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Four ideas for your home addition

  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014

James Arthur PROVIDED

Feeling cramped? Are you simply out of space? Maybe your family is expanding, or you finally want that home office, playroom, kitchen or master bedroom of your dreams. There are many reasons why homeowners decide to build an addition. The key is to know where to start. Should you build up or out? Which is the most cost-effective option? Will it seamlessly blend with the architectural framework of your home?

Here are four ways to expand your living space.

Build Out

The most popular and often simplest option is adding a room on the main floor. If budget is a concern, access square footage by using existing openings. Typically, any window can become a door. This can be a cost-savings approach, as you don’t have to create new openings.

Enlarging an existing room via an exterior addition tends to be more costly due to structural concerns, but it can make a difference when all your house needs is that one larger room.

Raise the Roof

The setbacks on some older Mount Pleasant properties have changed (buildable areas have actually gotten smaller), so if you don’t have many options to expand the existing footprint – go vertical. Avoid losing yard space and work around new property restrictions with a second floor addition.

Sometimes large attic spaces can be used to gain more home square footage. This can be a more complicated option due to structural difficulties, as well as stair placement. Getting help from a builder or architect is crucial in the early stages.

Consider the insulation, electrical panels, water heater and furnace. If outdated or unable to accommodate the additional square footage, a new investment may enter the equation.

Also, remember curb appeal. Will the addition match the original structure, or will it stand out with a modern twist?

Create Outdoor Spaces

Add living space and connect your home to your backyard with a porch or patio. They are perfect for our weather in Charleston almost year-round, and they are great in-between spaces that create shelter from the sun.

Keep in mind that Lowcountry building codes require that covered porches must be built and designed with the same structural integrity as the home.

Make Layout Changes

Many homeowners are reinventing their 50’s and 60’s floor plans to fit current design styles. If you want to stay within the framework of your home, consider changing the interior flow and layout. Perhaps you want to relocate a kitchen or enlarge a great room; this option is right for you. Removing walls is an easy way to open up a floor plan, but be careful. There may be electrical or plumbing services in those walls, and in many cases they are load bearing, so it may not be quite the DIY project you envisioned.


Before you formalize plans with any of these approaches, make sure you connect with a licensed builder or architect. They will steer you down the right path.

James Arthur is partner of Sceltas, a construction and design/build firm that specializes in residential construction, renovations, historic restoration and custom home building. Arthur has several years of experience in Project Management and Construction Administration. He earned his degree in Architectural Design at Clemson University and has received multiple awards for his work, including two Design Excellence awards for projects in Wilmington, N.C. James is a Licensed Bulder, member of the Charleston Home Builder’s Association and the Preservation Society of Charleston. His company, Sceltas, was recently honored with the 2014 Best of Houzz Award for superior customer service. Contact Arthur or Sceltas at www.sceltas.com.

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