5 Home Addition Trends You Can’t Afford To Ignore

5 Home Addition TrendsHome design trends are always changing, but this year’s trends continue one main trend that has been in progress for several years now – the trend toward open spaces inside homes. This has made it so that the home addition often takes a form that doesn’t follow the old pattern of adding a partial story to the top of the house. Instead, expansions are more likely to be low and wide. Alternatively, a remodeling job may involve taking something out instead of putting it in. Here are five of the main trends that have been emerging over the last year:

Enlarging Existing Rooms

Older design styles often included small living rooms or small bedrooms, and these small spaces clash with today’s ideas of wide open interior spaces. One big trend is to have the houses exterior walls moved outwards in order to make these rooms bigger. The living room is the most popular target for this type of update.

Adding a Sunroom

A sunroom is made mostly or even completely out of windows, and even the roof may be made of glass. Putting one of these on the side or back of a house makes it look upscale while providing a great spot for parties or simple casual socializing. The addition of a sunroom should also include plenty of extra insulation for the wall that is shared with the house. This is because sunrooms collect plenty of heat, and keeping that heat outside will help prevent high air conditioning bills.

Redoing the Kitchen

One of the biggest trends in kitchen design is the addition of dual islands. These provide more counter space for cooking and baking projects, but more importantly, they provide plenty of attractive storage space. The need for storage space has only been growing over recent decades, and this overall trend continues to expand. It’s no wonder that additional kitchen islands are welcome in so many homes!

Another major trend in kitchen design involves deletions rather than additions. Older homes typically have kitchens that are walled off from dining or living rooms. Modern ones, on the other hand, use open designs that either have no barriers at all or that only have a kitchen counter separating them. Therefore, many people who want to modernize will have the barrier walls torn down. Tearing down walls isn’t as simple as getting out an axe – the wall may be helping to support the structure of the house. It’s a good idea to hire an architect to make sure that it’ll be safe to completely remove any wall, especially if it’s centrally located. If it turns out that the wall is a supporting one, an architect can suggest appealing alternatives such as one or more decorative support poles or pillars.

Adding a Deck

It’s the choice of construction material and features that makes this trendy rather than the idea of a deck itself. A general trend towards low-maintenance construction has led to increasing use of composite materials that never need staining and are impervious to insects. Trendy features include built-in fire pits, nooks for outdoor cooking appliances, and other upscale perks. Together, these things transform the boring wood deck of 20 years ago into something new and exciting.

Building Upwards

Building additions on top of existing houses will always be popular because there isn’t always room to build widthwise. One trend for these is to use them for media or exercise rooms. Old standbys, such as bedrooms, are also popular additions. These are all great uses for extra space that has been added to the top of a house.

These are just some of the top trends in home additions. They make houses bigger, provide a more open feel, and add functionality. Talk to an architect today to get started!


1 Simple Thing You Need To Determine Before Adding A Second Story

Before adding a second storyBefore embarking on any home renovation project – especially one as big as adding a second story – there is one thing to think about: the budget. The cost of a second-story addition is often substantial, and if it isn’t considered first, disappointment may come when the contractor gives his estimate. While it’s impossible to give even ballpark figures without having seen the specifics of the project, it is possible to mention some of the things that go into the cost so that those considering a second story can make realistic budget estimates before work begins. Here are some of the most substantial aspects to think about:

Structural Elements

The issue of structural strength is the biggest part of the overall cost of adding a second story. This type of addition requires far more than just removing the existing roof and adding a few more studs for new walls. Instead, the entire structure must be upgraded to withstand the weight of the new story. This can include adding steel beams at key points, improving the strength of the studs on the lower level, and even redoing the foundation.

Infrastructure

This aspect is right up there with the basic structural elements when it comes to adding cost. Furnaces and air conditioners are sized according to how many cubic feet of air they’ll have to treat. When a second story is put on, the original amount of space – and the amount of air inside it – is doubled. Expect to have to install a new furnace and a new air conditioner to meet the increased demand.

The house’s electrical system was also set up to handle the expected demand of just one story, so it’ll have to be upgraded instead of simply being expanded. 200-amp breaker boxes are the norm for a two-story house. Expansion will be needed, too, so be ready for the cost of all of the new wiring.

If the house has a fireplace, the chimney will no longer be long enough to reach the outside after a second story is put on. Fixing this requires extending the chimney up to the new, higher, roof making the chimney longer and more expensive.

