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Architecture/Room Addition/Extension


Design concept
Design concept  
Home Exterior and Interior
Home Exterior and Inte  
QUESTION: Hello and thank you for taking the time to read about my project!

I need to have a new room built on the sunny side of our 1970 house for my special needs son, who is home schooled with tutors. It needs to be quiet, semi-private with windows to benefit from sunlight, but usable all year round (no 3 season sunrooms). I also want to make the kitchen more open, easy to access from the new room; so remove the wall partition and overhanging cabinets. As well the counter height is too low, so cabinets and countertops need to be replaced.

I am attaching a photo of the back of the house, which is hot with full sun and southern exposure. To the right are the patio doors where I am thinking of building the room, maybe 12x12 or 14x10 (narrower and closer to kitchen window). I am also attaching photos of the inside of the house, showing current access and kitchen layout.

Attaching a sketch up/mock up (nonprofessional) and measurements are approx. The exterior back wall height from the deck floor to the underside of the roof is only 7' 5". As I understand it, the wall would be only 6' 5" at 12 feet out with roof slope. Existing deck structures must be removed and new foundation created. I am thinking of a deck with an extended roof overhang to the kitchen window, for additional heat control, as shown in the mockup. Deck rise is about 3 feet from the ground.

The reno guy I want to hire suggested creating a breezeway from the patio door, and then build the room so he is not restricted by height constraints. I prefer to the room to be attached to the house as a true addition, with patio doors leading directly to the room for better access and so it is not a separate room with keyed access.

My main concerns are:
  4 season use, so well insulated and easy entry from the house
  A roof which will provide insulation, building codes for height, snow load
  The room is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, well ventilated with window openings.
  The best and most cost effective way to heat, cool and ventilate.
  Flow of traffic into the new room and access to the backyard.

I feel I might be missing something in terms of how to reconfigure the space, maybe extending out from the kitchen, instead and creating a new exit door? And maybe the room would look better if it was more centered at the back of the house for balance and aesthetic. The bathroom window is next to the kitchen and we would, of course, not want to enclose it.

The total budget is about $40,000.  Can you suggest a cost effective solution that would work for us? Thanks so much!
A Resourceful Single Mom


Your question is a full design project.
So I will only ask why you need to continue the existing roof slope over the addition as opposed to building a gable roof perpendicular to the existing roof?
Also look into a throm wall.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: hello, Thomas

Very interesting about the Trombe wall ... thank you! I've been reading about that and related green, passive energy sources :)

I was not considering a gable roof design, simply for the very tight budget. As I understand it, this would require cutting into the existing roof and building an A frame roof, which I think would be more expensive?

Now I am considering more of a sunroom style of room, still sitting on the deck with the roof coming from under the existing roof, extending maybe 10- 12 feet out. And increasing the R value with insulated walls, floor and roof, and the low e double pane slider windows.

I am very interested in the Trombe wall and wondering if this would work if it were only 3 feet high with windows above it, so as not to obscure the view on our south facing wall? If not, maybe I can still use brick in a knee wall design to help with thermal heat gain in the winter. In either case, I read that the overhang past the outer room wall is important to prevent the summer sun from penetrating and overheating the room. But what is the recommended length of the overhang? ... 1 foot ? 2 feet?

thanks again! :)


The extent of overhang needed is determined by the exposure and the latitude the project is in.
A solar chart will provide the angles of the sun and from that the amount of overhang to block exposure of the wall.
A couple of feet will do a good deal but you probably want to make sure and shade the glass.


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Thomas Buford


Licensed Architect in Virginia since 1984.
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Due to life safety concerns regarding some aspects of construction I may not be able to help with all questions. I do not answer structural specification questions without a site visit.


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