Anyone Have Suggestions for Addition?

suziequeSeptember 1, 2008

Hi folks -

I love my little house. But it IS little! It's 1056 sq' total, 2 bedrooms (small), 1 bathroom. The house is one room wide front-to-back. In other words, it started out as two rooms on the first floor one right behind the other, and the same thing upstairs above the 2 downstairs rooms. At some point a kitchen was added behind the back room, the a strange little divided area with bathroom on one side and laundry room on the other. Narrow.

I'd love to bump out at least the kitchen and maybe also part of the room in front of it and the laundry room behind it. See the pictures. In the side view photo, the kitchen is the room with the bay/bow window (which is it? Never can keep those straight), where the patio is now. In that same photo you can see where the first part of the house ends and the kitchen begins. The part where the kitchen is is only one story. The two windows to the right(behind the kitchen) are the narrow laundry room (more like a hallway, actually!).

Do any of you with PhotoShop (or other) expertise have any suggestions? I really don't want to lose the integrity of the house, but I'm really feeling claustrophobic. :-)

I'd love the addition to be sort of a year-round room with great windows and an open feel. I'm very non-creative and just don't know how to start. Plus, if anyone in the New England (I'm in Mass.) area knows any reputable companies that work well on antique homes I'd appreciate the recommendation.

I'll post interior pics at another time; I'd like to first start with what potential it may have from the outside.

Sorry that, in the front-on pic, the bushes at the front right of the house are so large - behind those are where I would want to build out (into the yard).


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Hi, you have a really cute house, and a really great idea! What I think though, is that you need to start at the beginning :-). You need either an architect, or at least a very competent contractor with a great local reputation, who can come in, look closely at the house from the inside (the outside is relevant only in terms of how suitable the yard is for extending into) and make decisions based on their inspection. Windows may have to come out or be moved, and internal structures changed, plus where you think/want the bump to be could even end up being somewhat different (not that you won't necessarily like it) as a result of what they find, because it will affect the structure of the rest of the house too and may need to be twiddled. What you could do is find out from friends and/or the town itself about who's got a good rep. for working with old homes, and who's done that kind of work (bumps, etc) before. You must ask a lot of people, not just a couple, and then talk to the candidates and see who you're compatible with (it matters).

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 5:48AM
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The folks on Home Decorating would love to help give you ideas ! There are a couple folks over there that can mock up some pics for you and do a great job. also a lot of us have old houses. YOurs is beautiful. Hope this helps. c

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 11:43AM
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Your house is very cute and it would be too bad to saddle it with a clumsy addition. I think your best bet would be to use an architect who works with (and appreciates) old houses.

The key thing with additons to older buildings is selecting the correct massing to complement the old building in order to get you the space without overwhelming it. Another issue is how much (or not) to recreate the stylistic details of your existing house on the addition. Some people say the new work should be clearly distinguishable from the old. Of course it has to be in harmony and good proportion.

For all of these reasons, an architect could be your best resource. Many architects will work on a project basis to create plans that are built and supervised by someone else. And many will consult with you, at least in their offices, without charge initially. Although people are afraid involving an architect will cost more, it often doesn't and you may get a more satisfactory plan. And you will likely need profesionally-stamped plans to get a building permit, anyway. If someone has to draft them up, why not start with someone's skilled, creative, help to think them up?

Call and pre-interview some about their interest and expertise in working on older houses. If you have a local historic preservation society, they may know of suitable architects in your area.

Good luck; I think your little house is just adorable!


    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 12:25PM
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What part of Mass.?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 1:47PM
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I'd also call an architect. Molly's comments about complementing the old building are right on, as are the comments about plans and building permits. I've seen so many additions that just destroy the exterior look of the house.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 6:27AM
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Adorable home! We did an addition to ours several years ago and did not use an architect--of course, we don't have nearly the permitting requirements here as I'm sure that you do. We did hire a very experienced contractor who took my ideas and made it happen.

I used our next door neighbor's summer kitchen as kind of the proportional inspiration for our addition (which included a bath, laundry, pantry, mud room) and he made it work from an engineering standpoint.

Our houses are similar in style, so here's some pics:

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 8:03AM
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Thank you everyone! I appreciate your input and also, of course, your comments on my little house. It makes perfect sense to hire an architect, and I'll start looking into that now. I'm acquainted with someone on the historical commission in town, so perhaps that is one place to start to get some names. And yes, I absolutely don't want to "remuddle", as This Old House is fond of saying. I want this to be in keeping with the house as it is, and to look like it's been there all along.

I did post on the Home Decorating Forum a couple of months ago, but was mostly looking for landscaping ideas to make it look more "cottagy". I didn't get many responses but certainly appreciated the ones I did get.

Again, thank you!


Mightyanvil, I'm in Westford.

And Vivian31 - nice job!


    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 8:41AM
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Since you are in Mass, I think it would be in keeping to build a barn like addition replacing the little shed-roof area and have the one story connection or ell. Like the part with the bay window be your connection to the "barn". Then in the "barn" you could put bedrooms above and a family room below.

Another idea is to build a two story "T" proportional to, same roof pitch and details as the front. You would lose that quaint itty bitty look, but still keep same style.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 12:49PM
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Our house had an addition put on the back that mimics the roof line and width of the original house, thereby maintaining the farm house look it had originally. It holds a large family room downstairs and a master suite above. It doubled the size of the house. As others have suggested, a really good contractor and/or an architect could help you define the project and set a price.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 3:13PM
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Any pics, powermuffin? Sounds wonderful!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 3:25PM
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