One of the things we decided to do early on in our project was to remove the second floor bump-out. This is a cantilevered overhang above the sidewalk along the side of our house. It’s about ten feet long, extends about two feet out, and currently has four windows. It’s not an unattractive house feature, and because it’s on the South side of the house and the neighboring house is only a story and a half, it brings in a lot of natural light. It’s also original to the house, meaning that the floor structure is the same joists extended out past the end of the wall, rather than a poorly tacked on expansion as we thought originally. So why are we getting rid of it?

There’s a few reasons we don’t want the bump-out. First is the location from an interior perspective. The wet wall of the house hasn’t moved, despite our complete overhaul of the floor plan. Because of this, the second floor bathrooms are located in a specific place (right where the old one was, and where the kitchen was). The old bathroom was fairly small, about as wide as a bathtub and about as deep as a tub, a toilet, and a pedestal sink. We’d like a bigger bathroom since it’s the main bathroom in the house and it will also be incorporating the laundry room. Given where the stairs and hall are, the bathroom has to extend into the part of the house where the bump-out is. While the bump-out was well suited to being a dining room, it’s less suited to be part of a bathroom. When I was designing the second floor layout, I tried a number of configurations to incorporate the bump-out into a bedroom, but it just doesn’t fit.

From the back

From an exterior point of view, it’s mere inches from the neighbor’s roof. We actually had hail break a bump-out window because it ricocheted off their roof. It makes the already dark sidewalk along the house even darker. It complicates the roof line on the side of the house we want to install solar panels. From a building envelope point of view, it makes insulation and water management more difficult. In short, it doesn’t fit our our design, and we’re taking it off.

Bump-out interior

With that decided, how to do it? Since our basement is three feet out of the ground and our floors are ten feet tall, even the bottom of the bump-out is pretty high off the ground, to say nothing of the roof. Because it’s on the narrow side of the house, we can barely put the extension ladder up if it’s against the house, though we can put it against the sides of the bump-out. I came up with a plan for not only removing the bump out from the inside, but putting in the replacement exterior wall from the inside as well. Reality may intervene with this approach, but at the outset at least, and with a fresh pack of reciprocating saw blades we’re going to find out!

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