Our clients are a family of four that have bought a compact one-and-a-half story house that suits their needs and partialities. It’s one of the older structures on the block, and some re-imagining and re-invigorating of the space is required to transform the house into a place they can call home. We consult with them about what kind of aesthetics and lifestyle they hope to achieve for themselves and their children. After several weeks of careful consideration, we agree upon the shape and size that the footprint of the house will take. An addition at the back of the house will incorporate a new kitchen, an office, and a master bedroom., while the old kitchen by the side entry door will be transformed into a utility / entry room.
A few weeks into the project in October, and we are presented with some tough challenges! Excavation has to be done with care since the driveway is narrow and the risk of damage to existing structures (house, garage, fence, power pole) is ever-present. The old concrete foundation wall is incredibly dense and it takes quite an effort to cut an opening for the HVAC trunk line, even with a state-of-the-art saw. Termites have done extensive damage, so work has to be done to ensure that the house is structurally sound. We jack up certain areas of the house where load-bearing walls have to be replaced.
The house is one-and-a-half stories, so the new master bedroom windows protrude above the roofline and are outfitted with their own individual hip roofs – an attractive feature that can be seen from the public sidewalk.
We keep plugging away so the addition can be sealed off before winter bares its teeth.
In the midst of the drywall work.
Some of the plaster in the existing upstairs bedrooms has to be repaired where walls were opened up to address termite damage. Our plaster in the new areas of the house has a very similar texture to the old-fashioned plaster, but is applied as a thinner coat and will be less prone to cracking as it ages. We have developed a formula that is safe to work with and allows us to match a variety of existing textures. We implement a multi-stage staining process to match the dark, rich tonal qualities of the woodwork throughout the house.
Here are some views of the finished kitchen, with every nook being utilized for its space. Hand fashioned tiles from Puerto Rico and a cast iron sink from England.
Below are views of the master bathroom, including a recessed cast-iron tub, hefty medicine cabinets, and a hassle-free, walk-in, mosaic tile shower with in-sets and an easy to clean glass side panel.
In spring, we utilize the brick we harvested from the house to build a 5′ wall around the perimeter of the addition, to help integrate it with the rest of the house. We think it was well worth the time and effort (and expense) to retain a sense of historicity. A dog door is installed and bordered by the brick. The remainder of the addition is covered with fiber cement board siding.
A deck composed of low-maintenance composite materials completes serves as a beautiful and practical spill-over area from the kitchen. It’s perfect for outdoor dining (the south side of the house stays quite warm through the seasons as long as the sun is shining!) and provides the extra space necessary for entertaining guests. We lay straw around the addition during construction to help protect the yard and keep mud off our shoes.