In the second of our two-part series, we complete a 500-square-foot, master bedroom addition, including:

    • Deck: Tying the existing composite deck into the house and cleaning it.
    • Landscaping: Planting shrubs and flowers around the addition, including iris, anise, hydrangea, camellia, ferns, and Japanese yew.
    • Patio and Walk: Adding a stone walkway and patio with birdbath and a bench for enjoying the outdoors.
    • Molding: Adding crown molding, baseboard, and window and door trim.
    • Breakfast Bar: Installing the quartz countertop with sink, and hooking up the beverage brewing system and microwave.
    • Flooring: Laying the glued down, engineered, Brazilian cherry wood flooring on top of radiant floor heating system.
    • Retractable Screens: Installing retractable screens from Phantom Screens on the double glass doors that lead to the deck.
    • Video Answering System: Installing a NuTone video answering system.
  • Furnishings: As the final touch, the room was furnished with wood shades, paddle fan, desk, bed, and chest of drawers.


Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner we’re wrapping up a two part project we call “Today’s Addition” where we’re transforming an ordinary house by adding on an amazing master bedroom suite. Besides the cool bells and whistles, you’ll get some great tips and ideas for that addition or renovation in your future.

Our Today’s Addition is really coming together and this is the point in a project like this where there’s all kinds of activity. You can see all the landscapers are putting the finishing touches outside and inside, there’s a lot going on as well. Now we got to this point in only seven weeks.

When we started work on this 40-year-old brick ranch, the thing it needed the most was a great master bedroom. The foundation work started on the back of the house with the footings and the cement block forms. And as the concrete slab was being poured, it became very obvious how big this addition would be. When the concrete was dry, the walls started going up.

Once the addition was tied into the original house, the framers began work on the featured ceiling in the bedroom. Now to keep this addition energy efficient, the folks at JELD-WEN Windows and Doors hooked us up with some great Low-e insulated glass windows that really look good.

Then we wrapped the outside with bricks to match the original house before the drywall went up on the inside, followed by all of the molding. The wood trim really set off the bump up ceiling, and the trim crew also installed some cool Merillat cabinets to create a morning bar that will be the focal point in the room.

The cabinets also house the water heater that will supply hot water to the radiant heating system that our friend Wes from Uponor installed for us.

We’ve had a little rainy weather over the last few weeks, but we’ve still been able to stay on schedule. Now some of the things we’ve done over the last couple of days is, you may remember there was a little void right here in the composite deck where we had taken this part of the deck out to allow plenty of room for the bricks to be laid.

Now that that’s complete, Tim has been working and tying all of this back to the addition, put all of the treated wood in, on the joists and then we saved the exact composite boards we took off of here so that everything would match just perfectly.

Now, another thing we matched up real nicely is the vinyl material around the over hangs. Originally it had it on the house. We brought the same material around, even used the same crew to make sure it looks perfect, and one of the things they’re about to start on is the gabled end of the addition, installing this simulation wood shake.

Now, all this is vinyl so it’s just completely maintenance free other than a little bit of cleaning from time to time, and we’re using this because on an earlier project on this house, about a year ago, we did the same thing on a gable out in front of the house, so that ties everything together.

Now, another thing that’s happening right now, our landscapers already have the beds started, they have the pots in place here, ready for planting, and over on this side, it’s already complete and looks great, even the straws in place.

Our landscaper Tommy Martiniere is out on the job checking the progress of his crew. Well Tommy this probably happens to you from time to time where you have a few of the contractors trying to complete their work and you’re trying to get some landscaping in.

Tommy Martiniere: Yeah, but that’s one thing on a construction job, everybody has got to work together to get the job complete, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to let the vinyl guys get finished so we can get planting started.

Danny Lipford: Everybody’s got to get along.

Tommy Martiniere: Yes, they do. They do.

Danny Lipford: Now, you were out here about a month ago, and you and I were kind of pretty much standing in this same spot. All there was just the makings of the slab that was about to be poured.

How do you kind of get your inspiration? How do you decide on how everything is going to lay out?

Tommy Martiniere: Well, what we did, we knew that the elevation view had two windows on this side. We wanted a focal point out here for both windows. So, we got the, got the focal point, established it, we’re going to have a seating area for a bench right here. We wanted it to be a secret garden so we kind of enclosed the whole garden into a little area of its own.

Danny Lipford: I see, I see, and then able to tie back into the existing deck I guess with this nice little stone walk way.

Tommy Martiniere: Right, yeah once we get through with the stone we’re going to pack it and tap it down and then we’ll put some pea gravel and everything in it to finish it off. And then we’ve got the, the amendments going in right now and we’re going to till those in and then we can get the planting started.

