My client lives in what started out as a small 1940′s colonial in Silver Spring, MD. Like all modest houses of it’s era it had small rooms separated from each other including a small galley kitchen and no foyer — the front door led right into the living room. The indoors were completely cut off from the outdoors with relatively small windows in the brick exterior. But the house had one very major advantage going for it — the corner lot was continuous with a large triangle of beautifully landscaped county land. Unfortunately, the expansive view was virtually invisible to the house’s living spaces. The homeowners are avid gardeners and had actually installed some of the plantings on the county’s land.
They came to me after living in the house for over a decade and slowly improving their grounds and the adjacent county land. Their primary desire was to open up the house to the outdoors. Their list of additional desires included wants typical for homeowners living in Pre-WWII housing:
- Connecting the Kitchen to the Rest of House
- Making the home friendly for entertaining
- Creating a First Floor Bath and Guest Room
- Improving insulation and comfort
- Creating More Storage
- Creating A formal Entry
The task was more difficult than usual because the placement of the house on the lot and the setbacks eliminated the ability to put an addition on the back plus the good views and privacy were toward the front where the county land was but the setbacks dramatically limited the placement and size of any front addition also.
The solution involved adding a total of 400 square feet in 3 small additions. Two of the additions — a small breakfast room that captures morning light, and a small bath addition — were each less than 100 square feet and filled-in unused corners behind an original garage turned into living space by a previous owner and an old sleeping porch also enclosed by a previous owner. A 16ft x 12ft front addition with windows on 3 sides brings the beautiful views from the county land into the main part of the home.
The original sleeping porch — enclosed by a previous owner but rarely used by my client — was turned into a gracious vaulted foyer with storage closets on both sides. As you walk in you face the back of the chimney — a perfect spot for future artwork. The deep “cabernet” wall and ceiling color help create a sense of enclosure as you enter the home — and balanced by the expansive off-white trim. While natural light comes from a leaded door and door lites, natural light also pulls you into the living room or breakfast room on either side of the chimney.
The floor of the old porch was raised and insulated and floored with the same oak hardwood found throughout the rest of the house.
We transformed the old living room into a new dining room connected to the foyer (seen in the picture, above), the living room, and the kitchen — behind the new glass fronted and backed built-in to the right.
The dining room will also connect directly to a future patio accessed through the opening that was once the front door and is now a glass patio door. Painted built-ins throughout the new and old areas were designed to look original to the home.
The new galley kitchen takes up the area that used to be the old dining room and original small galley kitchen. Glass-fronted and backed built-ins separate the kitchen from the dining room allowing light to pass through but hiding views of the mess.
There is only a single small window in the kitchen but the space borrows a lot of light from a patio door to a back deck, the light-filled breakfast room, and the new exposures on the other side of the dining room. An overhand allows guests to join in the conversation out of the way of the cook.
My client wanted me to emphasize that all the money went into the remodel and that they haven’t yet had the time or money to properly furnish the new space.
I’ll include more details soon. In the meantime, I’ve included before and after floor plans below as well as a list of resources and some “before” pictures.
Kitchen Cabinets: Smithport K-Sereis; Cherry; Glaze: Canadian
Countertops: Quartz Cambria – Praa Sands
Kitchen Backsplash Travertine Claros Silver Honed
Hardwood Flooring Red Oak ; MinWax Stain: Provincial