Working with architect and neighbor Jim McFall, they found a way to expand while keeping the original core of the home, as well as its footprint on the odd-shaped lot. The small living room with its barrel-vault ceiling, along with two bedrooms, a bathroom and what the family calls its "club room," remain. Curved arches draw the eye from room to room.
Enlarging the dining area by pushing out the exterior wall a few feet enabled the couple to comfortably entertain. "We've done dinner parties for 14 here," the wife said. One small original steel-framed window was saved, restored and is now used as a pass-through from the new kitchen.
"The sight lines were so well designed. There's always connection to the outdoors," she said.
The new kitchen exemplifies the remodel goals: a mix of space, utility and the convenience of a modern kitchen set in a historical house, she said.
At one end is built-in banquette seating along two walls and a round table and two chairs completing the eating corner. "It's really a hub to a great extent," McFall said.
White custom cabinets were created by Precision Cabinets, topped by honed granite counter tops. "Honed granite has durability, but has an echo of (more traditional) soapstone — which is porous and can stain, and we love to cook," the owner said.
The piece de resistance in the new kitchen is the baby blue Lacanche French stove, a dual-fuel gas/electric, six-burner model with a warming cupboard.
Part of the addition includes a basement, which has two light wells to help cast daylight on the large playroom. About the same size as the living room, the playroom has a large art table, great for puzzles or projects, and a gift-wrapping center. Family movies can be projected directly onto the large white wall.
The basement also contains the laundry room, ample storage and a bathroom with small white hex tiles (with black accents).
"We priced double-paned steel windows," the wife said, "and compromised and built the basement." Ultimately, they replaced all the windows in the house, emulating the original steel-framed windows in an updated, energy-efficient aluminum-framed version.
They also completely rewired the home, removing the old knob-and-tube wiring, which enabled the contractor to insulate the walls. Although they added recessed lighting in the new dining room, they saved $10,000 to $15,000 by leaving the living room lighting alone.
The second-story addition now includes a study at the top of the stairs as well as a master-bedroom suite. Little touches, including tiled windowsills, echo details of the original house.
The master bedroom resembles an old-fashioned sleeping porch, with casement windows on two walls and phantom screens. The ceiling is similar to the downstairs. A narrow high shelf all around the room hides a strip of LED lights.
In addition to the sleeping area, two comfy chairs sit in front of a large window, with double rows of glass blocks at each side.
In the master bathroom are marble hexagonal floor tiles, marble counters and more glass blocks in the shower. "It creates wonderful light and privacy for us and our neighbors," the wife said.
Very few changes were made to the older part of the house, with the exception of adding fire sprinklers and Solatube skylights in the kids' bedrooms (what the wife described as an after-market add-on that fits easily between rafters).
The homeowners have few second thoughts: She wishes she had heeded her architect and put the light over the kitchen sink on a separate switch; he wishes he had explored heating options more thoroughly.
But each is happy to have honored the architectural style of their charming home.
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