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Cottage Conversion: Adding a Second Floor to Existing Home

adding second floor after photo

A cottage conversion involves taking the roof off of your house and adding a second floor. At first glance, this might seem like a difficult undertaking. However, Parker Design | Build | Remodel has tips and photos that will make the possibility more realistic.

1st floor Before Photo


Building Your Home Up Instead of Out

One of the common ways in which a cottage conversion typically starts to get traction is when an old home is located on an attractive lot, like the waterfront.  Often, in these scenarios, the home needs major updating, but there are restrictions on increasing the footprint of the home, so the owner will opt to go up instead of out.  Sometimes the entire house will be gutted and remodeled.  Other times, the first floor footprint may be preserved while simply adding another level of space on top.


Engineering and Design Is Key

The structural engineering and design of the existing structure will greatly impact the design and engineering of the structure being added.   Local building and zoning codes may restrict the height of new structures.  Your remodeler will likely enlist the support of a structural engineer for this portion of the project.  Often in older homes, the layout is fragmented and there may be columns or load bearing walls limiting the design options.  In these cases, a homeowner may want to consider LVL beams, which typically provide stability, resist warping, and often remove the need for columns or load bearing walls.

Made in a factory under controlled specifications, it is stronger, straighter, and more uniform. Due to its composite nature, it is much less likely than conventional lumber to warp, twist, bow, or shrink.  LVL is a highly reliable building material that provides many of the same attributes associated with large sized timbers.   Parker Design | Build | Remodel has successfully utilized this product in a variety of configurations.


How a Second Floor Impacts the Entire Home

When adding a second floor, all of the mechanicals, plumbing and structural work on the first floor will need to be evaluated.   If there are bathrooms, where will those trunk lines be located and extended?  Can those systems be expanded or do new systems need to be added?  Are the existing systems efficient and do they meet code requirements?  Structurally, engineers will want to certify that the existing foundation can handle the weight of the expanded structure.  From the exterior, you will want the design to look as though the second floor has always been a part of the home so the exterior design elements are extremely important.  If you have an existing chimney, it will need to be extended to the proper height above the new roof line.


Function & Features

The features of your cottage conversion will probably be the most fun part of the project because it allows you to get creative. You can take several trendy ideas and put your own spin on them. For example, fireplaces are a big part of many cottage conversions. Go beyond the traditional location of the living room or family room, and consider placing a small fireplace in the bathroom to add extra warmth and ambience. Instead of a traditional ceiling, try a vaulted ceiling with wood panels or custom-painted designs. Add a cottage kitchen with features like customized cabinets.


If you’re considering a cottage conversion or adding a second floor to an existing home, let Parker Design | Build | Remodel help you. Contact us today for a consultation.