Friday, February 15, 2019

Family Room Addition to a Village Home- final pics

New Family Room looking toward back yard
This project was a fairly simple and small addition off the back of a historic village home, in the place of a former covered back porch, but it creates a huge change in the house for the family living there.

Like many historic homes, the kitchen is not open to the living area. While new home layouts often have a family room open to the kitchen, layouts in older homes usually have the kitchen tucked away from public, socializing spaces and in a more "service" role. This doesn't really work well for our more casual lifestyles today.

Pocket door to kitchen and Sliding glass door to Covered side porch
Standing in Kitchen looking thru pocket door

This project created a new first floor family room, connected to the back yard with a large deck and to the kitchen with a glass pocket door. This simple change expands the family's space dramatically, allowing for separate teen hangout room, entertaining space between kitchen and yard, possible guest bed space, and even, if needed someday, a first floor bedroom for an older person who can no longer climb the stairs. (The owner created a full first floor bathroom already- another element not often found in older homes.)

Deck notched around tree & connected to side porch & new room
New Window over Kitchen Sink

One "Aha" moment in the design was when I suggested a large back deck off the back of the new room. It offers outdoor living space and helps focus the room toward the large (for the middle of a village) back yard. The deck shape notches around an existing shade tree and has contemporary materials and a large size.

Ditching the idea that because it's an addition on an older home, we needed to mimic historic materials and details, was the other "Aha" moment. The new spaces have a bold color scheme and interior trim that is sleek, not fussy. The window and glass doors are decidedly contemporary in their layout/style/shape/color. The new room has a bit higher-than-standard sloped wood ceiling and recessed lights. The deck has a funky "cattle panel" wood and metal guard rail design.  All this gives it a very different, updated feel from the rest of the historic home. (The exterior woodwork does match the existing home. Siding will be painted to match in warmer weather.)

To see the earlier post about this project click here:

Friday, February 8, 2019

Adirondack Cottage on the Lake: Part 1

(Frozen) Lake View from Property
Let's call this project 'Adirondack Cottage on the Lake'. Construction began this winter after demolition of the existing 50s ranch home on the property. In future posts, I'll discuss the design- a refined Adirondack style featuring wood beams, stone details, and shingle siding that focuses toward the lake with a special glass feature in the double-height living room. We'll also get into how we decided to lay out the different indoor and outdoor "rooms" in relation to each other and the site, as well as the environmental review process, and the decisions that were made to remove the existing home from the property and start fresh and how the town was glad we did.

But for now let's just look at COLD weather, blue sky photos of the crew beginning to form the basic shape of this new one-and-a-half-story home aside the frozen lake.

Foundation and First Floor Framing - View from Lake

Foundation and First Floor Framing -View from Street
First Floor Exterior Wall Studs in Place (tree in front yard saved!)

Wall Sheathing and 2nd Floor Walls
Roof Rafters and Beams
Now that they are beginning to construct roofs, it will start looking more like the drawings soon...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Modern Farmhouse after a Fire - finishes

Front View of New Modern Farmhouse with mountain behind
My 'Modern Farmhouse after a Fire' Project is almost finished. I stopped by on a sunny winter day to check it out. The exterior has all the siding and trim and roofing installed and it looks classy in black and white. The porches and decks and balconies are mostly finished - just some railing needed here and there. With the stark blue sky of winter, the sun and the mountain view from the back of the house are striking as you stand inside the new living spaces.

South Elevation -Unique window shapes and asymmetry on the back
Balconies off each bedroom toward the view/sun
Inside the cavity insulation and spray foam and rockwool has all been installed in walls, attic and basement and the sheetrock has been applied and taped and in some cases, painted. The HVAC system is mostly installed, but not yet turned on - and the contractor stated that even on this 15degree morning, the two space heaters they use warm up the house easily. (Can't wait to see how this place performs on the blower door test.)

Kitchen cabinets are delivered (in boxes in the garage) and the contractors wood shop is busy building the stair and interior trim pieces so that once the sheetrock is painted, the trimwork and other interior carpentry can be installed.

Preparing for painting at Trusses over Kitchen
It all looks GREAT and will only get better once the faux brick arch is constructed and the fireplace hearth is in place and the wet bar is built and and and. This is a fun project with mail slots and charging stations by the every-day entry and reclaimed barn wood being used as accents in the powder room. Stay tuned for those awesome interior material photos coming soon!

Click here to read the previous posts about this project:

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Willowbrook Ranch Family Room

New Hygge Family Room
Here is another New Family Room Next Door project. The existing home is standard ranch style with rooms that are fairly small with flat 8 foot tall ceilings. A newer master bedroom addition with soaring ceilings is the exception- but, that space is private. The folks living here wanted a bit more living space that took advantage of the western wooded view and included some cozy creature comforts: an outdoor spa tub, and a stone fireplace- while incorporating some of those high-ceilings they have in their bedroom and adding light and view.

Glass Pocket Doors connect the existing home to the new room

The room was designed to be open to the existing dining room, and just steps from the kitchen through a pair of glass pocket doors. It functions as a family room off the back (more private) side of the house- as opposed to the living room, which, like the layout in many homes, is facing the street and at the entry.

