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Adding a little, gaining a lot.

Considering an addition? Start by thinking small. As these 10 pages show, sometimes you don't have to add lots of costly square-footage to improve a house's efficiency and comfort. A modest push upward or a slight bump outward can make a big difference. For example, in houses with attics, adding a 4-foot-high dormer could gain enough headroom and floor space for an extra bedroom. Adding a strip no wider than a couch to one end of a tight living room might improve circulation. Pushing a wall out to the cave line might create room for a breakfast nook. Setback requirements and budget constraints are other reasons to think small or add tall. Some additions don't even need foundation work or mean giving up much outdoor space. Results can be subtle on the exterior but dramatic inside.

Starting on this page, we show six examples of modest dormer additions that opened up space in living areas, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Our nine examples of sliver additions appear on pages 102 through 111.

Pair of dormers transform attic

To turn the cramped attic of a 1939 bungalow into a bright and airy master suite, Los Angeles architect Robert Anderson and designer Sheryl McKinsey added a pair of opposing dormers, each 110 square feet.

One dormer encloses a sunny window seat, shown above and on our front cover. The opposite section of raised roof shelters a master bath for owner Sherry Sexton.

The dormers' common ridge is supported by a new 4-by-8 steel beam, which also picks up some of the weight of the ridge beam it crosses. In the side walls of the dormers, the angled bottoms of the fixed windows follow the slope of the main roof.

What a dozen dormers can do

Dormers, not two but a dozen, made it possible to add a second floor to this 1922 house without creating a topheavy look on the exterior. Piedmont, California, architect Brad Neal used the new peaks to fill the attic of his house with three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a wide hallway that functions as a play area. At 900 square feet, the dormer floor, roughly doubles the size of the house. According to Neal, the multiple dormer addition appealed to the local design review committee because it blended with the area's traditional architecture and didn't seem massive to uphill neighbors.

Eyebrow dormer gathers fight Curved rather than pointed and in an existing room rather than a new one, this dormer brings light deep into a one-story ranch house. Owners Mary and Jack Graf wanted to open up their living room dramatically, but they didn't want the changes to be evident on the exterior. They removed the room's 8-foot-high ceilings and reinforced the roof with a room-long ridge beam. On the street-facing side, they installed a 10-foot-wide, 3-foot-tall eyebrow dormer. Carved into the gently sloping ceiling, its concave shape helps bounce light into the room and creates a dramatic focal point. Design was by Pamela and Pierre Brule of Image Design Planners, San Jose, California.

Shed-roofed dormer opens to sky

For their new master suite that replaced a one-car garage, Pauli and Sandy Muir told Berkeley architect William Dutcher that they wanted to fall asleep by starlight and wake up to sunshine. A skylight would have cut off the top of a majestic pine tree, so Dutcher pitched a large-scaled shed roofed dormer with four 30-inch-square panes to preserve the Muirs' bedtime view.

Below it, smaller square-paned windows flank a Dutch door. These windows begin 20 inches above the floor so the Muirs can enjoy garden views from their bed. For looks and security, wood screens, scaled to the window panes, slide in a sturdy wood track to lock in front of the windows on the inside.

Skylit dormer creates big shower

This addition uses the most familiar dormer shape: a gabled form pushing out at right angles to a pitched roof. By making the dormer 6 feet long, designer Patrick Finnegan of Mountain View, California, created a space big enough to contain a shower stall for two.

Glass blocks set into the outside wall and two 20-inch-square skylights in the gable roof bring daylight into the shower. The tiled stall has a shower head on each side. The heads extend from the pitched ceiling of the 39-inch-wide room for a rain-like sprinkle. Because a 12-inch-high wall runs below the glass door, the stall has enough depth to also be used as an oversize bathtub.

Combination dormer expands attic

Although this 1928-vintage cottage had a tall attic, the roof pitch was so steep that only a narrow portion down the middle was potentially usable. Because the house had only 1,000 square feet of living space on the first floor, the attic seemed a logical space for expansion.

On the front and back of the house (which also contains the shower dormer at left), designer Patrick Finnegan blended two combination dormers; the front one is shown above. These additions extended attic headroom all the way to the outside walls and almost doubled the house's interior area. The top floor became a master bedroom suite, with a bathroom, sitting area, and woodstove.

