What’s in your attic? Boxes of long-forgotten “treasures”? Your air conditioning and heating system? Attic spaces can offer many creative possibilities for adding living space within the confines of your existing home.
Before you invest time and money in a renovation, understand that this is emphatically not a do-it-yourself project. You will need the services of a professional architect, engineer, or both to tell you what’s structurally possible as well as plan and oversee the work.
The first thing to consider is whether your attic is a practical space for everyday use. Is there enough headroom in the attic space? Is a dormer needed to gain additional headroom? Is there access to the attic? Where will new stairs be placed?
You also will need to determine how the attic floor can support occupied space. The floor of an attic is generally designed to be the ceiling of the story below and must be modified to support the weight dictated by building codes. Also, since attics in older homes are seldom insulated, you’ll have to add insulation and, in most cases, install a dedicated heating and air conditioning unit. Sharing a system between floors tends to be inefficient and may not be allowed under local building codes.
Other considerations include the introduction of natural light through windows or skylights as well as creating a form of egress. Adding a bathroom increases the complexity of the renovation, but the challenges of configuring pipes and drains can usually be surmounted.
An attic renovation may also require exterior work. If the roof pitch is steep, the roof may have to be cut and lifted by using windows or dormers. The design should reflect and complement the existing architectural style of the house and neighborhood. In addition to the structural issues, local ordinances also may affect your plans in other ways.
Author: NARI Atlanta member, Rick Goldstein, GCP of Mosaic Group [Architects and Remodelers], a metro Atlanta design/build company with Indoor and Outdoor Living Divisions.
Design trends in cabinetry can differ within a relatively small geographic radius. In metro Atlanta, the Shaker style characterized by simple, clean lines predominates, while Shaker cabinetry is far less in demand outside the Perimeter. But style is a personal decision.
The Shaker style, with its straight lines and flat-paneled doors, is a good choice for many homes, since it can blend well with either traditional or modern kitchen designs. You can add an element of decorative contrast to the simplicity of Shaker cabinets or drawers with hardware in darker colors. Plus, you can replace the knobs and pulls with a new style every year or two to freshen the appearance at a modest price.
You can also update the traditional Shaker style with subtle color. Light gray shades have become popular in parts of Atlanta, and since these colors are not far from classic white, you can be creative without venturing into avant-garde remodeling. For additional variety, you may also want to install cabinetry in darker woods or stains in the master bath.
If you intend to remain in your home for some years and age in place, explore the many new design elements that can improve accessibility, such as lazy susans or roll-out trays in lower cabinets, cabinets with glass doors, pull-down shelving, and upper wall cabinetry several inches lower than the conventional height.
Designers have also devised cabinetry to enhance convenience and accessibility in the master bath, such as drawers and cabinets specifically for blow dryers or cosmetics. New ideas are constantly entering the market, so spend some time exploring your options before making final decisions.
Author: David DiCristina of Timberland Cabinets. NARI Atlanta member, Timberland Cabinets, is a metro-Atlanta company that offers custom cabinetry solutions throughout the home.