Just like we outgrow clothes, sometimes we outgrow the houses we live in. When moving isn’t an option, think about adding an extension to your home to create the extra space you need. Extensions can be designed in a number of ways and can serve as anything from playrooms to garages. The only limitations to building an extension are ideas and a budget.
Before building an extension, understand how it will affect the value of your house. If you are an avid gardener, knowing that the extension will subtract area from your garden may create a dilemma. Secondly, each area has a ceiling limit to how much a house in that area will be worth. Sometimes, it is a better idea to move into a new house than spend money building an extension that will not add to the resale value of your property.
Like everything in design and architecture, understand the current home extension trends and how they will match your existing structure. Building an extension requires the same amount of effort as building a house. In most cases, you will need to consult an architect or structural engineer on the possibilities of breaking walls, laying plumbing lines etc.
Lastly, don’t build an extension as just another room. An extension must always be built with a purpose in mind or it will become a dumping ground. This will help decide the structure of the room as well as its layout. Here are the six most common types of extension rooms.
Living room extensions can be designed in a number of ways. If your house is on a slope, you could consider a split level living room with steps leading down to a sunken extension. By building an extension with glass walls, your living room could have both an indoor as well as outdoor vibe. Instead of simply using a house extension to enlarge your existing living room, you could also use this to create a separate second living room. This room extension can also act as an informal den or lounge area.
Simply put, a shed is an outdoor room. A shed can be put to many uses, including a home office, a gym, a craft studio, or simply a storage space. Sheds are usually built as home extensions towards the rear side of the house and may or may not be connected to the main house. In most places, you do not need to ask municipal offices or local authorities for permission to build a small shed, unless you are adding plumbing lines and sewage lines to the extension.
A summer room gives you the much needed extra space in a house and also allows you to utilize your garden space more often. Summer rooms are designed as a house extension that integrates the house with the garden. This room is usually used for entertaining guests or relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. A summer room can be built in any size and shape with brick and mortar or even pre-fabricated materials. Glass walls are also commonly seen in summer room designs, unless your summer room also serves as an extra guest room.
Opening up a kitchen by creating a room extension will not only give you more room to cook, but to dine and entertain as well. Kitchen extensions are generally away from the main entrance and towards the rear side of the house. Breakfast tables and kitchen islands are features commonly seen in kitchen extensions. Kitchen extensions may also feature glass folding doors that allow easy access to the garden for alfresco dining.
In this picture, Maria Christina Rinaldi Arquitetos, architects from Porto Alegre, Brazil, have turned an extension into a cozy, spacious kitchen.
Today, with most houses having more than one car, a large garage is a must have. A garage is a place not only to park your vehicle, but also to store seasonal products like Christmas decorations, summer picnic kits etc. If your current garage seems to be overflowing, consider extending it to give yourself more space. The extra place can also be used to create a man’s den with a pool table and a bar or a workspace with a large table.
A porch is defined as a house extension that has a roof but may or may not have walls. Porches are usually built as an extension to the front of the house, but these may also be built behind the house. Porches can also be built as wraparound porches that as the name suggest are built as extensions to all the sides of a house. There are no limitations to the size or type of porch except those dictated by your budget and style preferences. Along with increased carpet area, a porch also enhances your home’s curb appeal and adds to its market value.
When connecting an extension to the existing structure of the house, it isn’t necessary to build the extension using the same materials as the house. Along with brick and mortar, glass and wood are also common materials used to build house extensions. However, there are a few points to consider when connecting an extension to the house. For all house extensions, respect the character of the house and ensure that your extension matches it in overall style and does not detract from the house’s appearance. For most house extensions, it is advisable for the extension roof to reflect the roof shape and slope of the main house. Designers also often advise house extensions to have a lower height than the main house so as to not obstruct the path of natural light.
Depending on the type of house extension and its size, you may be required to obtain a permit from the local authorities before beginning construction. This is especially necessary when the house extension is not directly connected to the main house. Each area has its own rules for building house extensions and hence, it is best to consult the local civic authorities while designing your house extension.
If you want to read more about home extensions, check out Home Extensions 101.