Two Home Offices Double the Utility of a Bungalow
A new home for a young family includes two home offices under one familiar roof.
Synopsis: After author Kurt Skrudland and his wife found a house in suburban Chicago that fit all of their criteria for location, they learned that remodeling to accommodate their need for two home offices and their desire for energy efficiency would cost more than tearing down the house and starting new. When they came up with a plan for a new house on the same lot, they decided to keep the most compelling feature of the old house: It had a style they loved and that fit the context of the historic neighborhood. Fitting everything into the house that they wanted, however, meant that many areas would have to do double duty, such as the home office that is also a guest bedroom, and the mudroom and foyer that are shared by the formal front entrance and the garage entrance. Although Skrudland and his wife both work in their home, they have little interest in working on their home, so they used low-maintenance exterior materials where possible.
There aren’t many vacant lots in the suburbs of Chicago, so it’s not uncommon for clients to ask me to evaluate a property with an existing house as the site for a new home. Often, people are willing to tear down an old house as long as the property is in the right neighborhood. Still, I work hard to find a reason to remodel. It can be something as simple as a historic trim detail, a few rooms that can remain, or the irresistible character of the exterior.
It was no different when the day came for my wife and me to move out of Chicago proper. The right neighborhood and property were more important to us than the existing home. We wanted to be within walking distance of shops and…