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Old 09-23-2008, 07:53 AM
 
385 posts, read 1,920,324 times
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I'm looking for an opinion of what would be the better value added improvement on our house.

Our house is one year old, and we intentionally chose some standard features (example: linoleum instead of tile, etc.), because we plan to make improvements of our liking in the future.

One thing we did not do is get the morning room extension on the house. This is something my husband is kicking himself over, but I'm not because of the way the house sits in the lot.

We are on a corner, and our house is rotated from where it was supposed to be originally to make the model house we ordered fit on the lot. This means the back of our house faces the side of our neighbors. If we had the morning room, we would not be able to put a deck on because of easeway laws.

What I want to do is place a small deck (we can do a huge one because there isn't enough room) that will hold a six chair table and maybe a little extra room for a bench to watch the sunset (which we would have a pretty good view of). I want to build a larger patio coming from the walkout basement (which we intend to finish) which will be more of a living area (with maybe an outside furniture set and fire pit in the future).

I want to build a small retaining wall to tame the hill in the backyard and use the flatter part of the back and side yard area as a garden/living space. I forsee the deck having steps that decend onto a landing on top of the wall and set of stone steps in the wall going down to the patio.

To me, it will be easier to have more privacy on the patio (plant strategically placed bushes and trees between the yards), so I would be more likely to make that the showcase of the backyard.

My husband wants to "fix" what we left off and build an extension on the back of the house. He says that it would increase the square footage of the house... but if we do that, we will not be able to put a deck anywhere that makes sense! We would have to build over the walk out, which would reduce the natural sunlight in the basement (which is something I would want when it became a living space). On top of that, you could say 'goodbye' to seeing the sunset from the backyard at all then.

I think that the deck/patio plan is more cost effective, and more practical. Yeah sure, it doesn't add to the floorspace of the house, but what's the point if we already have a dining room and space for the kitchen table. What would be the function of the extra room?

Any advice? Suggestions for a compromise?

Here is a plan of our yard. The north side of the house is the front. The walkout is on the southeast corner of the house (near where the propane tank is).


Last edited by 7th Direction; 09-23-2008 at 08:45 AM..
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:32 PM
 
1,949 posts, read 5,982,280 times
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You should do whatever works for your family. Increasing square footage is good, but it sounds like you will use up your entire yard if you put the morning room....not having any yard space is not a good thing.

I would decide what works best for you family and if can't decide that, I would pick the cheaper option and use the money saved on the other projects you want to get done.
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Old 09-23-2008, 02:59 PM
 
3,842 posts, read 10,509,367 times
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What's the sq footage of your home currently?

What is the average sq footage of homes in the area?

Just mentioning this b/c it's never really the best idea to be the biggest & most expensive on the block. Also, in case you do need to sell, you would want to be close to comparable to the neighborhood so that it would make sense to purchase your home.

Your lot size is about the size of ours (though homes are postioned differently)& we hesitate about putting on addition b/c of taking away the beauty of our backyard.

Are you a younger family or older family...basically, do you need room for your own kids or room for grandkids? Thus, may not need so much space 24/7, 365. Once you go big, it stays big & thus heating, eletric, & overall maintenance costs go up.

With costs of material at all time highs (I've reports of cement tripling in the past 6 months alone), I would postpone an addition unless completely necessary.

Are you located in a steady environment or do you have 4 seasons?

Patio sounds nice if that is what fits your needs.

In the long run, if you really needed the addition, the patio could be removed & the addition could be added on.

Yes, patio is less costly but it may not be as usable as the addition. I'm not a fan of dining rooms. How often are they use, really? Find them to be wasted space. I love large kitchens. Find a person can hold both formal & informal in both. A little creativity makes a formal dinner in a kitchen very memorable.

Again, it depends on the needs of your family. I would love an extra room in our house but we have a toddler & infant & there are tons of things we could do with the extra space. What does your husband intend to use with the extra space? If you can't think of a reason, I'd say that there needs to be serious dicussion b/c that's a lot of $$ to spend on something that may sit empty.

If you don't mind, I'd also love your budget b/c we are remodeling our bathroom & the cost of a toilet paper holder is overwhelming me, so feel free to send some of that cash my way if you want

Last edited by 121804; 09-23-2008 at 03:35 PM..
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Old 09-25-2008, 04:21 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 61,287,454 times
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Any chance you can post a picture of the back of your house/yard? Without seeing that it is harder to give advice but I would say build a small balcony instead of a deck, large enough to hold a cafe table, and concentrate on the patio area. From the layout of your yard it looks like if you build either the sun room or the deck you will feel like you are sitting in the neighbors yard. Then there are practice considerations like decks are a LOT of upkeep unless you are going to use Trex or something similar.

