What’s the Right Size for a Home Addition? Not Too Big and Not Too Small

by Kevin Gilday & Tom Gilday

A Bigger Home Addition Is Almost Never Better

Ideally, the size of a home addition is driven by its planned use within limits of the property size. Families with young children tend to be averse to the idea of sacrificing their backyard play space--so we have to design from the inside out. The practicality of interior room dimensions will ultimately determine the footprint of the addition though we strive to limit backyard encroachment for these families. Sometimes finding room for everything can be a real challenge for the architectural designer of a renovation.

To help you understand the concept of a “right-sized” home addition, we’ll walk through two examples of home addition projects in which limited yard space played a role in shaping the outcome.

Example Project 1: When Bad Things Happen to Good Houses

This otherwise gracious Bethesda, Maryland home had the kitchen extended by one of the previous owners. As with many older homes in the DC area, the original kitchen was very compact. It appears they hired a contractor to create more space in the kitchen. The kitchen addition bumped out the back of the house just enough to make room for a powder room and an informal dining area without changing the footprint of the original kitchen.

Bethesda home addition before renovation

Exterior of BEFORE addition

In this case, the addition left functional limitations such as a low ceiling and poor yard access. So, our architectural designers and kitchen designers solved these issues while aiming for just the right sized home addition for this family’s needs.

completed Bethesda MD kitchen addition
Exterior after renovation

The newly completed kitchen addition is sized correctly (not too small– not too big). The floor plan is completely reconfigured and the addition only extends about four additional feet into the shallow backyard. Not only does it preserve play area for the kids, but the addition offers easy yard access, a more gracious entrance to the lower level, and a great view from tall kitchen windows and patio doors.

home addition before-after-floor-plansBefore and after floor plans

Thanks to the interior space gained from the addition, the kitchen could be redesigned to address multiple issues. Take a look at the side by side before/after floor plans to see how the changes listed below transformed the space:

  1. Relocate the powder room to an appropriately private area that is not adjacent to the kitchen table.
  2. Reconfigure the kitchen to create fully functioning food prep, clean up and storage areas.
  3. Provide adequate clearance around work areas, seating area and thoroughfares.
  4. Improved view of and access to the yard–now framed by an attractive porch and French doors.
  5. Provide a consistent ceiling height throughout the entire space

interior-view-of-kitchen-additionKitchen interior view of yard

Gilday Renovations has decades of experience designing and building home additions. We focus on connection between inside and outside spaces. We strive for a beautiful yet functional additions. We welcome tackling ambitious projects that make dramatic changes to a living space. Our creative, custom approach makes it possible for us to design “right-sized” home additions.

Example Project 2: We Don’t Want a Big Addition Taking Up Our Yard!

Another Bethesda Maryland kitchen addition and interior redesign resolved space problems beautifully without taking up any backyard space. The homeowners wanted a larger kitchen with a center island where their children could have a snack and do homework in the afternoons. They called us because all the other remodelers they’d spoken to said that the only way to enlarge the kitchen would be to build an addition. They didn’t want that.

A Little Goes a Long Way

Sometimes, gaining just 24 inches can transform a room.  See the box bay on the left side of the exterior below? That’s a kitchen addition.  Although the existing kitchen was spacious, placing an island in there would have been too much of a squeeze. But the idea of building a full-sized home addition to gain the needed space felt like overkill to the owners.

exterior-after-renovationThis mini addition makes a huge difference inside the kitchen

Even a very cleverly designed addition off the back of the house would be problematic due to the patio landscaping and proximity to the pool (just out of frame left). A full sized home addition would also completely block daylight from reaching into the lower level bedroom.

So that 24 inches mentioned earlier?  That is exactly how much room was needed to recess the sink run of kitchen cabinets away from the center of the room and install a kitchen center island with plenty of room on all sides for circulation. 

interior of kitchen bump out additionThere is plenty of room for seating and circulation around the new kitchen island

Both of these home addition projects demonstrate how creative design contributes to the success of the project. Architectural designers and interior designers have the expertise to overcome the space limitations that prevent you from fully enjoying your home.

If you’d like to talk about how to design a home addition that will be the right size for your family, please schedule an appointment tspeak with one of our residential architects or designers.

six questions to ask before calling a home remodeler

Bath Design Home Additions