Here are some things to keep in mind before beginning your project:
• Analyze how you want to use the space. “Bigger isn’t always better,” said homeowner Linda Berglin.
• Interview three contractors and get references, advised homeowners Nancy and Dan Griffin, who had a bad experience with the first contractor they hired. “Work with someone you feel comfortable with and who respects your budget,” said Nancy.
• Visit home tours to scrutinize other attic conversions. “Another project gave us the idea to open up the wall at the top of the stairs,” said Nancy.
• Explore heating and cooling options. “Attics tend to be too hot or too cold, and it has to be comfortable up there,” said Dan Hayes of Plekkenpol Builders.
• Attic bathrooms typically have large walk-in showers and more storage cabinets instead of a space-sucking tub.
• When remodeling existing spaces, you may have to modify the roof structure to meet building codes.
• Add skylights and windows to bring natural light into dark rooms.
• Make sure the attic suite is well-insulated. Most contractors recommend installing energy-efficient spray-foam insulation.
• Consider remodeling in phases to spread out costs. “It took us six years to finish it, but we had an overall vision,” said Nancy.
— Star Tribune (Minneapolis)