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Recently, some customers approached me about improving the upstairs of their modest, 11/2-story gable-roof home in upstate New York. Though it was in a beautiful setting with a large pond, the older home had low ceilings and little natural light. Their goal was to add a second-floor bath, get more usable floor space, and have taller, brighter rooms. Simply installing skylights wouldn’t address the headroom issue, and gable dormers, while charming, wouldn’t add enough usable floor space. After discussing various options, we decided on a shed dormer that would span about two thirds the width of the house. An existing closet and small bedroom would be converted into a full bath and a home office.