Do you live in an area with a lot of bugs? One house near us has a deck and then under that they have a screened in patio. I LOVE that idea and it looks very nice as well. In your case you would both get what you want.

Personally I would use a morning room much more then I would use a deck. We have a very large deck on our house and we really only use it a few times/year. It is either too hot, too cold or too many bugs most of the time.
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:45 AM
 
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Here's a pic:



I'll answer 121804's questions when I have more time.
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:50 AM
 
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I am not an architect but I looks like if you build an addition you are going to run into roof line issues and problems covering windows. I would build a deck out toward your driveway, not toward the patio doors in the basement. You won't lose light there and you can then have a nice patio area as well as a deck.

Actually what I would do if it were my house is put a patio off the upper doors and not do a deck at all. You can put a slab off the sliders in the basement but I would personally use a patio area off what I am guessing is your kitchen more then in the basement. Put in a nice retaining wall and then put the patio (a nice exposed aggregate or stamped concrete) off the kitchen.
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:00 AM
 
385 posts, read 1,920,324 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
I am not an architect but I looks like if you build an addition you are going to run into roof line issues and problems covering windows.
When the builder adds the morning room to the original plan, I believe they had a countertop between the kitchen and the morning room. We would have to either tear out exterior walls, or resign to having the french doors and kitchen window shaded by the addition roof.

Here is the PDF floorplan of our model house: http://www.ryanhomes.com/fileGrab.as...c-98f7bcc7ebab

You can see, the morning room would have made putting a logically placed deck impossible (the morning room would come within 3 feet of the 10 foot easeway). With the builders specs, we would have HAD to put the deck over the walkout (because of the door placement, which I don't THINK is negotiable). I'd rather have the deck, thankyouverymuch.

Quote:
I would build a deck out toward your driveway, not toward the patio doors in the basement. You won't lose light there and you can then have a nice patio area as well as a deck.
I was thinking that way too. The only *problem* with that is the house is on an angle and the deck would not be able to be too large (which is fine).

Quote:
Actually what I would do if it were my house is put a patio off the upper doors and not do a deck at all. You can put a slab off the sliders in the basement but I would personally use a patio area off what I am guessing is your kitchen more then in the basement. Put in a nice retaining wall and then put the patio (a nice exposed aggregate or stamped concrete) off the kitchen.
The only problem with having a patio on the kitchen level is it would have to be raised quite a bit... requiring a lot more material than normal. Also, we'd have to get creative about the dryer vent and back basement window.

You can see that the side yard (which would have been the back yard had our house not been rotated on the lot) is nice and flat. I was going to use that area more than the actual "back" yard.
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:12 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 61,287,454 times
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Would you have to reconfigure your kitchen to put on the morning room? From the plan it looks like you got a much better kitchen out of the deal, which is worth way more then a sun room.

Again, not an expert but looking at the picture, you are going to have to do something with the slope down to the sliders anyway and if you put stairs down to a patio off the kitchen door you wouldn't have to add to much fill. Just make sure the landing at the top of the stairs by the door is large, 10x8 even, so getting in and out is easier.

I can see a nice patio with a stone stairway heading down to the sliding door level, off at an angle toward the backyard somewhat so rainwater isn't washing down the stairs into your basement. Then put in some nice landscaping so you don't have to run a lawn mower up and down the slope.
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Maine
502 posts, read 1,735,440 times
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I think it is screaming for a wrap around deck. Perhaps a couple levels even. I would pass on an additional room - the house already looks pretty good sized.
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Jersey Girl
142 posts, read 565,781 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfax1997 View Post
I think it is screaming for a wrap around deck. Perhaps a couple levels even. I would pass on an additional room - the house already looks pretty good sized.
I totally agree.

Having seen the picture of your home, it looks plenty big. In my opinion, no need for an addition.....UNLESS you decide to get one of those solariums (windows everywhere, and gives that feeling that you're outdoors) or garden rooms, which are very nice.

What's the size of your yard? If it won't take up too much space, then do a deck. The size of it can be dependent on how much space you can afford (yard wise, not money wise). However, keeping in mind, that if you do a nice patio it can probably be bigger than the deck without it seeming like it's taking up all the room that a deck would.

Also, I have a home magazine that talks about remodeling with an eye on return. One of the things they talk about is a wood deck. Here, I will just type up what it says:

WOOD DECK
Cost: $10,347 Resale value: $8,835
Return: 85.5%
The popularity of ourdoor living spaces is still growing - along with the size of those stainless-steel grills. Adding a 16-to-20 foot deck made of pressure-treated wood is a wise investment.

We got an addition on our house, but that was only because we wanted to make our kitchen bigger. Either way you can't lose....people love extra square footage on the inside and they like decks on the outside too. So either way, you will not lose out no matter what you decide.

Good luck!

P.S. costvsvalue . com
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