To the eave line or just slightly beyond are the limits for these sliver additions. Even though they expand floor space by no more than 135 square feet (if at all), the additions open up and change the rooms they adjoin. They also show ways to expand when setback regulations prohibit larger additions. Most of the additions start with a wide opening cut in an outside wall. Structurally, this means that a header and load-bearing posts must be installed. Some simply cantilever outward and tie into the existing foundation. Others require new foundations tied into the old.

These additions range from unobtrusive to dramatic. The quieter ones blend with matching paint or siding. Others, like the glass-block bays (page 104) or the curved-top addition (page 105), add contemporary flair. Each meets a particular need: to incorporate furniture, to create an intimate eating area, to open the house to the garden, or to edit unwanted views.

5 feet more and a breakfast room

Explaining why her 92-inch-wide breakfast nook stops at the edge of her old front porch, homeowner Kathryn Kilcoyne explains, "We didn't want to do any foundation work." But the 5 feet of added depth allowed room for built-in seating on three sides. The intimate space sits out of the way at the end of a slender kitchen. Because of the porch's shallow-pitched roof and low eave line, the nook's roof was raised slightly to make it seem less cramped. The kitchen ceiling was also opened up to the rafters, revealing a ridge more than 10 feet high a surprising volume in the ranch-style house. The addition's floor rests on angled sleepers that secure to the old porch and bring the floor level with the rest of the kitchen. Dark-stained hardwood floors and white-painted walls and cabinetry unify the spaces. Design was by Molly Ruth Hale, Menlo Park, California. Dining under eaves-almost outdoors

It goes without saying that houses generally have walls, windows, and doors between the interior and exterior. But when architect Robert Peterson remodeled his own house in Menlo Park, California, he designed the kitchen with a wall of glass doors that he can fold out of the way on warm days to make it seem as if he were eating outside.

By placing the folding doors at the eave line, the remodel expands the kitchen by 3 feet. The new opening measures almost 14 feet wide at the old outside wall, but since part of the added space has an angled side, the opening for the doors narrows to a little over 10 feet. The three wide doors and the fixed windows at each end all have the same design, so that, when the doors are shut, they all look like windows. To further brighten the kitchen, three skylights cut into the roof above the extension. Running above the beam that replaced the old outside wall, the skylight wells reach into the room.

They went just beyond the eaves

The greatest value for any improvement we've made in the house" is how Melinda and Ron Barth describe their glassenclosed sliver of a breakfast bay. They and their sons use the sunny 70-square-foot nook for casual dining, reading, homework, and end-of-the-day chats.

To build the bay without disrupting kitchen activity, Mr. Barth left a standard 8-foot-wide sliding glass door in place in the end wall of his 60s tract house in Palos Verdes Estates, California. Outside, he poured a new 12-foot-long foundation that measures 4 feet wide at one end, 6 feet at the other. He framed the structure with 4-by-4 posts and 4-by-6 beams. A 4-by-8 header spans the top of the door wall.

Mr. Barth built in a bench of ash to match new kitchen cabinetry. After finishing the bay, he removed the slider, refinished the wide opening to the kitchen with gypsum board, and paved the old and new floors with Mexican tile squares.

Bays improve three rooms

In entire wing of Adrienne Freeman's house was vastly improved with this three-of-a-kind remodel. In truth, the three concrete and glass-block mini-additions vary slightly in width to fit their purposes, and a fourth addition is a storage shed reached from the side yard. But each 2-foot-deep addition rests on a small concrete pad and tucks up tightly under the existing eaves.

