Personal expression is as American as blue jeans - and our homes are no exception. Everything from design, landscaping, and renovation is an opportunity to make a statement.
But changing or adding to your existing structure could compromise the history of your house. There may be all sorts of reasons you can’t change the look of your traditional home - from heritage laws to simply maintaining the historical integrity of a building.
Luckily, there are still lots of ways to inject character or personality into a traditional space without changing its core components.
In fact, the right home addition can elevate your traditional home into something both new and epic. Here are some pointers to help inspire a modern addition to your house.
5 Creative Ideas For Additions to Older HomesLet’s start by examining some crucial areas before you start designing. Below are three questions you need to ask when considering an addition to your house.
Tie Together the Old and NewDrop your home into today’s era with a super modern design. The bolder and more different it is, the bigger the statement.
The trick is to keep one element from the original design of your house and extend it into the modern addition to maintain fluidity. This, of course, depends on what makes your traditional home special.
For example, a house with an interior exposed ceiling and weathered paint should have that ceiling style extended into the new addition. Any other type of ceiling would look out of place and make the addition stick out like a sore thumb.
Maybe you want to create an addition that is architecturally modern. In that case, consider staying in the same color palette as the original structure and let the building stand out. Other unique elements to incorporate may include:
Give the Feeling of a Modern Extension Without OverspendingStaying on budget might limit homeowners, but that doesn’t mean you can’t modernize your house. Lots of renovations are affordable and can breathe new life into an old space.
For example, instead of an expensive deck, consider a polished concrete floor. This type of upgrade is affordable and can create the feeling of an extended living room. Build an overhang to create more usable space and decorate with modern chairs and tables for a brand new look and feel.
Think outside the box and dare to do things in a different way. You might even end up surprising yourself with how good the outcome will look.
Turn One Addition into TwoAnytime you add an addition, there may be little tricks to expand it into two. For example, adding a bonus room to a 2-story building gives you an opportunity to build a roof terrace for the 2nd floor too.
Don’t miss the opportunity to extend living space for both floors because you didn’t think outside the box first. All the money you would’ve spent on a roof could go to an extra patio instead.
Let the Light into the DarkSome older building designs don’t incorporate large windows, which can often leave a space feeling dreary and smaller than it is. An addition that maintains the original exterior can include many windows or larger window sizes.
Letting in plenty of natural light can revitalize a space while maintaining the shape and color of the original building.
Embrace Two Entirely Different StylesBuilding design across history offers wildly differing styles that are appealing. How do you choose which style to use for a new addition?
Just because you love Victorian styles doesn’t mean you have to give up your admiration of modern design. Instead, embrace the stark differences in a bold way by building an addition that is completely unique from the original.
Then, simply tie the two buildings together in an innovative way. Consider building a glass bridge that connects the two structures. That way, space remains usable while maintaining the appearance of separation.
Overall, when coming up with a modern addition to traditional homes, don’t be afraid to get creative and use innovative design. The sky’s (or more likely the budget is) the limit!
What kind of clever ways can you think of incorporating modern designs into your house? Sound off in the comments below!
Adulthood teaches us hard lessons - like the fact that not all people treat you the way you would treat them. That’s never truer than when it comes to hiring a general contractor.
Most people don’t know the process for construction building...until after they’ve gone through it. By then, it’s too late for your wallet.
Unethical contractors often trick unsuspecting clients into hiring them, which can mean anything from delayed or botched jobs to straight-up getting ripped off when the contractor disappears with your money.
Luckily, there are ways you can protect yourself and avoid a bad building experience. Here’s everything you need to do when hiring a general contractor so you don’t get ripped off.
Best Steps For Successfully Vetting a General Contractor
Interview more than one contractorThe likelihood you will find a kitchen contractor you like increases if you speak to more than one. Talk to several about your project before you commit to anyone and don’t be afraid to ask specific questions about their processes like:
Your relationship with your contractor is the #1 thing that affects how your project will go. Make sure you choose someone who communicates well and makes you feel at ease.
Ask for referencesThe best way you can figure out if you’ll have a good experience is to talk to others who’ve had one! Ask for a list of references and a portfolio of completed projects. If the contractor you’re talking to doesn’t have this, it’s a huge red flag that they’re hiding something.
