HOME REMODELING: ADDING A SUITE
MAKING A SWEET BEDROOM SUITE
Adding a bedroom suite to your home can serve many different purposes. A “mother-in-law suite,” as it is often called, is a perfect living situation for your loved one that wants to keep their privacy and still remain independent. Or perhaps you love your home, but your family has grown and you need another bedroom – just don’t add a room, create an oasis for yourself!
Generally, adding a suite will increase your property value. Future buyers see the added appeal of the addition that can be used as an office, a guest house/room, a temporary living area for a young married child or a returning college graduate, or as an alternative to an assisted living facility for an aging relative.
Before you add on, there are things to consider:
Your addition can include almost anything – including the kitchen sink! But, most municipalities in Florida do not allow you to add an oven or stove, because that will take your home from a “single family” designation to a “multiple family” designation – a violation in most areas. Bedroom(s), bathroom(s), sitting area(s), a utility room, or a kitchenette are fine. Your kitchenette can have a sink (or wet bar), cabinets, and even a refrigerator.
IF YOU HAVE A SEPTIC SYSTEM
In Palm Beach County, there are many rules you don’t often think about that may apply to your addition if you have a septic system. The size of your septic tank and the size of its drain field may limit the size of your addition – if you are adding a bedroom or a lot more living space. But don’t worry, you can always increase the size of the drain field or add another septic tank in series if your existing one isn’t large enough to accommodate the addition.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
There are many questions that you have to answer:
Do you want to build out or build up?
Building up is generally more expensive because you will need have scaffolding, stairs, etc. Additionally, if the space is for an elderly relative, you need to think about how they will get upstairs in the event they no longer can climb stairs.
How will you gain access to the addition?
Is there a hallway you can use or an exterior door? It is best to have an experienced contractor, such as Leading Edge Homes, Inc., advise you on the best way to modify your current home to gain access into the addition. And yes, you can break through an existing exterior wall to make an opening into the addition – even a load bearing one.
What is the maximum space that can be utilized for the addition?
Municipalities vary on the front, side and rear set back requirements. This may limit the size and footprint that you can use to add onto your home.
DESIGN WITH A PURPOSE
What is the purpose of the addition? Think about who will be using the area. I recommend planning for the future including designing with wider doors and hallways in case the occupants need to use a walker or wheel chair. Grab bars and no-curb showers are also something to consider – or at least have backing in the walls in the event you need to add grab bars in the future.
Whether you are adding space for yourself or a family member, the design phase is the most important! Think about what you want, what special requirements you want, and how the area will be utilized. Work with an experienced roomologist (contractor experienced in room additions) to design and build your addition. If you can imagine it, we can design it.
Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.