Thursday, 22 September 2011

An Addition = A Home that’s more than just the Sum of its Parts

Additions, Extensions, Homes, collage: Addition Creates a Home That Is More Than The Sum of Its Parts, by wobuilt.comCollage: An Addition Creates a Home That Is More Than The Sum of Its Parts
Image Credit: MS Office ClipArt: Additions, Extensions, Homes

Our "pain in the neck" house was converted into our "dream home" just by addressing the handful of pet peeves with a little imagination and a leap of faith — the addition truly created a home that was more than the sum of its parts.
I can distinctly recall the family meeting that took place a number of years ago at our kitchen table… “We need more useable space in the house. That carport is utterly useless as-is. We need another bathroom in the house. A Jacuzzi bathtub would be nice. An office that is tucked well away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the open-concept house would let someone work in relative peace and quiet. What about a heated garage and tool-room / workshop?...” and so on.

The problem? The thing is, we didn’t want to move. Notwithstanding the usual considerations of market prices, logistics of moving, etc., the simple fact was we liked where we lived. After all, isn’t real estate all about “location, location, location?” To give up a prime location that works for everyone in the family for the sake of a little more useable square footage seemed like an unwise exchange. That’s not to say we didn’t consider all our options. We certainly did look around for an alternative property (and I cannot begin to count how many weekends were completely consumed in the process of house-hunting…all those weekends we’d never get back). Plus, it seemed like every house we looked at was too big! Our existing house suited our needs except for a few sticking points; it seemed strange buying extra rooms we couldn’t use for the sake of solving a few pet peeves. In the end, there simply was no house that sensibly met our budgetary limits and location needs. So what was the solution?

The solution? I must admit, when we first sat with the contractor to discuss an addition onto our house, I was a little sceptical. Building a new garage, office and mudroom seemed straightforward enough, but converting the existing carport into a living room and bathroom? Somehow it was difficult to wrap my head around the transformation of a space that had been a thorn in our family’s side for years (one cannot escape the bitter irony while shovelling snow drifts out of a “garage wannabe”). Despite not being to “see it,” I went along.

The result? The solution to almost every problem we had with our existing house. We had a beautifully finished living room for the antique furniture set and Persian rug, complete with hardwood floors, stucco ceiling, crown mouldings and chandelier. It was bright and airy, thanks to the two windows knocked out of the carport’s solid brick wall. Being able to move a number of furniture pieces into the new space opened up existing rooms in the house as well. Our existing dining room felt more airy and not like a furniture warehouse anymore. The extra bathroom with Jacuzzi tub was like manna from heaven for a family of four. As for the new office, hours of privacy could be had while studying for exams, working on assignments, playing a computer game, or simply talking on the phone. The new garage had an automatic garage door opener, plenty of space for two cars, and featured a tool room and workshop to boot (also snow drift free). It was all pretty much exactly what we had brainstormed around the kitchen table in our original family meeting, even if we “couldn’t see it” at the time.

The cost? A lot less than having to move into one of the many monster-sized homes we had seen (especially if we take into account real estate and moving fees). The best part was we were able to stay exactly where we wanted to be, in the neighbourhood we loved. Our “pain in the neck” house was converted into our “dream home” just by addressing the handful of pet peeves with a little imagination and a leap of faith — the addition truly created a home that was more than the sum of its parts.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: Second floor addition project Another Addition Renovation We Are Proud of: The Wow Factor Approach! A Second Storey Addition - New Construction Approach What Do These Three Renovation Projects Have In Common?
A Comparison of Three Renovation Projects: the Classic, the Ranch and the Tower. What Do These Projects Have in Common?

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