Chicago Loft
Chicago Loft – photo credit by Lavender & Lilies

Finding a home in the perfect location at the right price can be difficult. It seems that most urban areas offer very small homes or homes that are extremely expensive.

Picture this; you find a terrific urban neighborhood that offers walking or biking to local shops and restaurants and the school district is distinguished, unfortunately the only house you can afford is under 1,000 square feet and you know that size just won’t accommodate your family’s needs. An alternative to a smaller abode might just be to raise the roof, literally, by adding a loft. Creativity is a plus in this scenario, you can A.) convert your attic into a room, B.) add a loft to a volume ceiling (higher than just a vaulted ceiling), or C.) raise the roof and build up.

Take the attic for instance; most families don’t use the entire portion of the attic for storage. With the help of a contractor, you can convert a portion of your attic into another room. Apparently, rafter attics are the easiest to convert without raising the roof, truss-built attics require more work to convert and may require an architect. A contractor will make sure your walls and floor will support the weight of an addition. Within your plan, a contractor will also make sure fire exits are available and take into consideration windows, sky lights, and air flow. Resource for attic conversions.

Can’t covert the attic? What about a vaulted-volume ceiling? If your ceiling is high enough, you can build a loft room or just a sleeping loft to add a little extra space. Sleeping lofts are quite popular in cities like New York where space is limited. Narrow ladders can be tucked away during the day and brought out when it’s time for bed. Resource for loft conversions.

West Hollywood Cottage
West Hollywood Cottage – photo credit recently showcased a small cottage in West Hollywood. Originally only 600-square feet without much land to work with, the couple built up and doubled the square footage. Adding plenty of windows, using bright white walls and geometric designs and colors gives the illusion there’s more room than what’s actually there.

Would you consider a smaller home in a better, or more prestigious, neighborhood? Would you add on?


  1. I would definitely go with location over size, and a loft would be intriguing to me, too. I wonder how much these types of additions or renovations actually cost? That Hollywood cottage looks like it would be a pricey add-on.

  2. @Jeffrey
    I think the Hollywood cottage was a little pricey. But, I’m guessing a sleeping loft could start for as little as a few hundred and larger lofts or attic conversions probably start around $10K. However, if you buy the home at a steal, the extra money might not seem so bad!

  3. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter Reply

    There is a house a block away from ours that did this exact thing this summer. It looks really cool. We have talked about building up as well as the family expands.

  4. AverageJoe Reply

    I love the Not So Big House series of books. They fire me up the way your first pic does. Creative uses of space…cool!

  5. I’ve seen houses in the Middle East that just add floors to the house as the extended family expands. The last floor always has steel rebar sticking out the top of the roof, waiting for the next addition.
    I’m thinking that once we’re empty nesters, we’ll seriously consider down-sizing. We just don’t need that much room.

  6. Well Heeled Blog Reply

    I’d definitely take a smaller home in a better location. I don’t know if this has been proven by studies, but I think the location and condition of a home has much more bearing on homeowner satisfaction than the size alone.

    • @Well Heeled Blog – I definitely agree. It makes more sense to have a nice, smaller home in a great location than a huge, McMansion in an area no one wants to move to!

  7. Hmm, seems like a pretty clever idea, especially in a city with limited space!

    Not to jump topics, but did you see the house at 101’s site today? For a good laugh, check this out: redneck house picture.

    I usually don’t add links to comments (and especially to other bloggers), but I think you’ll get a kick out of the picture 🙂

  8. Well these gonna be a great idea also to solution the problem regardless with the space to use with.

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