Alternatively, wood-burning fireplaces can be replaced with gas units. A gas fireplace produces much less exhaust and can be vented through a wall chimney instead of out of the roof.

Water heaters are often sized according to the square footage of a home, so the house may need a bigger one when a second story is added. While some recommend this as a matter of course, the reality is that this will depend on expected changes in water usage. If more people will be moving into the home or young children will be growing up there, get a bigger one.

Visible Aspects

These are the parts most people think of when they consider adding a second story, and therefore, the parts most have already budgeted for. They include the walls, windows, flooring, and other obvious facets of construction. The cost of these elements vary widely according to style, construction materials, warranties, and similar factors. After considering all of the things that go behind the walls and under the floor, it can be easy to forget about these more-obvious factors! Alas, they still aren’t free, so put them into the rough estimate.

With proper estimation, there’ll be no major surprises when it comes to the cost of adding a second story to a house. Even so, it’s typical for the final estimate to be a bit different from what a homeowner expects. Be sure to talk to an architect before beginning work to get an estimate that reflects current labor and material prices, and, of course, to get a building plan that will result in a beautiful and stable structure.


How to Prevent Budget Creep On Your Home Addition Project

HOW TO PREVENT budget creep home additionBudget creep is the insidious evil that can upset your home addition construction project and leave your bank account drier than sawdust. Budget creep is also called scope creep. It sneaks up on you little by little as you slowly find yourself adding on little extras here and there.  These additional expenses usually aren’t much individually, but together they can become budget busters.

You might have unplanned upgrades from carpet to laminated wood or add in a backsplash to the bathroom, or increase the closet space in the bedroom. When you look at each individual expense separately, you shrug your shoulders knowing that you can afford the extra costs to increase these individual parts of the project. Unfortunately, when you sit down and consider the full picture concerning the cost of upgraded materials, changes to the structural aspects and added features, you find that these expenses have pushed you past your initial home addition project budget.

Preventing Budget Creep

If you stay on top of the project you can prevent budget creep. Make sure you don’t spend more than you budgeted for the project every step of the way. Here are a few simple tips to stay on budget.

Stick To The Construction Plan

Most often you experience budget creep when you leave certain aspects of the project undefined, such as what material to use for cabinets or flooring. You have to sit down and create a concrete plan regarding the project. When you start changing things during the construction phase, it will usually end up costing more than you planned. Working with an architect before the construction phase will allow you to truly envision what the addition will look like with the materials you select. The architect can also give design tips that add both beauty and functionality to the space that you never considered.

Rein In Contractor’s Decisions

The contractor calls you up to say that he has a supplier who will give you great deals on more expensive materials, or the contractor might make suggestions on changing the layout of the room for more flow or to add additional lighting. While his suggestions might sound fantastic at the time, in the end it isn’t his money that is being spent to build this home addition. If you have contractors changing the plans, whether they ask permission or not, you have to put your foot down and tell them no. Don’t fall for these sales pitches when you know you really can’t afford the changes.

Do Most Of Your Shopping During The Planning Phase

Impulse buying is a major downfall of any home addition project. You go to the store to look at flooring and end up walking out with custom cabinets and upgraded windows. Something in the store just catches your eye and you just can’t walk out without getting it. Also, many people continue to shop during the construction phase and make changes that can seriously impact the current construction work and your bottom line.

Curtail your spending habits by deciding on all the materials you want to use during the design phase. When shopping, have a trusted friend remind you about the budget as they can help you steer clear of these temptations. If you do decide to change something, ask the architect if it is possible. They can tell you what additional costs will be incurred as you will have a clearer perspective on how much you will go over your budget with these changes.

Always Be On The Lookout For Budget Creep

Most often, you will create a budget and then tack on an additional 20% for emergencies that may arise. Yet be aware that you don’t have to spend that extra 20% if you find out that the project will actually come in lower than your estimated budget. Save this money for a rainy day and be satisfied with the look of your home addition.


5 Things All Great Architects Have In Common

things all great architects have in commonGreat architects aren’t created overnight. Becoming an architect takes dedication, hard work and commitment to the art. More than that, however, a great architect must have innate qualities that allow him or her to think and work in ways that rise above the rest. These qualities can’t be taught, they are inherent in the personality and psyche of the person. These five qualities distinguish good architects from great architects, and may be found in the leaders in the industry.

