Need ideas on addition/remodel (floor plan attached)

NewEnglandSaraFebruary 2, 2014

Hi All,

Our family of five is downsizing to a smaller house within our neighborhood, but we will still need to renovate and make some additions (hopefully small ones) to the new house. We are trying to work as much as possible within the existing floor plan. We welcome some fresh opinions, if you have a moment to take a look.

As you will see, the house includes a first floor family room addition that has not been built above on the second floor. There is also a decent-sized screened-in porch, but our architect hasn't measured it yet. (I penciled it in.) That could probably be strengthened with piers and added above. Finally, there is an attached two car garage, but it isn't in great shape. Our architect said that we could probably shore up the foundation with insulation, but it would take a lot of work in the garage to make it a decent enough space to build above. (Plus, we would lose a bedroom to create access to the garage.) We COULD do a small bump out off the back of the house, but we are trying to keep additions as minimal as possible. Still, this might be necessary....

Here are the things we would like to have:

*a 4th bedroom upstairs
*a master bathroom upstairs (a double shower would be great, but we don't need a tub)
*laundry on the 2nd floor (side-by-side in a closet is okay)
*a mudroom on the first floor
*a full bath on the first floor (instead of a half bath)
*an open concept kitchen and family room space with the family room oriented at the back of the house
*an eating area near the kitchen that is separate from a kitchen island

I welcome any and all ideas!

I will add the first floor existing plan to this email and create a follow-up post with the second floor plan.

Thanks!

Sara

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NewEnglandSara

I wanted to add the second floor existing plan to accompany my above message.

I should have mentioned that one thing we are trying to figure out is pricing: which sorts of additions are more expensive than others. Our architect has some sense of this, but we are still having trouble picking the "best" path.

Thanks again!

Sara

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 7:04PM
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NewEnglandSara

One thing I forgot to mention is that the screened in porch is large enough for a master bath.

Interested in ideas if any pop to mind! :-)

Sara

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 12:44PM
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jcalhoun

I think I would convert bedroom 1 into two bedrooms and convert the family room into the master bedroom with bathroom. I'm not sure why there is a living room and a family room.

Modernize the current bathrooms and kitchen and renovate the garage.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 4:34AM
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jcalhoun

It looks to me like the breezeway could become the mud room.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 4:37AM
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jcalhoun

Lastly, taking out the wall that separates the dining room/kitchen will go a long to opening up that entire area. Just make sure it's not a load bearing wall first.

We did this on my house and it made a huge improvement in ease of use, looks, and lighting.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 4:43AM
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NewEnglandSara

jcalhoun, thank you so much for your ideas! It is very helpful to get other perspectives. The breezeway looks big in the photo, but it is hardly big enough to move around in. I like the idea of opening up the kitchen and dining room! My husband really wants a family room that is also open to the kitchen, so that is a challenge. :-) We also don't really want a bedroom on the first floor, but it is worth considering all options! Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 1:39PM
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jcalhoun

You're welcome.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 5:02PM
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missingtheobvious

Um ... where are the stairs to the second floor? I can't find them on either plan (there are couple of rectangles which I think are labelled "chimney" -- and way too small to be a "stairway"). And if something as large as a staircase is missing from the plan, there may be other parts of the plan which should be larger than they're shown, or rooms and walls which should meet up differently.

Is the door between the entry and the back half of the house needed? There are 7 doors in that tiny back hall!

I see two possibilities for a mudroom:

1) Expand the breezeway into the corner between the kitchen and garage (if you do put a second floor over the garage, making this new space two-story might help the 2nd floor design).

2) Even if the garage foundation issues turn out not to be major enough to require re-building the garage, use some of the left half of the garage for the expanded mudroom. The remainder can be storage or workshop. Add space for a second car on the far side of the garage.

This second possibility gives you a much more functional mudroom.

===

Here are two possible ways to have 4 bedrooms on the second floor. They may or may not be architecturally do-able. In either, there would be space for a small or closet laundry somewhere along the back wall by the current and new bathrooms.

1) Expand the existing upstairs bathroom into Bedroom 3's closets, and rearrange the fixtures so the bathroom is entered from Bedroom 1, the master bedroom.

Bedroom 3 becomes a hallway and a second bathroom. Add 2 bedrooms above the garage.

2) Add a bedroom above the porch, with an entry hall cut through Bedroom 1 (I'll leave the details to the architect). If the current porch is on the small side, use some of Bedroom 1's existing closets for the new bedroom.

