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How a new addition will solve all of our problems

Image by Sumetho |

I have written about the numerous issues that plague our family room addition built by the previous owner.  And I believe that you will agree with me that the easiest solution is to tear down the existing structure and build a new one.  It will be an expensive undertaking, but in the end it will be worth every inconvenience we may have to endure during the construction phase.

The big question that remains, of course, is when we will  move forward with this project.  We are still waiting to meet with the architect.  The long wait is a little frustrating, but I know from working with him in the past that he will give our project the focus it needs once he starts working on it. Besides, right now, we are just trying to get an idea of whether we will be pursuing the project this year, or waiting until 2015.

One thing is for sure, though.  This will be the construction project that solves all of our problems.


It goes without saying that the new addition will be built completely up to code, on a proper foundation with proper framing.  The current 2×4 construction moves way too much with seasonal changes causing issues with the entry door and sliding patio door.  In the summer, the deadbolt lines up perfectly, so locking and unlocking it can be done easily.  In the winter, I have to apply my body weight to the door to move it enough so the deadbolt can function.

And, of course, the new foundation will take care of the water issues in the basement.

Energy efficiency

The new structure will be built to the current standards for energy efficiency. No more heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.  No more drafts. Beefier construction will allow beefier insulation. Plumbing for the hot water radiant heat will be run where it needs to go.  Currently, we have one hot water radiator in the family room. The office is serviced by an electric radiator which is very expensive to operate. The new addition will occupy a smaller footprint, which should be less expensive to heat and cool.


No more ugly blue siding, please! The new addition will match the architecture of the original house so it looks like it actually belongs. The workmanship inside and out should be up to professional standards.  We also have a real opportunity to introduce some architectural elements in the new construction that will set our property apart from others in the area. I’m hoping for some “wow” factor that will increase the value of our house.

Separate guest room and office

We have to talk to the architect about this one. Presently the addition consists of the family room and home office on the same level. The new structure will have a full basement. I am considering having a home office and a guest room on the lower level.  That will be much more comfortable for us and for our house guests. Right now, our home office is a multipurpose room comprised of bookshelves, filing cabinet, desk and bed. I don’t believe in feng shui, but even I admit that this is not ideal.

Finally!  My garage and workshop!

Downsizing the addition will allow us enough space for a two-car garage which will be home to my woodworking shop. I looking forward to returning to a hobby that I put on hold more than a decade ago. 

A driveway I don’t have to weed-whack

A gravel driveway is a royal pain! Every time I cut the front lawn, I have to take the weed whacker to the weeds and grass growing among the stones in the driveway. A concrete driveway will not only look better, but it will shave about half an hour off my yard working chores. And in the winter, I will be able to haul out the snow blower during heavy snow falls.

gravel driveway
Time to trim the driveway

A usable deck

I love having a back deck. However, it faces south and it is unusable on hot summer days. We plan to extend the roof of the addition to partially cover the new deck so we have some shade where we can relax with a margarita or two during the dog days of summer. I am also hoping our budget will allow for composite materials so the new deck will be maintenance-free as well. And it goes without saying that the new deck will meet code. Our current deck does not.

While you’re at it….

Having a construction crew on site will allow us to address other smaller projects throughout the house.

  • repair cracking grout in the tiles installed by the contractors five years ago.
  • finish the stairs to the second floor by removing the old wood spindles and building a new wall and archway.
  • finish the recreation room in the basement (ideally– or else just frame it and run the electrical and anything else requiring inspections so I can finish it on my own time).
  • minor re-pointing and other exterior repairs on the original house.

Finally, when the dust from the construction inside clears, we can finish the living room (trim and carpet) and have the use of our whole house.

And when construction is finished, we can move our stuff out of storage.  We have paid more than $7000 to store things that are worth a fraction of that amount, simply because we don’t have the usable room to store it here.  I strongly suspect that much of what we are storing is destined for either the landfill or a yard sale, so the sooner we get it out the sooner we stop this monthly drain on our bank account.

The problem to all our solutions


This project will cost us big bucks. Can we afford it? Can we finance it? Or is it all just a pipe dream this year? These questions cannot be answered until we meet with the architect and get a realistic estimate of the numbers.

One thing is for sure, though. This project will send us deeper in debt. My dream of retiring before I turn 60 is most likely out the window.


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