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Silver Contributor
New2BA
Posts: 440
Registered: ‎05-14-2012
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Addition stories?

...like to take a break from bubble-talk?:smileyhappy:

 

Wondering if anyone has experience with building an addition, or thinking about it and wants to share what they've gleaned from the process (from the idea stage to plans and construction to living with it).  I've read that it's an expensive endeavor, but I'd still like to consider it if there are enough encouraging stories out there to learn from.  On the other hand, if you've completed a project and have regrets, that would be good to know too...

Super Contributor
Meguro
Posts: 318
Registered: ‎11-30-2009
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Re: Addition stories?

[ Edited ]

We did with our property and no regrets.  Totally gutted 3/4 of the interior home and added 500 sq foot.  The work was completed almost 15 years ago though.

Silver Contributor
New2BA
Posts: 440
Registered: ‎05-14-2012
0

Re: Addition stories?


Meguro wrote:

We did with our property and no regrets.  Totally gutted 3/4 of the interior home and added 500 sq foot.  The work was completed almost 15 years ago though.


Sounds quite extensive, can I ask how you got started?  First to the Bldg Dept, architect, or..?  How much time did it take?  

Platinum Regular Contributor
tjh
Posts: 4,823
Registered: ‎01-09-2010

Re: Addition stories?

I've never personally done it.  I've done many major repairs and home improvements.  But never a full addition.  That's because I could never cost justify doing so and because I've never owned a house,  until now, that I liked enough to be willing do do an addition just for my own sake, even if I could never get the investment back should I sell.

 

But, I'm acquainted with many who have.  In fact, I worked on a few of those projects myself.  What are friends for? :smileyfrustrated:

 

There are two things I've gleaned from my observation and involvement at arms length:

 

1) Major home projects such as additions are stressful and can be the tipping point in a divorce.  If one has personal weaknesses:  financial issues, family issues, marital issues, the stress of an addition is likely to be "the straw that broke the camel's back".

 

2) In the majority of cases I've know where people decided to "add on" rather than sell and buy another place that better met their needs,  they ended up selling and moving anyway within three years after the addition is completed.  I have no idea of why that happens.  My guess is that additions are compromises and often don't live up to expectations while a new abode comes without the personal compromise baggage for the new owners.  The old one carries some level of remorse or dissatisfaction while a new on carries more enthusiasm and possibility.

 

And, I'll add, I looked at a lot of homes in my search that had additions.  Most were not well done as far as flow and functionality.  Most were obviously additions and not part of the original construction.  This was often obvious both outside and in.  In too many cases, these additions added square footage but not functionality, utility or even "wow" factor to the home.  This really drove home for me the need for a well versed designer or architect to be involved when considering an addition. In fact, it only supported my assumptions that, in most cases one is better off trading up than adding on.

Platinum Regular Contributor
elt1
Posts: 4,915
Registered: ‎01-04-2010

Re: Addition stories?

I have designed 100's of second story additions.....My business ended with 2000UBC....basically it requires a total rebuild of the lower floor....in 1990 we could build a second story for $100/sf...New construction was $60-$100/sf...Now new construction is $200-250/sf for builder grade....Second story additions are $500/sf...makes more sense to tear down and build new...so much for green building requirements...building departments consider it there job to make construction as expensive as possible.

Platinum Regular Contributor
tjh
Posts: 4,823
Registered: ‎01-09-2010
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Re: Addition stories?


elt1 wrote:

I have designed 100's of second story additions.....My business ended with 2000UBC....basically it requires a total rebuild of the lower floor....


elt1:

 

What specifically within the UBC was it that caused this?  Was it seismic requirements or, something else?

 

I know in the case of our commercial building (at my employer), it was considerably cheaper to go out than up.  And, to avoid having to rebuild the entire, 20  year old building to meet new seismic standards - wood framed, flat roof - as part of the project, our designers skirted the upgrade of the old structure requirement by constructing the addition to abut, but not connect, to the old building. 

 

The new building is freestanding, metal post and beam with a poured concrete roof over corrugated steel.  All of the walls end about 4" shy of the old building's exterior walls and that gap was filled with a gigantic, flexible gasket that fills the void.  I don't remember how the roof abutment was done.  But, in seven years, we've never had a leak or a problem.

 

It's actually pretty ingenious and just shows that regulations, no matter how well intended, end up skewed to reality over the long run. 

 

I recently saw a piece in an white paper about some new governmental regulatory agency that stated that the generally accepted academic measurement for the time from when a new regulatory body was created until that body would become dominated by the vested interests that it was created to regulate and thus, render the regulations as ineffective is seven years.

 

That sounds about right from my own experience.  First, a "problem" is defined by a political body and regulatory measures are proposed.  Those that would be regulated predict catastrophe and fight the new regs with all they have.  After a year or two of the new regs being enacted anyway, the opposition dies down, the regulated bodies began to figure out how to deal with the new regs, and the major players start buying off politicians or lobbying for even more regs that they've figured out how to work around, to gain a competitive advantage over everyone else.  This is how the "big guys" get in bed with the government in an effort to eliminate the "small guys" all the time.

 

You see this frequently with calls for trade barriers with claims of "dumping" against some foreign entity.

 

It also stifles or even outright kills, innovation.

Platinum Regular Contributor
elt1
Posts: 4,915
Registered: ‎01-04-2010
0

Re: Addition stories?

the UBC is written by the ICBO....building officials, whosenobly concern is making more work for themselves.

