What You Need to Know Before a Major Home Renovation or Addition

A home renovation or addition is a significant undertaking for any homeowner. However, it’s also an exciting opportunity to make a house truly feel like one’s own. Partnering with a knowledgeable and experienced architecture firm is one of the most important steps when dreaming up a home renovation or addition. Here are some other key considerations before embarking on this endeavor. 

Changing the Appearance of the Home

Many homeowners seek a major home renovation or addition because they want to change their home’s appearance. In addition to adding more livable space, a major renovation or room addition can completely update the front or back of a house, creating a more modern design aesthetic and increasing its value. 

Zoning, Lot Specs, and HOA Regulations 

Adding square footage is dependent on your zoning district, lot size, and the existing size of your house. In Boulder, your zoning district and floor area ratio (FAR) can be found in your local building code. Once you’ve located that information, you can calculate the maximum square footage allowed on your lot. Homes in more urban areas – like those in Boulder’s downtown and historic neighborhoods – may already be built out to maximum capacity. Homeowners Associations and Planned Unit Development groups will have separate regulations, as well. 

Next, be sure to consult your real estate documents to determine property easements. For tricky zoning situations and complicated builds, we work with clients to create a comprehensive study that determines how to make their dream renovation possible. 

Knocking Down or Moving Walls 

Walls are often implemented to ensure that a home is structurally sound. If an interior wall isn’t just for aesthetic purposes, but provides support for the roof, it can’t be knocked down in its entirety. A new structure would need to be put in its place to bear weight, like a support beam that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. If you are adamant about opening up a space with structural walls as an impediment, we can help you create a plan that facilitates flow without compromising safety or breaking home building laws. 

Move a Sink or Adding a Shower 

Changes to a home’s plumbing structure can be costly, however, not impossible. We find it best to use existing plumbing if possible and add new connections adjacent to that plumbing. If you can dream up a bathroom, outdoor shower, or kitchen prep station with existing pipes, that’s your best bet for both timeline and budget. 

The Renovation or Addition Process 

This varies based on the client, project, home, and county. A renovation or addition requires final blueprints, approved permits, and a construction timeline. A kitchen design can take one to three months, whereas an entire home renovation may take a year. Permitting alone for most municipalities takes approximately 90 days, however this depends on the scope of the project and its location. 

Creating a Budget and Timeline

First, consider the scope of the work. Are you knocking out a nonstructural interior wall, or are you adding a master suite? Our firm, in collaboration with a general contractor, will work with you to create a realistic budget that captures the quality of design you desire and a timeline that fits with your lifestyle. It’s wise to build a financial buffer into your budget for incidentals that are likely to occur along the way, as is common with any construction project. 

The summer season is the busiest time of the year to build so you should factor that into your timeline if your project will intersect those months. Additionally, some municipalities have longer permitting processes. If you have a tight timeline, start designing your project as early as possible. 

Curating a space that suits a home’s residence and fosters connection, relaxation, and safety is what we do best. We strive to assist our clients in making their houses feel more like homes. Contact us to learn more.