How-to: build an additional floor in an apartment

How-to: build an additional floor in an apartment

How-to: build an additional floor in an apartment


  • Given

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  • Summary

  • Bonus tip

Yulia Kazakova, architect-designer, founder of the Kazakova Design studio

Our special How-to section is designed to make life easier for novice and practicing designers, as well as all enthusiasts. Here we will share our experience, analyze difficult cases and show the final result.


An apartment in the attic floor of an elite complex with a beautiful view of the lake and an open plan, which initially had not very good proportions. The variable ceiling height from 2.2 m to 4.7 m (the shape of the apartment in the longitudinal section formed a rectangular trapezoid) did not allow making two high-grade levels. Leaving the overall height unchanged would be unprofessional. In addition, with the number of rooms that had to be provided for in the apartment, well rooms were obtained: compact in terms of volume, more than 4 m high.

Object plan


In order to optimize the volume of the apartment in terms of height, it was decided to organize a local second level and place additional premises there: an office, a bathroom and a storage room. The design for the second level device was as simple as possible: a grid of columns, along which the ceiling beams were laid. Using the space flexibly, we managed to create functionally comfortable rooms with natural light. For this, eight roof windows were installed.

The main difficulty awaited the team after they installed the ceiling on the metal columns and erected partitions. The customer entered his future office and realized that he would like to increase the height of the ceiling. And nothing is impossible when a team of builders from the developer works at the facility, whose company also designed this house! Julia and the specialists studied the drawings in detail and turned to the professional help of the designer. It turned out that by strengthening the rafters, it is possible to reduce their cross-section locally within this and the adjacent room (bathroom). The designer prepared the necessary design documentation and the customer’s desire was fulfilled: now he could stand up to his full height even in the lowest part of the office, where it was supposed to put a desktop.

The LVL roof rafters were originally 450 mm high. They managed to be reduced by almost half in height by reinforcing them with additional beams made of the same material with metal inserts on both sides. There were no difficulties in the implementation, since the work was carried out according to a ready-made agreed project by the forces of the same team that installed these rafters. Reinforcement structures after all the rough work were sewn up with drywall.


  • It should always be borne in mind that even a project approved by the customer may undergo significant changes during the implementation process. This is normal and should be prepared for. In this case, everything went well: the roof was raised by more than twenty centimeters, but this is more a rarity than an ordinary opportunity. The formula for success was formed from the courage to find a solution where usually little can be changed (it was necessary to make changes to the structure of an already constructed building). Also, the professionalism of the team and the well-coordinated work of specialists played an important role.

  • When it comes not just about decorating a space, but about its formation, when designing, you will probably need help or advice from narrow specialists: designers, engineers, builders of certain specialties. This improves the quality of the project and expands its capabilities, you should not neglect it.

Bonus tip

When customers ask you to do something unreal, you should first take a deep breath. Then – to dream with them. And then realistically assess the situation and correlate desires with the possibilities of the budget, energy costs of designers and performers.

In this implementation of the project, the cost of materials and work to strengthen the structures did not play a large role in the construction budget. The fact that we managed to add 20 square meters to the area of ​​the apartment. m of comfortable premises, covered the construction costs for their arrangement, and the constructive solution was simple and budgetary.

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    About Leona Smith 115 Articles
    Hello! My name is Silke and this is my travel blog. I want to show you fascinating places off the beaten track, give you a gentle introduction to history and culture, and help you get around Berlin. After 13 years in Sydney and Andalusia, I now live in Berlin, Germany. I am a travel writer, translator and book author. Read more about me here.

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