A new second story on independent footings straddles an old house.
Synopsis: This is a description of a project to add a 600-sq. ft. addition to a small bungalow, giving a work-at-home lawyer more office space and room for the family. It required the reinforcement of the existing foundation with larger concrete footings and piers.
In my neighborhood, second-story additions are sprouting like weeds. The reason is simple enough: few people can afford to buy a larger home in today’s inflated housing market, and adding a few rooms to a small house can be a solution for the growing family with limited funds. Usually, the easiest way to expand a home is horizontally, but many houses, especially in cities, are on tiny lots that won’t allow spreading out. Building up is the only other way to go.
My client, Tom Rankin, faced a similar dilemma in deciding where to add about 600 sq. ft. of living space to his pre-war bungalow. As a self-employed lawyer with his office at home, Tom needed more space for both work and family. His house had a box-car floor plan that suited the shape of its urban lot. Adding to the back end was out of the question because it would further accentuate the long, narrow plan and severely complicate the traffic pattern within the house. Equally important, such an addition would have engulfed the small backyard.
It was clear that a second floor would be the best solution to Tom’s remodeling problem, as well as a thoughtful response to the design of the existing house and its place in the neighborhood. We decided to extend the original one-room second story over the entire first floor to gain space for a bedroom, a study, a guest room and a bath. The extension would have an exposed ridge beam, skylights and a cathedral ceiling throughout,…