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All in the Family

A simple family-room addition made a big difference in the way this house works.

All in the family tout
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With its rough beamed ceiling and knotty-pine walls, the family room in this home was right in step with the times. Unfortunately, the time was 1968, the year the house was built. By current standards, the space was dark, isolated from the rest of the house and badly in need of updating. The remodel you see here brought the wood-sided ranch into the present by converting the family room into a breakfast room, expanding the kitchen and creating a new 500-sq.-ft. family-room addition. The Big Plan: The floor plan of the original house shows how the cramped kitchen was closed off from the family room. The new design opens up the spaces to each other and to the outdoors
With its rough beamed ceiling and knotty-pine walls, the family room in this home was right in step with the times. Unfortunately, the time was 1968, the year the house was built. By current standards, the space was dark, isolated from the rest of the house and badly in need of updating. The remodel you see here brought the wood-sided ranch into the present by converting the family room into a breakfast room, expanding the kitchen and creating a new 500-sq.-ft. family-room addition. The Big Plan: The floor plan of the original house shows how the cramped kitchen was closed off from the family room. The new design opens up the spaces to each other and to the outdoors
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after plans
Illustration by Trevor Johnson
EXTERIOR MATCH
Designed by Chicago-based Kathryn Quinn Architects, the new family room pushes off the kitchen, straight out into the backyard. Project architect Mark Gerwing kept the roof design of the addition compatible with the low profile of the house. It's a low-pitched gable whose ridge runs parallel to the main house. The area between the two is bridged by a perpendicular, tent-like gable section. While the roof ties the addition to the structure seamlessly, the new exterior walls give it a subtly distinctive look. Pale green-grey panels under the windows and a rustic rafter treatment lend the house a touch of Prairie-style character that lifts it above generic suburban ranches. INTERIOR ARRANGEMENTS
Indoors, the challenge was to make the new space meet the old with flair and make it all functional. The family room sits a couple steps down from the kitchen; a counter for casual meals acts as a wall between the two areas. Entries at both ends of the room prevent the space from being a cul-de-sac and create easy access from both the garage/side entrance and the front door. In the same way, because the family room is adjacent to the kitchen, it is also kept free from a constant flow of foot traffic: Family members don't always have to walk through it to get from one end of the house to the other. Instead they can use one of the two aisles in the kitchen. And a glass door provides a convenient exit out to the patio. Eight tall casement windows line the walls of the family room, bringing abundant natural light into the area while creating a wide-angle view of the backyard that can be enjoyed from any point in the room. Transoms repeat the paneling detail below the windows and throw sunlight deep into the space, unlike the dark days of the past. The open ceiling also contributes to the airy appearance. The height of the new room is emphasized with strips of trim that band the base of the ceiling and run up and down its sloped surface in pairs, extending the lines of the original beams out from the kitchen. Because the family room is often used for informal entertaining, the "TV question" comes up: How do you keep the TV out of sight when guests are over yet still have it at the ready when family members want to watch? The answer is the big maple cabinets angled into the corners of the room on either side of the brick fireplace. One conceals the television, VCR and audio components. The other is home to a bar, which is lighted with dimmable halogen fixtures and outfitted with shelves for glassware. Flipper doors open wide and then push back inside the cabinets, allowing maximum access with minimal obstruction. Bright, functional and flexible, the new family room closes the door on the dim, generic den of yesterday.
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when one roof meets another
Illustration by Trevor Johnson
Roofing Concerns

In this project, the construction that took place on the interior of the house was relatively straightforward: Take out a few walls, remove a fireplace, reroute utility connections. Up on the roof, however, the addition became more problematic. Because the ridge of this addition is parallel to the main house, a gable "bridge" was used to fill in between the two. This created four valleys—where two downward-sloping roofs intersect. Most additions create at least two. Because valleys collect water from both roof planes, they're prone to leaking. If you're having an addition put on, discuss how valleys will be treated with your roofer. In most cases, he'll recommend installing 28-ga. galvanized sheet metal or asphalt felt in the valley. It can then be finished off with one of three shingle patterns: woven, closed-cut or open. If your roofing is tile, wood or another rigid material, you're limited to the latter two options. The woven style provides the best weather shield, as the shingles overlap across the valley. It also gives the roof a neat, flowing look. In a closed-cut treatment, shingles are trimmed where they meet at the center of the valley. On an open valley, shingles just cover the outer edges of the flashing. Adding on to your home also forces you to decide how much re-roofing to do. If wood shakes are worn or split, or if asphalt or fiberglass shingles are brittle or balding, consider replacing the entire roof. This way the roofing on the addition and that on the main house will match, but it can boost project costs a lot. If you decide not to opt for a new roof, consider re-roofing any sections of existing roof around the addition—stopping at ridges, valleys or hips—rather than weaving the new shingles into the old. This approach was used on the house, above; the back side of the main roof was re-shingled with the addition.
 
 

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