A bump-out addition hangs the new living space off the side of the house, with no need for a new foundationand sometimes little or no roofing work necessary either. That can save you 15 to 30 percent compared to a full-scale addition, but you're limited in how big the expansion can be. In general, a bump out can project a maximum of 3 feet from the house and stretch 10 to 12 feet long, says Curt Schultz, a Realtor-architect-builder in Pasadena, Calif. What can you do with a long skinny addition like that? Here are five possibilities:
Turn an L-shaped kitchen into a full U. If your kitchen is wide enough for cabinets on only two adjoining walls, a bump-out addition can yield enough extra space to add a third wall of cabinets and countertops, turning an L-shaped kitchen that's short on storage and work surface into a generous U-shaped kitchenperhaps even with an island in the middle.
Separate the master bathroom shower and tub. Most older master bathrooms have a combined tub and shower, which is space-efficientbut less than ideal for either showering or bathing. A separate shower means no stepping over the tub wall to get in, plus you can have body sprays all around you. A separate tub needs no walls, curtains or glass doors around itand it can be deeper than one with a shower attached. A bump-out addition can yield the added square footage needed to separate your tub and shower.
Create a walk-in wardrobe closet. A few extra feet tacked onto the master bedroom might not seem like a lot, but it can be just what you need to expand your wardrobe closet from a cramped pole-and-shelf setup to a full walk-in with adjustable shelving, cubbies and other functional storage options.
Put an eating area in the kitchen. Many pre-war houses' kitchens are too cramped to fit an eating area. You could build a large conventional addition to accommodate a table and chairs. Or use a kitchen island, peninsula or diner-style booth, which require less space than a table and chairsand can often be accommodated by a bump out, at a fraction of the cost of a full-fledged addition.
Turn an extra bedroom into a family room. Got a spare bedroom that's underutilized? A bump out addition can turn a modest room into one with plenty of space to serve as a TV room, home office, family room or playroomor a multipurpose space that serves as all of the above. The money you'll save by bumping out (especially if the room is on the second floor) might just finance the flat-screen TV, computer or built-in bookshelves you'll put in the space.
When tearing down rooms, ask your contractor to save usable parts like plumbing fixtures and cabinetry.
Avoid costly foundation or roof work by making new space that hangs off the side of the house
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