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House Addition!

Plans of what our new great room addition will look like and some inspiration pics.

We are finally adding on to our house! We are VERY excited that this great room addition is finally coming to fruition after starting to talk to contractors 6 months ago.

Between lumber and labor prices going up this spring, the original contractor falling through, finding a contractor who would work with us and could start at a reasonable time, etc... we are thrilled that we’ve made it to this point (Bill would say he almost didn’t make it ;)) It feels like it’s already been a roller coaster of time and emotion and we haven’t even started digging yet! LOL *Now if only it all came together as fast as it does on a 30 minute design show!

Here is the BEFORE of the back of our house where we will be adding on:

And here is what we will do:

Over the last couple of years, while planning and saving for this addition, we have definitely laughed about how we could go out of the city and buy a much bigger house that has all the things we are looking for!

So why are we staying in our house and adding on instead of moving? There are so many reasons!

Our WHY…

My parents live behind us.

When we moved here 6 years ago, we weren’t originally looking to be in this neighborhood because it wasn’t very close to the parish and preschool we were at at the time… but my grandmother was in the house behind this one so we thought, lets check it out just in case. We bought it and then a couple years ago, my parents downsized and bought my grandma’s house behind us… and the rest is history.

My sister and brother-in-law and their new baby just moved in next door.

Yes, we are slowy taking over this end of the neighborhood haha! Getting to grow up with grandparents and family is pretty cool for our kids!

We love the people in our neighborhood.

We have so many families with similar aged kids and we all love to get together!

Between block parties, bike rides, backyard fires, trick or treating, Easter egg hunts, parades, fireworks, field day, and random whiffle ball games on any given night, we feel like it is an amazing place for our kids to grow up. There are so many wonderful families that put the effort into building community - and that in of itself, is irreplaceable. It feels like a true 60s neighborhood out of the movies in that sense!

We hope and pray that this space will be a haven for good conversation, prayer, and partying. We can’t wait to host friends and family and make wonderful memories for years to come!

Here’s the lowdown -

What will the new space be?

2 for 1.

The Great Room will be both a Living Room and a Dining Room.

This became a non negotiable for me early on! I was almost persuaded to do a 20x20’ room back in January/February to keep the rising costs down a bit, but knew that it wouldn’t give us the space we really needed, without BOTH a GATHERING SPACE and a DINING SPACE. To keep the current 12’ x 13’ dining room as the only eating area wasn’t something I wanted to compromise on. We will put a “kitchen” table in the current dining room to have another table to eat at when we aren’t at the bigger dining room table.

I love this example of a great room combo from Studio McGee:


It will be a 25’ x 25’ (exterior) which makes it about 24.5’ x 24.5’ (interior) room off the back of the current dining room and family room - northwest corner of the house.

*Drawing by my dad. Patio will go to the right of the Great Room


The room will be built on a crawl space (like the rest of the house is) and the current two dining room windows will become the pass-through with a step down into the space.

Because of the step down, we can add any kind flooring without worrying about it matching our existing hard woods. (I chose the vinyl plank and ordered it this week!).

Here are the dining room windows that will lead out and down a step to the addition:

These dining room windows will become the pass through where we will walk out and step down into the great room

In addition, the family room window will be removed and bricked up. We will leave that brick exterior wall exposed in the great room (and it will be painted). Here’s the toy room window that will be bricked up:

That far window will be removed, leaving 3 windows in the family room.


We asked for a 7” step down into the room because it will also allow for a taller ceiling! The addition will have a 13.5’ cathedral ceiling. Here are a few examples of vaulted ceilings that I love (although it’s difficult to know the exact height in these pictures):

Image Credit: Amber Interiors
Image credit: Rafter House Collection
Image Credit: Studio McGee
Image Credit: Pure Salt Interiors


There will be a simple concrete slab patio off of the addition - this is a big deal because we currently eat and host people at round tables at the end of the driveway because we are fancy like that. ;) I plan on staining it after it cures next spring.

Exterior Siding and Windows.

We are using LP Smartside board and batten on the addition and LP horizontal lap siding on the back of the house. We also ordered 7 large windows and a sliding glass door in the Pella Lifestyle series. *Our goal is to add all new windows and re-side and paint the rest of the house next spring.

One hiccup along the way.

And lastly, out of the few of hiccups we’ve had so far, the biggest one has been the upstairs window placement with the new roof pitch. The picture below shows the lowest height the new roof would have to be to fit under the existing windows (without moving either window upstairs), making the interior ceiling 11.9’ at the tallest -

Bill thought it would be way too low of a roof for a room that size at a 3.5/12 pitch. He was calling the addition the double wide garage. :)

Below, it is shown with a 5/12 pitch, the lowest he wanted to go, making the ceiling 13.6’ inside and 14.7' outside. As you can see, both the boys’ bedroom window on the left and the window in the den on the right needed to be moved over quite a bit. We initially thought we were done here:

What we didn’t realize is that when I went to Pella with the contractor to order the windows, we were told that they would have to be larger than what they are now to meet code, and that pushed the boys’ window on the back of the house too far to the corner.

So this is where we are now. The boys will still have a window on the north side of their room (not shown).

Now it‘s the waiting game! We have actually been waiting for the permits to go through for a month. We finally moved forward a bit this week because a trench was dug for the cable lines to be buried. Next week the electric company should be here to upgrade our electric box and connect everything up.

We hope it will be completed enough to have Thanksgiving dinner in there but we shall see!

Thanks for following along! And hope you all have a wonderful rest of the summer!


"Do not try to please everybody. Try to please God, the angels, and the saints - they are your public." St. John Vianney, pray for us!


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