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Look what's in the attic now.

Utility and grace both received their due when the unused attic of this 65-year-old bungalow was reclaimed. The remodel almost doubled the usable floor space with the addition of a master suite, while giving the living room a dramatic new volume with a nod to an architectural classic.

It's difficult to believe that all this peaked space was hidden from view by the original 8-foot-high ceiling. With no change to its exterior roof, the living room now soars to a height of 20 feet, spanned by two graceful wood-and-metal trusses that replace the old ceiling joists. They derive their form from similar-shaped trusses in Stanford University's Memorial Church.

However, the pair shown here are not all they appear to be. Their graceful arches and massive-looking beams are in fact hollow plywood shells that serve a purely decorative role. The real work of keeping the walls from splaying outward is handled by the slender metal rods that run through the center of the hollow shells and connect beneath the arches.

In each truss, two horizontal rods tied into the side walls are welded to a vertical rod suspended from a new ridge beam. Fitted beneath the old one, the glue-laminated beam works together with beefed-up rafters--2 by-6s now flank the original 2-by-4s--to stiffen the roof above the newly opened space. (The deeper rafters also provided room for more insulation.)

Removing interior walls also opened the house from front to back. From the living room, the view extends through a wid archway into the dining room and adjacent kitchen, and out into the rear garden through French doors added in the back wall.


The practical purpose of the attic remodel was to give the 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath house more living space. Even with some of the attic given to the living room volume, the upstairs still gained an 800-square-foot master suite with a bath, closet, sitting area, woodstove, and sleeping alcove. Downstairs, sacrificing a corner of the living room for the new stairs was the only loss of floor space.

The remodel was by architectural designer D. Patrick Finnigan of Mountain View, California, with help from builder Mark Widstrand.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:decorating
Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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