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Additions & Renovations

Our aim when designing an addition is:

  • Make it appear as if “it always has been there” or contrast the addition to the house to make it read as new and different.
  • Review the passive solar capilibilty of the existing house and determine if the addition can make up for the lack of passive solar design
  • Review the existing insulation values and see if the insulation in the existing attic can be increased or, if siding is being replaced, rigid foam insulation can be applied below th new siding.
  • thinkGiraffe works with an energy consultant who reviews addition proposals to determine if the exisitng house and addition should be heated with one heat source or if the systems should be seperated.
  • We meet with clients and discuss in detail how the family uses the house. We ensure that the addition allows for future adjustments such as children becoming teenagers or leaving home, elderly parents moving in or working from home.
  • We try to make the addition not only function well as an addition but take the whole house to a next level.

Case Studies


The living room and bedrooms in this bungalow faced the street and the house had little connection with the backyard view. This family room / dining room / kitchen addition was designed to unify the interior and exterior. The existing front entrance now opens up to the addition and the rear porch. As you enter the house you immediately get a sense of the backyard view. A 16’ Black fiberglass sliding door is intended to make the porch and the family room feel like one space. 

  • Passive solar design: The light tower and breakfast room windows face south
  • Windows and doors are fiberglass
  • The floor is dark bamboo. Black frost resistant slate connect the front entrance and porch
  • The walls are painted with clay based Farrow & Ball paint
  • The exterior is cladded in James Hardie Cement board panels
  • The flat roof has been insulated with factory sloped Roxul insulation panels and a Duradeck membrane



The house had a wonderful sense of space but had to be updated with new electrical, lighting, insulation, plumbing, roofing, windows, and in-floor heating. The bathrooms and kitchen were updated in a modern style to harmonize with the mid-century modern architecture.

  • Raise insulation levels to above building code requirements.   Add adequate vapour barrier.
  • Roof pitch low:  Not enough space to insulate where roof meets wall.   Add interior bulkheads to increase airflow and insulation capacity.
  • Some cathedral ceilings: Add depth to existing rafters to allow for adequate insulation and air flow.
  • Retain existing gas furnace, add HRV and hydronic in-floor heat
  • New Wood / Aluminum windows and doors.   Low E Argon
  • Stone tile flooring in living area to provide increased in-floor heat efficiency, hardwood in bedrooms
  • Tiled deck to prevent damage from western sun
  • Add south-facing windows to increase passive solar heat gain in winter


This L-shaped bungalow had an existing family room in the center of the L-shape with a leaky room. We demolished the addition. We removed the addition and engineered a larger flat roof addition with a light tower to let light into the center of the house. The wood aluminum clad windows facing the escarpment are 10’ tall and a fireplace divides the family room and breakfast room.

New windows and a modern custom designed fiberglass door system update the front of the house.