Danny Lipford: That’s great. It’s really going to look good. Now, I know one of the things we talked about when you were out here before, is we had a little bit of drainage situation here because the water would of kind of accumulated right in here, I noticed you brought in some dirt.

Tommy Martiniere: Yeah we did, we raised it about eight inches so we could get all the drainage positively going out of the courtyard. We didn’t want anything standing in here, and we didn’t want it going into the backyard, so we kind of shifted it to the side of the yard.

Danny Lipford: Okay, and I noticed something else on your plan, which the plan looked great. I love it when it’s all colored in.

Tommy Martiniere: Right.

Danny Lipford: Like that and all, and you had some landscape lighting in there. That really makes a difference doesn’t it?

Tommy Martiniere: Yes, and what we did, we didn’t want to make it just overwhelming so what we did, we just highlighted the focal points and the live oak tree which is one of our, you know our main focal points in this area.

Danny Lipford: I guess one thing that’s so gratifying being a landscaper is you can come out with a blank canvas and within a couple of days, completely change the look of it.

Tommy Martiniere: Yes it will, and it’s going to be a good place for everybody to enjoy once they get, you know, get moved in here.

Danny Lipford: That sounds great. I wish it was that quick inside.

Tommy Martiniere: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: While I check out the progress inside this new bedroom, Joe’s got a tip for yours in this week’s Simple Solutions.

Joe Truini: People often add onto their homes to gain additional storage space, particularly closet space. In this case, we’re remodeling an existing closet that had a standard wooden rod. Now even though the rod was supported in the middle it still was sagging so we just tore it all off and we’re going to replace it with a much better, stronger solution.

And we’re starting with a piece of metal pipe. This is thick wall electrical conduit. But because this isn’t particularly attractive, we’re going to cover it with a one-inch diameter PCP plastic pipe.

I measure the pipe to length and cut it with a hack saw then use the sander to remove all the markings. Now, you just take the plastic pipe, slip it over the metal pipe, and set it into the closet. Here we’re using the existing mounting cleats that were here from the previous rod.

So I pull it down, and the result is not only is it a stronger rod, I mean you don’t even need a center brace, but the plastic pipe is very easy to clean, and it provides a surface that the hangers glide really easily.

Danny Lipford: It’s always amazing to me what a couple days of landscaping can do to an outside area like this at our Today’s Addition. It was great working with a landscaper like Tommy that can visualize exactly what everything should look like, develop a plan, and do all the planning.

That makes it a lot easier on us. Now as far as the addition itself, all of the brickworks been complete and all of it’s been washed so it’s nice and clean, then our vinyl contractors completed the overhang as well as the gable on this end to make it match the gable on the front of the house. That consistency is real important when you’re building an addition. Now we have a few other little things to do here on the outside but we’ve got a long list on the inside.

Our list on the inside of the addition has a few big things, but most of them are very minor touch ups, including a little work that’s needed from our painter. Now the painter put the first coat on the drywall, and once we brought the TV lights in, you can see every little imperfection in the drywall, so we had them back out to make sure everything was just perfect on the walls.

Now the painter will be repainting the walls and taking care of a few little minor things like the raw wood that we have on the end of our pre-stained trim. That will be stained, and then everything will get a nice coat of sealer to finish all of that part of the work.

But, right now, Tim’s in the process of doing the finishing touches on our new set of cabinets. Putting a veneer kick plate here as well as over there to finish that out. Then, a little hardware and countertops and this whole part of the room here will be complete other than the sink and the installation of the appliances.

You know it’s real important for consistency on the outside of your house to use the same materials on an addition as have been used on the house itself. Same goes for the inside, and we’re using this exact same type of cabinet for Merillat that we used in a couple other projects here on this house. The kitchen, as well as two different bathrooms we remodeled, so we have a lot of consistency when you walk through the house. It helps a lot on the flow of it.

Now, as far as the layout here, we’ll have a microwave built in here, we’ll have to raise the shelf up a little bit, and here we’ll have a combination ice-maker/refrigerator, the sink, and then here, this really nice built-in coffee maker.

Now a lot of coordination went into this, because all of these different appliances had to have electrical right where it needed to be as well as all the plumbing. Water line, water line, water line, so a lot of time has been spent on this part of the addition and it’s really going to be the focal point. Hey the next big thing to happen here right after the painter finishes is the installation of the hardwood floor.

If you want to see a big change, work on the surfaces, like the countertops. These are composite materials that match the ones in the master bath. The hardwood floor is next, and boy is there a lot of it. I mean it just seems like there’s acres of this rich, warm wood, and it really will be warm when we fire up the radiant heating system beneath it.

