Monday, April 11, 2011


Our single story home addition and remodel is only adding 867 square feet of livable space and 158 square feet of porch for a total 1,025 new square feet. Our existing home is 943 sq. ft. (not including the garage) which will bring us to 1,968 total once complete. This does not include the very useable, future “man cave” attic space the new roof pitch will provide. One would think a SINGLE story, three bedroom, two bath home would not prove to be a difficult addition.

Our original mindset was as follows, “Add master bed, bath and closet out back and push kitchen/dining room out a few feet in the front and be done.” That still sounds simple to me; just a few new walls and knock out a couple of old ones. The problem(s) arises because McCall and I wanted the layout to be a specific way and to have a very specific look. Sure we could have planed out a very generic “bolt on” addition we see everywhere in the Long Beach/Lakewood area but that is just not our style.

We’ve both always loved the early 1900’s bungalow homes that were in our old Belmont Shores neighborhood. Too bad when we bought our home in 2006 those houses were about $300,000 to $500,000 out of our price range. We weren’t even sure our own home was in our price range so an original bungalow was out of the question. Our next logical step was to build our own, to create the bungalow ourselves, only a modern up-to-date one.

From the start we ran into hurdles on the design. Our existing home built in 1942 did not jive with the current California building code. It proved very difficult to find a way to seamlessly tie in a front and back expansion and make it look natural. The amount of work it would have taken to retrofit the existing roof would have been more work then it would be worth. So in the end, scrap the roof and build it the way we want it to look. Only in doing so, the structural requirements are more then I ever dreamed of. I have very little construction experience and none when it comes to starting my own from start to finish but the requirements of this new home make you wonder how the existing home has even stayed up for 70 years.

My point of this blog post is to talk about Beams! 16 Beams to be exact*. What do I consider a beam? Anything larger then a 4x8 and used for structural reasons, not decoration. So there you are; 16 freaking beams for a 3 bedroom home. We have created a lot of open floor space with the remodel so they do serve a purpose. As of today all but one 4x12 beam has been purchased so we’re almost structurally sound. Here is a list of the beams we’ve had to use and a diagram of the house that shows where they are going.

  1. 4x10 – 2 foot
  2. 4x10 – 9 foot
  3. 4x10 – 11 foot
  4. 4x10 – 12 foot
  5. 4x10 – 14 foot
  6. 4x12 – 12 foot
  7. 4x12 – 12 foot
  8. 4x12 – 12 foot
  9. 4x12 – 18 foot
  10. 4x12 – 18 foot
  11. 4x12 – 21 foot
  12. 4x16 – 17 foot (Parallam PSL)
  13. 6x10 – 18 foot
  14. 6x12 – 12 foot
  15. 6x12 – 12 foot
  16. 6x16 – 21 foot (Parallam PSL)

*It is hard to call #1 really a beam since it is only 2 foot long but still, I’m counting it. I’d also like to point out that we’ve had to use 20 4x4 post to support the beams throughout the house.

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