Sunday, March 2, 2008

Building Bedrooms

This week saw major progress to the upper floor, the bedrooms, in our house.Working on renovating an existing house is sure to bring some surprises and changes as construction progresses. Our first change came this week, as we realized the existing stair was about 1 foot further south than what we had drawn. We had taken pretty thorough measurements of the house and drawn the existing plans in autocad, but we were bound to be off a bit here and there.

The downside of this change is that our extra bedroom (to be used by our aupair Kerstin) now has no closet. The actual stair location left only 18” to access the space for the closet. Now, she’s pretty skinny, but 18” just doesn’t cut it for closet access. So, we are foregoing the closet in that room and going to buy an Ikea wardrobe. (The boys are coming out way ahead in this deal, as they now have a huge closet.)

With all the great Ikea wardrobes available, it’s a wonder that people are still building closets for bedrooms at all. Earlier plans for our house (when we were looking at a entirely new house on an empty lot) had moveable wardrobes planned for all bedrooms except the master. Some would say that this is an issue, as closet-less rooms cannot be considered bedrooms. This is a commonly-held assumption, but in my research it is not necessarily true. The building code (at least in MN) doesn’t require a closet for bedrooms. It might be an appraiser requirement, which may lower our bedroom count- but this is an issue I’m still trying to get to the bottom of.

The existing house had a bedroom in the basement with an egress window and closet. But with concrete floors and walls, we will be using this as a storage room, not a bedroom. The main floor has a bedroom which Kevin will be using for EcoDEEP studio. Then we have 4 new bedrooms on the upper floor- (shared one for the boys, one for Mazzy and one for aupair Kerstin). Thus, technically, our house would have 6 bedrooms. This might seem a bit excessive, but we have a history of family members (or almost family) coming to live with us for extended periods of time.This 2nd floor window will have a great view of the green roof.

One of our goals is to make sure this house is adaptable to our living situation in the future. One of the future possibilities we wanted to make sure we could accommodate is if one of our parents would need to live with us. Thus, Kevin’s office/studio could be convertible to become bedroom/in-law apartment in the future. Because of this, we needed to find a relatively flat site and make sure there was a full bathroom on the ground floor. This self-imposed requirement frustrated us at times when we were looking in Highland Park (which is full of split-levels and tuck-under garages) – but we’re happy that we stuck to our guns on that issue.

View from the front. The closet-less bedroom is on the front left. It might not have a closet, but it does have a HUGE window and balcony!

View from the back alley.


Anonymous said...

I'm your nieghbor kitty-corner across the alley. I've enjoyed watching the house go up and reading about your thoughts and plans. We built a second story addition nine years ago and were also surprised with too-long stairs (about two feet --- why are they never shorter?). This year I renovated the renovation by splitting a large bedroom into two smaller rooms with no closets (highly overrated). We also fretted about the "not an official bedroom" thing. I'll be interested to find out what you learn about all that. Welcome and looking good!

Kevin & Roxanne said...

Neighbor- Thanks for you message and warm welcome!
So far, the information I have found regarding closets and bedrooms tells me that it is only an appraisor and realtor thing- not a code requirement. IMO, it's a rather outdated way of assessing the value of the house.
We're looking forward to becoming part of the neighborhood!