Architecture/Changing Roof


Hi,  We have a house that has a gambrel roof that we would like to change the roof style on.  The home has an attic that was finished but is too short (6.5 feet tall).  We would like to gain height in the attic and possibly change the roof gabel roof.  Do you have any recommendations regarding options, feasibility and cost (ballpark).  Thanks Matt

Hi Matt,

I would first check your local jurisdiction's land use code to be sure you can add an additional story and that it will fall under the maximum height limit. Here in Seattle, the upper story would really need to be constructed within a pitched roof rather than being a full story on top of the second story. If it is permitted, then you'd probably still want to do the same so the house does not look too large or top heavy. You'll want to of course remove the sides of the gambrel roof on the second story of the house and install siding there instead.

For feasibility, I see the brick on the main level, which may pose a problem with structural upgrades necessary. You should probably talk to an architect or structural engineer locally to see what is typically required for this sort of project. But because you are putting more mass on top of the house, usually the structure below needs to be upgraded to handle those gravity loads and also lateral loads from high winds or earthquakes. With the brick siding, that work would likely need to occur from the interior, which may mean pulling apart spaces that may not need to be remodeled just to get to the walls and floors to make the necessary upgrades.

For cost, that seems to vary a lot by region, but in Seattle, these kinds of projects typically start at $200/sf for the new space, but you also need to budget money for the modifications on floors below, and the amount would vary depending on how extensive the revisions are to that area.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Nazim Nice
Principal / Architect
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Nazim Nice


I am a Seattle Architect and can answer architecture and design related questions. Ask me about material suggestions or usage. Ask me about design options - what is good design and what is bad. Ask me about choosing exterior house colors and furniture layout options. Ask me about detailing and assembling houses or components in the home. Ask me about green design or materials. Ask me about choosing an architect, the architectural services, basement remodels, second story additions, and whole house remodels. Ask me about garage design, bathroom remodels, laundry and mudroom design, family room additions, and roof deck additions.


Over 12 years of practice in the Architectural field including three years of internship plus 5 years of school. I have taught at the Knowlton School of Architecture at the Ohio State University and lectured at Carnegie Mellon University. I currently own and run the Seattle Architecture Firm, Motionspace Architecture + Design PLLC.

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB, Seattle Architects | Motionspace Architecture + Design. More information at our blog the (un)common house. Lumen ID Custom Engraved Switch Plates with Labels.

BArch from Carnegie Mellon University & Andrew Carnegie Scholar

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