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Posts from the ‘Dormer Addition’ Category

Your Whole House Plan Part Two: A Plan for Every Floor

In the second part of our series on the whole house plan, we’ll share some step by step ideas and best practices for your internal renovation plan.

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This adventurous Victorian in Sellwood added clever features to each floor that were designed to inspire exploration, discovery and play. Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Start at the Top

As much as you may have been dying to tackle that kitchen renovation first, we usually recommend that you plan your renovations from the top down, starting with the roof (including dormer additions) and working your way to the basement.

This helps ensure that any new electric, plumbing or structural changes that may affect the lower floors will happen before you’ve done all the beautiful finish work on those floors.

Dormer Details

When developing your dormer design, you’ll want to weigh the interior practicalities (headroom, floor space) against the exterior aesthetics. Adding a dormer dramatically changes the look of your home and you’ll want to consider how the design looks from all angles to ensure a cohesive result.

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This shed dormer designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf continues the long, low lines of the house’s Mid-Century architecture and features a dramatic eight sash casement window custom built by Versatile Wood Products.

While developing the design for the exterior of your dormer, you will also want to ask:

  • How will rainwater be managed on the newly-proposed roofline?
  • Will the new siding, windows and roof elements be accessible and easy to maintain?

Building out a dormer is also a great time to consider insulating your attic crawlspaces to ensure that any new heating routed to the newly-finished rooms will function at peak efficiency.

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This master bath dormer addition tucks dual sinks and a luxurious walk in shower into a compact shed dormer footprint. Extra-deep medicine cabinets offer elegant, out-of-site storage for all the bathroom sundries. Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

The most common reason for a dormer addition is to add a bathroom upstairs. If a bath is on your wish list, your designer will consider:

  • Where is the existing main floor bathroom in relationship to the new proposed bath?
    Typically it will be less expensive to site a new bathroom above an existing bathroom to take advantage of the main plumbing stack.
  • Which direction do your floor joists run to prevent issues with the routing of the drain lines?
    Are they sized to support the increased weight of your proposed rooms and will the drain lines fit within the cavity?
    It’s worth opening a hole in the ceiling to take a look at your joists early in the design process since the size and direction of your joists will have a large impact on your project’s feasibility and cost.

Mastering the Main Floor

Modern preferences tend toward a more open floor plan for the main floor; removing walls and eliminating formal dining spaces is a common request.

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The central focus of this Mid-Century Modern whole house renovation was the creation of an open plan living, dining and kitchen area that made the most of the gorgeous views of Mt Hood in the home’s wraparound picture windows. Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Your designer will help you identify which walls in your home might be the best candidates for opening up the space and will help navigate potential structural reinforcements to the home that may become necessary.

Cost vs. Value

We typically recommend that you invest first in the main floor project that will have the largest positive impact on your home’s future value. This is usually the kitchen or a master suite bathroom.

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This kitchen renovation mixes an on-trend color palette with classic elements like subway tile and Carrara marble to create a timeless update that will improve the home’s value for decades to come. Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Kristyn Bester. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Little Spaces, Big Impact

While you are planning your main floor, don’t forget the little spaces that can have a big impact on your guests’ comfort.

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It may be a small space, but your powder room can offer the opportunity for a big design statement. This powder room (above) features a bold pop of color and a fun twist with a wallpaper called “Brooklyn Toile” designed by Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys.¬†Designed by Arciform Senior Designer Chelly Wentworth. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

Consider:

    • Should you add or update a powder room for guests?
    • How will you tackle your mudroom needs?

Whether you design a full mudroom addition like the one below or simply designate an area adjacent to the back door, you’ll want to consider how the essential functions of capturing coats, keys, shoes and other items will be handled in your master plan.

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This mudroom addition to a Sellwood Victorian includes secret pass through doors to load athletic equipment through and an unusual ceiling assembled from salvage cabinet doors.
Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Photo Art Portraits.

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This entry area tucks away mudroom storage behind a set of stylish built-ins beneath the stairs. A bench seat offers a handy spot for shedding rain boots and packages on the way in the door.
Designed by Arciform Principal Designer Anne De Wolf. Photo by Patrick Weishampel/BLANKEYE.

Next on the renovation list should be the basement. Whether you are building in an investment opportunity with an ADU or giving the kids room to spread out, the basement should be the last room on your to-do list.

Such a flexible and complicated space is worthy of its own post, so look to Part Three for details on making the most of your basement renovation.

Part Three: The Basement and Beyond

Previous Post: A Solid Foundation

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Your Whole House Plan Part One: A Solid Foundation

You may only be thinking about a quick update to your master bath or basement right now. But have you considered how the choices you are making on this remodel will affect the future plans you may have for your house?

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Creating a whole house plan will ensure that each step you take to improve your home will be thoughtfully considered and efficiently executed with the needs of future projects in mind. This will save time, prevent costly re-dos and offer the peace of mind that each improvement you make will dovetail seamlessly with the projects before and after it.

In this three part series, we’ll break it down step by step to offer which questions to consider and which best practices to keep in mind for each phase of your plan to ensure a result you’ll be happy with for the lifetime of your home.

Part One: Creating a Solid Foundation for your Whole House Plan

1. Identify Your Goals

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Before you spend any money on your home, it will be important to consider carefully the following questions:

  • Which investment will be right for your home based on its current value?
  • How does your plan fit in with the style and scope of homes in your neighborhood?
  • Which kinds of improvements are most appropriate for your stage of life and the life cycle of your family? Some remodeling projects recoup nearly 100% of their cost in increased home value- others may not but may be worth the investment for other reasons.

