Addition Inside an Addition
Ill-conceived additions on a pristine early Cape had seriously compromised its integrity. A den and garage tacked on in the 1950s or ’60s had cut off all natural light to the dining room. The kitchen lacked storage and the house needed a mudroom.
Sandra Vitzthum, the architect who managed the project, solved most of the dilemmas in this 3-D puzzle with a surprising decision to relocate the kitchen to the despised dining-room space. “It was so dark, the owners wouldn’t eat there,” says Vitzthum. “We transformed it by making it the hub of the house.”
With the clients won over, all the walls between the old dining space, the family room, and the den came down. The floors were leveled and rebuilt, and new passages conceived to create more natural transitions between rooms. Now, “you can stand at any point in the new plan and look through to the other spaces.”
In retrospect,”it probably would have cost less to demolish the den and start over. We found there were structural problems, but we couldn’t have known that until after we started.”
The new plan created a light and airy kitchen with plenty of storage space. Its vaulted ceilings spill additional light into the dining room, which has windows on two sides and opens onto a porch addition. Instead of the twisted route of dark rooms and dead ends the owners endured for years, each room segues effortlessly into the next.