Make the Most of a Small Addition
A first-floor master suite maintains the scale of the house and creates a courtyard out back.
Synopsis: Architect Lynn Hopkins details the first-floor addition she and her husband (also an architect) added in order to accommodate the needs of their growing family. The addition includes a master suite, bathroom, reading room, and a walk-through home office that makes great use of the hallway space. The author also expounds on additions in general, pointing out the benefits of adding a first-floor addition instead of an entire second floor, which is more costly and involves a much more disruptive process.
It’s unusual for anyone to buy a house and not have a renovation lurking in the back of their mind. After all, it’s the potential in a house that attracts many of us. In our case, my husband and I started with a little Cape in a nice neighborhood. Because we’re both architects, we assumed (perhaps a bit arrogantly) that we could fix anything about the house except its location. During the past nine years, we’ve expanded and improved our home as our needs have changed and our budget has allowed. Recently, we decided to add a master suite.
How much space do you really need?
Clients with Capes or single-story houses often come to me convinced they must add an entire second floor onto their home to accommodate their growing families. Building up can be a reasonable solution for those needing more space, if the children are young or if site restrictions demand it. However, a much smaller (and less expensive) first-floor addition often can satisfy these requirements. Additions at grade tend to be much less disruptive to the functioning of the original house as well because construction can be isolated in the new wing.
For the four of us, two small bedrooms and a three-quarter bath upstairs were quickly becoming too cramped.…