The Answer's in the Attic

By matching the existing color scheme and roof pitch, this upstairs
addition is barely noticeable.
Robert Martin

An addition doesn't have to overwhelm your original house. That's the approach Brad and Hydee Hawkins took when they enlarged their 1,200-square-foot bungalow.

Room To Grow
Like many houses in this Lexington, Kentucky, neighborhood, their home's charm was based primarily on its intimate size. Built in 1929, it displayed a pleasing mixture of intricately laid stonework and wood trim with stucco infill. Each feature of its one-and-a-half-story facade just seemed to fit, such as its tucked-in front porch and sheltering roof gables. Take away one of these elements, and the house would look incomplete. Add a full addition, and it might seem too top-heavy. "That's something we didn't want to happen," Brad says. "Retaining the character was our top concern."

The couple turned to architect Graham Pohl to create a second floor from their underused attic space. "Because Brad and Hydee needed a new master suite," Graham explains, "we decided to raise key portions of the attic roof for adequate headspace, while keeping other areas as they were, particularly toward the front of the house." By extending many of the interior walls with new framing, the addition gained support and stability without affecting the first floor. On the exterior, a new master suite rises above the existing roofline just enough to give the homeowners a bird's-eye view of the front yard below.

Staying In Sync
Maintaining a low profile for the attic extension wasn't Graham's only successful design decision. He also matched the addition's roof pitch and eave construction to the original. Trim in the same size and the continuation of the half-timbered look enhance the new gable as well. This detail further downplays the contemporary, mullion-less casement and fixed windows in the master suite.

Painted in pleasing earth tones, the upstairs addition works in seamless harmony with the rest of the Hawkinses' bungalow. As a result, its overall appearance, inside and out, remains appropriately in scale.

To read about a decorating a dining room, see "Perfectly Appointed," on page 112 of the September 2003 issue of Southern Living.

Keeping Things in Perspective
Here are some ways to add to an existing home without overshadowing what's already there.

  • Match existing roof pitches. To get a coherent look, slope the roof of your addition to the same pitch where possible.
  • Continue the same color scheme. Although this may seem like a no-brainer, be consistent in the application of paint on architectural details, such as trim.
  • Use the same or similar building materials. If you want an addition to blend in, then introducing new materials is not a wise decision. If you can't match your brick, use siding or stucco painted to coordinate with the original.