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Help A Reader With Design Suggestions for a Renovation

Rear Angle 1
Rear of home

Well this is pretty cool. A reader is looking to renovate and expand their house and would like your suggestions. This will be a series with before, during and after (another reader series will be coming shortly about a basement dig out and renovation). Following is Part 1:

“My wife and I moved into our Manor Park row house just a little more than a year ago. It had been recently, although less than perfectly renovated. We bought thinking this could be a long term home, rather than a rest stop along the way to something bigger or better. We currently have three good sized bedroom and two full baths. My mother-in-law lives with us, so this is perfect… at least for now. The home is really lacking three things, 1) storage space, 2) a half bath and 3) a third full bath. Given that the size of the house is, in Goldilocks’s verbiage, “just right,” we knew that any additional space would have to come from outside, rather than from found space on the inside. Fortunately our home was built with a 5’x10′ “court off the back of the house. Many rowhouses have this as they allow for a rear exit and necessary windows for rear facing rooms. Our place is simply to enclose this court, gaining 50 sq. ft. of space on each if the three levels. On the basement level, this space will be used as a mudroom and will include a wall of cabinets. One the main level of the home, just off the kitchen, this space will feature an abbreviated mudroom with more cabinets, as well as a small powder room. This space will exit onto a 15’x7′ deck. The upper level of the home is perhaps the most interesting. In order for a room to be considered a bedroom, it must have an egress window. Had we simply used this new space to create a bathroom, one of our bedrooms would have forever been doomed to “office” status. Instead, our architect developed this space into a reading nook/closet annex to the bedroom. We’ll then take 50 sq. ft. from the other side of the bedroom to add in the desired third bath.

After consulting with too many contractors I’ve decided to take this project on myself, hiring out where necessary for things like plumbing, electrical and masonry. At least at the moment, I plan on doing just about everything else. I have a little bit of experience along with a couple of friends and family members with actual experience, so I have people to turn to. The architect and structural engineer we’ve worked with are both friends, so that may come in handy along the way as well.

My wife and I follow your blog regularly and are huge fans of the GDON and other home related posts. It obvious that some of your readers have really excellent taste and all of your readers have an opinion; we’d love to take advantage of it. Basically we’ve read enough “Judging Popups” posts to know that we’d rather hear the criticism now while things are still on paper than after its all been built. We have absolutely no interest in selling our home, but it might be interesting, both for us and for the readership in general, what the benefits of home improvement are to the value of the home.”

Any initial thoughts on the expansion?  Following are the plans:

draft 1

draft 2

draft 3

draft 4

draft 5

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