Bedroom 3 and its closets are again sacrificed for a hallway and new master bath, and the new master bedroom uses some of the space over the garage.

===

When you think about the need for a full bath on the first floor, is the current half-bath's location where you'd like the new full bath to be, or would the breezeway/mudroom be a better place for it?

If that bathroom could be moved to the breezeway/mudroom (and there's no equipment in the closets and those aren't load-bearing walls) then voila! you have your open kitchen-family room.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 8:01PM
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missingtheobvious

And if you remove the half bath and closet and open up the kitchen and family room -- and it seems like more room than you could possibly need -- then you have another possibility for a mudroom: expand the breezeway a few feet into the current kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 8:08PM
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NewEnglandSara

MissingTheObvious, thanks so much for the wonderful ideas! You make a great point about the stairway. It is to the right of the chimney, and it wasn't drawn into the sketch of the existing plan when I took the photo. Everything else should be right (and I now have a plan that shows the porch.)

I am intrigued by your idea to use the garage as space for a mudroom and/or full bath. How would you manage the few steps down to the garage from the breezeway? (I wonder if that might make it hard to combine these spaces.) Also, are you suggesting that we make the garage a one car with storage? We wouldn't have room on the property to expand the garage to the right....

In your experience, is it very difficult to make bedrooms above a garage warm enough? Any other complications (from your knowledge) to building into and above a garage?

Thanks again!

Sara

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 8:24PM
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missingtheobvious

Re. the floor level issue: Well, I didn't address the issue of steps between the garage and breezeway because the steps aren't shown on the plan, and my mind is very literal (see user-name). ;-) I would have raised the mudroom floor to be level with the existing breezeway and added steps between the garage and mudroom. But since there isn't room to add another single bay on the other side of the garage, the garage doesn't work for the mudroom location.

So it's either build a mudroom in the corner between the kitchen and the garage, or take over a few feet of the kitchen to enlarge the breezeway into a decent-sized mudroom. How much room do you anticipate needing for the mudroom? Closet? Storage? And there'll have to be a bathroom somewhere, and the plumbing is already in the kitchen area.

So I'm imagining an addition on the left side of the garage, possibly extending as far as the back wall of the garage (that looks like maybe 10 or 12'?). This addition is a few feet wider (left to right) than the existing breezeway. The outside door is next to the kitchen wall (perpendicular to the current outer wall of the house). The bathroom is at the far end, beyond the mudroom. Unfortunately, the mudroom is still little more than a wide hallway. I wanted a closet for mops, maybe even coats, but unless the scale is way off and/or you sacrifice the kitchen windows, there isn't much room.

[I considered taking 2-3' from the kitchen adjacent to the breezeway for the mudroom, but that does weird things to the kitchen. Perhaps someone else could work it out.]

Sara, I'm a retired librarian, and most of my "experience" came from a childhood of moving every 2 or 3 years. My mom had all the furniture cut out from graph paper, and the dimensions of the rooms in the new house, and was very organized! For two of the moves, I helped her house-hunt. I've never renovated a house -- though lately I've been considering my kitchen -- but I did work on several renovation plans for three libraries, two of which were actually implemented.

And I'm afraid I have no experience at all in insulating rooms above a garage -- but I'm sure someone here does. A heated floor might be nice.

mto

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 2:07AM
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missingtheobvious

And here's what it might look like. Keep in mind that I may have been off on the scale: there may be more room than I figured, and the bathroom might not take up so much space.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 4:42AM
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jcalhoun

You will need to make sure that the garage is well and properly insulated and ventilated as you will be having a living quarter that is above a room that will be both a fire hazard and contain toxic fumes.

Your building code may not even allow it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 9:27PM
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missingtheobvious

And if anyone wants to play with an approximation of the 1st floor, here you are:

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:28AM
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missingtheobvious

And this is your open-concept kitchen-family room area (with the half bath, the adjacent closets, and the kitchen wall removed):

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 1:33AM
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NewEnglandSara

Hi again,

MissingTheObvious, your ideas are incredibly helpful! Plus, I loved hearing about your varied background. :-) You came up with an idea that we had never considered with the mudroom and bath behind the kitchen. This gives us some new options for the first floor lay-out! Many, many thanks. (Plus, how great to have a visual of the floor plan!) Now I am going to explore your idea further to see if we can make it work.

