Casting the players
Being in the industry, I knew how important it was to get the right team in place. I handle smaller projects than this and while I work with an amazing group of talented individuals, I felt that a project of this size needed to be handled by people that specialize in Pop-Top Construction and understood my design goals. These were:
1. Preserve the craftsman style in our architecture
2. Maintain our current footprint
3. Create a home with space for us as individuals with smart layouts that wasn't a McMansion
4. Do it right (make sure the foundation was sound, remove lead and asbestos, insulate properly, etc)
5. Do all of this in budget
We interviewed and looked at the work of 7 different builders. In the end, we went with Trevor at Redeux. His estimate was in the middle of everyone we spoke to, but more importantly he seemed to listen to what our goals were and understand our vision. Best of all he was building a house down the street and we got to watch a bit of the process and speak to those neighbors about their experience.
So with contracts signed we began work with their architect, Dawn from Design Edge. Oh Dawn, I can't say enough good things about her. I walked Dawn through our house, spoke to her of the things we loved (our exposed brick dining room and our southern light) and things we wanted (a laundry chute for the boys, built in niches with shelving, and a bench in the shower). She has done dozens of bungalow pop tops so she was very familiar with the layout. After studying some space planning diagrams, we really felt that if we could open up the kitchen to the living and dining room and put the staircase at the front we would have enough room for an office/bedroom and bathroom on the main floor. (I understand this isn't important for everyone but this was for us for other reasons specific to our family).
To anyone looking to take on a project like this I can't emphasize enough the importance of working with a qualified architect. A good architect is going to look at your project as a whole. This means considerations of proportions, classic styles, surrounding architecture, volumes, light, window cadence and critical analysis. They are focused on the what as much as the why. Much like you want to build on a solid foundation, an architect sets the tone for the project. It was imperative for us with adding an addition that we were respecting the existing architecture and not merely throwing a box on top of a bungalow. I see this more and more. They look like someone plopped a mobile home on top of a brick bungalow. Sure you maximize the square footage, but you compromise the style and characteristics that make older neighborhoods special. Frequently I'm also seeing people scraping homes and putting a new home from a stock design (think suburban prefab modern), or as I refer to them, a middle finger to the character of the neighborhood. I'm not alone in this as confirmed by the Facebook group Fugly Denver. *tips hat to Brad Evans*
With a few revisions we had our finalized design. Now, on to the finishes!