You’ll also need to keep both your family’s long term and short term needs in mind.
Consider:

  • How will your family’s needs change over the time you plan to be in your home?
  • Will you need to accommodate an aging parent?
  • Make room for your family to grow?
  • Prepare for an empty nest?

2. Assemble Your Team

Assembling the team of professionals you’d like to work with at the beginning will ensure clear communication and avoid unnecessary overlap or conflict between the responsibilities of each professional.

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At minimum, you’ll want to identify your:

        • Architectural Design Team
        • Construction Team
        • Interior Decorator
        • Landscape Architect

Keep in mind that each of these teams will have existing relationships with city officials and subcontractors who will also end up being an important part of the decision making process as you develop your plan.

As a design|build company, Arciform offers an integrated design and construction team that will stay with you every step of the way and coordinate all of the other professionals you will need to complete your projects.

3. Develop Your Design

Your whole house design will take into consideration any engineering, systems upgrades (like new heating or electrical) and structural changes required to meet your long term goals.

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It will also develop the design details for each proposed project so that they will fit the architectural style of your home while showcasing your family’s unique tastes and personality. Along the way your design team will help you consider the following questions:

  • Which layout changes will make your home function better?
  • What storage needs do you have?
  • Which appliance or technology upgrades are you hoping to incorporate?
  • Which architectural details will integrate well with your home’s era and style?
  • What mood and design aesthetic would you like the finished spaces to evoke?
  • Which colors, shapes, textures and design details would you like to see integrated into the finished project? Every detail of your proposed project that can be selected in advance will save costly delays and change orders later.

4. Deal with the Foundation First

If your goals include updating the seismic bracing, mitigating water infiltration or expanding the head height in your basement, these are all projects that should be tackled prior to any interior renovations. This includes digging out your foundation or lifting your house if necessary.

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Getting your basement completely dry will often also require a look at your rooftop water management systems, your landscaping plan (to be sure water is being directed away from your foundation with appropriate grading) and may include the installation of underground french drains to route groundwater around and away from your home.

5. Update your Mechanical Systems

Are new furnace or heating systems part of the long term plan for your home?

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As un-sexy as these basic mechanical upgrades can be, they can make a huge difference to your comfort in the home. They also require ripping into walls, usually on multiple floors, so it is best to take care of them early before you start any internal renovation projects.

The last thing you want to do is tear into your beautiful new paint job to arrange the installation of a  heating duct.

6. Button Up Your Envelope

After your mechanical systems are updated, its time to consider what energy performance upgrades might be needed in your home.

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Sealing the cracks and air holes that create drafts, adding insulation and installing new windows and doors can all happen prior to any internal renovations.

Thayer Perspective

Next Step: The Fun Part! Planning your Interior Renovations

In the next installment we’ll take it floor by floor to offer insight into which projects to tackle first and what questions to ask as you design your dream kitchen, master suite and basement.

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5 Things to Consider When Thinking of a Dormer Addition

This dormer addition, designed by Arciform designer Chelly Wentworth, stayed under the 12' size restrictions.

This dormer addition, designed by Arciform designer Chelly Wentworth, stayed under the 12′ size restrictions.

There are many things to think about when designing a dormer addition. Here are 5 things your designer will take into consideration.

1. Size

The size of your dormer addition can determine whether you will need additional permits and upgrades. By keeping it under 12′ you can typically avoid major seismic upgrades like sheer wall upgrades or adding posts and footings.

Designed by Chelly Wentworth, this dormer addition has new windows stacked.

Designed by Arciform designer Chelly Wentworth, this dormer addition has new windows stacked.

2. Stacking

Stacking a bath over an existing is the most cost effective way to add a bathroom to a dormer. By tapping into the existing plumbing from below you will avoid major plumbing costs.

To avoid sizable seismic and structural challenges, stack new windows over existing ones. By doing so, the load of your house will not change significantly.

3. Joist Depth

The depth of existing joists can play a large role in whether or not your dormer addition will allow for a bathroom. The joists must be a certain depth to accommodate plumbing lines, specifically for a toilet. Converting an attic into a dormer may also require structural improvements for the purpose of resisting wind or earthquake load and floor live loads (people, furniture).

A plan by Chelly Wentworth shows the insulation in a dormer addition.

A plan by Arciform designer Chelly Wentworth shows the insulation (pink area) in a dormer addition.

4. Insulation

When building a dormer the required roof insulation is rated at R-38, which requires a minimum 2×8 rafter size. If you are planning to install recessed can lighting fixtures you will need a 2×10 rafter to meet insulation requirements. This can provide challenges when you are dealing with existing framing members that are smaller and if you are trying to keep a continuous roof or wall plane.

This main floor addition by Kristyn Bester fits seamlessly with the aesthetics of the house.

This main floor addition by Arciform designer Kristyn Bester fits seamlessly with the aesthetics of the house.

5. Aesthetics

Make sure the type of dormer you are selecting is appropriate for your house – will it work with the existing roof lines? The two most common dormers are sheds and gable.

A shed dormer designed by Anne De Wolf.

A shed dormer designed by Arciform designer Anne De Wolf that ties into the existing roof lines.

Shed Dormer:

Typically off the back of the house, has a flat shed-like roof and allows for more headroom. These aren’t always aesthetically pleasing so adding character to the side will help to keep it appealing.

This dormer addition, designed by Arciform designer Anne De Wolf, is a good illustration of a gable dormer.

A gable dormer addition, designed by Arciform designer Anne De Wolf.

Gable Dormer:

A more expensive option and does not have as much headroom. These are a great option for adding more light to your room.

Are you ready to start planning your dream master suite or art studio? Schedule a design consultation to begin planning your next project here.

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