Additions and Proportional Design


Metamodern designs. Additions and Proportional Design

“Additions can also create ‘interior rooms’ meaning rooms surrounded by rooms without the possibility for windows.”

By Marcia Lyon

Everybody wants more space, right? There is a tendency when planning an addition to fill-in and square-off with more space. Some people assume that it is cheaper and easier, however, I feel that adding less square footage and creating a plan that functions well is more rewarding and likely the same money.

Additions can also create “interior rooms” meaning rooms surrounded by rooms without the possibility for windows. The only natural light these rooms get is called “borrowed light” for a reason. More often than not, these become lifeless rooms with no real draw for people to spend time in. If it is your kitchen and you have to use it, you’re just out of luck in the light department.

Correct proportion is vital for a floor plan. In a now, larger house, you don’t want a kitchen that is the size of a walk- in closet or a dining room that is four times the size of the kitchen; or a family room six times the size of the bedrooms. When you get new, larger spaces, the un-remodeled rooms can feel dwarfed.

Metamodern Designs. Additions and proportional Design.

This home (A) started out as a modest ranch style. Some time ago, the homeowners wanted space, space, space so they added (B) to both sides of the house.  A new attached garage (C) was built with a master suite above. The former porch was enclosed to create a sewing room (D) and the only way out to the backyard.

The former living room became a grossly over-sized dining room (E). The kitchen (F) was not remodeled and became a small interior room, with openings to visually connect with the family room (G) and dining room (E). The remaining bedroom wing (H) became ridiculously tiny in comparison with the remodeled home. Outdoor access to the deck (I) was only through the sewing room (D).

“The spaces simply felt “clunky” with no flow. The homeowners knew they needed a better kitchen and a new open floor plan feel.”

Metamodern Designs. Additions

Since they had ‘had it’ with additions and really didn’t need more space, all of their existing space was studied and re-arranged to make it cohesive, desirable and pleasant. Starting with the foyer (J), we cleared out the closet to make it bigger. New closets (K) were created in the former kitchen space (F), and we included a recess for a special china cabinet (L).

Who doesn’t like or need more storage space? Now in and out traffic flows well across the front of the house. A properly sized dining room (M) is a decent circulation room that can usually look good to visitors. It is large enough [flex space] to expand or retract as needed. The new kitchen (N) was screaming for natural light and life so we located it in the back corner with direct access to the expanded deck (O). Along with windows, both the kitchen and dining rooms feature skylights (P). Two closet style pantries (Q) intentionally distance the kitchen from the dining room space-wise plus offer incredible kitchen and misc. storage.

A new, separate stairway (R) takes the couple upstairs without encountering the garage door. The living room (G) is modified to accommodate a comfy sectional sofa and chairs, orienting to a large screen TV. Although the dining, kitchen, and living rooms are open to each other, they are spaced far enough apart to retain their identity and create a great flow.

Metamodern Designs. Creating Spaces by Marcia Lyon. Contributors Credit.Marcia Lyon is a professional architect, remodeling designer and freelance writer, producing metamodern designs locally and across the US and Canada.  Email: or phone 515-991-1300. Visit Marcia’s website at for more information about consultations.

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