“Our home has been much loved for many years, and with its garden symbolizes our values of caring for the Earth and all its creatures, including values of sustainability and making do with less. The house keeps a family history of three generations and the formative years of two sets of children. It is a solid brick structure built to withstand the years and storms, as well as the children.
We wondered, therefore, if we would ever find a way to integrate some of the passive solar ideas we have come to value with this traditional solid brick structure. We did not want to tear our home down as happens so often in our area. We truly wanted to make it new in a way that integrated the old structure, so we were thrilled to find a designer that understood these concerns.
Throughout the design and construction we collaborated and learned with our designer/builder team. Our designer not only incorporated passive-solar design elements seamlessly into our original design, but she was also able to open up and reconfigure the existing living areas so that a relatively small addition could have a large impact. The plan also utilized European and South American architectural concepts that harmonize with and maintain our family culture and values of conservation and sustainability.
The design is unique but also fits well into our neighborhood. The result has proven to be more than we ever imagined. We have now lived for nearly a year in our home made new, witnessing the changing play of light as it comes into our newly integrated spaces through glorious, south-facing windows. Daily tasks such as cooking or laundry, as well as our meals, relaxation, and entertaining are now more often undertaken in the light and with an awareness of the outdoors.
Indoors we have a much better habitat for the many plants we bring in for winter. The new openness allows free circulation of music through the living areas, which is very important to us. We are more comfortable since our home now holds cool in the summer and heat in the winter more effectively. With improved ventilation we feel that the air inside is clean and good throughout the year. Our heirloom home has become quite simply more cozy, bright and healthy. Although the initial decision was difficult, we now love the home even more than before, and our hope is that it will continue to please our family for generations to come.” Project Statement by the Homeowner
This project deserves an award in the kitchen renovation category because it is an example of an existing enclosed kitchen that was transformed with an open concept design. The stairwell walls to the basement were removed opening the kitchen to the dining room; relocating the refrigerator and some cabinets made room for the new central island. A series of arches, that enhance the original ones in the living room, open the kitchen to the small addition with the breakfast and plants rooms.