Home additions have always been a great, cost effective way to correct a home’s shortcomings: expanding a crowded kitchen, increasing the number of bedrooms or bathrooms to what’s currently needed, creating a home office, or enlarging a den. Now, however, more and more homeowners are adding on to homes that already seem to have everything. The reason? They want a private home addition suite right there on the main floor.
Sometimes the motivation for remodeling is to create a spacious master bedroom suite that gives the home practical, one-floor livability and aging-in-place accessibility. Other times, the addition is designed as more of a mini apartment – perfect for in-laws, returning college students, an au pair, or a live-in nanny. In fact, with more multigenerational families living together in one home, additions can offer a “suite” solution to the need not just for more space, but for more private space.
But there are some challenges when you add on private space right next to public spaces such as the kitchen or family room. The best way to meet these challenges is to think through how the new space will work.
If you’re intrigued by the creative possibilities of this type of addition, here are some questions to think about when you’re considering a home addition suite:
1. Should there be a separate entrance? If you’re building a master bedroom/bathroom, your addition probably doesn’t need a separate entrance – though you might want to create access to a private outdoor area such as a patio. If your home addition suite is for someone other than yourself, however, a separate entry is a must. This offers in-laws a sense of independence or insulates you from the late-hour comings and goings of grown children.
2. What types of functions will the suite serve? What‘s needed beyond a bedroom and bathroom? You may want to include a cozy sitting room or dressing room as part of your master suite. For a more stand-alone home addition, the suite might need space for watching TV, doing laundry, or dining. This multipurpose space gives the suite’s residents the choice to be on their own or to interact with the family.
3. Does the suite need a kitchenette? Including one helps avoid squabbles over fridge space, messy sinks or “rush hour” traffic in the main kitchen. It’s also a good way to foster independence and keep different food preferences and eating schedules from causing friction.
4. What about privacy? Preserving privacy is very important for maintaining harmony in the household. You don’t want your master-suite oasis to be ruined by the blare of the family room TV on the other side of the wall. Nor do you want the residents of an apartment-style suite to overhear conversations in the other parts of the house. Sound-proofing strategies such as insulation, built-in cabinetry, wall coverings and carpeting, or using a hall or closet as an extra buffer zone can be options.
5. What code restrictions apply to home additions? Besides the normal code and zoning requirements such as setbacks, etc., some communities discourage homeowners from renting out in-home apartments to non-related family members or for using a suite as a place of business. We know these code restrictions and can advise you about how they will affect the design.
If you’d like to take a look at some “suite” possibilities for your own home addition, give us a call!