Q: How can I efficiently offer optional space in a smaller and narrower plan?

A: IN THE PAST, ESPECIALLY WITH LARGER PLANS, OPTIONAL SPACE WAS OFTEN ACCOMPLISHED BY ADDING A FINISHED “bonus” room over the garage. Unfortunately, this greatly diminishes the overall efficiency of the plan by not using this area in the standard plan configuration. In effect, you are building half of a finished space without being able to charge the buyer for it—unless he or she adds the optional space.

One solution that serves both the buyer and builder is adding optional walk-up space in the attic. This is especially advantageous in homes without basements. The second floor of the plan can be designed for maximum efficiency by using all available space (including over the garage) in its “base” configuration. Standard roof trusses can be used if the walk-up attic is not purchased, eliminating the builder's cost penalty. All construction costs can be captured in the option price without subsidizing the non-optioned house.

Aside from the built-in efficiencies, a walk-up attic is a feature that carries tremendous nostalgic appeal for most buyers. Make sure the room reminds occupants that they are tucked just under the roof by incorporating some sloping or clipped ceilings (dormers are even better, but they can be expensive). Popular uses include home theater setups, extra bedrooms/sitting rooms, exercise rooms, home offices, and game rooms.

Guest Architect: Joseph B. Stein, M/I Homes Columbus, Ohio 614-418 - 8097 jstein@mihomes.com

WALK THIS WAY: Using walk-up attic space rather than a basement or bonus room keeps footprints small and prices lower per square foot of heated space. Attic storage trusses can simplify construction, but they also dictate such things as stair location and direction and the depth of the main roof.
WALK THIS WAY: Using walk-up attic space rather than a basement or bonus room keeps footprints small and prices lower per square foot of heated space. Attic storage trusses can simplify construction, but they also dictate such things as stair location and direction and the depth of the main roof.
SPACE PLANNING: A walk-up attic has a number of built-in advantages. The second floor of the plan can be designed for maximum efficiency by utilizing all available space, including the area over the garage.
SPACE PLANNING: A walk-up attic has a number of built-in advantages. The second floor of the plan can be designed for maximum efficiency by utilizing all available space, including the area over the garage.