How to make your house appear bigger from the street

As an architect, when designing new homes for clients, they first come to me with standard tastes that you would see in any home in any neighborhood. What I’m trying to do is expand their architectural vocabulary and be bold in what they’re trying to do, without spending a lot more money. Part of that is making your house look bigger from the street and living more inside. You can get a lot of the “wow” factor by trying a few simple things in your home design.

1. Make your house longer, not square. Most people want their houses to have a squarer design, with the preconceived notion of saving costs. While this may be true in general, it also makes your house look very small (and boring). For a 2500 square foot house instead of designing it 50 feet by 50 feet make your house longer like 75 feet long by 33 feet wide. You’d be surprised how much fancier and more expensive it looks for not much more money. It also gives you the benefit of putting windows in almost every room in your home, giving them light and visual space.

2. Use the split-level home concept. The split-level home was more prevalent in the 1960s than it is today, but it has many advantages if you modernize it. The Split Level takes the foundation out of the ground. In most of the northern part of the country (I’m from Indiana), you need a foundation of at least 30″ or deeper to get below the local frost line. Well let that be the starting point of your basement (or as I like to call it, the lower level.) That means the lower level is 2 feet below ground level, which means you can have full size windows. or 9′ high) which saves cost If you use a lower level that is 8′ high (to reduce cost) there is a design I like to use to eliminate bulkheads for HVAC;…incorporate the ductwork into a plumbing system Floor framing – I love using 16” tall, 24″ on center floor framing, and keeping the framing in the same orientation throughout the house. Provides plenty of space for HVAC ductwork in the floor frame system and no bulkheads, which means less cost since you have flat roofs and no additional framing for those bulkheads. If you need space for the HVAC to “pass” each other, do it in the engine room.

3. With the split-level home, the second floor (or “main level” as I like to call it) is 7-9 feet above ground level, not only giving you a commanding view of the property, but which also looks like a 2 story building, for the price of 1 story. You can leave the windows open at night because the window frames are 10 feet above ground level. You have a lot of visual privacy because people on the street don’t have a direct view of the house. When you sit down they can’t see you even if you have lots of windows. On the main level, I love using vaulted ceiling beams on the main level to give the rooms more visual height.

4. Use wide overhangs. Wide overhangs were more prevalent during the Prairie Style period This may seem strange, but wide overhangs (like 4 feet wide) make your home look larger both inside and out. Like I said earlier, I love vaulted ceiling trusses. I start with an 8′ tall wall (instead of 9′). With a 4′ overhang and vaulted ceiling joists, the interior wall height is now 10′ (8′ wall, 2′ at roof truss), with the roof peak at 15′. This is due to the fact that the roof began to “rise” further from the outer wall. I am getting 10-15 foot ceilings for a price of 8 foot high wall. The wide overhangs also help in summer, protecting the windows from the shade, keeping direct sunlight outside.

5. Incorporate screened decks and porches into the design. Don’t make decks and porches an afterthought, but incorporate them into the design, ie, lay brick or siding over them, put a roof over them, and make the openings look like windows, but leave out the glass. . And consider putting them in the front of the house, not the back. I designed a house for my parents that was 1300 square feet on the main level, but added the screened in porch to the front of the house. The house was 72′ long in front (24′ porch, 16′ great room, 8′ driveway, 24′ garage) and it looks huge. (if you’d like to see it, go to my website (web address below), home page, near the middle of the page, “Click here for more photos of the house,” and it’s the first photo. screen is to left) The interior of the Screen Porch is finished with moisture-resistant drywall, so the interior feels like any other room in the house (also has vaulted ceilings), but has no heat no air conditioning. It is the most lived space in the home. Having the screened porch or deck in the front of the home gives you more community with your neighbors, while it can give you more privacy. In my house, the deck has a solid wall from grade to 42″ above the deck floor. This provides visual privacy when I sit, but when I stand, I can chat with the neighbors (42″ is also a height inclined to the elbows). As a bonus, with the split level house, the space under the deck (since it has siding and the floor is 7 feet above grade), and the roof over the deck, I have a shed that is 18 wide and 28 feet long under deck for lawn mowers, bikes, tools, which I don’t have to keep in the garage.

6. Minimize the garage. There is nothing visually pleasing about a garage. The most important rooms in the house (Great Room, Dining Room, perhaps the Screen Porch) should have the greatest visual presence in your home. Having a monstrous 24 foot by 36 foot garage sticking out of the front of your house is unappealing. Place it back from the front of the house and if you can, place it towards the back of the house. Use a side entry garage door if you can. And put many normal windows like the rest of the house. Try to make it look like any other room on the street. By playing with the garage and making it look like another room in your house, you will make your house seem bigger when it really isn’t. If you’re one of the homeowners who eventually converts your garage into a living space, making the garage look like a regular room from the outside makes these conversions easier. Just remove the garage doors and install window sizes like the rest of your home.

7. Use a lot of repetitive windows. By using the same window size over and over again in a long pattern, you will make the house appear longer. And these don’t need to be operable windows. Fixed windows are less expensive than operable windows.

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