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Jim’s Tip – Add on with Grace

We’ve all seen them, the additions that have been added to homes that just make you shake your head and ask,  “What were they thinking?”  Well, obviously they weren’t.

So many times we meet homeowners with many pre-determined ideas about the size and location of the addition they want to add. Once we begin asking questions about the function of spaces and how they want the space to flow those ideas begin to evolve. As part of that evolution, the exterior proportion and scale can begin to better fit the existing home than the original concept.

It is important that any work we do feels like it has always been a part of the home, no matter what part of town or what subdivision you’re in. If you’re not careful, a larger addition can quickly begin to look like the tail wagging the dog. To ensure that a bump out or addition will look good on the house, let the existing roof inform the design decisions. The roof shape may make some options easy and others almost impossible without it looking like a mistake. If it won’t work without serious roof modification then it will add too much additional cost, often more than the project may be worth.

Don’t try to match the side wall of an addition flush with the existing house sidewall. It is nearly impossible to match colors and materials to the older section and often your zoning code will require additional setback dimension. Flushing walls will also obscure the original house massing and detract from the overall appeal.

Windows can be the one thing that adds impact to the addition and the room spaces inside. Carefully consider how matching the existing window portions and patterns will help blend the addition. An interesting composition of windows can add personality to both the inside and the outside of the house.

Last but most importantly, consider how the addition will look from all sides. Seldom will it be seen from just one view. It should look good from any angle. A well-proportioned addition can greatly enhance the value of a home, while a poorly proportioned addition can reduce a home’s value. Good design is always a good investment – and it doesn’t have to cost more to accomplish.

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