There are many reasons why a homeowner would consider a home addition or a complete home rebuild. Families grow, and as their needs change, so does their living space. In other cases, family members may leave for college, and some areas that were solely their children’s property may need a redesign to meet the parent’s needs. Other people choose to completely remodel their existing home by adding a second story, to increase their property’s value. As you can see, the reasons to renovate your house are many, and they cannot be narrowed down to just one. Our objective here is not to merely name the reasons why you may choose to have an addition to your home but to highlight the don’ts that apply to everyone when considering these types of renovations.
Before we immerse ourselves in the best practices and those you want to avoid when embarking your family on such an adventure, we are going to highlight the most popular types of additions.
1. Second Story Addition: The title itself is self-explicable; however, this is the most complex type of home addition. A second story home addition is an excellent resource when you want to increase your home’s square footage without detriment to your lot’s size. To correctly add a second story your design and construction team has to consider in detail the work that that your foundation and framing will have to endure to sustain a whole new floor.
Second story additions are also a terrific way to increase your home’s value while also, pending on your location, provide a better view of your surroundings.
2. Room Addition: “Simple” room additions, though no addition in itself is a simple project, refers to adding another room to your home. Different options for home additions could be a playroom, a guest room, extending the area of an existing room, a new office space or creating a whole new place in the exterior of your house, such as an outdoor kitchen or an ADU.
3. Bathroom Addition: Though the area of a bathroom is usually much smaller than that of other rooms, its functionality requires a complex foundation and water lines work done. The intricacy and cost of the project will vary depending on the type of bathroom – master, guest, and half- and quality of finish materials. However, bathroom additions are a great option to give your house an upgrade.
4. Kitchen Additions: A kitchen addition can be anything from adding a whole new kitchen to just a small bump-out. The functionality of a kitchen and the many appliances that adorn this vital area, makes this type of addition more complex than those of other rooms. Gas lines, electric lines, and water lines play a pivotal role. We have previously worked on projects where we added space to the existing kitchen, completely remodel a kitchen and in others, we added a whole new outdoor kitchen.
To summarize, the scope of the various renovations that you can include in your home is almost endless. We have briefly mentioned some, but the types of additions are as limitless as your imagination. Want a wine cellar? Or a home theater? What about adding space to your living room to open up your existing living area?
Now let’s take a look at the most popular mistakes.
9 Most Popular Mistakes
1. Mismatching your home addition floorplan to your lifestyle
At Levi, we are firm proponents that living areas must match your lifestyle. Design is only useful in as much as it incorporates people’s needs and simplifies the livability of the house. In the end, design is for people, and not the other way around. How can you mismatch your floorplan or room addition to your lifestyle?
Let’s say that you love hosting different gatherings at your home where different guests are always welcome. In this case, you don’t want the guest bathroom to be far from the main areas where you will be entertaining your friends. In the Los Angeles weather, where outdoor activities are a pleasant must, you don’t want your guests having to access your pool or deck through a private room, do you?
If you have a large family for example, and you work from home, you may want your office addition to be as far away as possible form the playroom and the kid’s bedrooms. To achieve this type of lifestyle floorplan, you must have an experienced designer that can adequately conceptualize your family’s needs into a functional and attractive design.
2. Prioritizing form over function!
The great danger in all forms of design is that it usually looks lovely on paper, but when you make it real, if it is not functional, you have wasted your money. How does this apply to a home addition?
You want to modify your existing floor plan by adding a master suite with an outdoor access to your deck, so you consider that the best way to do so is by including the new bedroom by your kitchen, since it will give you direct access to your pool. However, your kitchen is usually the busiest place on your home, and you are very fond of hosting social gatherings at your house. For these gatherings, your kitchen will play an essential role. This means that people will be very close to your new master bedroom. An example how you would prefer function over form, is have that same master suite be added at the other end of your home, which would allow more privacy, especially when your kids or friends are in the kitchen.
Many Architects and designers are incredibly talented, but the truth is that they don’t live with you. They don’t know your family’s living habits. You must make this very clear during the planning stage. Let’s say you are adding an exterior kitchen, and you love to host people for drinks, and have many utensils and various mixers and beverages; you want to make sure your outside bar will accommodate.
A classic example is the family room. You have three children, and you have just finished a minimalist contemporary room addition and are left wondering: where are my kids going to put their toys? Always design based on your family!
