- Understand local zoning laws. Confirm property lines and research local building regulations to determine whether and how you’re allowed to expand. Other logistical considerations may include neighbors' wishes and the positioning of trees, power lines, utility poles and/or underground fuel and septic tanks. An experienced contractor can identify any red flags and help navigate challenges.
- Define your best possible usage of the space. You may need a new bedroom to accommodate your growing family, but could an addition also serve other functions? While you’re in renovation mode you may wish to incorporate a second story, another bath, additional storage space, a private deck or French doors leading to a walk-out patio.
- Create a practical but pleasing floor plan. Consider traffic patterns and imagine how you, your family and your guests will interact within the space. Be sure the layout complements the look of your home both inside and outside. Note: In some cases you may decide to create more than one addition and in others you may opt to build up rather than out.
- Window shop for ideas. Start by browsing online and/or perusing decorating magazines to narrow down what you like in terms of style and décor. You may find great ideas and products of which you were unaware. Identify features that may call for a financial splurge, but also list those that may be of less importance if you need to narrow down your budget.
- Match materials. Plan to closely align the materials and finishes of your addition with those of your existing home, or at least aim for the same general feel. “If you were building a new house, or even completely remodeling your entire existing home, you could let your creativity and personal taste lead you in almost any style direction,” advises Oliver Marks on HGTV.com. “But when you're adding onto an existing home, you don't have as much choice.”
Written by Scott Rajavuori on May 8, 2019