Problem Solver

Architects are natural problem solvers. It’s a common problem that clients come to architects with ideas that are beautiful and inspired, and also impossible or illogical. The architect’s job, as a creator and an artist, is to take those ideas and turn them into reality. Great architects attack problems with cleverness and persistence, and dogged desire to do the impossible. They work and re-work problems until they can design the building or home envisioned by the client.

Good Communicator

A great architect must communicate well with clients and contractors alike. Many clients come to their chosen architect with a fuzzy or semi-formed idea of what he or she wants, only to then have a hard time putting these desires into words. The role of the architect is to draw out those ideas and put them into words, terms and blueprints that everyone can agree upon.

Great architects lead productive conversations that capture the subtleties of a client’s vision, pinning down their whims and desires. They must then take these ideas and communicate them to contractors. They are great talkers, great listeners, and above all else, great collaborators. Great architects serve as a bridge between client and contractor, bringing both sides together to the satisfaction of everyone involved.

Highly Artistic

Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Every great architect is–necessarily–a great poet.” Of course, what Wright meant is that every great architect is an artist, and is connected with his or her inner muse. A successful architect is a creative thinker, with a love of beauty and inspired design. A great architect is also a talented draftsman, possessing the ability to visualize beautiful buildings and then make those buildings functional. This artistic quality is a critical part of achieving success as an architect. Without the ability to draw, to create, to render exactly what he or she imagines, the architect will fail.

Technical Minded

Great architects are precise. Very, very precise. They love math and accuracy. They love to check and double check. Great architects make sense of the world with a pen and paper and a deep understanding of geometric principles. It is this technical mindedness that allows architects to make buildings that stand the test of time, that withstand years of harsh weather and consistent use.

Passionate

Becoming an architect at all can be difficult, and becoming a great architect requires passion. Architects must go to many years of school, taking classes in art, humanities, math and physics. Architects must excel in these subjects and synthesize the information learned, bringing together all their knowledge and expertise. Without a deep interest in these subjects, an architect cannot excel.

These five noble qualities aren’t easy to find in combination, which means that great architects aren’t a dime a dozen. They’re a rare breed. Finding such an architect takes hard work and research, but once you’ve found the right person for the job, you’ll know it by the way he or she takes a genuine interest in your thoughts and ideas. Together, you and your architect may create beautiful, freestanding structures that add value to the landscape.


How To Deal With Preventable Home Addition Mistakes

preventable home addition mistakesWhen considering constructing an addition to a home, many homeowners worry about making mistakes. Are they picking the right colors? Will the addition be large enough to meet their needs? It’s understandable that these kinds of concerns come up when making such a large investment of time, energy and money in a home. Let’s take a look at how to prevent common home addition mistakes and what to do once they’ve been made.

Common Home Addition Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some of the most common home addition mistakes that are easily avoidable with a little thought:

  • Using cheap materials. Cheap materials are just that – cheap. They’ll quite possibly start failing before the construction loan is paid off.
  • Not building big enough. Virtually nobody has ever said, “I wish I’d built smaller.” Keep that in mind in your planning.
  • Ignoring lighting. Those awesome black cabinets will seem dark and foreboding if the proper lighting isn’t put into play.
  • Being too trendy. Sure, it looks great now, but what will it look like in ten years? Go for a look that’s more timeless to get the most out of the addition.
  • Not anticipating the chaos. Construction will cause serious disruptions to everyday life. There will be noise, dust and inconvenience while it’s going on.
  • Changing mind mid-stream. Everyone has been guilty of it when something just didn’t work out, whether it was paint, windows, cabinets, countertops or flooring.
  • Using narrow hallways, staircases and doorways. People tend to think in terms of finished living space, but furniture and people need to get through those spaces.
  • Not updating electrical. This is a big one! With more gadgets every day, updating electrical service is vital for the addition to be a functional space.
  • Not researching materials and styles. Sure, that new carpet is from recycled soda bottles, but how does it hold up? Will that style really fit with your lifestyle?
  • Ignoring a home’s existing style. An old Victorian doesn’t look right with a modern, glass and steel addition and will stand out like a sore thumb.
  • Hiring the wrong contractor. A good contractor should have experience, a portfolio, references and the appropriate licenses.

