Subtraction of Addition

cyfiSeptember 18, 2008

Another post got us thinking about "Subtractions"--closing off rooms or (does this EVER happen?) actually removing an addition. When we had no children, we enjoyed all the space of our house during fair weather, but when the cold or heat set in, we closed doors and heated or cooled only the essential rooms.

Anyone else done this? Ever seen removal of an addition? Can ours somehow qualify (honorable mention?) as a "Smaller House" when we close off rooms in the "fair weather wing"?

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I think it makes a lot of sense to have a house set up so that that unused rooms can be shut off. We are planning to build an eventual retirement home in rural SC, and in addition to the smallish 1200 sq ft main floor, there will be a full basement and a partial second floor. Neither will be heated or A/C unless needed. Another idea for rural properties is to have a bonus room in a barn. My mother's house is very small. but one end of her barn is finished and furnished (and closed off from the rest of the barn). We use it for large gatherings- the big rustic room with the open ceiling looks great with a huge Christmas tree in it! A wood burning stove provides heat when it's being used, and adds to the ambiance. The best thing is that it's not included in her taxable square footage!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 4:08PM
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Thanks, flgargoyle, I really appreciate your ideas and observations. I love that your mom's barn needn't be "subtracted" because it isn't heated or even taxed(!)--that kind of creativity recalls "shotgun" houses in Charleston, SC, and exterior staircases in Natchitoches Parish, LA.

We are considering an addition to our 1256 sq ft home, and in this new economy, we might do it if we can subtract it again when not needed. The suggestion from the architect is a detached structure to minimize the cost of integrating roof and house to the addition, and that isolation may also allow reduced heating-A/C costs because we won't be using it continually. The biggest savings may come simply by subtracting the addition altogether from our renovation plans. Oh well. Cheers!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 7:04AM
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Makes sense to me. There are many times I think our den addition is unneeded now that it's just dh & me. But when the kids and all their friends were here, it was a lifesaver. Still, when I go next door which has the same room sizes as our original house, I think her living room is much too small - or too crowded and she only has a loveseat, chair, and ottoman for seating. Lots of other stuff though.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 11:13AM
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I have a five room house and my son's two bedrooms are rarely used. We keep the doors closed to avoid heating them. At one time we had considered converting our garage into a den for the kids. That would have become another unused room.

I guess we really live in an apartment with a lawn.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 6:00AM
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Besides converting kids rooms to other uses (as discussed in the thread below) have you had noticeable savings from closing them off?

What would your square footage be with/without your subtractable space? Summer/Winter? Parenting/Retired? Rambling/Cozy?

Could a subtractable McMansion ever be sensible or included in "Smaller Homes"? (I prefer a "Smaller Home" but at times could use some extra space too.)

Here is a link that might be useful: If your kids are grown & gone

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 6:43AM
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Funny you should link that one cyfi. A week ago dd#2 and her boyfriend came to spend the weekend so both bedrooms were used, and this weekend dd#1 and two friends came to town so both bedrooms are being used.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:20AM
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Hmmm, funny that this thread is shown commencing in 2008, and the discussion is as current as if it was begun today.

We are up in MA at my DH's cape. One of the things we are going to do is turn my study back into a bedroom, so when we do put it up for sale next summer, it will be 3 BR AND a full master suite. Or, 4 BR/3bath plus a large family room, separate dining room, galley kitchen, living room, allyear sunporch, and a finished heated basement with a space for a painting studio (served as a bedroom in the past), a single car garage under the house, and a garden shed with electric and water and a thick cement floor. Half acre lot.

I guess I'm trying to describe it in my head so I can figure out how it should be presented for sale. Anything else that I could add? Like new 5-zone heating system (so those zones can be closed off), city sewer and water plus a good potable water well (which would be good for irrigation too), and a new architectural (?) roof. Oh yes. New ash Bellawood floors in the living room and master suite.
Don't know about how we'll redo the floors in 3 other bedrooms and the family room. Your suggestions for that would be appreciated. I'm thinking that the current study and the family room should be cork, the upstairs bedrooms Berber carpet?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 9:15PM
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How's the weather up there ML? Aren't y'all doing that a bit backwards? Shouldn't it be south in the winter and north in the summer?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:41PM
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