When the floors are done and covered up, the painter returns for what we hope will be his final trip. The inside of Today’s Addition is in the home stretch.

This is a double door we installed about a year ago when we built this large, composite deck, and it’s perfect access from the small little den right out onto the outdoor living area. Well, we have the same idea for our Today’s Addition, and we installed another double door here that will be really nice when the weather is really pleasant to be able to open these doors up as long as the insects won’t join you, and, our buddy Jonathon is solving that with the installation of a retractable screen.

This should be great to be able to install this and have it meet right in the middle of the door. You can open that up, go right outside. That should be great.

Now, we have a nice finished floor on the inside and you walk from there out onto this, not such a good looking floor here. This is composite decking, and it’s virtually maintenance free. The only thing that you have to do is clean it from time to time, and it’s fairly dirty now because it’s been sitting outside, not a lot of cleaning has taken place obviously, and a lot of construction traffic and debris is all over it. So what do you think is the very best way to clean a composite deck?

As Jonathon wraps up his work on the screens, Tim starts mixing up the new concentrated cleaning solution that’s designed specifically for this composite deck. This stuff is called Corte-clean. Now when it’s combined with warm water, it breaks down all kinds of mold and mildew, dirt, pollen and even barbecue stains, but it does it without bleach or other chemicals that can harm your lawn or the environment.

While he’s finishing up here, let’s check in with Emilie and find out about another cool product.

Emilie Barta: Today’s Addition is getting a wood floor, but tile is another popular choice for renovations because it’s inexpensive and pretty easy to install. However before you install tile over a wood floor system, you have to add a layer of cement backer-board, usually a half inch thick.

Now when you combine backboard with the tile and adhesive, it can add over an inch to the finished floor which cause all sorts of problems like awkward transitions or appliances that no longer fit.

But if the subfloor is in good shape, this new DITRA membrane from Schluter may be the solution to replace that backer-board. Because look, it’s just an eighth of an inch thick, and because it’s so lightweight, it’s also easy to install.

You just stick it to the floor with thin set adhesive and then lay the tiles right on top of it. The membrane allows the materials beneath it to breath, but it also seals out water and insulates the tiles from expansion and contraction in the sub-floor.

Now, this stuff is brand new, and at about $70 for this 54 square foot role, it is more expensive than the backer-board, but if it solves all of your problems, you know, it just might be worth it.

Danny Lipford: Our Today’s Addition project is nearing completion. The work on the outside of the house is done, including the revival of the composite deck and the completion of all of the landscaping. Inside, we’re in the process of wrapping up all of the details so everything is perfect.

Boy, this is turning out just like I had hoped it would. The nice, rich wood along the top of the bump up ceiling here, and all the crown molding and the windows and of course it’s really hard to beat the rich feel that you get with a hardwood floor.

Our decorator is also gotten a head start on all the work she’s doing in here. I see all of the blinds, the woven wood blinds have been installed. You know this is the stage in a project that can get a little frustrating because that’s when the punch list comes out, a list of all the little items that have to be completed.

Now, this can get pretty long even on a project that’s this far a long, but the good news is, most of the items on a punch list are very small little adjustment things that really won’t take that long to do. Now one thing that’s on the list that I think I’ll be able to check off is what Tim’s working on, on the other end of our video answering system.

This one from NuTone allows you to have a small doorbell camera at the front door, push the button, and you can see who’s out there. Let’s check with Tim here and see if it’s going to work.

Hey, Tim, go ahead and give it a try.

Okay, you’re looking good, can you hear me?

Tim McCraney: I can.

Danny Lipford: Alright, great. Alright, well come on in, I got a list almost ready for you.

Tim McCraney: Alright, another one?

Danny Lipford: He’s always kidding around. Well we do have a few things that we have to take care of here, and one of the things that’s taken quite a bit of time to put all the amenities together is our nice little breakfast bar.

Everything you could need for breakfast or a midnight snack will be right at hand in this bar. The microwave oven will be ideal for hot snacks, and the mini-fridge will keep breakfast juices cold. Plus, it also includes an ice-maker, so you don’t have to visit the kitchen before making those drinks later in the day.

Then, there’s the gourmet coffee making system, which has a dedicated water line so there’s no excuse not to have a great cup of coffee any time of the day. We’ve even added a MP3 docking station that will tie right in to the room’s speaker system.

Hey, I mentioned earlier our interior decorator has gotten a head start on putting the finishing touches inside our Today’s Addition, and that decorator is Diane Berry. Diane, we’ve worked on a lot of different projects together, and we’ve talked about a number of different things that you’re going to approach the inside with. What did you end up with?