 

How to Deal with Home Addition Mistakes

What if things have gone too far and the mistake has already been purchased? Here are some ideas on how to deal with a mistake once it’s been made:

  • Return it. If it’s a stock item from your local home improvement store, you may be able to return it to the store for a refund, provided that it’s still in like-new condition.
  • Sell it. If it’s a custom item or isn’t returnable, put an ad with a few pictures on Craigslist or similar sites, then use the cash to get what was really wanted.
  • Cover it up. Buy a kit to refinish cabinets or countertops. Use a texturing technique to change a bad paint color or window treatments to disguise the wrong window.
  • Shell out the cash. If it’s too much to deal with, it can be re-done, but plan on paying a premium because more prep work is needed.
  • Live with it. Is it really that bad? If it’s something that can be lived with or blended in with a few decor items, just live with the mistake.

 

One of the easiest ways to prevent unforeseeable home addition mistakes is by hiring a professional who has been through the design process many, many times. The experience a professional architect brings to the table for your project helps prevent costly mistakes on the job site. At Prime Draft Studio, we understand your concerns and can help prevent these mistakes. Contact us today for more information (201) 303-9584.


5 Insider Tips on How To Pick The Right Architect

how to pick the right architectPicking the right architect isn’t a matter of getting lucky, or making the right guess. The best architects can be found by logically weeding out the good from the bad. By doing research, both online and off, by asking questions of trusted friends and neighbors, and by approaching potential architects with the right questions, you too will be able to find the right architect for your needs.

View the Portfolio

An architect’s portfolio is the first indication of whether or not that architect’s tastes and conventions match up with your own tastes and desires. When you’re viewing an architect’s portfolio, your main goal will be to identify that architect’s priorities. How does that architect handle light and form? Does the architect use materials that you like? Do you trust the architect’s artistic sensibilities?

Take notice of the architect’s tastes. Are the architect’s structures sleek and modern? Conventional and traditional? How does the architect’s work make you feel? Does it inspire you?

Read the Architect’s Bio and Website

The architect’s bio and website will tell you a lot about the type of projects the architect feels most passionately about, and the type of work that will bring out the best in that architect. Does the architect focus on public buildings or private residences? What awards has that architect won? What kind of companies or individuals have hired this architect in the past? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you determine whether or not that architect is a match for you and your upcoming project.

Take Referrals

One of the best ways to find an architect that is right for your project is to speak with friends and neighbors who have themselves hired architects. This will ensure that the architect you hire is someone with a track record of excellence and good service.

When taking a referral, ask questions of the person who is referring the architect to you. What was their experience working with that architect? What were that architect’s strengths and weaknesses? Do they have any reservations or concerns about working with that architect, now that the job is finished? Would they choose to work with that architect again? Did the project go smoothly? Was the architect a good communicator? Did the architect work well with contractors and other people involved in the project?

Check Credentials

When selecting an architect, find out if the architect of your choice is involved in professional organizations and societies that have standards for membership. This may not be a requirement to be an architect, but will speak of your architect’s level of commitment. Your architect should have also met the standards to be an architect in your state and should be able to furnish references upon request.

Interview

Once you’ve identified a handful of architects who possess artistic styles and sensibilities that match up with your own, you’ll need to speak with each architect individually. Start with phone interviews to narrow down your choices, then meet with the serious candidates in person.

When selecting an architect, describe your project to the best of your ability, then ask that person how he or she would approach the issue. Ask that architect if he or she anticipates having any issues with your project. It’s important that you and your architect can talk to each other honestly and openly, without miscommunications. This means that you and your potential architect will need to be thinking and prioritizing the same things.

By using these methods and following these tips, you’ll be able to find an architect that is able to take on your project and see it to its conclusion.


8 Tips You Can Use To Save Money on a Home Addition

8 tips to save on home addition

An addition is a big expense. But are there ways it can be less of an impact on the pocketbook? Absolutely! Here are some of our best home addition tips and several ways to achieve significant savings on your home addition:

  1. Don’t overdo it. Whether it’s the huge size or the luxury-quality materials used, more is, well, more. Plan on purchasing quality materials so they will stand the test of time and the wear and tear an average home goes through. Be ready to invest a little more in areas that matter most, such as that perfect kitchen range or amazing soaking tub. Pick your spots to splurge but keep them to a minimum.
  2. Consider tax credits and refunds. Many states and the federal government are offering a number of tax credits at any given time to install energy-saving features, while many utility companies offer refunds for a number of different appliances, whether it’s a more efficient water heater, ground- or air-source heat pumps or solar and renewable energy resources. Investigating these options helps free up other money for luxury items.
  3. Get multiple bids. Once the addition’s design has been nailed down, talk to several different contractors. If one is significantly lower than the others, ask why – it could be the contractor is using poor-quality materials or cutting corners that will make the project cost more, instead of less, by the time it’s done. If you have bids that are significantly higher, ask why, because the contractor may not realize there’s some flexibility available in the design.
  4. Be flexible. Does the new entryway door have to be Brazilian mahogany or will a fiberglass or steel door with the appearance of mahogany suffice? Does the paint for the bedroom have to be a particular tone of Sherwin-Williams premium or will a slightly different tone of a store brand work just as well? Being flexible also allows others into the creative process, producing ideas that hadn’t otherwise been considered.
  5. Don’t be a mind-changer. Every contractor has horror stories about the client who changed their mind about the cabinets, paint or flooring three times while the job was underway and then got upset because the bill was much higher. Making changes to the plans during construction will increase costs for labor and materials. Change orders can make major changes in your budget and deadlines. Make the choice once, for certain, and stand by it. If something just doesn’t work, see if the initial materials can be sold to make back part of the cost.
  6. Request a cash discount and purchase/delivery discounts. If paying cash is an option, most contractors will give you a discount. They have better things to do with their time than chase non-paying customers and will reward cash payment accordingly. Along the same lines, if the contractor doesn’t have to spend their precious time at the store or arranging delivery, the end cost goes down.
  7. Require buying in bulk, at a discount warehouse or repurposed material. Almost all home improvement stores offer a discount to their contractors or on a job above a particular dollar figure. Like shabby chic or cottage style? Hit your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for vintage details. Most larger cities have at least one building supply discount warehouse for new items being closed out.
  8. Negotiate items that can be self-completed. If painting is considered an easy task, demand either a lower price or to have it removed from the bid. Able to lay laminate flooring? Take the same route. If a contractor realizes they won’t get the job if a few areas don’t go down in price, they may be willing to negotiate.

With these home addition tips in mind, the savings that can be realized on an average addition can be phenomenal. However, it’s important to remember that surprises do happen, and often they are costly. When building a home addition, it’s common to encounter what are often referred to as “hidden costs.” These are expenditures you didn’t consider when first planning your project or, later, after establishing a budget based on estimates by your architect and contractor.

Consequently, you need to pad your budget in anticipation of unexpected expenses.

Some costs are difficult for architects and contractors to predict, such as how many extras (change orders as mentioned above) you may request as the project gets underway or what problems may lurk behind walls and within floors and foundations. We could never cover all the costs that may be hiding in your project in this one article, but here are some hidden things to keep in mind when calculating your home addition costs:

Zoning Restrictions that Zap Plans
Before putting architectural drawings out to bid with the contractors you are considering, ask your architect whether project plans account for the current zoning restrictions set by your city, county or any other entity governing construction code. Zoning issues involve matters such as:

  • How far a property needs to be set back from its neighbors and the street
  • Building height and maximum footprint and
  • Whether accessory dwelling units, such as apartments over garages, are allowed.

Disruptions to Service Lines, Landscaping and Daily Life
If you are adding to the ground floor rather than building up, digging for the addition’s foundation may cause disruptions to water, power and telephone services by cutting lines when the locations of these lines are unknown.

Breaking ground and other construction actions, such as dropping tiles from roofs, also create landscape damage. The Bob Vila website suggests maintaining lists of plants that need replacement and checking seasonal sales.

If an addition project is major, some families choose to move out for the duration. So rent may be a cost to consider. However, if you choose to continue living at home, Vila notes, it may be wise to invest in extra childcare and pet care away from your home to decrease construction dangers. Vila also adds that costs for dining away from home may also increase.

Construction Permits
Make sure that your contractor has obtained all the permits necessary for your project. Although permits increase your costs, it is far more costly to be fined by your municipality for lack of these documents.

Trying to dodge the permitting process may also lead to a surprise building inspection concluding in an order requiring destruction of work already completed. For example, an electrical inspector may need portions of wall removed to inspect wiring.

Foundation, Roof and Wall Restructuring
A soils report is the kind of extra cost you may not mind, if it points out potential problems that need to be noted in architectural plans. Soil may vary significantly from one part of a property to another. Whereas soft, spongy soil necessitates wider foundation footings, expansive clay soil may call for supports called piers. In both cases, these additions to construction avert settling problems later, including fissures in walls and floors.

