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The small-house, tight-lot challenge. Going up added 600 square feet ... and a new sense of openness.

The small-house, tight-lot challenge "It was a fixer-upper, ideal for a first-time home buyer," says architect Victor Chang of the 800-square-foot house he bought five years ago. Although the one-bedroom postwar house sat on a small lot and had an interior that seemed cramped by today's standards, it was in La Jolla, California--a community where property values have skyrocketed. Chang wanted to open the interior and add a second floor but still keep the house in character with its neighborhood.

Building upward gained almost 600 square feet, including a second-story bedroom and bath. The roof above the living room, set perpendicularly to the addition, was kept intact; a flat ceiling was removed to open the room to its true roof line.

The exterior was also thoughtfully detailed. Simple peaked gable shapes rise above the roof like false fronts. Curved 4-by-6 rafter tails extend from eaves to give a softer look. Their natural wood color is set off by white stucco walls and gray-green doors, window trim, and lattice railing on the new roof deck. The lattice pattern repeats in fencing that encloses a small front lawn.

Removing interior walls that separated the kitchen, dining area, and living room makes the first floor seem much brighter and more spacious. Smooth white plaster walls and bleached oak floors keep the look airy.
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Date:Jun 1, 1991
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