Diane Berry: Actually, I’m starting with the upholstered headboard, which is going to go on the wall, and the bed to follow. I thought about doing, creating a little reading room, reading area over in this spot, in this part of the room.

Danny Lipford: Oh, it’s perfect with the, all the light here and looking out onto the garden that we created and all that. Perfect idea.

Diane Berry: Exactly, so I thought this would make a nice reading spot. Also it allowed for a writing desk, for a little area to drink coffee and maybe catch up on correspondence. I’ve also got that, and then of course over on the other side we’ve got a dressing area.

Danny Lipford: Boy, this is a lot of space that you can work with.

Diane Berry: It is a lot of space.

Danny Lipford: And I think design wise here it’s kind of neat because of, naturally there will be a traffic pattern from here to that door, but still, that doesn’t prevent the ability to put furniture in here.

Diane Berry: Right, and I did want to keep that area open for, for that purpose.

Danny Lipford: Now when you’re dealing with homeowners. Of course we don’t have homeowners we’re working with here, where personality and different preferences comes into play, but how do you deal with that kind of thing? What can a homeowner tell you as a decorator that can help you design just what they want?

Diane Berry: Well, actually, correspondence and dialogue with the customer helps a lot in actually getting their vision for the room. That’s the most important part. It needs to be their room. It needs to be something that they’re really going to enjoy, so I spend a lot of time with that, trying to figure out exactly what it is that they have planned for the room.

Danny Lipford: Then I guess, I guess every now and then you come across a homeowner that just goes, “Oh do your own thing”.

Diane Berry: Exactly, and that’s always fun too.

Danny Lipford: Ha, ha. Great, great. Well I know that the furniture guys have already started staging all the furniture here, so we’ll help you do the last little bit of clean up and you can do your thing.

Diane Berry: That’s great. Thanks.

Danny Lipford: While Diane wraps up her work, let’s see what questions you have this week.

Amy: Hey, Danny, I’d like to add some extra smoke detectors to my home, but I want to make sure they’re reliable. Do I need to have them hardwired?

Danny Lipford: That’s a very important question Amy, and I’m glad to know you’re adding more smoke detectors to your house. The smoke alarms are one of the best safety features you can buy for your home, and because they’re so mass produced, you can purchase one for as little as $7.

In new construction, smoke detectors are hardwired, but for a situation like yours where you’re adding to an existing home, a battery powered unit like this one is the best, and they’re fairly simple to install.

Now, of course the key thing is to remember to change the batteries about twice a year. A lot of people forget about that. The kind you need to get really depends on how much you want to spend. I’ve seen certain models that detect smoke, gas and even have voice alert build right in.

Now those will run around $50 each. But for most homes, plan on spending about $7 to $15 for a decent detector. When you’re ready to install them, it’s recommended that you have one smoke detector per level of your home near the bedrooms and one in the garage.

Our Today’s Addition that we built to create this wonderful master bedroom retreat is finally complete. Now, it took us about 10 weeks from start to finish, but considering everything we put into this place, that’s not bad.

Just laying the foundation for a 500 square foot addition is a pretty good chore, but after it was done, the framing went together in just a few days, in spite of the weather. Once the addition was weather tight, the work really took off inside.

The outside was shaping up nicely too. Now what we have is a great space to begin and end the day. In fact, this room is so comfortable and well set up, I think it might even be hard to leave it at all.

Besides being a focal point, the morning bar is perfectly equipped for everything from breakfast to those midnight snacks. There’s plenty of space to read, write or relax. The room has a naturally warm feeling because of the colors Diane chose and all of the rich, wood tones in the cabinets, trim and the floors, which also can be warmed by radiant heat when those temperatures drop.

And if all that weren’t luxury enough, we’ve added a few other amenities to make like a little easier here. Plus all of this opens up into a beautiful deck and a wonderfully re-landscaped back yard, including that great secret garden that Tommy designed for us.

Okay, I admit, it’s a little larger than most master bedrooms, but we wanted to build something real special so that we could showcase a lot of the amenities that you could put in an addition that you may be considering building. If you need some more information about building an addition or any of the details about Today’s Addition, drop by our website at Well I’m Danny. Hope to see you next week.

We also want to thank our very special partners on this project. JELD-WEN Windows and Doors, Merillat Cabinets, Uponor radiant heating system, Corte-Clean composite deck cleaner, and NuTone, life, style, home.

If you hate maintenance chores, maybe you should tune in next week for our slacker’s guide to home maintenance.

If you would like to purchase a DVD copy of this week’s show, visit our website at or call us at 1-800-946-4420.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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