The largest part of our house (16' x 30') was built about 1790. The first floor has a parlor (now my home office) and a kitchen, the latter originally in a 1-story lean-to that was rebuilt about 1840 and raised to match the 1.5-story height of the main block. The second story has two bedrooms, a hallway, and a bathroom. A 16' x 20' addition built in 1975 added a living room with a master bedroom above.
The house--original + addition--had a total of 4 closets when we bought it. Two closets on the first story were quickly given over to other uses...one is now a much-needed half-bath, the other is used for the cats (litter box plus food). The second story has two closets also. One in the bathroom and one in a bedroom, both of which are used as they were intended. Scott added his 'n hers closets to the master bedroom; L-shaped, they enclose the winder stair from the living room. With no coat closet, I comandeered a ca. 1920 cedar-lined wardrobe for that purpose and put it in the smallest bedroom.
I'm sure most fellow old-home-owners can relate to the various storage bins (plastic and cardboard) that are hidden under the three beds behind dust ruffles. I'm glad that antique beds are tall and have lots of space under them!
We do have a very small basement (16' x 10') that gives us a place for the hot water heater, the well pump and water conditioning tanks, and plastic shelving where we can store paint and other items that need to be protected from freezing.
But, it's still not enough. I have my own business and I need a place for overflow books, copies of books I've written, and files in filing cabinets, also the decades of back issues of magazines I own, Early American Life magazine among them. And what about the Christmas decorations, family photos, genealogy files, etc.? We have no attic, so storage is at a real premium. Thank goodness for a storage unit, but the monthly rental cost adds up over time and it is so inconvenient when you want something immediately.
I also have no laundry facilities...correction...I do, but they're in the dingy, snake- and mouse-infested basement (accessed from the outside only) that also has no dryer vent or plumbing for the washer's gray water. George left us a 30-year old stackable washer and dryer, never used, and so deteriorated that the rubber gaskets are barely there. I'm now on a first-name basis with other "regulars" at the local laundromat. The only good thing you can say about using a laundromat is that you're done with a week's worth of dirty clothes in less than 2 hours. The downside is that emergency cleaning has to be done by hand and then air dried.
If all that wasn't enough, we also want to stay in this house as long as possible. We're nearing 60 and thoughts of handicapped-accessible living are a factor in our needs, too. When we can't climb the stairs anymore, we'd like to convert my office into a bedroom (I'll be retired by then anyway) and be able to live on the first floor.
Last but not least, we love to entertain, but our present kitchen is so small that we have to move the antique kitchen table into my office (pushing back all of the furniture in there against the wall) so the table, with drop leaves open, can seat 8. Hardly ideal, but it works for now.
With all of these concerns, it was obvious that an addition was the solution.
NEXT: It's all in the design: what size (we didn't agree); what lay-out and floor plan (we agreed), plus septic system woes.