PinerWorks - Sacramento Architecture and Building Photo Gallery

Attic Conversion

This 1903 home had a typical large unused attic space with a pyramidal 10:12 pitch just begging to become living space. The challenge of converting attic space in Sacramento is dealing with the issue of heat gain, and how to get the access stairs to work with the house.

The problem was solved here with a hidden system of radiant barrier and insulation, and a whole house ventilation system using operable skylights and "roof windows" with shades that allows the building to exhaust hot air and "breathe" in the cool night air. The house retains the coolness through use of thermal mass (extra thick gypsum drywall) during the day. Air conditioning is available but rarely needed or used. Materials are a combination of new and salvaged goods – reclaimed woodwork, cork flooring, dark cobalt tile and a custom color blend glass mosaic in the shower.

Before the wallboard goes up, you can see the rigid foam insulation that was installed tight to the rafters. Above this insulation is an air space and a reflective radiant barrier continuous from the eaves to the ridge, with soffit and ridge venting to allow heated air to escape. Note the plywood at the hips to smooth the surface and allow another air channel. Ductwork serving this level and the floor below is concealed behind the short kneewall. Ducts are all 100% sheet metal "hard-piped", sealed and insulated -- since they will be inaccessible for replacement.