Com­plet­ing the Box

Old House Journal - - Design -

The four-bed­room plan on the sec­ond floor of this Seat­tle Box had been crowded by un­nec­es­sary hall­ways and poor use of space. By adding a small ad­di­tion—lit­er­ally just 8' x 12'—ar­chi­tect Howard L. Miller was able to re­con­fig­ure the in­te­rior, fill­ing in a miss­ing piece of the ex­te­rior at the same time.

“We com­pleted the Seat­tle Box,” says Miller, re­fer­ring to the re­gion’s name for its vari­ant of the Amer­i­can Foursquare. “In this case, the square was miss­ing one cor­ner.”

The sec­ond floor now has a true mas­ter suite with a much larger closet and a real mas­ter bath, a large chil­dren’s bath and a guest bath, plus an up­stairs laun­dry—all with­out re­duc­ing the size of any bed­room. Along with the small ad­di­tion, elim­i­nat­ing about 6' of hall space pro­vided the space needed to make all the rooms work more com­fort­ably.

As part of the new ar­range­ment, Miller an­gled some of the en­try doors to give the hall a stronger pe­riod feel. The orig­i­nal op­er­a­ble tran­som win­dows above the bed­room doors were re­con­di­tioned with new hard­ware, al­low­ing for nat­u­ral ven­ti­la­tion.

If it looks as though the ad­di­tion was meant to be, it was. There was al­ready a floor and foun­da­tion for the new space. “You can see the dashed line on the porch. That’s what squares up with the rest of the house.”

On the ex­te­rior, Miller re­peated the de­sign of beam ends un­der the eave line of the ad­di­tion. “It helps tie the ad­di­tion to the house.” A care­ful ob­server would no­tice that the spac­ing be­tween the beam ends is a lit­tle off. That’s be­cause the old ones weren’t moved. “We left them where they were. They aren’t ex­actly equal dis­tance apart, but it’s hard to tell.”

Adding a small ad­di­tion al­lowed the ar­chi­tect to fill in a miss­ing cor­ner of this Seat­tle Box, but the real trans­for­ma­tion was ex­pe­ri­enced inside.

ABOVE (left) Op­er­a­ble tran­soms over the doors and slight jogs in wall align­ments give the hall a turn-of-the-20th-cen­tury feel. (right) The en­larged chil­dren’s bath has a new rolled-cor­ner tub. IN­SET Ar­chi­tect Miller took care to con­tinue orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails along the eave. BE­LOW (be­fore) An awk­wardly placed bath and long hall made the sec­ond floor feel cramped. (af­ter) Adding just 96 square feet al­lowed for a full mas­ter suite with a larger closet. Miller carved out an ad­di­tional bath plus a laun­dry room, as well as more closet space for guests.

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