3. Allocating space poorly.
We have encountered this many times. Families prioritize their corridors as a necessary space to transition from different rooms and living spaces. The result is a dark labyrinth with little to no space. Sometimes hallways are essential but don’t abuse them. Open floorplans open up your living space allowing light to travel swiftly through your home and making your rooms larger. Always aim to optimize your area, there is nothing like living in an open house.
4. Improvise your home addition planning.
Planning your home addition as you go is an unfortunate yet widespread mistake. We are always eager to modify our home, the idea of a new more modern living space is appealing, rushing into it, is, however, a recipe for disaster. So many times a complete home remodel is both planned and executed in stages. And though the construction phase could be divided into stages, the planning phase should never follow this erroneous protocol. Always consider your home renovation or addition as a whole.
5. Ignoring your existing infrastructure.
Another common mistake when adding a new room or a second story to your house is ignoring your existing infrastructure. This mistake especially applies when moving around bathrooms or kitchen areas. Moving away these areas from your drain may signify a considerable increase in the cost of the remodel or timeframes. Structural walls and drainage pipes must go through a critical analysis before any room addition.
Always seek to work with your existing environment, doing so will optimize cost and times of execution.
6. Not considering your furniture in the overall design.
Any room is much more than just walls, floors, windows, and paint. A living area is made liveable by the furniture that complements the living space. Whether you are changing your furniture or not is indifferent to the design plan. Consider an open floor plan, for example, in it, you will have fewer walls to hang your artwork and to place furniture against a wall. To avoid these types of problems, always scale your furniture in your design drawings, doing so will avoid unnecessary costs of replacing perfectly fit furniture.
7. Hiring different teams for one project.
Out of all the mistakes we highlighted before, this could be the most common. If you consider your home addition project as a whole, you will recognize the importance of all the parts involved to have an adequate communication flow. It is always too familiar to find an architecture firm, a design firm and a contractor to work on one project; this is not to demerit the professionalism or the talent of the parts involved. But as it is in any business, it is always better to have one team with the required expertise to tackle projects of such magnitude.
Another example of this common mistake is reflected when you hire different contractors for different parts of the project. Doing so will make it very difficult when allocating responsibilities. Whos is responsible for what? Say one is working on the foundation, while another is going to do all the framing. The result is that there are errors on both, is it because the foundation was not properly restructured? Was it the framing? This could pose a bigger problem and most contractors may not work with you once they find out you want to break it down.
Following this advice will make for a more smooth project and will reduce the problem that arises due to miscommunication or lack of compatibility. Levi Construction is a design/build firm that counts with architects, engineers, designer and contractors that will simplify and optimize your process and result. Sometimes, a designer won’t be as familiar with the fluctuating costs of finished materials. As a result, you will find your total cost increase by a hefty percentage. Other times, contractors that are not too familiar with a designer’s eye for detail, will not be as efficient in producing the original design, and so on. Avoid this mistake by hiring a one-stop firm that will handle all your needs.
8. Supervising your project.
You want your project to look as perfect as possible and we know how tempting it can be to want to micromanage every aspect of the home addition project. However, are you fit to do so? The sincere answer is, no. Every construction project has many nuances that are specific to different expertise. Experienced contractors are capable of managing the whole scope of the project. This doesn’t mean that you should be absent from your project, that is ludacris. Your supervision is necessary especially in the design phase and during the process of purchasing the different finished materials.
You have to consider permits, design, demolition, foundation, wall restructuring, machinery, payrolls, final products, etc. In conclusion, there are many details to be on top of, and even with your best intention, you need a professional to oversee and guide through the whole process. If you neglect this advice, you will more than likely incur extra costs and extra headaches.
9. Only getting one quote.
Just as you would shop around for different homes before purchasing one, you should also scout around for various contractors and construction firms before hiring one. Ask for references of their previous work, and have them explain the process thoroughly to add that new room to your home. Ask questions that will evidence their expertise, and don’t base this decision on emotion.
If you can visit some of their current jobs, do so, this will give you a general idea of the types of clients they work with and their manner of work. If you find a quote that is drastically lower than the average, don’t go for it. They either don’t value their work, or they are desperate to close you as a client, both attributes that you want to avoid when you are about to spend thousands of dollars on your home. Don’t take this decision lightly!
We have briefly mentioned nine mistakes when doing a room/second story addition to your home, these are only a few of them, and we would love to consult you further on your project. If you can avoid some of these regular errors, you will have your dream become a living reality. For more information on your current plan, you can schedule a free consultation with one of our experts or continue learning about the complete home rebuild process and room additions in our blog. Happy construction!