Ad­di­tion Inside an Ad­di­tion

Old House Journal - - Design -

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.

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