This project called for a substantial addition and a thorough renovation to an existing house in an established neighborhood. The renovated areas comprise 2,115 square feet, while 3,690 square feet were added. Previous ill-considered modifications (such as the brick veneer) were removed and the latent characteristics of the original (ca. 1840) were amplified and augmented.
One obvious challenge was to expand the house greatly and to develop the landscape extensively without wrecking the quaint scale and character of the original cottage and its neighborhood. The large yard behind the house sloped steeply to the south and was overgrown with privet. The homeowners needed interior and exterior space for a lively family and lots of entertaining.
The sloped rear yard permitted the main floor of the house to tie to the middle floor of a three-story addition across the back, with bedrooms above and service spaces in the walk-out basement at grade below. The volumes of the original, formal rooms were maintained in the front of the house, while the daily living spaces—the new bedrooms, kitchen, home office, keeping room, and service functions (garage, the large laundry, and secure storage)—are neatly tied together with a vertical core containing the stair, the elevator, and the laundry chute.
Atop the stair, at level 3½, an observatory with a balcony overlooks the rear lawn, reclaimed with rolling lawns, plantings, a greenhouse, and a sitting arbor, and beyond into the surrounding treetops.