“If I only had a bit more space”. We have all been guilty of uttering that phrase atleast once or twice! You love everything about your current house, other than the fact that you could use more room. Our client had been working from home in a shared office space for quite some time prior to us starting this project and asked us to convert an unused attic space into a dedicated office space. Those with small children understand that working from home is great, in that it allows you to take breaks as needed to be there for your family, whether it's for some quick homework help, or so you can squeeze in a little extra work after putting the last child to bed. However, ease of access for the "little ones" with no office privacy can be a challenge if you are trying to complete a major work project against a fast approaching deadline or participate in a conference call.
To make this new office space work, we had to relocate a water heater, install a new independent floor joist system and add a new dormer with large windows to allow plenty of light into the new work space. New electrical, HVAC and insulation components were installed. Drywall was applied to newly framed and furred walls and ceilings. Trim and cabinets were installed to create custom work space, perfect for the home office. We were even able to squeeze in a bit more storage to the left and right of the new dormer by installing new sealed "half" doors allowing access to open attic spaces on either side.
There were many challenges facing us with this attic conversion. The first, and most significant challenge, was building over a "tray" ceiling that had been installed in the master bedroom below. Our concern was that the additional load placed on the ceiling joist, which was not designed to carry a significant live load, may cause damage to the intricate ceiling below. To overcome this, we designed a new completely independent floor system that was installed over the existing ceiling joist below with a small set of stairs leading to the landing on the second floor. This new flooring system placed no load on the ceiling joist below and spanned from one existing load bearing wall to another.
Another hurdle we faced was trying to extract as much height out of the space and let as much light in as possible to prevent the area from feeling too small or low. One of the exterior walls was adjacent to the gable end of the home, but covered with a brick veneer. The other exterior wall was against a sloping roof. We decided to install a new dormer on the sloping roof, rather than try to modify the brick veneered gable end. This accomplished two things for us; we created additional height and by installing a large window, we were able to allow natural light to stream into the new room.
By adding a "bit more space", the finished project turned out great, allowing for functional office space that met the needs of the family. If needed, the space could easily transition and be used as a playroom or even a guest room.