Do you lay awake at night dreaming of the large addition you want to put on the back of your house? Maybe you picture how grand and easy life will be, with sunshine streaming through new large windows, washing over the miles of new counter space in the renovated kitchen, acres of new closet space, and cavernous rooms that are large and impressive for family gatherings and holiday parties.....
However, there is the flip side to that fantasy--there are the inherent costs such a space would, ahem, add on --since any new space starts, of course, with the building of foundation, walls, and roof...and tens of thousands of dollars. And there is the additional cost of heating, cooling, and maintaining added space for years to come. In my experience, there are a lot of reasons NOT to add on, the most prevalent one being that it is, in most cases, simply not needed. If you feel that your house is lackluster and in need of more space, I challenge you to first make the most of the house you have so you can honestly say that more space is what is needed. A lot of times we have rooms in our houses that are seldom used, and other rooms that are completely underwhelming in function & design. Without examining our feelings any further, we respond to our discomfort and dissatisfaction by thinking we need more space. Creativity, good design, and the principles of living simply can make a "small" house live very large....SO, before you pay a builder a hefty deposit, we should examine how you currently live in your house and make sure that each space works as hard as it can for you and makes you swoon with its abundance of charm, beauty, and functionality.
Read the following statements and see if they are accurate truths about you and your house currently:
- I (or someone in my family) uses each room in our house at least once a week.
- I feel proud of the rooms I have and feel good when I spend time in them.
- The rooms in my house relate well to one another, and there is a sense of flow throughout.
- I think my house is beautiful and reflects who I am and how I would like to live my life.
- Accomplishing tasks in my house is easy, since the spaces are well organized and well designed.
If you feel that all of the above statements are true of your house, and you are still ready to build on, then I would say it is the right choice. However, if you can't say they apply to your situation, then I urge you to rethink things. It is easy to believe the lie that bigger is always better. Much like fine dining can be a wonderful, memorable experience compared to a button-popping, forgettable all-you-can-eat buffet, having a smaller amount of house that delights you with its attention to detail and fine materials can be so much more satisfying that a lot of house that bores you and costs you a lot of cash. Invest the money you were considering using for the addition to thoughtfully and intentionally improve your existing house, and you will have something of beauty, value and quality when you are finished.
Feeling cramped and uncomfortable in our current house often has little to do with the amount of space that is there, but rather how well the space is designed and appointed. Remember, you can only be in one room at a time--make the rooms you are in beautiful and satisfying to you, and your life will be the better for it.