A 5-foot-wide bay brightens the master bedroom. It nets just enough space for a chair and end table, but it frees up floor space, improving traffic flow around the bed. The next bay houses a generous new tub with shower. The 5-foot-wide tiled tub occupies the same space as the original shower, but it extends a few inches into the new bay, with a tile shelf beyond. The third bay is in another bedroom. This one-only 4 feet wide-provides just enough space for a work counter. Design was by Linda Brock for Brock Built Inc., Phoenix. Wavy additions open house to court

This master bedroom extension is the largest of our sliver additions, yet it adds only about 135 square feet to the back of a small Spanish-style bungalow. Small, randomly placed windows ascend to the vaulted 14-foot peak, preserving

homeowners Ruth and Dean Goodman's privacy while filling the room with soft reflected light. Larger operable windows at eye level frame garden views. Limiting the amount of glass in the south-facing wall reduced the heat gain from the afternoon sun. Four double cupboards beneath the window seat provide needed storage. French doors open the bedroom to the courtyard and help vent the new space. Across the courtyard, more French doors open to a new 3- by 6foot vestibule; it connects the family room to the outdoors. Topping exterior walls on both additions, wavy parapets embrace the courtyard in a playful spirit. Design was by Robin Kerper of Venice, California.

Grand pianos are grand to listen to and to look at, but they also eat up grand amounts of floor space. Bumping out a GIO-foot-diameter semicircular bay in this Phoenix house not only made room for the piano but created a stunning stage for at-home concerts.

To create the bay, architect William P Bruder punched a hole through the wall and poured a new half-round slab off the side of Shera and Craig Farnham's living room. The cantilevered half-round roof ties back to the old ceiling joists, while steel cables running from the house roof to the curved copperclad fascia add support.

Thick mirrored-glass panels (the kind of glass often used in modern high-rises) create the faceted wall. The mirrored surfaces provide some heat protection and daytime privacy, and the hardness of the glass reflects sound clearly and brightly. Adjacent trees and walls offer further sun protection, but to fully protect the black laquered instrument from the low setting sun, the owners are adding a curved track of vertical blinds.

Popping out a pocket for a second couch

Although floor space was limited in his small living room, the homeowner wanted to add a second couch. To provide the extra seating but still keep the room open for circulation, he decided to expand onto his front porch. The pocket's width was sized specifically to the convertible couch, but the depth was determined by the overhang of the porch. Instead of being recessed all the way into the new space, the couch butts against a 12-inch-deep tile counter below the window and extends a few inches into the room. For convenience, electrical outlets were built into the top of the counter, which is used for art display and lamps at each end. The ceiling angles down with the overhang.

Posts run from the roof to new footings, and new floor joists run from the new exterior wall to tie with the old. The owner used clear fir to frame the opening cut in the wall and those for the windows. He custom-ordered the large, fixed double-glazed window at rear but used openable stock windows for the sides.

Greenhouse window gives the space they need

In a small bathroom, 10 square feet can be a lot of floor space.

That's about what a typical vanity and sink take up. In this remodel, owners Betty and Don Carpenter wanted to reorganize the room and expand their shower stall, but they had to find space elsewhere for the vanity and sink.

The solution was to cut an opening in the wall facing their rear garden, then cantilever a green composite-granite counter, complete with sink, drawers, and storage below. The 59-inch-wide opening was fitted with a prefabricated greenhouse window to surround the 25-inch-deep counter. The greenhouse unit, mounted to framing in the exterior wall, projects no farther than the eaves.

The pop-out required no additional foundation work. Below counter level, the outside wall drops 12 inches, then angles back to tie into the foundation. Plumbing simply came forward to go through the base plate of the existing stud wall. Stucco and paint blend the wedge-shaped base with the existing exterior. Design was by Molly Ruth Hale. They popped out a bay for the views

Though her kitchen was large enough in floor area, designer Martha Kerr of Lake Oswego, Oregon, wanted to make it brighter and to capitalize on nearby water views. This long, windowed bay gives her kitchen a more spacious feeling and a 180 deg view.

The cantilevered addition required no foundation work; Kerr simply tied the bay into the roof and stud wall with knee braces, then painted the exterior paneling to match the house. The bay extends outward 21 inches. Operable sashes flank a 4by 9-foot expanse of double-pane glass; these crank open to scoop in breezes. Laminate counters extend seamlessly into the bay, creating a generous greenhouse.

To make the narrow room feel larger still, Kerr opened up the ceiling to the rafters. A new beam at the ridge line replaced flat ceiling joists; she also inserted a pair of skylights. To complement the cabinets, counters, and floors, Kerr lightened the 1-by-6 tongue-and-groove hemlock on the ceiling with a semi-transparent stain. 1-1
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:house remodeling
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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