If your addition is difficult to join to your house’s current roof structure, resolution of this problem may increase charges for design time. However, this hidden cost is less expensive than fees for fixing a leaking roof after construction. Restructuring walls inside your current home to work with the addition may necessitate altering or moving a load-bearing wall. As the House Logic website notes this may add up to $4,000.

Electrical, Plumbing and Mold Remediation
As mentioned previously, walls and floors may conceal unpleasant surprises when opened up. Wiring and plumbing may not be up to code or may require upgrading and rerouting.

Writing at Lifehacker, Melanie Pinola recounts her own story about what she thought would be “a pretty straightforward bathroom remodel” until contractors discovered incorrect siting of the bathtub drain (an extra $2,000 to fix) and mold in the back of the drywall (a $3,000 correction).

As you can see there are definitely some things to keep in mind, and creating a buffer in your budget is a good idea because there will inevitably be some surprises. However, if you follow some of these home addition tips, you can save a lot of money in the long run and end up with a structurally sound and beautiful addition to your home.


4 Unconventional Ways To Approach A Home Addition Project

home addition unconventionalWhen approaching a home addition project, it is often desirable to take an unconventional approach. Everyone tends to do things the same way, and houses end up looking the same or similar to each other because of it. Having a house that stands out from the crowd gives it character and reflects the unique personality of the owner or owners. It may also increase the resale value of the home, as well, as buyers enjoy houses with interesting features that aren’t found in the typical home. Buying a home with something unconventional about it makes buyers feel they are getting something special.

Here are four unconventional ways to approach a home addition project that will add unsurpassed charm, character, and appeal to any house.

1. Create a Unique Floor Plan

When adding a new room to a house, it is too easy to fall back on the typical square or rectangular room plan, but everyone has that kind of room. Making the room more interesting by building it around an unconventional floor plan adds instant intrigue, charm, and appeal to it.

Depending on where the room will be added and how much space is available for it, floor plans can be almost any shape. An L-shaped room works well for a bathroom, for example, as it gives a private corridor for the toilet to make it separate and hidden from the rest of the room.

Triangular shapes work well for living room and porch additions that will be facing the sun either in the morning or the evening, as glass can be the main component of the angular sides, providing a spectacular, bright view of the outside. Other interesting floor plan shapes include octagons, trapezoids, and star shapes, which work well for just about any room addition, especially if the owner of the house is a creative and somewhat whimsical decorator.

2. Mix Styles

If a house is built entirely in one particular architectural style, mixing it up with a completely different style with a room addition will give the house an eye catching look that can’t be denied. For example, putting a space age modern addition onto a colonial style farm house ensures the house gets noticed and that people become intrigued as to what is in the unusual looking room. Likewise, adding an old-fashioned clapboard frame addition to a tiny house built with shipping containers makes a similarly intriguing combination. The key is to find balance in the styles being mixed. They should not clash, but rather contrast nicely with each other in a non-gaudy way.

3. Allow the Addition to Be Obvious

The conventional way to add onto a house is to make the addition blend into the existing structure of the home. The idea is for the addition to look like it’s always been there. A lot of architects are taking a different approach these days. They are allowing the addition to be obvious, to display the evolution of the home.

If the addition is later added onto, this can be made obvious, as well. Eventually, one large room will exist that has two or more distinctive looks. It is almost like having two or more separate houses in one. The look it forms is fresh and energizing, and one that homeowners and buyers alike will undoubtedly find enjoyable to both look at and be in.

4. Make the Addition a Separate Mini-House

When adding a new office, bedroom, bathroom, or even family room to a house, a unique, unconventional way to approach it is to make it separate from the main house. An entire room can be constructed just off the main house, with its own entrance. It can even have a porch of its own, windows on all four sides, a skylight on the roof, and its own heating and cooling source.

Putting a small bathroom on it makes it a self-contained retreat, and the perfect place for anyone in the house to go when they need some extra privacy. It’s not an entire house, so it can be teated as an addition, but it feels like a special getaway for anyone who goes there.


3 Basic Things You Need To Decide Before Starting Your Home Addition

things you need to decide before home additionBuilding an addition to your home is never a spur of the moment idea. A person may take months or even years deciding whether a home addition will fit into their needs, where to place the home addition so that it looks beautiful on the home, and what size the home addition should be so that it improves their daily life without compromising it. There are three basic things that you need to consider when thinking about building a home addition.

1: Who Will Oversee The Project?

