Let me set the stage...
We have four young(ish) kids, 3 boys and 1 girl, and we live in a 3 bedroom house. So far we've managed, but we were realizing that something was going to have to give as the kids aged. We wrestled with several options over last winter, and eventually we ruled out moving, and we also ruled out building a bedroom in the basement.
And so, I turned to sketchup and started working on ideas, running them past my wife (and others) and at the same time checking into and securing a builder.
Here are a few before shots of our place:
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As you can see it has a great big honking roof on it, and an attached garage also on the front. The plan we settled on was to rip off the top of the garage, and build a bedroom up there. The second floor hall landing would be extended to the front of the house, so it would not affect the current bedrooms.
Here is the sketch of what we were (more or less) looking for:
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A couple of things that I think are worth noting. We did NOT want the addition to be flush with the front of the garage, rather we set it back 3ft.
We also designed it with 6'6" side walls, so that it would have a partially vaulted space. In effect the addition should look like a (large) dormer.
Yes, we gave up some floorspace in the new room, but the goal was to have something that looked like it belonged, rather than having it look like a huge imposing thing. I think if it lined up with the front of the garage, you would see this large 2-story wall at the front of the house, and visually it would be almost overwhelming. As well, we have both read through the classic architecture/design book "A Pattern Language" and tried to apply some of it's wisdom in this design.
Once the kids move out, the plan is for this to become my wife's study/craft room, which was another impetus to make sure it was designed well. In particular, we invited light on all three exterior walls. There are 3 large windows on the front/south face, There are two 24x48 skylights on the left/west side of the roof, and we also managed to tuck in a window on the east side, up against the house. This brings in tons of light, and also will help with cross-breezes.
The arrangement with our builder was that I would deal with the city, to get variances and permits, I would also do the trimming, the flooring, and the painting. The rest (demolition + construction) was contracted out.
They just finished up their part, and this is where we stand today:
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We're quite pleased so far, but still have a fair bit of work to do to get to the final product!
I plan to write a bit and post a bit about some of my own part of the process.