How Not to Become the Winchester Mystery House - Build to Suit Your Neighborhood

From on March 17, 2008 in General

Winchester HouseMost people are familiar with the Winchester Mystery House, built by wealthy widow Sarah L. Winchester. She began the massive project in 1884 and spent the next 38 years until her death hiring craftsmen to build bizarre, but beautiful rooms. The expansive mansion includes 160 rooms and rambles over four acres. The total project cost $5,500,000. Now, the beautiful Victorian is a popular tourist attraction in San Jose, CA.

While this may work for a tourist attraction, the same is not usually true for a fully functioning, practical neighborhood home. In other words, don’t allow your ideas and dreams to spiral out of control. You’ve probably noticed those additions that look like two or three homes combined into one. A new home addition can bring value and functionality to your home, but only if done correctly.

Unlike Mrs. Winchester, who had no set of plans other than table napkins, it is advisable to sit down with an architect when drafting the plans for your addition. Your architect or contractor should have modern computer software that will show you a visual of your projected project before a wall is raised. You can work through your layout, rearranging rooms and dimensions until you get it just right.

Have a clear idea of the purpose for your addition. Keep in mind if you are adding an exorbitant amount of new space, you may get ahead selling your current home and looking for one that better suits your needs. Consider your neighborhood as well. If you’re in an area of large homes, you can probably get away with a larger addition. Remember, less is more, and you definitely don’t want your home to stand out like a sore thumb.

Also, take into account the size of your property. If a smaller lot, maybe it is more advisable to build up instead of out. When adding new roof pitches, maintain symmetry with your current design. This will help to gracefully blend your addition into your home and make it appear as though it was originally built that way.

Sarah Winchester is famous for is her elaborate and expensive features. Her finished product includes three elevators, 47 fireplaces, and gas lighting. Unless you plan for a Mystery House of your own, keep your project within your means. Look for a functional, yet attractive design that doesn’t break your budget and allows your project to move seamlessly through to completion.