If you are considering an addition, a few initial preparation steps include checking any neighborhood covenants, property setback requirements, easements, utilities, and building codes or restrictions. If available, your property plat may provide some useful information and valuable site criteria that may help guide the preliminary process. Obtaining necessary building permits and related inspections, etc. needs to be factored into the building schedule.
Working with a designer or architect could be the most important step in achieving your goals. For an addition, integrating the new footprint, rooflines, and three-dimensional elements with the existing structure can present unique challenges. A well conceived renovation can sometimes cleverly take advantage of borrowed adjacent square footage such as closets, hallways or other underused spaces to create a highly efficient space plan.
The team you choose can ultimately make or break your project. Choose a reputable, experienced, licensed and insured contractor. My motto for some time has been “installation is everything,” because plans, designs, and details may be beautifully conceived and drawn, but skillful construction and execution are critical to the final outcome.
MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL
Usually it’s best to keep your material palette simple. Matching existing materials, colors and surfaces where possible and appropriate is an obvious way of blending in the new construction. Take notice and choose new features such as doors, windows, trim, hardware, and light fixtures to harmonize with the existing elements. On the other hand, an addition may be the perfect opportunity for a simple or more elaborate face lift adding updated elements and details. With careful planning and attention, the blending of old and new can add timeless appeal and value.
Additions and construction in general always have an impact on the site as well as the interior of a home. Heavy equipment and foot traffic may cause significant damage to the existing lawn, landscaping, and trees. Where possible, install barriers around existing trees to prevent root damage and insure sustainability. Depending on the relationship of the addition to existing layout, a landscape re-design may also be in order to incorporate the new construction and to correct existing issues. Pathways and function may be significantly impacted, so it’s a good idea to address the exterior design in the early stages of the project.
THE BIG PICTURE
There are clearly numerous factors to think about when planning any addition or renovation. Consider future maintenance and keep the project manageable. Costs and payback are important, as well as your tolerance level for disruption. Weather can play an unexpected role in the schedule. Plan for future as well as present needs in order to insure project sustainability. In the final analysis, the process and effort will quickly fade in memory when the last piece of furniture is put in place and you can relax and enjoy your new space.
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