In appreciation,

Sara

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 10:14AM
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NewEnglandSara

Hi again,

MissingTheObvious, your ideas are incredibly helpful! Plus, I loved hearing about your varied background. :-) You came up with an idea that we had never considered with the mudroom and bath behind the kitchen. This gives us some new options for the first floor lay-out! Many, many thanks. (Plus, how great to have a visual of the floor plan!) Now I am going to explore your idea further to see if we can make it work.

In appreciation,

Sara

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 11:53AM
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barlowmom

Sara, I also have a family of 5 and a 1941 3 BR/1.5 bath colonial with a similar but not identical floor plan; we are about to start our renovation to add a family room behind our living room, with a master suite above, and bump out our kitchen to connect it to the family room.

If you can add on above your family room and bump out your kitchen to the rear, you basically have our new floor plan. I have a dozing baby on my lap or I would figure out how to add a picture.

What if you take the rear wall of BR1 and move it toward the front of the house, so BR 1 goes from 17' to about 12'. Then the rest of that space that was BR 1 and its closet/sitting area plus the area over the family room becomes the MBR, with the master bath as close as possible to the existing hall bath to save on plumbing.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 12:04AM
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barlowmom

Also, we decided not to try to do an island and table in our kitchen - instead, we are going to put an island in the kitchen and widen the doorway to the dining room and install pocket doors. We will continue to eat most meals in the dining room, and this way we can close it off and hide the kitchen mess at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We left the half bath where it is even though it limits the connection between the kitchen and family room. It is over the central plumbing stack and moving it would be $$$.

Happy to send you PDFs of our plan if it would help - as I said, our houses are really similar.

We also considered expanding over our garage, but the foundation isn't strong enough and it would not look as nice aesthetically on our narrow lot.

Does the house have a finished basement? Ours really helps with space.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 7:51AM
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NewEnglandSara

Hi Barlowmom, how great to connect with someone who has a similar floor plan! You gave me lots of interesting ideas to consider. If you are able to take a photo of your floor plan, I would love to see how you were able to somewhat open the kitchen and family room space while leaving the half bath as it is. I agree that this would be a big cost saver! :-) As for your idea for upstairs, our architect is heading in that direction. However, we won't have enough space for a master bath and closets without using the space above the screened in porch as well. (Part of the issue is that I have back problems and need a laundry closet on the second floor...)

Are you going to have a mudroom in your plan? If so, where will that go?

Very helpful to hear that the finished basement makes a big difference. Ours will be super basic, but I think it will give us breathing room just to have it.

Thanks again for writing!

Sara

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 12:56AM
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barlowmom

I'm going to try to paste in a picture of our first and second floor plan so you can see what I mean.

The area that is gray is the existing house (I made these for the town permit offices).

We can't go out to the sides because of the zoning for our lot. If I had your lot, I would put the mudroom between the house and garage, as MissingtheObvious has it.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:10PM
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barlowmom
    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:13PM
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barlowmom

All right, the kids are crying and I give up. Anyway, you should be able to follow the links to see what I mean! I'll check in later if you have questions.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:14PM
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NewEnglandSara

Hi Barlowmom, I was able to view the plans, which look great! I am amazed by the similarity of the houses. Are you also in New England? In any event, it is great that you can add mudroom space at the end of your garage. We can't expand further back there since our yard is narrow behind our garage. However, we might be able to do something tiny and narrow behind part of our kitchen if our full, partial bump-out plan is too pricey. Also, it looks as if you are able to have lots of good, useable space in your basement. The real estate prices in the Boston area are so high that we have a tight budget for renovations. (Plus, all major systems need to be updated in the house we are purchasing.) We are going to hear back soon with some ballpark pricing for our ideas, and that will help us figure out a direction. I can't tell you how helpful it is to look over the plans. Thank you!! :-)

Sara

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 11:15AM
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barlowmom

Sara,

I'm in CT, so unless you've renovated here in New England before, sit down before anyone gives you numbers. Our realtor guesstimated $150/sq ft. He was wrong.

The kitchen is a huge cost, even without the high end finishes.

I even looked into panelized construction (SIPs) to see if that would cut the costs, but it didn't help because of the permits, cranes, etc.

Unless your architect does a lot work in your neighborhood and has already gone in to discuss your project, I highly recommend an early trip to town hall to find out what restrictions are on your lot. I thought I knew after reading the zoning regulations, but it was wrong...and I used to read regulations for a living. Luckily the error was in my favor.

Good luck! If you can figure out how to get me an email address I'm happy to take questions, but I'm just a SAHM at the moment and not a professional.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 2:10PM
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