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Consider the Following Renovation Project

The Existing Situation, Conditions and Goals

The homeowners had been in the home for a number of years. Their family of 4 was outgrowing the spaces and there were problem areas they wanted to fix.

One of their renovation goals was to not enter the home at mid level between the two levels of this midwest split level ranch whatever. The owners wanted their own master suite so they didn’t have to share the bathroom with their growing teenagers. They wanted a whole new look similar to homes recently renovated in the neighborhood. And then they wanted to eliminate the water flowing down the driveway into the garage and make the bedrooms over the warmer during the winter. They knew generally what they wanted.

They took the next step…

They measured the house and created plans from which to start drawing their new addition. They were going to save money and do the design work themselves. It’s always good to save money but without experience and design knowledge, this can be a costly start to a project.

One thing I noticed, when I got involved was they didn’t pay attention to the survey. They laid out plans for their new addition that encroached on side yard setbacks. No worries, they’d decided to get a variance… not knowing the process or implications. It’s hard to declare a hardship needed to encroach on a setback when they lived on nearly and acre of land.

Another thing I noticed, the husband doing the drawings did not have an understanding for appropriate room sizes and spaces. While they had a budget, his designs where far exceeding the cost factor. He did not have a good association between spaces with traffic patterns and uses. On top of the whole thing, he was a teacher in school obtaining his masters degree and juggling his time with sports, school and home renovations. I do this for a living and find I don’t have time for some of the work associated with renovations.

With Little Design Success, They Asked for Help…

I could see they were struggling, so I offered to help… with conceptual design only. Knowing the site setbacks, I decided to stay within them. That was a no-brainer. Next, my experience has taught me what works for specific spaces and how they are appropriate with the existing home. Meaning, I didn’t want to add onto a home that didn’t blend with the existing scales nor overbuild for the neighborhood as cost as a concern. These were my general parameters for starting my design efforts.

Within an 45 minutes, I had roughly sketched out both floor plans meeting the above criteria. The husband was kind of shocked that I got everything included but until his wife saw the plans, nothing was approved. She loved it. I was then hired to provide construction documentation for permit approval and contractor bidding and construction. The next photo is the finished project…

Next, I’ll Discuss Design Specifics…


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