If you’re looking at creating more space in your current home, you may want to consider an addition.  Make a list of what you problems you’d like the space to solve, what you’d like to include in the addition and your overall goals for the project with regard to time and money.   Once you have this handy list, sitting down with a skilled contractor can help you prioritize and develop a firm plan for your undertaking.

Before you build, you should look into the legal restrictions of what can be built on the property. Most cities have setback restrictions that govern how close a structure can be built to property lines, height restrictions, building area ratios, design covenants, and historic-district preservation ordinances.  Your contractor should have a list of numbers and groups that you’ll need to contact. 

When planning, remember that it’s not necessary to make huge additions to see a significant change. As you plan, consider stealing space from adjacent closets or hallways to keep your addition at a modest size. In the kitchen, a small breakfast nook only requires a few feet of space, yet it can transform the entire kitchen.

Keep the original design and materials of your space in mind as you plan.  Using the same woods and materials can help bring a cohesive look to your addition.   If it isn’t possible to map to the original design, choose materials of the same vintage and tonal range but with slightly different textures, for example, creates a pleasing harmony that respects the old while setting off the new.

Along with the keeping true to the original materials, remember that you’re addition should be in scale with the overall house itself.  You don’t want your new master suite to look like the addition that ate the house. Nor do you want to add a mudroom so small that it looks more like a toolshed than an entrance. Keep things in proportion.

With an initial idea in mind, working alongside a trusted contractor, you can review all aspects of the coming project.   Detailing materials, timeline and costs at the outset will help keep the project on track and free of any major “surprises”.