Here in Los Angeles, it’s not unusual for families to quickly outgrow their existing homes. Lots of young couples who are first-time buyers start out in a small home that’s reasonably priced and the right size for them at the time. LA County is chock-full of areas with homes built before 1970 and more often than not, those homes are somewhat small (2-3 bedroom, 1-2 bath).
These homes are often in extremely popular, well-located neighborhoods that are appealing to families. The only issue is when those couples have kids and begin to outgrow their space. This leaves them with exactly two options: they can either move to a larger home or build a home addition to add space to their existing property.
Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego with reliable general contractors, we talk to parents every day about the challenge of planning their home for a growing family.
Below are 5 great ideas for adding space to a home to accommodate your expanding household.
Home Addition and ADU Options For a Growing Family in Los Angeles
We find that couples considering a home addition or other type of home remodel have a variety of different situations and goals. Some are getting ready to or just added a new bundle of joy to their lives (be it the first, second, etc) and will require more room to house a much-needed nanny, grandparent, or other caregiver. Other parents with older kids are finding that they need more bedrooms and bathrooms for the growing brood, as multiple kids sharing a room becomes challenging.
Another common scenario is when parents have absolutely no room for themselves, as every room is shared with children’s playthings, etc. The list goes on and can include folks that outgrow their small kitchen or dining room, households with no space for guests or additional storage, parents with no place to work from home, etc. Whatever your specific need may be, there is likely a home improvement project that will make sense for your budget and goals.
Ways To Make Room For Your Family: Home Addition and ADU Options
Depending on your situation, one of the following options may be a good fit for you to add space to your home:
1. ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) or Detached Garage Conversion
The state of California and the city of Los Angeles have made it easy to add an additional living unit in your backyard (see ADU definition here). As long as you have some room in your backyard (or a garage to convert), the new guidelines are pretty flexible and allow for one and two-story plans with up to 1200 square feet. You can find much more information in my other blogs about building an ADU or garage conversion.
Because there is so much flexibility in what size can be built, this option can work for many different scenarios. A small studio floor plan would work well as a guesthouse, an office, gym, playroom, or a ‘big kid/parent room’ (mancave, she-shed). A one-bedroom unit with a kitchen and bath is ideal for a live-in nanny, grandparent, or caregiver as it offers some separation and privacy for them as well as for you.
You can even choose to build bigger to maximize the uses (ie. living quarters on the first floor with an office above, etc).
2. Junior ADU or Attached Garage Conversion
In addition to the newly relaxed regulations about ADUs described above, California and Los Angeles have provided homeowners the ability to also create a “JADU” (junior accessory dwelling unit). A junior ADU needs to be within the existing walls of the current home, including the attached garage (and can include up to 150sf of addition).
It can be a maximum of 500 square feet, must include an efficient kitchen, and can include a bathroom as well (though a shared bathroom is acceptable too). So, an attached 2 car garage can work well as a JADU. This room can be utilized for any of the same uses as an ADU, but it’ll cost less to construct since it’s already ‘inside’ of an existing home.
3. Bedroom Addition
As families grow, they often find they require more bedrooms and/or bathrooms. These days, many new homes are built with four, five, or even more bedrooms because of the flexibility they provide. Obviously, a bedroom for each child is ideal as they get older and require their privacy. A bedroom can also serve as a nursery or a dedicated playroom where all the toys can be stored in one place. Additionally, a room addition can also serve a ton of other uses for the adults, including an office, a gym, a guest room, or even a den/family room.
4. Bathroom Addition
More bathrooms become a necessity when a household grows larger since sharing a bathroom can be inconvenient. Also, it’s always nice to have a separate bathroom for guests only (a powder room) that doesn’t get ‘gross’ from daily use by the kids. Bathroom additions can range from a large, ultra-luxury master bath that is attached to the master bedroom, all the way down to a small, 25 square foot powder room that can often be built inside a decent-sized closet.
5. Kitchen & Living Room Expansion
Smaller homes that were built decades ago usually had one living area and a ‘closed’ concept kitchen (often a galley configuration). These days, most new homes are designed with a ‘great room’ concept that includes a large open kitchen (usually with an island), an informal eating area, and a living/media room.
Creating such a large and open environment will ensure the entire household will have a cozy, inviting space to spend time together. More often than not, the kitchen is located at the back of the home, so creating such a space just means attaching an addition to the rear by utilizing some of the backyard area.
Best Options For Creating More Space In Your Home
In general, making more room in your home is achieved in one of several ways:
1) Remodeling and reworking the existing design of the home to make it more open, functional, and appealing
2) Converting an existing detached or attached garage into ADU, JADU, or other living space
3) Building a second-story ADU over the top of an existing garage
4) Building a new attached or detached ADU in your backyard
5) Building a one or two-level home addition onto the back-end of your property
6) Building a second-story addition to your single-level home
Considering the multitude of various options, most homeowners will find there are at least a few possibilities for projects that would achieve their goal of creating much-needed extra room on their property.
Costs of Home Addition Projects
If you want to add on to a house, you probably already know the costs are going to be relatively substantial. Depending on the type of addition, you can expect to pay $250-400 per square foot. If you plan to add on to a house with a second story, you can expect this to cost to be even higher because it will require significant structural work. Some people might use their savings to add on to a house, but if you require financing, here is a resource for more information on home addition loans.
Are You Ready For a Home Addition Project?
Building a home addition takes some major planning and effort, but the alternative of moving to a new home is also extremely costly and time-consuming. The good news is adding space and features to your house will add tons of value and make your home substantially more appealing and marketable to future buyers when you decide to sell.
If you want to learn more about the process and costs of a home addition or ADU project in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura & San Diego, or if you’re ready to take the next step and talk to a local contractor or designer/architect about your specific project, feel free to call one of our friendly Greatbuildz staff at 818.317.3567 or submit your project at www.GreatBuildz.com.
Check out the GreatBuildz Guide Blog for more construction tips and advice for any type of home remodeling project!