By Merlisa Lawrence Corbett (Special to The Washington Examiner)
Abump-out can be a cost- effective way to open up the space in an existing room, making it feel larger, allowing in more light or even adding access to the outside. Unlike a more extensive addition, a bump-out proj- ect usually means extending a room by only a few feet. Francisca Villarroel Alonso, founder and president of AV Archi- tects and AV Builders, installed a 6-foot-deep, 26-foot-long bump-out in a McLean house, and it changed the homeowners’ lifestyle. “The house had a nice backyard with a pool but no views to it and no physical access,” Alonso said. “With the bump-out, we also connected an existing storage space and converted it into a much-needed mudroom with a family entrance to the house and direct access to the pool for guests.“The bump-out allowed for a wet- bar area that allowed the family to entertain easily at pool parties with- out going into the kitchen,” Alonso said. The project also increased the natural light going into the house, which had dark corners because of the limited number of windows.“The difference between this bump-out and an addition is that with only 6 feet of added depth we were able to improve the feel and flow of the four most important spaces in this house — the kitchen, the dining room, the mudroom and the outdoor area,” Alonso said. “If we would have just added a full-size addition we would have not been able to redesign and improve the rest of the existing spaces with the budget we had and the project would have not been as cost-effective for the client.”
The entire flow of a space can be changed with a simple bump-out, said Jackie L. Braitman, owner of Braitman Design/Build in Takoma Park. Braitman added a bump-out to a 1905 Takoma Park home and gave the owners a dream kitchen at a fraction of the cost of a full addition. “It was simple, but it changed the traffic flow in the kitchen,” Braitman said.“Some of the houses in that area used to have the kitchens outdoors. So a lot of the kitchens were add-ons anyway,” Braitman noted. The own- ers anticipated spending $500,000 for an addition, but instead spent less than $40,000 for the bump-out. But just because a bump-out is smaller, that doesn’t always make it less expensive than an addition, said David Merrick of Merrick Design and Build in Kensington.“If you look at cost per square foot, a bump-out can be way more expen- sive. In fact, the smaller the project, the more it costs per square foot,” said Merrick, who pointed out that any bump-out of more than 3 feet requires a foundation and insulation, with construction and labor costs associated with an addition. “The advantage of the bump-out is it’s a smaller scale and people are being more careful about what they really need,” he said.