Are you someone who needs to know everything that is going on at every single moment, or can you sit back and then just show up at the unveiling of the final project? You need to decide who will be at the work site every day managing the addition project. The last thing you want to do is show up at the site and see the place empty when there should be subcontractors finishing up the wiring and placing in the drywall.  You need a project manager.

Some architects will work with the project from start to finish as they not only design the project and provide the sketches but they can also coordinate the contractors and subcontractors at the site to ensure the plans are followed and the work stays on schedule. Other times the contractor will be the big boss of the subcontractors to properly schedule what work needs to be done at certain times so things run smoothly. You also want to know who to contact if you want to change something mid-project or if there are budget problems that will cause the project can be halted until everything is figured out.

2: How Much Do You Want To Spend On The Extras?

Always understand that the amount you planned to spend and the amount you will spend will be two totally different figures in the end. While you may want to spend less than the budget, some unforeseen circumstances can arise where you will spend more than you anticipated for the project. Anything from discovering there is mold in the walls to the home still having out of date wiring can add additional unplanned expense. Also, you may end up upgrading the materials you use for the addition. Instead of formica countertops in the new master bathroom, you may decide to spring for granite if your contractor has found a good deal from the supplier.

Decide on a budget that you would like to stick to for building an addition, then tack on a few extra dollar signs so you can cover emergencies and extras. Stick with this amount to cover the entire addition project. Expect the unexpected and your budget will be fine.

3: Do You Plan To Build Up Or Build Out?

There are two ways to add an addition to your home. You can build up by adding another floor to your existing home. The other alternative is to build out from the home along the ground floor. Both possibilities have their advantages and disadvantages.

Building out normally means that you can continue to dwell in the house while the project is completed. But the challenges are that you will use up some of your existing yard to the new addition as well as face zoning restrictions.

Building up allows you to keep the same space for your existing yard. Yet you can also face restrictions on how high you can build. In addition, building up for your addition may lead to more of a disruption to your daily life because of construction issues that come with a vertical addition.


3 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Sure Your Home Addition Goes Smoothy

Home addition goes smoothlyHaving an addition put onto your home is exciting, but some say that it is fraught with hassles. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Making sure that a few things are in order before going ahead will ensure that the process is smooth, the end result is what you’re looking for, and that there are no problems after the addition is complete. Here are three things you can do to ensure that everything goes as planned:

  1. Have a survey drawing on hand. Homeowners typically get one of these when they buy the house, but not everyone has it handy when it’s finally needed. If the house is several years old, the drawings may have been lost at some point. Also, there are cases in which the original drawings were never handed over. When the drawings were lost or never owned in the first place, the homeowner should have a new survey done to replace them.Even if the original survey drawings are still present, a new survey should be done if the land has substantially changed. Changes that make this worthwhile include other additions that have been done, new outbuildings, new pools, and other such improvements.The reason it’s so important for us to have survey drawings is that they allow architects and builders to see exactly where the current structures are and exactly where the lot lines are. This ensures that your latest addition won’t interfere with what’s already on your land and that they won’t trespass over the lot lines.
  2. Know what to expect. Construction work is typically loud and dusty, starts extremely early in the day, and involves plenty of crew members. Many people find that it’s a good idea to go to a hotel during large projects like the construction of an addition. If you’re likely to be made anxious by the noise, it’s a good idea to go to a hotel while the construction takes place and then come back when it’s time to see the wonder of your completed improvement.
  3. Start with an architectural firm. While construction companies offer design and build services, an independent architect can ensure that you get multiple points of view and that can lead to a much better finished project.Architects will listen when you tell them all of the things you want to be able to do in the new part of the house, how you want to access the new area, and how big you want it to be. This allows them to design an addition that will make you happy for years to come. They also pay close attention to the currently-existing parts of your home so that the addition will come out looking like it was always meant to be there. Blending the old and new is often a challenge.  You won’t have to worry about that tacked-on look that can lower property values instead of enhancing them. Of course, an architect will also take care of the most basic factors of architecture, which is making sure that the design will produce an addition that give you the home of your dreams.

By preparing basic requirements beforehand, hiring a true architectural firm to do the design, and being ready for the inevitable noise and dust of new construction, you’ll do a lot to make the addition-building process go smoothly. You’ll also ensure that there won’t be any trouble down the line.

To learn more about the process of addition design or to set up an appointment to get one of our highly-detailed proposals, just contact us. We’ll be happy to come out and discuss all of your needs.