Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Rebuilding a Modern Farmhouse After a Fire

Here is a new project to follow on the New House Next Door blog:

The New House After the Fire

House was a Cape Style before the fire
Burnt home removed, except for part of foundation
This is almost a new home design, except it's not. A house stood on this property - it was a 1.5 story type house, which means the second floor is up within the roof, often with dormers popped out of the roof for additional space and windows. A fire devastated the structure.

(Public Service Message: Use the correct size/ rated extension cord!)

So what started as a bad situation has led to an opportunity. We have designed a new modern farmhouse with more space, a full second floor, an attached mud room and garage, and an expansive custom-truss roofed open chef's kitchen where once was a family room that suffered by being so disconnected from the rest of the home. The new home will serve the family that lives there much better because we took the time to think about what worked in the former home and what did not and we didn't stay attached to placing rooms, like the kitchen, in the same spot on the floor plan just because that's where it was before.

Forms set for pouring the new mudroom & attached garage
The former house had 2 parts - on the right was the 1.5 story Cape-type part with living/kitchen/dining and 2 bedrooms on the first floor and 2 more bedrooms upstairs within the dormers. On the right side was an addition that was built with a lower floor height, so that from the kitchen one could climb down a few steps and be in a large sunken family room. This part had no second floor atop it, and so could have higher ceilings, but I don't recall if it really did. The back of the home had a large deck and a new 3 season room to enjoy the mountain view. The only thing that could be saved was the foundation under the family room area (where is was fairly new, and made of poured concrete) but the "sunken" nature of it was undesirable and created problems, so in the new design we add a special foundation wall extension to bring the height of all the floors even with each other. The older concrete block foundation was deemed insufficient, but the new poured foundation in that area will still be exactly the same size/shape the old one was. We are adding a 3rd part on the left side that is a slab on grade as will be the foundation for the new mudroom and attached garage.
Drawing of the new Front Elevation

Friday, May 25, 2018

New House Next to the Lake is Ready for Summer!

Front view - with "popped up" space across back of second floor
Just in time for the family to come enjoy their vacation home on the lake, it's all finished for Memorial Day weekend. Here are some final pictures with the lattice enclosing underneath the new screened porch, the exterior painting all done, and the interior plumbing and cabinets installed. This family homestead is transformed!

Lake side view with new deck and screened porch

West side view- showing new First Floor Bedroom Addition
From repairing mundane, invisible but appreciated items, like recessing a steel support beam into the living room ceiling and installing a new septic system- to creating usable, beautiful new spaces- like a much larger screened porch and kitchen work area - to creating more sleeping spaces with a bit more privacy and a bit more air/light/view toward the beloved lake - to all new renovated bathrooms, refinished floors, and light fixtures & electrical service.

New Pantry Room view from Kitchen
New Pantry Room view toward Kitchen

New Ceiling in Living Room & Door to Bright New Bedroom

New First Floor Bedroom

Renovated Bathroom #1
Front Porch - repaired roof and connected to new Bedroom
This project combines a mix of keeping the old and traditional, while embracing some new materials and methods as well. Check out the old wood door leading into one of the bathrooms (on right side of pic above). Old site-built plank doors like that one were kept and reused inside- like leading into the new first floor bedroom from the living room. The exterior siding is a very traditional white-painted shingle style, with dark green trim while the railing system for the screened porch and deck is a stainless steel cable type (chosen because it would obscure the lake view the least).

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Finishes at the Family House on the Lake

Repaired Front  Porch Roof//Ceiling
The Family House on the Lake has been getting interior finishes and once winter is over and the snow melts, the exterior finishes -metal roofing and cedar shingles on walls- will be installed. Here are photos of the progress including new spaces & renovated spaces, interior spaces & exterior spaces. Check out that lake view from the screened porch!
Flooring & Bead Board Ceiling in New Screened Porch
Flooring & Bead Board Ceiling in New Screened Porch

New First Floor Bedroom

Second Floor Bedroom - now with upper bunk windows!

New Ceilings in Existing Rooms replace sagging plaster

New Larger Shower!
Refinished Floors Upstairs

Flooring and Paint in Pantry/Mud Room

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Porches for the House on the Lake

The work at the family house on the lake is continuing with the framing inspection complete and now roofing and siding being applied and porch floors and roofs built.

Framed New Screened Porch
This house is all about the continuity of the family that has owned it and used it - first as a full time residence of grandparents starting in the 1920s - and now as a seasonal gathering place for extended families of multiple generations from throughout the country. Some aspects of the home that exist and have existed for as long as many can remember were not negotiable to change in the redesign. One of those elements is the green metal roof- which isn't that old, but lends real character to the home. Another is the white cedar siding which is very traditional and likely original to when it was first built before this family even owned it.

The other thing this house is about is gathering and enjoying the lake. This fact makes the back screened porch the most important "room" in the place. As the largest space, it is one of the few that can accommodate a large group- be it baby shower or marriage celebration or weekend reunion. It is literally the best place (other than sitting on the dock?) on the property to view the lake.

I changed the dimensions and orientation of the former screened porch, as well as how it connects to the house. I made it much deeper- before it was under a long continuation of the main roof and was limited to 9'-10" -way too narrow for comfortable outdoor furniture. I also increased the width by 2' and rotated the roof and removed any flat ceiling so the space is vaulted up to 12' tall at the center roof beam.
Framing of the New Screened Porch

Structural Ridge Beam allows for soaring high space
In addition, since I was giving the space it's own lake-facing-gable roof, not sharing the main roof, I could slide the whole space over a bit. This movement accomplished two things: One, even with the new porch 15' deep instead of 10', I could show the Town's Zoning Board that we hardly were building any closer to the edge of the water. This was important as the existing structure was already encroaching on the allowable 75' setback from the rear/lake. The other important gain of sliding the porch toward the east was that I could connect the kitchen to the screened porch. The old plan lacked this connection, so this will be a great change.

