The owners had a charming, modest cape with low ceilings and small rooms on a narrow, deep, sloping site. The house is located in a suburban town, but the property feels almost rural because of the neighbors’ farmland on two sides. The owners wanted to add a great room that would take advantage of the views and connect with the landscape on two levels. The addition is a barn-like structure, in keeping with the rural character of the site and the simple forms of the original house. The great room is on the upper, entry level, and there is a bedroom suite and storage on the lower, terrace level.
The open porch on the lower level, with heavy timbers, exposed metal connections and stone veneer foundation walls, transforms what might otherwise have been just a walk-out basement into a handsome backdrop for an outdoor living room.
The great room is one large space with a cathedral ceiling, exposed heavy timber collar ties and natural light entering from three sides. Three large, cottage-style windows overlook fields, woodlands and the sloping landscape.
A band of awning windows lets in light, but provides privacy on the side of the addition that faces a busy road. The gable end walls of the great room are covered with white-washed, horizontal wood siding. Floors are wide, reclaimed pine.
The kitchen is the link between the existing house and the new addition. A large opening connects the kitchen with the great room, allowing easy movement and conversation between the two spaces. From the kitchen island we can look across the great room and through the french doors to the porch and landscape beyond.
Although surrounded on two sides by farm and wood lands, the house is on a narrow lot. The side yard porch comes as close to the property set back line as zoning allows, squeezing in a bit of precious, protected exterior living space. The owners are able to “borrow” the views of the landscape from their neighbors. The heavy timber posts and beams with exposed metal connections demonstrate rustic, honest construction appropriate in these agrarian surroundings.
The original kitchen turned its back on the landscape, opening only to the dining area and mudroom. It was a cramped, L-shaped arrangement with a tiny island just large enough for a cooktop and oven.
The expanded kitchen is the link between the great room addition and the existing house. A generous new island is the focal point of the home. Cooking occurs on one side of the island, seating and movement between spaces on the other.
The open connection between the kitchen and the existing dining room has been maintained, but the new galley configuration is much more spacious and efficient.