Before and after in drawings

I am sharing construction documents of a selection of my projects because I feel that they illustrate what evolved over the course of the design phase much better than photographs of the finished work standing alone.  While the photographs may be beautiful, for those who were not involved with the project it is impossible to tell much about the design process from these photographs.  This section is for those who enjoy looking at a set of plans.  This is a long page of projects presented in roughly reverse chronological order.

2017 Cottage


Mt first request from the client was to turn her house into a cottage.  This house seems to have started life off as a cape 60 years or so ago.  My guess is that there was an addition to the rear of about 6′, and then dormers built in the front and rear that extended the width of the house.  The result feels patched together.  The clients wanted to open their house up to their deep rear yard and wanted the kitchen to have full views and not be stuck in the middle of the house.  The existing deck and family room could be torn down and a one story addition built in their footprint.

As always, bringing the kitchen out of the center of the house leaves a void.  How to fill the space in a way that seems logical and original to the house?

first floor plan, 2017 cottage

The new kitchen would have no upper cabinets, instead a large pantry for dry goods and non-daily kitchen ware.  We did include a shelving area in the main kitchen for plates, cups and glasses to be used on a daily basis.  The dining room became a library and the dining area moved to the very back adjacent to the kitchen and new family room area. The pantry and half bath took up the space previously inhabited by the kitchen.  We added some closets to the front hall by thickening up wall between the hall and the living room.  Pocket doors would allow the living room to be closed off from the rest of the house, but when open would allow for a full circulation through the house.

The exterior finishes and some curved rooflines served to evoke a cottage feel on the exterior.

The entry was very important to the client, and she wanted it to communicate a gracious welcome with a touch of whimsy.  To break up the front of the house, I restored what I thought of as the dormers of the second floor by adding a roof rake to either side of the existing roof and a roof extension along the front.  This created the illusion of dormers and varying the textures of the siding contributed to the craftsman-like feel of the proposed elevation.  The windows in the rear addition were to be found stained glass windows, possibly of varying sizes, that would be positioned on the wall like pieces of art- the three squares on the wall were placeholders for pricing purposes only.




2017 Second Story addition

Before photo. 2017 second story addition

These clients hired me to add a second story to their new (to them) 1950s ranch.  Their original idea was to leave as much of the first floor in tact as possible, and just to redesign the first floor baths and to design the stairway and a second floor.  As it turned out the chosen contractor decided to gut the entire first floor and so we could have moved any of the walls, but we stuck to the original plan.  This project is also notable since they were on a very tight schedule and wanted the drawings done as soon as possible to get the project out to bid.  The bid documents were done in about 12 days and required a lot of dedication on their part for near daily meetings and quick decisions.

existing first floor, 2017 second story addition

The program for the second floor was two equivalent bedrooms for their children, a full bath for them, a laundry room, a music room, and a master bedroom suite.  The music room didn’t make the cut due to adjacency and privacy issues, but we really tried to make it fit.  The existing rear porch eliminated the possibility of many windows in the rear corner to that area became a large walk in closet and master bath.


See photos of the finished product here


2017 Kitchen and Family Room addition

These clients were trying to decide if they should stay in their current house or buy a new one.  We designed this kitchen and family room addition to address issues of circulation, to provide more workspace in the kitchen and an area for family being together eating, watching TV and socializing.

The existing kitchen was mostly circulation with little room for working.  The family enjoyed using the formal dining room and so we were going to retain that room, which would require a strong connection between the kitchen and the dining room.  Moving the kitchen in to the addition once again creates a void where the old kitchen was.  In this case the choice was clear, there would be a large mudroom to accommodate the family’s backpacks and outdoor gear.  One of the challenges on this project was that we could only add about 100 square feet to the project without triggering a special permit.  We did end up deciding to go for a special permit to get the design that they really wanted.

The solution was to remove much of the rear wall of the existing house and replace it with a large beam.  The kitchen and family room share the space in the addition with some of the Living room being appropriated by the new space.  The circulation around the house was vastly improved and a series of built ins within the family room and mudroom added to the charm of the original house from the 1930s.


2016 Kitchen addition

Owners of this house were unhappy with the tiny pass through kitchen and not quite usable “family room” area.  They wanted a larger kitchen where 5 of them could work and visit without being on top of each other.  They also wanted to install a master bathroom on the second floor.

They first floor was very close to grade, which allowed for a large low deck in the yard without any railings.  The house had been modified since it was built about 50 years before with a second story of a master bedroom above the garage and what was most likely a connecting one story piece when the house was built.  This resulted in different floor heights and ceiling heights and a load bearing wall running front to back.  That wall and the rear wall were removed to create one larger space with a modest bump out addition into the yard.

The half bath was moved to the right of the kitchen and accessed off of what felt like a side hall to reduce the sense of being in a bathroom directly off of the kitchen.  The doorway to the dining room was widened to connect that room with the kitchen.  The extra room in the kitchen to the right of the island was for a couch and chairs with a coffee table for a place to relax and visit with family. The large island allowed for some stool seating and informal meals, but the family would dine together in the dining room.

The second floor lacked a master bathroom which they felt would be important for resale.

 We ended up removing one of the existing master bedroom closets and using space from the overly large master bedroom to create the master bath. The doorway to the master suite was moved into the hall so that an existing closet could function as a walk in closet with a connection to the bedroom rather than the hall.