When homeowners want more room, they have a few options to expand their living space and improve functionality. They could take square footage from one part of the house and add it to another area. They could repurpose an entire portion of the residence to maximize its utility. Or they can build a new space that complements the existing home while satisfying their wish list.

Creating a living area from scratch presents challenges to the remodeler, who must navigate setbacks and other restrictions. They also need to integrate the newfound space into the existing structure, so the addition looks like it has always been there. More importantly, however, the project ought to meet the expectations of the homeowners by enhancing their lives every day.

Each of the winners in our annual Master Design Awards for an addition more than $250,000 had to confront obstacles. Not only did they overcome hurdles, but they delivered a remodeling job that produced meaningful new living space for their clients. Their design solutions provide an example to other remodelers of how they can effectively construct a seamless addition.

Greener Pastures

Photo: Nathan Holden, Realty Pix Media

A couple in Oregon City, Oregon, who enjoys driving through the countryside around their horse boarding stable admired a particular property for nearly 10 years. Once the house hit the market, they knew they had to have it. To transform the quaint, 1,200-square-foot 1960 Cape Cod house into their “dream home,” they decided to pursue a large addition that allows them to age in place.

“It was just a small farmhouse, so there wasn’t a lot of ‘good’ going on there. It was a way to get the home they wanted and mitigate some of the jurisdiction rules by calling it a remodel,” says Alicia DeCosta, director of marketing for Mountainwood Homes in Tigard. “They wanted the space because it had a great view. The location was really the draw—the house was just there.”

One of the clients is an interior designer, therefore they had a clear vision of what they wanted to do and sought a partner to help make it happen, DeCosta adds. The primary suite needed to be on the main floor to enable one-level living. A no-step entry and tall ceilings would also aid the ability to age in place comfortably as well as honor the views of Mt. Hood and surrounding pastoral farms.

Photo: Nathan Holden, Realty Pix Media

“There is a second story above the garage, but that’s more for guests and people who are going to stay with them,” DeCosta notes. “It’s all central on the view and the style that they were going for. We helped them execute it all. But I want to give credit to the client. They had a vision for sure. The existing farmhouse ended up being the middle section that’s painted a darker color.”

The company did add a set of stairs to give access to the second floor and integrate the addition into the existing farmhouse. Mountainwood also worked with the established floor heights and grades to determine the new areas. The primary suite now sits between the kitchen and great room; thus, the owners do not have to worry about traversing any stairs in their day-to-day lives.

Photo: Nathan Holden, Realty Pix Media

“Because of those high ceilings and the beams where the entry is, it runs right into the dining room, and it’s kind of an open kitchen,” DeCosta says. “It runs vertical, so when you walk in, it is dramatic. You turn around, and you’re in it. It’s not a separate area or anything like that.”

Added dormers on the front of the home provide aesthetics and curb appeal despite being “false windows,” DeCosta explains. The company cut dormers in the back of house as well. The rustic beam on the mantle required a group effort to install, and the same beam is used as a decorative detail on the front exterior windows, which are all black for a modern European farmhouse look.

Photo: Nathan Holden, Realty Pix Media

Inside the home, the exposed beams took meticulous planning to determine the placement of the large kitchen pendants. Finding the right spacing for additional can lights in relation to the beams also took time. “Based on their feedback and survey, they said the remodeled house is their dream come true,” DeCosta notes. “These 3 acres are unbelievable. It fully utilizes the property.”

Master Design Awards 2023
Addition More Than $250,000 | Gold

Company Information
Mountainwood Homes
Tigard, Ore.

Project Information
Location: Oregon City, Ore.
Square footage before: 1,216
Square footage after: 3,543
Project cost: $1.09 million

Product Information
Doors: Portland Millwork; Rogue Valley Door
Tile: Surface Art; Arizona Tile; Bedrosians
Flooring: Coretec; Shaw Floors
Molding/trim: Portland Millwork
Lighting: Capital Lighting; Morland; Feiss Lighting; Capital Lighting; Mitzi; Lighting Design; Hinkley
HVAC: Coleman
Roofing: CertainTeed
Siding: James Hardie
Windows: Andersen
Locksets/hardware: Kwikset
Paint/stain: Sherwin-Williams
Cabinetry: Cutting Edge Custom Cabinets
Countertop: Elemar Oregon
Sinks: Elkay
Faucets: Brizo
Range: JennAir
Exhaust hood: Zephyr
Drawer appliances: Sharp
Refrigerator: Bosch
Freezer: Sub-Zero
Dishwasher: Bosch
Toilet: TOTO
Shower faucet: Brizo
Sink: American Standard
Sink faucet: Brizo

Photos: Nathan Holden, Realty Pix Media

Mind, Body, Spirit

Photo: Costa Christ

Homeowners in Dallas, Texas, who value health and wellness desired a space where they could maintain both ideals. They owned gym equipment scattered throughout their house but needed one area to contain all their exercise paraphernalia. A two-story wellness addition would elevate their fitness and well-being by creating a beautiful yet functional space and allowing them to use it every day.

“They had architectural plans, drawings and everything, so I just had to get it permitted,” recalls Harriet Reisman-Snyder, founder of HRS Build in Dallas. “It was already a very large home, and then we added a wing onto the house.” On the first floor an exercise equipment area accounts for the bulk of space, which includes a luxurious steam spa with vanity holding a marble vessel sink.

