Light & Openness Nurture Family Life & Personal Health

This project literally changed the personal health and life of a family while adding only a few hundred square feet to the house.

What should we do with this?

The back of this house is typical of far too many homes. There is no good or direct way to get to an otherwise inviting garden and patio. The windows provide poor views of a wonderful yard. Very little light gets into the house. The space is defined by a two story wall with no transition to the yard; the clunky house hovers over what should be a great feature of the house. It just feels bad!

Bold Color for 2 Small Additions to the Back of the House

While we only added about six feet to the back of this otherwise boring and impenetrable rear facade, everything we did celebrated the new expansion and connection to the wonderful backyard garden and patio. What before had been inaccessible and somewhat stark is now a sumptuous new “room” right outside the kitchen and family gathering area. We also snuggled a delightful powder room in that small green cube at the end of the glowing red addition – a tribute to the color vocabulary of the great Swedish illustrator Karl Larrson.

A Dramatic Pergola Bridges Inside with Outside

The open frame pergola structure that runs the length of our new addition creates a sheltering frame that aims to include the rear patio as an outdoor “room” steps away from the kitchen and family gathering space just inside the door. A side door from the dining room opens to a path thru the garden to the main patio area and hot tub.

We aim to make the space outside a home as easily accessible as any other room in the house, visually as well as physically. As much attention should be given to these spaces as the ones inside.

The Barefoot Home

This Swedish daybed defines the spirit of the family life that the now open space accommodates. Set in the newly extended space at the back of the house this cozy feature invites the ultimate in cuddling up with a view of the yard and a conversation with the family at the adjacent table – how about climbing into these pillows at the end of a meal! The backyard patio is steps away. The expanse of windows features the parklike yard and garden. Skylights in the vaulted ceiling of our room addition bring ample daylight to a space the clearly nurtures the spirit. Author Marc Vassalo considers this space a sublime evocation of the qualities he celebrates in his wonderful book “The Barefoot Home”.

Rooms & Functions Flow

The way we live today we want our kitchens to be both efficient workshops and inviting and comfortable places to visit and socialize. We like to see these functions adjoin without interfering, and an island with a raised counter is a common solution. Here that counter screens kitchen clutter from the adjacent eating area, while the dining room extends beyond; close by but clearly its own domain.

Behind the Red Door

The powder room was the culprit in the old plan, its placement in the middle of the back of the house preventing the open flow between rooms that we managed once we found it a new location. It didn’t take much. In its new “cube” of space we married our client’s taste for things southwestern and zenlike to produce this surprising contrast to the Swedish character of the adjoining rooms. Its a cozy and delightful counterpoint to the openess and light of the free flowing spaces right around the corner.

Treasures for Contemplation

Step inside the powder room and you’ll discover these display cubicles, the red stained ash providing a dramatic setting for the little treasures that find their way there. The vessel sink features a twining serpent inlay. The metal framed mirror is suspended off the wall at an angle to create both energy and space in this otherwise tightly confined corner. Mmm!

An Inviting Entry

Like the back of the house, this entry off the drive was previously inhospitable and claustrophobic – a discouraging welcome to what should be a family’s refuge and source of rejuvenation and social celebration. We changed all that. Now you are welcomed into a joyous space of color and light that truly reflects the character of the life that was meant to be lived inside.

Come Inside!

In the old plan you kicked off your shoes and hung your coat on hooks in a narrow and confining hall off the garage. We created this gracious mudroom foyer with a stone tiled floor, space for a bench and hooks for coats, and openings in the separating walls that both frame the entry and offer a place to display colorful flowers cut from the garden. Here is a place to greet guests and welcome the family to a warm and loving home.

The new bamboo floor is set over a radiant heating system that, along with a high performance ventilation system, has meant the difference between health and what had been debilitating respiratory discomfort for our now delighted client.

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