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Friday, March 18, 2011

Adding Extra Living Space to Your House

Adding Extra Living Space to Your House

Home improvement expert Danny Lipford gives you some ideas for taking rooms, like the basement or attic of your house, and turning them into living spaces.

Let's face it, families grow, our needs change and we just need more room but what if a new home isn't in the budget or you just don't want to move. Well that's a story I've heard hundred of times over the years as a remodeling contractor. But to make matters worst, there isn't always room or money to build own to your home. But often you'll find that space that's already available. It just needs to be converted to usable living space. If you start looking around your home, you might be amazed that the options you'll find to create more room.

One of the most obvious and popular options is the basement because it's completely enclosed and it's usually pretty accessible. But there are some challenges to a basement conversion and one of them is all the mechanical elements like plumbing and dock work which are routed through the space. They can break up the area making it barely usable but with a little creativity, you can find walls and ceilings around them and even use those as opportunities to make the living space more interesting. And because they're mostly or completely below ground, natural light is hard to come by in the basement.

And in some cases, building codes will require you to add windows or increase the size of the existing windows in order to create an escape route. But done right, a basement conversion can add some very cool extra space to your home.

Now if looking down doesn't work, how about looking up. Many homes have lots of unused attic space that's perfect for an additional room or two. Here access is usually an issue since a folding ladder maybe the only way to get to and from the attic. But adding a landing and a turn to a staircase is a great way to squeeze it in to an existing space.

The layout of an attic room is very important because any bracing for the roof that is removed must be handled by the new walls you build. And when you're adding attic space, dormers are the best way to letting more light, plus you get a lot of extra square footage as well. If the basement or an attic conversion won't work, how about a garage or carport?—If you don't mind parking the car out in the weather, you can grab a lot of space this way and do it pretty inexpensively. But you don't want a garage conversion that looks like a garage conversion. So it's important to do a few things like match the exterior materials to the house, disguise the old garage door opening, and cut back the driveway where it used to be.

Now these areas like basements are ideal for play rooms because they all for box space that can be set aside for a single purpose. But one of my favorite garage related renovations is a sun room I saw recently. Instead of converting the garage itself, the home owner's filled in the space between the house and a detached garage. By building two walls and a roof covered with glass panels that created a wonderful bright space that must be an ideal place to enjoy the sun on a cold, cold day.

Glass doors into this area let that existing house benefit from all of that light, and the old garage window were shattered and converted into a nice small entertainment center.

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