Sept. 3 2010 12:00 AM

2212 W. Jolly Road, Lansing


Property: 2212 W. Jolly Road, Lansing Owner: Gates of Zion Inc. Assessed: $0 Owner says: Unable to be reached for comment

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Shuttered mid-block between Pleasant Grove Road and Richmond Street is one of Lansing’s most diminutive residences, 2212 W. Jolly Road. With a footprint of less than 500 square feet, this 1 1/2-story house takes advantage of every inch. An ample shed dormer transforms the attic into usable living space. In addition to headroom, the dormer, wisely oriented to the south, includes a lovely set of windows that are a source of ventilation that also floods the space with natural light. Dormers are one of the best ways to increase livable space without increasing the footprint of your home.

A lesson on shed dormers:

Want to increase the square footage of your house without increasing the footprint? Adding a shed dormer to your roof to expand your underutilized attic to living space might be the perfect solution.

Shed Dormer Basics:
Dormers are a structural protrusion that extends out from the plane of a sloped roof to create additional usable space within the roof. Shed dormers are one of the most common styles of dormers because its design allows for more space within the roof than other dormers. Shed dormers are easy to identify, as eave lines run parallel to the eave line of the main roof.

Passive Solar Design:
Dormers with windows increase the quality of the living space by increasing ventilation and light to attic space. Shed dormers are excellent for passive solar design. Often dormers are oriented to the south to take advantage of the sun throughout the year. A well-designed overhang on a shed dormer can let the winter sun in, but shade out most of the summer sun.

That said, a south-facing dormer is not always possible because dormers must be oriented in accordance with the slope of the roof, as well as to complement the design and character of the house.

A dormer is a major feature on a house. It should be designed to complement the original character and design. All too often a poorly designed (and constructed) dormer detracts from the beauty of the home. It is very important to hire an architect to design a dormer that will specifically suit the design and individual needs of your house.

Aside from peeling tan paint, rotting plywood porches, boarded-up windows, an exposed electrical box and a dangling front porch light, 2212 W. Jolly Road is an attractive piece of property. Someone maintains the yard (neighbors couldn’t say who), which is spacious in back and adorned by a willow tree. The city tagged the home unsafe in March 2007, but the backyard is amenable to pitching a tent.

— Andy Balaskovitz