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Ann Architect, Renovation Design GroupAnnie Architect, Renovation Design Group

Renovation Solutions is weekly column on architectural home design by Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, Principal Architects of Renovation Design Group, a Utah architectural firm focusing on home renovation design.

Friday, February 01, 2008

New master suite can go up or out

By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon

Last week we discussed master suites, one of the hottest trends in home design and typically at the top of our clients' wish lists.

There are two ways to create a master suite: rearrange the existing space or adding a second story or extending an addition into the yard.

Rearranging the space you have is the least disruptive and least expensive option. But if that doesn't logically solve your space issue, then you'll have to decide if you want to take your addition up or out.

The Porters chose to add a master suite to their home by extending out back — one way to gain the extra space and luxury.

The older your home is, the more challenging (and expensive) it will be to add a second story. A lot depends on your home's existing foundation.

While you may save money by building over an existing foundation, the structural work required to strengthen that foundation and to transfer the load from a new roof and upper story down to the ground may offset that saving.

Extending an addition out into the yard, however, may be impossible. You might not have the space. Or you may have the space for a main level addition but choose to add a second story instead of reducing the size of your yard.

When one of our clients, Marcus Porter, first bought his early 1900s house on the east side of Salt Lake City, he knew it could be his dream house with some work. It was missing one thing — space.

For the Porters, it was a logical choice to extend an addition into the back yard. They had a long, spacious lot that would easily hold what would soon be their new master suite.

Keeping a master suite on the main floor has its advantages. The idea of main-floor living is a growing trend for clients of all ages but especially for older ones who want to keep their home accessible through their lifetime.

Every house and client is different. An architect can help you analyze your property and determine your viable options. Typically, if you have the land to extend out you do; if not, then you go up. But 95 percent of our clients who go up add a master suite on the second floor.

Of course, it would be ideal if everyone could have a main floor master suite to wheel into when we are 90. But ultimately, our clients don't mind walking up a few steps when they finally have that dream suite of their own. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

© 2008 Renovation Design Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Renovation Design Group.

If you are considering a remodel project, please Request a Free Consultation with Ann or Annie.

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