Dang! These photos didn't load in the organized way that I had planned. But what you see are three drawings done by AutoCAD and three I did of what we would like to do to the third floor of the house.
I did lots of drawings trying to make a terrace in other places so we could retain the third floor space as another bedroom. However, I kept running into the problem of access. A stairway cannot run through the space a beam occupies, or just below it, at least it can't if you want to easily traipse up and down those stairs. I could go on with why the other plans wouldn't work. You'll have to trust me, this plan has the best chance of working.
The first photo shows and elevation view of the house from the street with the roof removed. The second photo a side view of the third floor showing beams, roof, et cetera, as it now exists. The third is a floor plan. All it really shows is the stairway, but what it doesn't show is that the building is not a perfect rectangle. The building is way more organic than that. Who knows what tools the builders had to work with. If you are familiar with buildings built without levels, transits and other modern tools, perhaps not even a plumb bob, you will understand that this perfect rectangle is a figment of someone's imagination.
The fifth photo shows our revised side elevation. Notice the new floor four feet above the old one. It will need to be a slanted waterproof floor and have drainage for water to escape to the outside. A stairway comes up and will probably need some kind of hatchway to keep most of the moisture out. The front wall will be about three feet high for safety and also allows a good view in most directions except due south. It should get lots of sunshine except in December and January.
The next photo shows the new floor plan. Most things should be self-explanatory. There will need to be a new exterior wall built between what will be inside and outside, and an exterior door at the base of the stairway will need to be added. The last photo shows the front elevation as the building now exists. One thing to note is that the street-side third floor window will have to be abandoned, but the shutters will remain so that we will comply with laws stating no changes can be made on the exterior.
So after much thought and consternation this is the plan of the moment. People wiser than ourselves have yet to give us their comments and things may change, so don't hold your breath. But the way we see it, this would significantly improve our house. Your comments are welcomed and don't forget you can click on the photos to enlarge for a better view.