Silver Contributor
WCreeker
Posts: 434
Registered: ‎03-30-2011
0

Re: Addition stories?

I'm adding a bedroom and bath right now.  The house is going from a 3 /2, 1600ish sq. ft. to a 4/3, 2000ish sq ft.  The new bath is a jack and jill bath between two kids rooms.

 

So far it's going fine.  Cost more than I hoped, but I think we'll do O.K. financially on it, just judging by what similar houses are going for.  It is hard to find a 4 bedroom house in the older sections of Walnut Creek.

 

We have a friend who is an architect, so he is who we went to.  We were initially only going to add a bedroom, but he came up with this plan and we loved it.

Gold Super Contributor
TerriM
Posts: 3,322
Registered: ‎05-02-2011
0

Re: Addition stories?

[ Edited ]

I have never done an addition (because I don't own a home), but when I visit homes, I see a lot of them.  The additions that seem to work the best from a design standpoint are ones where they took a 2-1 with LR at front, and DR in middle-back, kitchen on the side back and converted the center dining room into a stairwell and added two stories at the back--bedrooms on the top story and a family/DR room underneath.  I was extremely pleased with one of these--it looked so nice to have  a living room/greeting room at the front. with the family/dining room off of the kitchen opening up to the yard.  Just really well done.   Apparently these people had intended to put a Master over the old house but ran out of money:

 

http://www.redfin.com/CA/Redwood-City/716-Windsor-Way-94061/home/1071519

 

This one is the WORST additions I've seen.  They added on a HUGE room to the side of the house and made it a 2 car garage at front, kitchen, DR/LR at back, and then, I think, converted the old kitchen to a bathoom and left this thing of a room in the middle of the house which had no purpose at all.  Too small to be a study or anything, too many doors to put furniture in there. They also, I believe, walled off the original 1 car garage and made it an oversized laundry room.  I spent a good 20 minutes just trying to wrap my brain around what they'd done.  The worst part is that the outside molding on the addition was completely different fron the rest of the house in the back.  It looked SO BAD.  I really can't tell you how much I disliked this home.

 

http://www.redfin.com/CA/Redwood-City/1206-Gordon-St-94061/home/1037250

 

 

I saw another where they added a second story to the house--two "Masters" (I put that in quotes as they didn't put a shower into the second master, just a half bath).  I don't think I like that as much unless you have three kids you're intending to bunk in one room upstairs.  I'd rather have two smaller bedrooms and one master upstairs.  They had pictures removed, but you could look at it from google maps:

 

http://www.redfin.com/CA/Redwood-City/1125-Virginia-Ave-94061/home/1784361

 

This eichler had the fourth bedroom added at the front--really lovely room with fireplace and windows.  While I don't think the layout suffered, the fact that there were essentially 5 access points to the living room (4th BR, back hallway, kitchen, garage door, door to the outside) really limits where you can put the furniture, plus they had to add a second heating system for the 4th BR.

 

http://www.redfin.com/CA/Redwood-City/420-Northumberland-Ave-94061/home/842998

 

 

The biggest problem I've seen is when the addition foundation sinks and separates from the front 2/1.  The layout of this one was pretty screwy as well with it being obvious that the front 2BR was completely different from the back, but you don't really think about it because the addition is so gorgeous.  But totally different styles.  I think that it would drive me nuts to go from crappy 2-1 to gorgeous glass DR every day:

 

http://www.redfin.com/CA/Redwood-City/417-Hillcrest-Dr-94062/home/1742275

 

This 2/1 had two BR added towards the back without the layout suffering at all.  I'm pretty sure the way we figured out it had been added to was that the floor wood was different in the back two BR, but otherwise, I might not have even known:

 

http://www.redfin.com/CA/Redwood-City/327-B-St-94063/home/1036467

 

I've also seen a nice addition over a garage, although the home was already split-level I think--the garage was lower, so it worked well.  It was a single family room.  I don't think the layout really suffered much:

 

(Edit: Had wrong McGarvey home)

 

This one, I'm pretty sure the guy just added the whole second floor.  If you entered off of the garage, then it's ok--because the stairwell is in the back LR off of the garage, however, if you enter through the front, then to get to the upstairs bedrooms, you have to go past the billiard room, through the DR, the kitchen and then past the couch/TV in the LR and then upstairs.  not good.

 

http://www.redfin.com/CA/Redwood-City/624-Flynn-Ave-94063/home/2049552

 

 

 

This one they added a fourth bedroom off of the kitchen, but the layout is fine anyways.  They also had a three car garage and storage room so  the 4th BR is only halfway through the house anyways.  :smileyhappy:

 

http://www.redfin.com/CA/Redwood-City/1152-Fairview-Ave-94061/home/1060195

 

 

Wow.... I've got even more, but I'll stop boring you :smileyhappy:

Platinum Regular Contributor
elt1
Posts: 4,915
Registered: ‎01-04-2010
0

Re: Addition stories?


WCreeker wrote:

I'm adding a bedroom and bath right now.  The house is going from a 3 /2, 1600ish sq. ft. to a 4/3, 2000ish sq ft.  The new bath is a jack and jill bath between two kids rooms.

 

So far it's going fine.  Cost more than I hoped, but I think we'll do O.K. financially on it, just judging by what similar houses are going for.  It is hard to find a 4 bedroom house in the older sections of Walnut Creek.

 

We have a friend who is an architect, so he is who we went to.  We were initially only going to add a bedroom, but he came up with this plan and we loved it.


building out? not up? Costs are half