A home addition is a great way to correct the shortcomings in your living space: expanding a crowded kitchen, bringing the number of bedrooms or bathrooms up to par, or adding a family room. But more and more homeowners with homes that already seem to have “everything” are looking into home additions. What’s their motivation? They want a private suite on the main floor.

A First-Floor Home Addition

Sometimes the reason for wanting a first-floor addition is to create a spacious master bedroom/bathroom suite that gives the home practical, accessible, one-floor livability. Other times, the home addition is designed as more of a mini apartment – perfect for in-laws or returning college students. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of multi-generational families living in one home is rising. In fact, in 2014 a record 60.6 million people (19% of the U.S. population) lived in a multi-generational household. So a suite addition can offer the perfect solution when the need is not just for more space, but more private space.

home-addition-master-bath-suite-wellborn1

Photo courtesy Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of a suite home addition, there are lots of creative possibilities. But there are also some challenges when you add private space right next to public spaces such as the kitchen or family room. The best way to meet these challenges is to think through how the new space will work.

5 Things to Think About When Planning a Suite Home Addition

1. Will there be a separate entrance? If you’re building your own master bedroom/bathroom suite, the home addition probably doesn’t need a separate entrance – though you might want to create access to a private patio. If your addition is for someone else, however, a separate entry is definitely a plus. It can offer in-laws a sense of independence or insulate you from the coming and going of adult children at all hours.

2. What functions will the suite serve? Is anything needed beyond a bedroom and bathroom? You may want to include a cozy sitting room or dressing room as part of your master suite. For a more stand-alone home addition, the suite might need space for watching TV, doing laundry, eating and entertaining friends. This multipurpose space enables the suite’s residents to be on their own or to interact with the rest of the family.

Photo: home addition in-law suite

Photo courtesy Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

3. Does the suite need a kitchenette? Including one helps avoid squabbles over fridge space, messy sinks or “rush hour” traffic in the main kitchen. It’s also a good way to foster independence and keep different food preferences and eating schedules from causing friction.

4. What about privacy? Preserving privacy is very important for maintaining harmony in the household. You don’t want your master-suite oasis to be ruined by the blare of the family room TV on the other side of the wall. Nor do you want the residents of an apartment-style suite to overhear conversations in the other parts of the house. Ask us about sound-proofing strategies such as insulation, built-in cabinetry, carpeting, or using a hall or closet as a buffer zone.

5. What code restrictions apply to home additions? Besides the normal code and zoning requirements such as setbacks, etc., some communities discourage homeowners from renting out in-home apartments to non-related family members or for using a suite as a place of business. We can advise you on any code restrictions and how they will affect the design.

If you’d like to take look at some “suite” possibilities for your own home addition, give us a call!

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