Residential Architecture

"This house doesn't ever want to be made grand."
-- A home inspector hired by the owners upon purchasing the home seven years prior to its expansion

How do you add 1,100 square feet of new space to a modest 1,300 square foot home and maintain a cottage-like scale? Such was the challenge of this addition-renovation project. Small houses are notoriously resistant to additions, and Capes can be particularly difficult. Often, they end up blocky as their designers seek to maximize interior space; or the addition dominates the original house in a tail-wagging-the-dog manner. Conversions to a 2-story colonial are sometimes attempted, but the modest proportions of the original house makes the final result top-heavy.
In this project, 2,400 square feet of living space was accommodated within a 1-1/2 story, L-shaped volume. A Family Room, Breakfast Room, and Master Bedroom Suite were added at the rear of the house (at left in above photo). The roof of the addition was extended forward toward the street to create a new front-facing gable that admits daylight to a formerly dark bedroom. A new foyer, porch and shed dormer were also added. Fields of shingles and clapboards, separated by a white accent band, unify the exterior, while two-over-two windows lend an easy grace.  
A typically modest post-WWII Cape. No dormers, no front porch, and a front door that when open collided with the stair to the second floor! 

What to avoid: the blocky awkwardness of many Cape additions, such as this one in suburban Boston.

The Frederick Design Studio
comprehensive architectural services to homeowners in New York and New England. Services include a series of detailed personal consultations, analysis of living space needs, conceptual design, design development, product selections, construction documents and specifications, management of bidding process, contractor selection, and construction administration. Please contact us for more information or to arrange a visit.

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Matthew Frederick is an architect, urban planner, and author
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