New Addition and New Deck w/ Hot Tub
Before View of Back of House
The new room has lots of windows and a sliding glass french door to a new, more private deck. The deck was placed so that it connected not only to the new family room, but also to the master bedroom, which already had a sliding glass door. The spa tub was located on this deck (some serious structural piers designed to hold that weight!) and so is just steps from both the master bedroom and the new family room. The hot tub is tucked among some trees for a feeling of really being in nature while soaking.

Sliding Glass French Doors to Hot Tub on Deck

Stone Surrounds Rumford 1000 Fireplace

Thoughtful lighting placement and interior plank wood ceiling accentuate the symmetry of the vaulted room and make the focus of the room be the stone around the (real wood burning!) fireplace and the antique timber mantel shelf. The family finds they use both the tub and the fireplace as part of their regular routine- making these new spaces true improvements to their lives that encourage spending time together.

I think of this design as the hygge project because of the health and wellness aspects of using a hot tub and the contentment of sitting by a fire and how these features- and both the interior and exterior new spaces- truly help contribute to an improved quality of  life for the family living here. Sunday evenings sitting by the fire sure sounds cozy!

From Wikipedia: 
Hygge (/ˈhjuːɡə/ HEW-gə or /ˈhɡə/ HOO-gə) is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. As a cultural category with its sets of associated practices hygge has more or less the same meanings in Danish and Norwegian, but the notion is more central in Denmark than Norway.[1] The emphasis on hygge as a part of Danish culture is a recent phenomenon, dating to the late 20th century.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Family Room Addition to a Village Home

View of Addition from the backyard
Here is a glimpse into a small project I designed. Let's call is the New Family Room Next Door. :)

The existing home is a small historic two story village home. Like most village layouts, adding off the back was really the only option for increasing living space. (side yards are small or non-existent in village-type zoning where houses are placed close to each other and close to the street/sidewalk)

The home already had a single story kitchen addition all along the back of the two story structure, and then a covered porch off the back of that.

To keep the project economical, we used the area that once was a covered porch and changed that space into the new family room. We reused (and added more) the pier foundation from the porch for our new room, and kept the low-pitch shed roof in the same configuration as what existed, so second floor windows were unaffected.

The new room will still connect the kitchen to the back yard and back porch (we kept a small section of the existing covered back porch as a driveway-side entry for bringing groceries in to the kitchen). The new room will be able to be a bit more contemporary than the rest of the historic home can be.  The new room can someday become a first floor bedroom if age or illness requires it. And in the meantime, the new room will offer much-needed additional space for entertaining and relaxing with family, right near the kitchen. Since the large back porch was going away, I suggested a new large deck off the back of the new room as an outdoor connection and link to the back yard.

Before Photo - View from Backyard of Existing Covered Porch
Small section of existing covered porch remains as back entry

The new family room and new deck expand 1st floor living area A LOT

Lots of light and glass doors into new room

Higher "cathedral" ceiling in new room & light from 3 sides makes it special

Friday, October 5, 2018

Modern Farmhouse- Mechanicals & Roofing

Metal Roofing, Fascias, and Drip Edge being installed

Work continues at the New House After a Fire. Roof installation is underway along with the white fascia boards and drip edge all around the edge of the roof plane. (see the coils of metal?) The back deck - which is expansively large and accessed by 3 doors in 3 rooms - has been built, along with its railing and stair. The balconies have their decking, but don't yet have their railing. Check out the fantastic mountain view and you can see why we have these outdoor spaces.

Deck with mountain view

Balcony off back bedrooms toward view

Inside, the plumbers and electricians have been busy installing wiring, supply and drain pipes, and duct work for heating and cooling. Not pretty stuff, but we can all agree, super valuable! Some photos of their work before it all gets covered up by wall board:

Supply and Return Air Ducts and Boxes/Wiring

Bathroom Water Piping: Red/hot & Blue/cold Supply and White Drains

Air Sealing (Orange Spray Foam) around all holes

Framing for Fireplace & Hearth with Blocking for TV above

Friday, August 17, 2018

New House After a Fire - Framing

Tilting Up The Back Kitchen Wall
Framing is complete at The New House After a Fire including the front porch and the future room over the garage. Here are some photos of the progression of first floor deck framing and then first floor walls, then second floor deck framing, then second floor walls, and then trusses, roofs and dormer.
First Wall Up in Place at Gable End

Back view with 1st Floor Exterior Walls in Place
You can see the cantilevered balconies jutting out the back of 3 of the bedrooms on the southwest. The windows have been installed and you can see the higher ceiling dining room and kitchen has transoms above the glass door and kitchen sink feature window. They were framing the back deck yesterday - and then it will be time for interior and exterior finishes.

Front View now with Mud Room and Garage begun on left

Beautiful Exposed Trusses ready to be installed in Kitchen

Timber Trusses over Kitchen and Dining
Kitchen Sink Windows
Eating Nook Corner Windows
Two Car Attached Garage
Future Room Over the Garage
Lots of windows toward the back view from the Master Bathroom
View from Second Floor overlooking into Foyer Entry

Back (Southwest) View of House
Back View showing Garage and Mud Room Additions

Front View of House