Photo: Costa Christ

“They have ellipticals and treadmills and free weights; they have everything in there,” Reisman-Snyder says. “And they use it every day. Even when we were doing our punch list, they were in there working out. They wanted the first floor to be a bit more modern than their existing home.”

Photo: Costa Christ

The company used a diamond grind to expose the aggregate in the concrete on the floor for the array of exercise equipment. Cove lighting on both the first and second levels is concealed in a custom floating box that offers indirect lighting to create an ambiance of an elegant Zen spa. A floating staircase with vertical poles creates the illusion of the stairs being suspended in mid-air.

A sky mural wallpaper backdrop and LED lights concealed under each stair tread contribute to that impression. Wood slats wrap the second floor with a white oak that seamlessly clads every wall and ceiling without people seeing where one ends and another begins. Matching wide plank floors and a red-bed light therapy room tucked behind hidden twin doors complete the Zen vibe.

“It was extreme; it’s stunning,” Reisman-Snyder says. “I remember when the client went in there one time with us, he said, ‘I feel like I’m walking in a piece of artwork.’ One wall is mirrors, it’s all floating mirrors. Even though the second floor has big chandeliers, you aren’t going to see any recessed cans. The floating mirrors have LED lights all the way around, and they change colors.”

Photo: Costa Christ

HRS had to trench under the new addition to connect the existing pool lines to the pool. The first week, a severe ice storm broke multiple lines. While digging, the remodeler also hit a hard blue stone in a tight spot that could only be trenched by hand. The specific lines needed for the pool equipment, moreover, were difficult to locate because of the storm and a supply chain shortage.

In the middle of the project, the design team elected to install the wood slats on the second floor. During the summer months with temperatures above 100 degrees, the trim carpenters had to pull off the site until air conditioning was installed. Despite the extensive delays caused by the storm and heat, HRS had reasonable clients who understood the conditions and supply chain shortage.

Photo: Costa Christ

“They love [the project],” Reisman-Snyder notes. “They’re just real fit and wellness, mind-body-spirit healthy people. It turned out very well. It’s a personal favorite of mine for a lot of reasons.”

Master Design Awards 2023
Addition More Than $250,000 | Silver

Company Information
HRS Build
Dallas, Texas

Project Information
Architect/designer: Ross Ikemire,
Ikemire Architects
Location: Dallas, Texas
Project cost: $240,000

Photos: Costa Christ

Landmark Tower

Photo: PentaPrizm Digital Media

An existing inner-city home had been a rental property for 13 years before the owners decided to renovate and make it their permanent residence. Keeping the scale of the house smaller, so that it would continue to fit into the historic neighborhood context, was one of the driving concepts of the addition. Because the couple lives alone, there was no need for family spaces or kids’ rooms.

“It’s in the first ring of the neighborhoods from downtown,” says Raymond Sheedy, a principal of Sheedy Watts Design LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. “A lot of these neighborhoods in that first ring are historic—they were built from the 1920s to 1940s—so there are a lot of Craftsmen bungalows in these neighborhoods. These neighborhoods also have already flipped and become pretty appealing, and they have good value because they’re just outside of the downtown area.”

The architecture of the original home—without any design elements—did not contribute to the historic feel of the street. “It was like a salt box,” Sheedy recalls. “It was just a rectangular, very vanilla, white, single-roof-form house. But the unique thing was that it is at the end of the street, or the entrance to this neighborhood, so we felt we should do something to make it a landmark.”

Photo: PentaPrizm Digital Media

Contemporary farmhouse inspired the architectural style chosen for the remodeled home. A hay silo is one of the most recurring forms found on a farm, and the company used the stair tower to mimic this form in the house. Because the home sits on the first lot of the street, the tower acts as a way to landmark entry into the neighborhood. The side of the house faces a busy thoroughfare, thus buffering noise and redirecting views drove the placement of core areas and outdoor spaces.

“A lot of times what we try to do instead of taking up the rest of the yard or being constrained by the setbacks is we will take the roof off and build a second floor, and that kind of preserves their lot,” Sheedy says. “As long as we keep the one-story, one-and-a-half story massing as opposed to a two-story massing, the remodeled home fits within the historic character of the neighborhood.”

Sheedy kept the program of the rooms small in order to fit everything within a 2,000-square-foot footprint. The first floor features the daily spaces and the main bedroom suite, meaning the most-used areas are on one level. The new second floor contains two bedrooms with a bath and a loft-type office space. Limiting the size of the floor allowed the massing of the house to remain as a one-and-a-half-story height. The home suits the owners well and is “right-size” for one couple.

Photo: PentaPrizm Digital Media

“The house that’s directly beside it is a two-story house, which actually softened the massing from this house to the next house,” Sheedy explains. “The tower was on the correct side of the house in that it ‘stepped up’ to the neighboring house. We also wanted to make sure we got glass in that tower, so it could be light-filled, and it would become an inviting space to lead upstairs.” QR

Master Design Awards 2023
Addition More Than $250,000 | Bronze

Company Information
Sheedy Watts Design
Charlotte, N.C.

Project Information
Builder: Kustom Contracting
Location: Charlotte, N.C.
Square footage before: 1,178
Square footage after: 2,000
Project cost: $325,000

Photos: PentaPrizm Digital Media

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