What a Difference a Dormer Can Make


Metamodern Designs for Living. Dormer

By Marcia Lyon
Example (above) of a modern dormer design

Story and a half homes, commonly called Bungalows, are charming. Basically it is a one story home, with a high pitched roof and sometimes finished attic space. The usable floor space is less than the first floor because the roof lines slope down, limiting headroom.

Metamodern Deesigns. DormerPROBLEM

This finished attic in this bungalow featured a bedroom (A), a couple of closets, and a small room (B) that is either walk-through space or a wide hallway. It really serves no purpose other than providing a place for the bedroom door that is not at the top of the stairs.

The furnace flue (C) is an unmovable object we need to design around. There is a panel (D) that can be moved to access the small space under the eaves. I consider that not very valuable storage space.

The homeowners wanted to make much more out of this attic space. They envisioned a master suite with a ‘tree-house’ feel. Adding a full bathroom is a must.

Metamodern Designs. Dormer.

The efficient way to add space to an attic like this is to build a dormer (E). It is important that the new roof has the same roof pitch as the existing roof. The height of the knee walls (F) determine the width of the room (or vice versa). The gable end (G) features three large windows*, creating a view and lots of natural light.

The space at the top of the stairs (B) is opened up by replacing some of the wall at the stairway with railing. The closet is removed and now there is room for a big, cushy chair (I). We also added small windows on either side of the existing window in the gable end. That will help to distribute natural light on the stairs. Closets (J) line the wall towards the front of the house.

The bedroom space can be closed off from the stair area with two sliding doors (K). These could be white glass doors, to create a nice style and share light. The bathroom (L) occupies the other end of the original gable end. The toilet is located keeping in mind where the new soil pipe will go through the first floor. There is an over-sized shower and a double sink vanity. The wall behind the vanity is pulled forward in order to have more headroom in front of it. Two pocket doors (N) duplicate the ones to the bedroom (K).

Three square skylights (M) span across the front slope of the existing roof, providing wonderful natural light into these spaces. This center hall (O) provides a grand entrance into the bedroom (P), plus a pleasant circulation space. A desk (Q) tucks neatly into the corner. If a desk is not wanted, that would be a great place for a double dresser. The new bedroom (P) is open and spacious. With the continuation of the sloping ceilings, the homeowner’s “tree-house” feel is definitely achieved.

*I made an additional suggestion of adding a balcony (R) in the future, or now if the budget allows.

Metamodern Designs. Creating Spaces by Marcia Lyon. Contributors Credit.Marcia Lyon is a professional architect, remodeling designer and freelance writer. She designs projects internationally and locally across the US and Canada. Visit Creating Spaces on Facebook! Contact Marcia via email: archimeatus@gmail.com; or phone 515-991-1300.  Her website is www.creatingspacesdesign.com.

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