After 15 years, I've done all the remodeling I can to 96 Eldora Drive.
The 3 bedroom/2 bathroom post-WWII California Ranch house has become too small and lacks character. We thought about simply remodeling--adding a second floor, updating the facade. The problems with that were myriad: the city of Mountain View has a setback for the second floor based on distance from the property line irrespective of the placement of the house. The original tract houses were built practically on top of each other, far closer than is allowed now. This meant that our second floor would have to start close to the center line of the existing house, which didn't really get us the expansion we were seeking. Compounding that was the fact that no matter what we did, we'd still end up with something that was kludged onto the existing dull architecture. I was tired of compromising.
We began consulting with Vox Design Group, a "green" architecture and construction management company in Mountain View. We confirmed our doubts about adding a second floor with a brief initial round of designs, and then began pursuing complete reconstruction in earnest. It turned out to be faster than remodeling, and not appreciably more expensive. We explored the possibility of digging a basement but that WAS prohibitive: an additional $250k was just more than it seemed worth. Oh but how I wanted that :(
Without further ado, here are the plans we (and by that I mean Forrest, our amazing architect) came up with