Once you get the references, follow through with contacting them. It might be tempting to skip this part if you had a great conversation already. But just because they have the gift of gab doesn’t mean they’ll deliver good work.
The bottom line is to ask for references and check them before you sign up for anything.
Read reviewsWith the internet at your fingertips, use it to get more honest feedback. Google Reviews and Yelp are great places to start with checking your contractor’s background.
This type of independent feedback is even more valuable than references since contractors aren’t dying to give you access to an unhappy client.
Be careful of giving anyone review too much weight though since some people can be unreliable or exaggerate their experience. But a handful of bad reviews? That might be a good reason to go with someone else.
Make sure they’re legitAsk the contractor if they’re licensed, bonded and insured. Accidents happen on a job site and you want to protect the workers and your property in case something happens. A contractor that carries proper insurance reduces your liability.
A licensed contractor is also a must because they’re held accountable by a licensing board. If anything goes wrong or the contractor fails to complete the work as described in the contract, you can report them.
And finally, a bonded contractor offers even more protection to you. If they fail to complete the work as agreed in the contract, you can make a claim and receive compensation. This cuts out the possibility of a contractor that will disappear with your cash since you have a way to get it back.
Get everything in writingFinally, the most important thing is to get everything in writing. That means contracts with a line-by-line scope, receipts, checks (even canceled checks) and anything else you discuss.
It’s also a good idea to set a price schedule in writing. Watch out for contractors who want half upfront as it might be an indication they have financial problems. Or they might know you’ll be unhappy with their work once you see it.
Normally for larger projects, contractors ask for 10% at signing with evenly spaced payments throughout the rest of the project. You’ll make the final payment when the finished job meets your satisfaction.
For a great place to start, check out Hartel Homes if you’re looking for a reputable contractor in Austin, Texas.
God, I just wish my house was smaller. Said no one ever. In fact, the opposite is more likely true because we could all use a little more space.
But it’s not just about having more. Sure, a bigger living room would be nice but it doesn’t help if you need an extra bedroom. And a bigger bedroom would be nice, but not if you have to share it with more people.
That’s where accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, come in. ADUs are small dwellings that are near or attached to your existing house. These units can include:
From moving a family member nearby to building extra income, ADUs are an excellent option for tons of reasons. And 2015 brought more relaxed building codes for the city of Austin, which has led to an increase in these smaller living spaces.
Whatever your specific needs, an ADU may be exactly what you need. Here’s a closer look at what it takes to build an accessory dwelling unit on your property.
Can You Afford an In-Law House?For starters, an ADU is part of the same property as your main home and typically isn’t sold separately. According to the city of Austin, construction costs are approximately $150 per square foot, not including professional fees or utility connections (which can run an additional 10-30k).
Before you start to think of building, you’ll need to figure out how to finance this project. Most homeowners use common methods like:
Keep in mind that cost is not always straightforward. You may be able to do some renovations yourself with the proper permits but the cost depends on the style and design you want.
Now let’s look at an overview of the entire building process to give you a better idea of what it takes to complete an ADU.
How Convenient is it really to build an ADU? Building an entirely new unit can seem overwhelming. But don’t get caught up in the details as there are many professionals that can help make the process quick and easier for you.
Before you begin planning, verify with the city that you’re zoned properly for this type of building. Then, make sure your building plans follow these city guidelines:
At this point, you might consider splitting the water and electric meters if you plan to rent the space out. Then, get the proper permits for building, removing trees or other major changes and you’re ready to build. Simple as that.
Overall, it’s a straightforward process and many local builders have experience with ADUs. Here’s a closer look at what’s been happening in Austin as far as building smaller dwellings.
What are Current Austin Trends for Accessory Dwelling Units? More and more people are investing in accessory dwelling units to satisfy a number of needs. Some of those needs include the option to house an adult child or elderly parent.
Having an additional dwelling in close proximity to the main house allows people to care for others without giving up personal space or privacy.
Other homeowners may use their ADU for additional income by renting it out. Depending on your circumstances, it may even make sense to move into the ADU yourself and rent out the main house.
These structures also contribute to the limited housing availability in Austin. Whatever your reasons, having an ADU offers the potential for a lot of flexibility.
How can an accessory dwelling unit improve your way of life and what would you use it for? Let us know by calling us directly or filling out the contact form above.