The home has a traditional street-side wrap-around front porch which remains and now ties into the new first floor bedroom with a glass door.

Door to Front Wrap-Around Porch from New Bedroom Addition
Wrap-Around Porch ties into new first floor bedroom addition
Lastly, there is a new small side porch that provides a way to get to the yard from the screened porch and from the yard into the kitchen/back of the house. When a porch is higher than 30" above the grade, the code requires a guard rail for safety. Since we don't want to obscure the lake view with a bunch of solid wood posts, I specified a cable railing system that becomes almost invisible and lends a sleek, nautical element on the mostly traditional exterior.

Side Porch connects house to yard and screened porch
Cable railing system
In addition to the functionality of these porches (outdoor rooms!) the site slopes down toward the lake, leaving lots of storage space under the almost 400SF screened porch. Some of this area will be tall and some low to store boats and other gear. The perimeter will have a traditional lattice treatment and a custom hinged door to easily access and keep hidden that storage space.

Lattice Detail (from another project)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Blue House update

First Floor Kitchen space is opened up to Office with beam in ceiling
New Master Bedroom with vaulted ceiling and sunset windows
Work has been progressing at the Blue House next to the School. The windows were installed, as well as rough electrical and plumbing. Then insulation was placed in the cavities of roofs and walls. (Remember all walls also have continuous insulation integral with the sheathing, which is great for better air sealing and reducing thermal bridges.) Exterior trim was installed around windows. Interior sheet rocking of walls and ceilings happened. With that surface applied, one can really see what the rooms will feel like! Next is shingle siding, flooring, painting, finish electric/plumbing, and interior cabinetry! (and the new screened porch those french doors will lead to!)

Back elevation
Site of the future second floor laundry and Master Batrh

Sheet rock on wall in Dressing Room / Walk in Closet/ Master Bathroom

Kitchen! Ready for cabinetry and flooring

Sunny Master Bedroom

Monday, February 5, 2018

Lake House Second Floor

The New Family House on the Lake is all boxed out. You can see the floor area of the new screened porch and how the new pantry area has been rebuilt. Neither of these new spaces are hugely different size-wise compared to what was there, but they are better situated, oriented toward the lake breezes and views, and proportioned so as to add greatly to the function of the house as a seasonal family gathering place.

New Side Porch & Pantry connects Kitchen to Screen Porch
Framed out for new larger screened porch

In addition the second floor area, which was short and had no windows toward the lake, now does! Again, it's not a large change, and no increase in floor area, but will make a big difference in how space feels and functions. Instead of the ceiling sloping down to a short wall (behind bunk beds in BEFORE photo below) now the flat ceiling continues those extra couple feet and operable windows were inserted in that new vertical wall section. The windows couldn't be large, because of the roofs below, but still this small add should really increase the comfort of sleeping in those bunk rooms, now that evening breezes off the lake can be brought inside to help cool the space. Not to mention - of course one wants to see the beautiful lake while one is at the lake house!

Second floor windows on the lake side!

Second Floor sleeping space BEFORE
sloped ceiling and only windows toward street and sides, not lake
Just a little more light and air and space upstairs

Upstairs: Flat ceiling extends to back wall and windows look toward lake
The new screened porch will be larger and not so narrow as the old one. Since the old screened porch's roof was integral with the main roof of the house, renovating the screened porch gave us the opportunity to add those windows upstairs. The new screened porch will have the direction of the roof changed so that it can have high ceilings and a tall, screened gable facing the lake. Cable railing will be used to meet the code for guard rail, while not obscuring the awesome view or open feeling.

Screened Porch - BEFORE
Low-ceiling & narrow and not connected to kitchen

BEFORE- small side porch (with no guard rail!)
Small pantry off back of kitchen
and no second floor windows toward lake

Friday, December 8, 2017

Family House on the Lake - Framing of new Bedroom

New First Floor Bedroom Wall offers lovely view of the lake

I got a chance to stop by the construction a the Family House on the Lake this week. Poured concrete foundation walls are complete, the front porch roof is re-built and the framing for the new first floor bedroom addition has begun. Now one can stand in the new room and see how it will feel looking toward the lake view. (so nice! see pic above)
West Wall and Roofline of new Bedroom Addition

Existing LR - window to side of fireplace will become door to new bedroom
This small addition is doing so much all at once! Locating it was strategic- it is located so that an existing window in the Living Room can become the doorway into the new room. It was placed on the site to enjoy views and breezes to and from the lake and be a more private, quiet sleeping space  away from the kitchen and screened porch, which are the main large gathering spaces, and can therefore be noisy.
See new basement access door (on right) under new Bedroom addition
It is located on the site where the grade slopes down toward the water, and this allowed for a full-height basement space to be under the new room. This basement room will house the electric panel for easy power on-off when opening and closing the home for the season. Because of the full height walk-in door from the back yard, it will also provide much-needed storage space for off season lake toys like kayaks or floating dock parts.
Standing in old basement looking through old door, which is now the access to new basement room

In addition, by placing it on the west end of the home, it was within the side yard zoning setback, so no variance was required. And lastly, an area of crumbling stone foundation was covered by placing the new foundation over it, so that the old foundation can be repaired less expensively by using concrete block instead of stone. They even managed to tuck the forms for new walls perfectly under the timber sill plate of the existing house corner! (pic below)

New Conc. Foundation Wall supports timber framing. Old stone wall will need to be infilled

View from street - Brand new front porch roof!