good condition. Also, consider how you can improve your home’s layout by moving some things around. As you are adding new space, you may want to reconfigure your entire home to flow better.
Tips for Home Addition Planning
Start with a wish list, prioritize it, and cost it out. Identify key objectives: Start your list by asking yourself what you want the project to achieve or what problems you want it to solve. You probably need more living space, or you need to improve your home’s traffic-flow pattern or boost your storage capacity.
To figure out what you want, allow yourself some “dream time.” Fill a scrapbook with photos and plans clipped from your favorite home-design magazines. Check the buying guide sections for information on products and materials. Pick up books or watch TV shows that feature remodeling or redecorating projects. Glean ideas and inspiration by touring new and remodeled homes in your town.
Choose some savvy splurges
Decide which special features are most important to you. Even if a feature seems costly, don’t rule it out right away. You may be able to splurge on a couple of items and economize elsewhere.
Not all must-have items are costly: Laundry chutes, for example, are relatively cheap to build but require careful planning at an early stage. Getaway spaces—cozy nooks and crannies that offer spots to curl up and savor quiet moments—often make use of otherwise unused space.
Calculate your budget
Figure out approximately how much financial leverage you have to cover the cost of the project or to get a home improvement loan. Take stock of your major assets, such as the equity built up in your home, your savings, or any other investments.
Review your credit rating, your monthly payments, and any do-it-yourself skills you plan to apply to the project. If you plan to cut costs substantially by doing some work yourself, be sure to cite it as part of your assets. Not only will your labor reduce your debt load, but it also conveys your commitment to the project.
Check out the site
Take a close look at the building site, or where you plan to construct the addition. Consider the location of trees or outbuildings you want to preserve; views you want to capture (or screen out); and exposures to sun, shade, or prevailing breezes.
Run it by city hall
Be sure to also look into the legal restrictions and building codes regarding what can be built on the property. Often, setback restrictions govern how close a structure can be built to property lines. To accomplish your goals, you may be able to apply for a variance (special permission to disregard a particular ordinance).
Calculate Potential Costs
Often, homeowners commonly underestimate remodeling costs, so double check your calculations. Check building surveys, what are the typical costs / square foot to build in your area.
Once you form an idea of what you can afford, it’s time to think more seriously about the structure of your addition. Here’s a brief rundown of your options.
Build up or out
For the majority of house additions, building out provides a sensible strategy, but sometimes it’s best to build up instead. On extremely tight sites, such as in closely built older neighborhoods, no buildable area remains for horizontal expansion. Some homeowners choose to build up in order to preserve outdoor living space or to gain privacy for bedrooms in a new second story. You might get the space you need by raising certain portions of the roof.
Spell out the project in black and white
Most construction contracts contain three instruments: a text document written in fairly plain English, a set of blueprints (working drawings), and a list of materials. When you sign the text document, you agree to abide by all three instruments, so write up everything you want in your addition.
If you plan to do some work yourself, spell it out in the text document. If you will obtain any materials and products on your own, indicate the items in the materials list.
Visualize the space
Your family lives in a three-dimensional space, not two-dimensional plans and elevations, so as your designer sketches a floor plan, try to imagine how the space will function in three dimensions.
As you “walk” through the home design plan, think about your family’s daily routine. Is there ample seating in the gathering area? Will traffic circulate freely around the sitting space, or will people cut across the room?
Add to-scale furniture layouts
If you have furnishings in mind for the new space, make to-scale cutouts of the pieces and place them on the floor plan to see how they fit.
Review your cost estimates
Once you’re satisfied with the design, take another look at the numbers—this time, a really hard look, because you’ll be dealing with real numbers and you’ll be expected to make a go or no-go decision fairly quickly. If the numbers seem manageable, you’re all set to put your plan into action.
Follow these steps to make sure your addition is exactly what you want it to be. Call us at (650) 400-3600 or fill out the email form to send us a message about your project.