• Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • Video: Install a Fence
    Video: Install a Fence
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Gallery: Custom Flooring
    Gallery: Custom Flooring
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Design Inspiration
    Design Inspiration
  • Solid Deck-Framing Advice
    Solid Deck-Framing Advice
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Slideshow: 12 Stunning Remodels
    Slideshow: 12 Stunning Remodels
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
Pin It

The Upside-Down House

Moving the main living spaces into a second-story addition reenergized a house for a family of four

When author and architect Michael Roehr and his family returned from a yearlong sabbatical in Mexico, they decided it was time to reinvent their frumpy bungalow into the kind of open, light-filled space they had enjoyed in San Miguel de Allende. Among their goals were another bedroom for the kids and a larger kitchen. But they also wanted to save money. The solution? Move the living spaces upstairs into a spacious, straightforward box built on top of the existing house, and create a third bedroom downstairs with the surgical insertion of a few walls. The large, open second-floor space accommodates living, dining, kitchen, and office, all revolving around an enclosed half-bath. Clerestory windows wrap three sides of the structure, providing light and a convective chimney effect that cools the house.

Magazine extra: Want to see how this house came together? Roehr and his wife, Elisa Bernick, kept a photo journal documenting their home's transformation. Watch the slide show "Remodeling from the Top Down."

The Upside-Down House

Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this article and over a thousand more

Learn More