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Posts tagged ‘dormer addition’

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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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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Historic Curb Apeal: Taking Care of Your Tudor

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Tall gabled roofs, charming round top doors, leaded and beveled glass windows…. a Tudor style home is just bursting with inviting charm and curb appeal. The eclectic asymmetrical facades often feature brick or stucco and have winding approaches to their front doors that evoke the English country homes that inspire the style.

What does a Tudor home need to keep looking its best?

Here are 5 tips from Arciform Senior Designer Anne De Wolf for sprucing up your Tudor.

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1. Safeguard your Stucco. The shallow overhangs and stucco exterior of many Tudors can lead to opportunities for the northwest’s rain to seep behind your facade. Keep a close eye out for weather damage on the stucco portions of your exterior and tackle any problems quickly before they get out of hand.

The good news: stucco can be repaired in small sections without needing to resurface your entire facade, making regular maintenance more affordable on Tudor homes.

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2.  Mix in Some Metal. Updating the entryway of a Tudor can be tricky- the style tends towards very small entry spaces with unusually shaped doors and very little covering from the elements. In order to add a bit of shelter without marring the traditional style, consider adding copper awnings over your doors and ground floor windows.

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Wrought iron railings, sconces, lamp posts and edging can add additional design elements that will fit with the gothic inspirations of the Tudor style.

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3. Dormer Delights. The high gabled roof of a Tudor home was originally designed to encourage the snow to slide off in northern climates. In the temperate northwest they have another advantage: plenty of space to add a dormer bedroom or office.

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Just two things to be aware of before you contemplate a dormer addition:

  • Your floor joists may be twisted. Because Tudors are often built as a series of small compartmentalized spaces, you may discover that the orientation of the floor joists can change from from floor to floor. The direction of the joists has a big impact on how the house will carry the weight of a new addition, so it is important to be sure you know which direction they run before your dormer addition is designed.
  • Framing designed for a ceiling may not be strong enough for a floor. Many Tudors have tall vaulted ceilings in their living rooms, with plenty of attic space above. However, ceiling joists are usually not built to withstand the same load as a floor, so creating a dormer above that vaulted living room may require more structural updates than your budget will allow.

Your designer will work with a structural engineer to be sure that the design of your new addition will take these important structural considerations into account.

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4. Many Lites Make Lovely Windows. Thin, unusually shaped windows with many small panes of glass (called lites) are a hallmark feature of Tudor style. Beveled or leaded glass and diamond patterns are common.

What should you do when one of these iconic windows starts to leak or fail?

Our colleagues at Versatile Wood Products, a company that specializes in the restoration and historically accurate replacement of traditional windows and doors, recommend that you have a window expert do a site evaluation before you make any decisions about restoration or replacement. Options for restoration can include repairing broken lead elements, replacing rotting wood sash elements with new sash, or replacing the entire window with an exact replica. In some cases, adding an exterior custom storm window can lengthen the life of the window and increase its insulation value.

Be sure to explore all your options before you decide to rip out and replace with a modern window. A Tudor’s unusual window shapes can be a major factor in its curb appeal and resale value.

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4. Instead of a Porch, Consider a Pavilion.

The shallow overhangs and high roof lines of a Tudor home don’t create many opportunities for integrated indoor/outdoor spaces like porches. Instead, consider creating a detached carport or pavilion that can double as an entertaining space when the weather is nice. A detached pavilion allows you a bit of flexibility on design to coordinate with the home without needing to exactly match design details. Just keep the framing simple and rustic to fit with the english country style of the home.

Want more good ideas for making your classic home the envy of the neighborhood?

Join us July 16th for a Historic Home How To Workshop at Old Portland and Architectural. Get the details and RSVP here.

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Client’s Eye View: Creating a Light and Airy Art Studio

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Recently, we checked in with Judy, a recent Arciform client, to see how she is settling in to the art studio we helped her to create above her garage.

Here’s her take on the project.

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Arciform asks: What were your goals for this project?

I had two primary goals; first, to bring light and air into the attic space (which was dark with no functioning windows) and, second, to enlarge the usable space. By creating a large dormer window, which allowed us to raise the ceiling height for the unusable part of the floor space (and increase its size) we effectively doubled the studio. Not only did we install the dormer, we replaced the two non-functioning windows and added three skylights. The studio feels like a tree house! It is a wonderful contrast to the shaded and quiet feel in the rest of the house.

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Arciform asks: What challenges did the project face?

The biggest challenge was how to raise part of the roof without messing up the lines of the house yet still provide enough interior space for one to walk around upright. It worked out well.

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Arciform asks: What is your favorite part of the completed project?

Actually, I have two “favorites.”

We designed a non-traditional dormer that allows windows to open in the same (rather than alternating) direction. Thus, rather than the windows blocking airflow, one can angle the windows to capture breezes and direct them into to studio. In addition, the windows are conceived as one continuous block of windows–without dividing elements–so that when they are open nothing blocks the air or view.

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We also designed a clever way to add usable vertical surfaces to a studio with virtually no wall space, Between the old and new parts of the studio are a row of wood columns (about 30″ apart) that support the roof. We created a series of removable panels that can be inserted between each pair of supports. One side of each panel is cork, the other is whiteboard.

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Arciform asks: Tell us about the experience of working with Arciform.

They were great. They quickly understood my intentions and solved the most critical problem, maintaining the roof line. My project manager worked out the details of the panel concept and “made it work.” The dormers are truly beautiful. Building them this way was a first for us all. It took work to get the details right–particularly because I also wanted screens!

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I appreciate Arciform’s creativity and willingness to work with me on whatever hair brained idea I have.

We loved working on this unique project with Judy and we look forward to seeing what intriguing artistic projects she creates in the space!

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