If you own a split level home in these times, you probably see it as a home of comfort and style. If it’s not as beautiful as you would like it however, you can always give it a little retouch, or an extensive renovation. Split level houses characteristically have “staggered floors in the home which makes for two levels of living space – an upper and lower floor.
Common features of split level houses include, deep-set eaves, integrated garage, low-pitched roof, asymmetrical facade, a horizontally or rectangularly L-shaped dimension etc.
So if you are of the opinion that ‘antique isn’t always unique’, and you need a more modern structure, then we got you!
How to Modernize or Improve a Split-Level Home
There are many ideas on how one can improve a split level home. You can choose to work on your exterior – repainting the walls and the roof or changing the paint entirely, replacing the garage doors with new ones, or updating the lower facade. Let us consider the following renovation ideas:
Changing the structure
You may want to create more space and openness in your split level home if it seems too “uptight”. Moreso, more space in your home means more lighting.
One way to achieve this is to take down some walls or maybe just to carve out openings up the way to the ceiling to make it feel more spacious in between adjacent opposite rooms. For example, having a semicircular or quadrilateral space caved in the wall between your kitchen and dining room may look really appealing.
You might also want to expand a particular room, say, the living room. You can do this by probably taking down a wall that separates the living room from a less important area of the house like a short passage. You may be surprised at how so “little” can make such a big difference.
Add Extra Features to the Exterior and Interior
To make your split-home more modern looking, you can add trim to the exterior underneath the overhang of the roof called soffit. Make it stand out by painting it in a contrast colour to the siding. If you have double wall windows, frame them together and create an accent panel that complements the trim between the windows. Adding corner boards can also help give it an improved look.
The interior trim can be modernized by repainting the dark colours with a lighter one or removing some excess trims in areas not needed like the entryway.
Remodel the Doorway
Your split level home will definitely have a split doorway. So you might need to remedy this by removing the doorway from its original position and placing it to face the driveway or garage rather than the street. Sliding glass doors can also be used in place of the wooden doorway to add class to the split-level design. The doorway can be made larger if you consider it to be too small for your taste. You can build storage behind the walls of the foyer.
Add Light to The Room
Most split homes are dark inside because of the lack of enough windows which are often small. You can remedy this by expanding the windows or adding more windows on the sides of the split-level home. Also, using light or warm colours to paint the interiors instead of dark shades can make it appear brighter and larger.
Asides natural light that will come from the windows, make use of modern lighting to add more brightness to the room. Skylights or solar tubes fixed on the ceiling are a good option. Lastly, place large wall mirrors that will help reflect the light.
Adding a Front Porch to a Split Level Home
The front porch is an awesome way of remodeling a split level home because it makes it more inviting and homely. Generally, split levels are not built with porches so adding a porch would immediately uplift the look of your split-level home.
Porches create enough space for your outdoor activities and serve as a protective shade for your entryway.
A simple porch can be achieved by creating a walkway along one part of the house leading to the doorway. You can build your porch over slabs or gravels and use tiles or cobblestones as a floor finishing. Growing low level grass like lawn or flower shrubs by the side can make it more appealing.
If the Split level exterior structure is majorly wooden, your porch could be built with wooden planks with beams hoisted by the sides of the walkway for support.
Use adequate lighting for the porch area to make it safe for visitors during the dark and add brightness to your home.
How to Convert a Split Level Home
Split levels are built in small square structures so it may not be convenient for living hence the need for remodelling and expansion. To successfully convert a split level into a home, you need to be very careful with the planning and execution in order to get it right.
Here are some major steps you need to put in place for an effective conversion:
- Outline your Needs: Why do you want to renovate your split level home? Is it to improve your structure for a more accommodating living condition or to upgrade the value? Do you want to create more space or do you want to sell? The purpose will determine the kind of planning that will take place and the amount of money you will invest in the project.
- Create a Floor Plan: The next thing to do is to sketch out designs for the floor plan and the overall look of the house. Pick out the areas you wish to change, some parts of the house might be harder to restructure. So settle for plans that best suit the low-levelled design of a split-level home. Old split-level homes are natural-looking and antique, which means detailed precision needs to be incorporated when trying to upgrade to a more modern look.
- Start Working on the Exterior: The first part of the split-level home to begin work on is the exterior. Make the necessary expansion before working on the interior. If you wish to make additions, know that additions on the side can look awkward if not done properly because it might distort the narrow vertical structure of the split-level. Converting garages or basements to storages attached to the house is a better option.
Also, you can expand the walls, windows or entry doorways. Be sure to make sure that whatever additions you are making are in accordance with the local laws guiding the community; this is because different regions have certain rules guiding home constructions. If your renovation plan goes against such rules, you might end up wasting good money and reducing the value of the split level home.
- Invest in interior Decor: After working on the exterior, you can then begin work on the inside. Ensure that the interior design blends well with exterior design. You should add extra lighting even if the small windows are expanded to eliminate a darkened interior.
Use bright colours or warm colours for painting depending on the modelling style you want to use. Avoid eccentric styles that will not change the antique model of the split-level. Research for new modern designs and apply it instead. The floor finishing should be looked into, go for tiles, polished wood floors or carpets.
Add a foyer, make it extend into the living room by removing walls and creating enough space instead of the two-stairway split-levels originally.
- Work on the Landscape: Your final retouching should be your landscape. Here you focus on how the compound area of your split-level home will look. Add curb appeal by building a front porch or plants flowers on the windows on the walls or use boulders in front door by the side of your split level home.
Make sure your split-level home blends well with the environment and other neighbouring houses so it does not stand out in an odd way.
Advantages of Renovating Split Level Homes
Renovating split-level homes are a good choice if you want to manage space. If it is for a family, you can create a lot more space than a regular floor plan house. You can also easily separate the spaces and provide privacy within the house.
Split level homes gives a small and medium family a chance to enjoy the outside. The entryway that opens to the garage or backyard can be advantageous for recreational activities. Adding a porch can also help to maximize the outdoor space.
Renovating split level homes are cheap compared to standard homes of the same size. You tend to spend less in remodeling a split-level home than doing the same for a standard two floor apartment. So if you want to save money and manage space, a split level home is best for you.
Efficient use of space and privacy. For families, a split-level home offers greater separation of space than an open floor plan. This reduces the probability of noise traveling between rooms and allows for more privacy.
Provides plenty of outdoor space. Split-level homes maximize the use of vertical space, meaning that there will often be plenty of backyard space for outdoor family activities.
Disadvantages of Renovating Split Level Homes
While there are positives to renovating a split level home, the cons are also very much available. One major disadvantage of split-level home renovation is the difficulty in the rebuilding process, especially if you have little or no idea about home construction.
Another disadvantage would be that a split -level home might be more challenging to sell out, so unless you intend to inhabit a split your split-level home for a long period of time don’t bother renovating it because the money spent might just be a waste.
Lastly, installing stairs in split-level homes can restrict mobility because these homes are usually much smaller than the standard homes so stairs in split-level homes are short and moving through the stairs frequently might be uncomfortable.
It may not be too ‘easy-peasy’ to renovate your split level homes, but if you go through these best renovation ideas we have collated just for you, I am sure you can draft up something.
If it will be too much of a bother, you can always hire a professional construction company to take it up. However, that shouldn’t stop you from giving them your own ideas and suggestions so they can renovate your split level home to your taste.
Make sure to share with us how it turns out for you once you are done. Cheers!