OCT 27, 2011

Bonus Rooms are a Guaranteed Plus in Today's New Homes

Chicago Tribune

“Perhaps the best thing about bonus rooms is that they can evolve into multiple uses over time,” said Jeff Benach, co-principal of Lexington Homes. “What may start out as a home office can become a children’s playroom. When the kids turn into teens, it becomes a homework and game room. And once kids are gone, it can transform into a hobby room or library. You can’t go wrong selecting a floor plan with this extra space.”

While bonus rooms have long been showing up in single-family homes, townhomes like those at Lexington Park in Des Plaines are now getting in on the action, too.

“All of our townhomes at Lexington Park have finished lower levels, and that’s pretty typical of a three-story townhome,” said Benach. “But in addition to that flexible space, our Warrington floor plan also has a bonus room adjacent to the kitchen on the main level, which is very unusual. Buyers love the room’s convenient location, and it’s easy to envision the space as an office or place for children to play and stow their toys near the kitchen.”

About one third of buyers at Lexington Park select this home design, noted Benach. “They also like that they can opt for French doors to the bonus room, which adds a touch of class,” he said.

Lexington Park is a new community of 149 townhomes in northwest-suburban Des Plaines. Located within walking distance of downtown Des Plaines and the Des Plaines Metra Station, Lexington Park offers three floor plans ranging from 1,605 to 1,913 square feet. Homes are base-priced from $239,990 to $264,990.

For homebuyers in search of a single-family home with a second-floor bonus room, there are plenty of floor plans to choose from among J. Lawrence Homes’ suburban Chicago communities.

“We found that by putting the bonus room on the second floor, the space became more versatile,” said John Wozniak, president of Wheaton-based J. Lawrence Homes. “Because it’s tucked up by the bedrooms, it is a quiet spot to create a homework station, sitting room or library. But it also makes a nice game or toy room because it keeps all the clutter out of sight from the main living areas of the home.”

Plans with a bonus room also have a main-floor family room open to an eat-in kitchen. Other features, per plan, include a formal living and dining room, mud room and den.

Second-floor bonus rooms can be found at most of the builder’s communities, including Ambry Estates in Lynwood, Silver Leaf in Joliet, Remington Landing in North Aurora and Midlane Country Club, a clubhouse community in Wadsworth. Base prices for the homes range from the $140,000s to the high $200,000s.

While bonus rooms are common in two-story single-family homes, those opting for a ranch plan do not have to miss out on the versatility a bonus room offers.

“Most people probably don’t associate ranch homes with features like a bonus room,” said Brian Brunhofer, president of Meritus Homes. “But, you don’t have to sacrifice flexibility just because you want or need a home without stairs.”

At Creekside at Inverness Ridge, a gated, maintenance-free community of single-family homes in Inverness, Meritus Homes offers two ranch plans with a bonus room: the Marquis and Kingston. In both plans, the bonus room is located near the home’s entrance.

“It’s a smart location for those who work out of their home because you really don’t want clients walking through your entire home to reach your office,” Brunhofer said. “Plus, it’s away from the noise of the family room and kitchen, so there’s a lot more privacy. And that works well whether you use the room for an office, den or music room.”

Creekside at Inverness Ridge also offers a two-story home with a bonus room. Buyers can choose from five floor plans at the community, including two ranch, one two-story design with a first floor master suite and two traditional two-story plans. Homes range from 2,610 to 3,716 square feet and start at $489,900.

For more information about Lexington Homes’ Lexington Park community, call (847)299-0500 or visit www.lexingtonchicago.com.

"After many months of searching for a new home that would fit my needs, I found that Lexington was constructing a new project in Palatine."

- Mike Luby