Single Work

Attic Renovation Captures River Views

Description

This Palisades home overlooks the Potomac River and the best river view was from a small attic window. The owners wanted to capture the view and create a more usable living area to entertain family. We added a large gable dormer to create an open, light-filled living space with a higher volume. A smaller rear shed dormer allowed us to add a new bathroom to this level.

The only way to create an open, light-filled living space was to construct dormers in the roofline. Our designer opted for two—one large gable dormer on the front of the house and a smaller shed dormer on the back roof.

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The choice of paint color added bright and playful feel to the space.

The front dormer adds volume to the space and it is fitted with three large casement windows that capture the river views.

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The challenge when adding a dormer is maintaining structural support of the ridge beam. In this case, given the age of the house, finding point loads to support the existing ridge beam would have created unknown conditions and required renovation work on the first and basement levels. The engineer’s solution was to create an A-frame girder [the triangle is a structural form] supported on existing exterior bearing walls. The new dormer framing is tied into this girder.

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DURING CONSTRUCTION: This photo shows the A-frame girder designed by the engineer that is supported on the home’s existing exterior walls. The new dormer framing is tied into this girder.

Energy code required R38 insulation in the new dormer roofs, and the homeowners also wanted to add more insulation to their existing roof. Open cell spray foam insulation was the right choice to accommodate both requirements.

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DURING CONSTRUCTION: Spray foam insulation seals the ceilings and walls. Spray foam increases the energy-efficiency of the structure and helps save on heating and cooling bills.

The drywall follows the framing, which creates interesting ceiling details.

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BEFORE: The low, paneled ceilings didn’t allow for comfortable living space. The clients mostly used it for storage. The original small dormer is on the left.

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AFTER: The new dormer brings a much higher volume to the space and allows for it to truly be used as a family room.

A new rear dormer in the attic allowed for the installation of a full bathroom on this level.

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The new bathroom has a small window, but we also added a skylight to bring in more natural light.

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The bathroom has universal design features including a vanity top that has an open area under the sink, a low threshold shower, a low niche, and an adjustable showerhead.

We installed new hardwood flooring throughout the space. Though the attic had two large existing skylights, to bring in more natural light we added two more skylights—one in the bathroom and one in the hallway. We also installed new recessed lights throughout the entire space and in the bathroom.

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BEFORE: Dark paneling and low ceilings made for a cramped attic space.

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AFTER: Built-in shelves allows for displays and storage. The entry to the new bathroom is on the left. Beyond that is additional storage space. We kept the existing elevator lift. We seamlessly blended the floor of the lift with the new floor.

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Summary
Created by

Tahani Share

Completed on

October 20, 2015

Skills

Attic, Insulation, Dormers

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