two story home addition washington dc

Home Addition Plans: What Are Your Options?

Home Addition Plans: Exploring the Most Practical Options

tudor style home addition chevy chase md
The Tudor style of this two story addition in Chevy Chase mimics the architectural style of the main house.

The kitchen isn’t big enough. Your clothes won’t fit in the closet. The wait time outside the upstairs bathroom isn’t as bad as the wait at Union Station Starbucks every morning, but…. it isn’t good either. So, would you like some home addition ideas? Let’s explore three popular, practical, home addition plans.

Zoning Regulations for Home Additions in DC & Maryland

Making a decision about the best way to add space to your home must be rooted in financial considerations, common sense, and a pesky set of rules known as setbacks. Zoning regulations in Washington D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland set strict limits on building height and total lot coverage. Rules vary depending on the neighborhood and the year it was built, so depending on where you live, you may be legally forbidden to go up or out. Montgomery County also has additional regulations governing tree canopy protection and storm water management for new home additions.

Once you’ve decided to move forward with your addition, it will be helpful to have a copy of your plat when you meet with your remodeler. An experienced home remodeler will be able to tell, at a glance, whether there is enough room on your property to build the addition you desire. With a green light on enough space, let’s explore the options: popping up, bumping out, and digging down.

Home Addition Plan 1: Popping Up

If you live in a ranch style home you have options for spacious living. Raising the roof allows for cathedral ceilings and clerestory windows to bring in additional light. Reconfiguring the roof structure and redistributing the its weight, allows you to open up interior space by removing walls. This ranch home makeover in McLean Virginia is a good example of how popping up allows you to change the look of your home on the exterior.

ranch home pop up addition mclean va
For the re-invention of this (former) McLean Virginia ranch home, the roof was torn off and exterior walls raised up to create nine foot high ceilings throughout a completely reconfigured floor plan.

Ranch home structure lends itself to many configurations besides the straight-forward roof raise: see 1,736 photos of ranch home pop up additions courtesy of Houzz.com.

If you live in a two-story house, popping up and over an existing structure such as a porch or family room, could give you the coveted walk-in closet or master bath you’ve always dreamed about, or it can help you capture under-utilized attic space. Before you begin any addition project it is beneficial to have a site survey done by an architect or professional engineer.

Home Addition Plan 2: Bumping Out

The bump out is still the king of home additions. Bumping out the front can net you a new living room or more hospitable foyer. Bumping out the side of your house can add an outdoor porch or  expanded kitchen.

dining room addition AU Park DC
A side addition (adjacent to the kitchen) made made the perfect setting for this dining room which overlooks a lush rear yard.

Coming off the back of the house permits you to add not one, but two stories of extra living space. A well-executed home addition is an investment that can also dramatically improve your home’s flow because adding on gives you the opportunity to rethink the existing interior layout of your home. And as we know from conversations with interior designers – there is nothing more important than having good flow on the main living levels.

two story home addition bethesda md
This Washington DC two-story addition made space for a spacious kitchen, family room, morning room and luxury master bath.

Home Addition Plan 3: Digging Down

In many cases, basements represent the low-hanging fruit of home remodeling. The spaces are already insulated by the earth, which is about the best insulation you can have for staying warmer in winter and cooler in summer. If you’re lucky enough to have windows in the basement you already have a source of natural light. And, if the basement doesn’t leak, you’re practically home free to remodel the downstairs.

bethesda maryland basement renovation
This Bethesda “gentleman’s play room” features built in shelving for his vintage vinyl collection and climate controlled closet for wine and cigar storage.

Many basements have low ceilings and that can be a problem because building codes in D.C. and Maryland set the minimum finished floor to ceiling height at seven feet. A renovation can add ceiling height by digging down into the basement floor, which requires underpinning the foundation of the house. What that means is: the contractor will tear out the existing concrete slab, excavate, as much as 18 inches, below the the foundation walls, underpin them with poured concrete structural supports, and then pour a new concrete floor.

The good news about basement renovations is they provide all kinds of possibilities such as:

  • In-law suites
  • Home theaters
  • Craft spaces
  • Game rooms
  • Exercise rooms
  • Bars
  • Wine cellar

Planning an addition to your home can be fun. A great design build team will help you to imagine all the possibilities. They will make you feel at ease as they maneuver through all the technical and structural details you don’t really want to know about.

Want to explore your home addition plans and options with experts in Washington DC and Montgomery County Maryland? Contact the design build specialists at Gilday Renovations.

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