before and after photo of over-the-garage bedroom addition
Photo: Nat Rea
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Over-the-Garage Addition

"We love our house's location, but it was tight on space," says Geoff Allen of the 1925 seaside Cape Cod in Barrington, Rhode Island, that he shares with wife Michelle Forcier and their young daughter. Though the 1,600-square-foot, two-bedroom house, the site of the latest TOH TV project, was built as a seasonal residence, the family plans to live there year-round. So they turned to architect Mary Dorsey Brewster and general contractor Andy Tiplady to help them envision a plan that would make the best use of its rooms—and even squeeze in a few more.

Topping the couple's wish list was an extra bedroom and bath upstairs. Given the house's small lot and strict local zoning laws, Brewster sketched an addition in the only spot it could go: above the attached, unheated garage. "An over-the-garage addition doesn't increase a house's footprint, which helps reduce costs," says Brewster. "But it also presents unique challenges in planning and construction." What does a home-owner interested in such an add-on need to know? We asked Brewster and Tiplady for their advice and about how the project played out at Geoff and Michelle's house.
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