Oak Alley Doubles a Home Interior from the Inside Out
When it comes to finding usable space in your home, sometimes the answer’s right in front of your eyes. This family almost doubled their usable interior footprint without stepping a foot outside!
In 2013 these Trussville, Alabama homeowners moved into a comfortably sized home in the area of town where they’d both been raised. With the goal of raising their own family in the same community and with both of their families nearby, it was a perfect location. Within two weeks of moving in, their family of three expanded to a family of four. The fit was perfect.
However, in 2016, with their third child on the way, these homeowners realized modifications had to be made to their suddenly shrinking home. Still in love with the location, they decided to look into a design-build project to determine a way to expand the home while limiting expansion to the home’s footprint. It was some unrelated damage to their home needing repair that pushed the project to the front burner. After several consultations, they decided to partner with Oak Alley on their project.
The homeowners had specific goals for their remodel. They needed space for their expanding family but wanted to find that space upward and inward, not outward. They wanted to do everything possible to repurpose the interior space and change as little as possible to the exterior grounds. Downstairs they felt the existing design of the central living area of the home was too confining. They wanted this opened and flowing.
Upstairs the homeowners had more ambitious goals. They wanted to build two bedrooms and a bath. The challenge being, there was no real “upstairs” – just a walk in attic accessed through pull down stairs in the garage. This would involve removing and reimagining the roof to accommodate the new space while maintaining existing design and structural integrity.
In addition to an overall home expansion project, the homeowners needed assistance on how to reimagine two specific areas of the house intended for one thing – garage entryway and kitchen nook – but needed for another thing – mudroom and laundry space. These two details were lacking and, as their family grew, the need for these spaces became more and more evident.
Upon entering the garage, there was no dedicated space for shoes, bags, toys, or anything else being hauled in. These items tended to clutter in and around the doorway making passage tricky, especially with a new baby.
A similar problem developed in the laundry room – the space needed to manage the laundry for a growing family just wasn’t there. What was there, was the kitchen nook and it could become the spillover from the laundry. Both spaces needed to be repurposed into areas that fit the homeowner’s needs.
After Oak Alley presented the homeowners with several different 3D rendered options illustrating how their goals could be met, both from style and construction standpoints, a design was determined. Using well thought out objectives and creative problem solving, Oak Alley was able to address all the homeowner’s needs.
The Homeowner’s wanted to expand their living room using space provided by an underperforming back porch. This involved moving the existing outer wall, (including the fireplace), opening the entryways, removing support posts, and adding a wooden beam ceiling. In conjunction with the expansion, they sought to modify the overall formal home design to something slightly more rustic.
Modifications were made a subtly as possible where possible. The outer fireplace wall was moved and the fireplace updated with new stonework in the process. The living room was expanded, improving the overall openness of the space. The passageway between the living room and kitchen was opened, allowing traffic to flow more freely.
Upstairs, due to the existing roof and attic layout, inventive design had to be employed to fit the requested rooms above the existing first floor. Proper support had to be located and worked around. Adequate space for stairs to the new second floor had to be found within the home while having minimal impact on the existing traffic flow. And while the homeowners did want to update their look, it was important the new construction appeared as if had originally been part of the home. When completed, the new upstairs featured two bedrooms, a full bath, walk-in attic space, and a new HVAC system – all looking like they were part of the original design.
Just off the kitchen, hidden behind frosted glass barn doors, the kitchen nook was transformed into a laundry nook complete with a folding table. The desire to give their home a less formal feel in exchange for a more rustic appearance made the solution of the barn doors the perfect answer to dividing the kitchen from the laundry nook without corrupting the space. The frosted glass allowed sunlight to continue into the room when the doors were closed while also allowing full window view when they remained open. This style door allowed the open/close option without having a traditional doorway eating up space on either side. The folding table also added functionality to the room by providing space to care for laundry and storage space underneath. The kitchen itself was refreshed with a new backsplash and paint.
The mudroom was more of a challenge but was aided by the design changes necessary for the new stairs going into the second floor. The stairwell, tucked between the kitchen and garage, made its way up to the new second floor. As these stairs went in, they left a usable space appropriate for the mudroom. Adding to that space, the larger two car garage door was removed and replaced with a single car garage door. A 36” exterior door was installed as an entry into the garage. A secondary door provided entry into the mudroom where CABICO® cabinets provided the necessary storage and structure, providing a place for shoes, backpacks, umbrellas, and any other items needing to remain inside, but outside, the house.
Innovative solutions to all the challenges were designed and constructed and the homeowners were pleased with the results. What was created is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. The key to homeowner approval however, was in the appearance. All remodeled areas – including the new-build sections – look as if they were original to the house, blending seamlessly into their surroundings. Now expecting their fourth child, this family has a home that fits them all for years to come.