Magazine article Sunset

Adding on; How to Expand a House Laterally - the Third of Our Remodel Strategies

Magazine article Sunset

Adding on; How to Expand a House Laterally - the Third of Our Remodel Strategies

Article excerpt

How to expand a house laterally-the third of our remodel strategies

Adding laterally may be the best way to expand your house when you have a big enough lot. But tacking on an extra room won't necessarily make your house more comfortable. The best horizontal additions also improve the function and comfort of adjacent spaces. In this final installment in our three-part series on remodeling strategies, we illustrate a variety of ways to add more than just square footage.

As you think through your addition, catalog your needs, desires, options, and constraints. How will the the new space be used? Will its function be compatible with the function of adjacent spaces? Where can you most logically and feasibly attach it at the front, the side, or the rear? Can you extend or expand a circulation pattern (for instance, by linking a new bedroom with an existing hallway or reworking existing spaces to create an efficient, comfortable connection)?

What are the structural considerations? Is a bearing wall obstructing a potential connection? You may be able to open it up by replacing it with load-bearing beams or columns. If you're adding plumbing, can you install water lines near existing pipes to save money? Can you take advantage of outdoor space?

Do you want the addition to look as though it's part of the original house, do you prefer a sense of contrast, or would you rather have it feel like a separate structure entirely? Think about materials, proportions, light, and form-and how such elements can help the extension blend in or stand out.

Are there setback requirements, height limits, building code restrictions, or design-review provisions to consider? Check with your community's building department before submitting final plans. Some departments provide printed guidelines explaining the permit process.

Call this rear extension a splice-on instead of an add-on. The two-bedroom, Ushaped addition across the rear of Susan and Michael Cohen's 1,100-square-foot Spanish-style bungalow in Los Angeles makes a seamless transition between existing and new portions. In blurring the boundary, the 350-square-foot addition works beautifully with adjacent spaces reconfigured from the original two bedrooms and a small study.

To ensure a smooth connection, architects Barbara and David Kaplan of Santa Monica, California, converted these spaces at the same time they added on the

new ones behind them.

The old master bedroom made way for a dressing area, new master bath, and hallway leading to the new master bedroom. The children's old room became a pantry and laundry, a bookcase-lined hallway leading to the children's new bedroom, and a closet.

Both new bedrooms face each other across a small pergola off the original study, which now functions as the family room opening directly onto the children's hallway. A raised concrete terrace for barbecuing and entertaining extends 15 feet farther into the garden.

New entry and open-to-the-sky shelter

"Less than meets the eye" describes the imaginative addition to the side of this slender bungalow. Part of a two-phase remodel, tbe 10 1/2-foot-wide addition looks like a room with a glass-block window facing the street. But where you'd expect a ceiling, there's only sky. The front and side walls enclose a 29-foot-long patio outside the living-dining room. The walls provide privacy from neighbors, winds, and the noise of passing cars.

The 5- by 8-foot panel of glass blocks breaks up the expanse of wall-which rises 15 feet (to match the height of the other phase of the remodel, on the other side of the new entry). The "window" brightens the patio and glows invitingly at night. So the side wall seems less massive, it steps down from the facade height.

At the other end of the patio, two stuccocovered columns support a beam with an arching cutout that mirrors an arch above the new entry. …

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