Last summer we submitted demo and permit drawings on a remodel project in the Highlands area. The home was originally built in 1927 and was around 906 square feet. The main level was decent and had fairly high ceilings. This is obviously not a Frank Lloyd Wright house. The lower level wasn’t very functional. The rooms were dark and had very low ceilings.
It was a relatively nice house for the neighborhood. Old but in good condition. Even the crazy mechanical room was actually easy to manage.
Now the house has closer to 2400 finished square feet. The basement was dug out a little bit for some more headroom and now has a great bedroom, mechanical space, a typical bath and a large recreation room. The recreation room is in an entirely new basement area so there is even more head room here.
The main floor was opened up considerably since we removed the central bearing wall that is typical in many of these older homes. The old bedroom at the front of the house has been converted into a craft room / guest bedroom. The bath is now functionally laid out and there is a mud room with an adjacent laundry room. A laundry chute brings clothes down quickly from the upper level. The kitchen opens into a large great room with a large glass door that opens onto a side-yard raised patio.
The floor joists for the upper level span the entire width of the home. The upper level has two kids rooms, a shared bath and a large master suite with 5 piece bath and walk-in closet. The stairs are U-shaped with open space in the middle to allow plenty of light to filter down through to the lower level.
The entire upper level has a volume ceiling, also referred to as a cathedral ceiling. This really open things up. At each end of the home we lowered the top plate of the wall and increased the ceiling pitch. Having two plate heights and ceiling pitches created more interest in the bedroom. Kids especially love tucking their beds under a somewhat lower ceiling.
You’ve probably been wondering how the front of the house looks now. Well, fear not, I have an image for you. The house is still a work in progress.
This existing brick portion of the house can still be seen. I think it’s great and adds to the character of the home and neighborhood. That lowered bit of ceiling in the bedrooms serves a dual purpose of reducing the scale of the home. We also stayed with the original craftsman feel to the home and neighborhood with the improvements to the home.
Another great improvement to this home is the high level of insulation that it now has. All the existing exterior walls have been modified so that they have a good level of insulation and all the near areas are jam-packed with high R-value insulation. The windows have all been upgraded to high performance, low U-factor, windows as well. The home will no longer be drafty and I suspect the energy bills will be lower even though the house is larger.