Weekend Design Inspiration: A Transformed Split Level Home

I help many young couples buy homes, and so many of them refuse to even consider split level homes. Well, they think they do anyway; split-level homes come in many shapes and sizes so sometimes they change their tune after seeing a few of them. Nonetheless, split levels have a bad rap these days. A split-level home is a multi-story, stacked home which has been divided to create three (or more) floor levels of interior space. Within the architectural style, there are side-by-side splits, split-entry, front-to-back splits, California split, tri-level split, atrium-splits, etc… They rose to popularity with builders following World War II and peaked in the 1970’s because they were cost-effective; builders could create more interior square footage per piece of land in a split level than in a ranch home, thereby maximizing the land usage. Plus, they didn’t have to excavate the entire basement; many times the lower level is at ground level with a smaller partial sub-basement. Often, there is no true below-grade basement at all.

renovation split level

Before and After Split-Level Home Renovation Featured on Design Sponge

This Before and After renovation which was posted on Design Sponge this week really caught my eye. The original home was a small split-entry floorplan, which means that the front door opens to two sets of stairs – one going up, one going down (this is the least popular and least valuable floorplan of all the split-level homes).

What I love about this renovation:

  • A redesigned and relocated entry.
  • Black windows – so much more stylish and architectural than white windows (read my recent and controversial post on white windows)
  • They added more square footage including a master suite and enlarged kitchen – these are two features that really add resale value
  • They took the natural landscape into consideration and maximized the views and surrounding beauty.
  • The use of natural materials such as cedar shingles, which should help the home integrate with the existing neighborhood and natural landscape.
  • I actually like most split level homes. They offer more square footage than many other home styles in their neighborhoods and in the era they were constructed. They generally have attached garages and other modern conveniences that are elusive in our older neighborhoods. I also love the ones with interesting mid-century features such as horizontal lines, cool brick or stacked fireplaces, wood floors, and overhanging eaves.

    If you would like more information on split level homes, just let me know! I can show you some that are for sale, answer your questions, or help you search for them online.

    About the Author

    Sarah Snodgrass is a residential real estate agent specializing in Kansas City's historic neighborhoods and enclaves.

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