The clients purchased an elegant, although neglected, circa 1865 house near the Lexington Battle Green. The formal, front rooms of the house are generously sized and handsomely detailed. But these historic rooms were cut off from the kitchen, family and outdoor living spaces so important to 21st century living. The challenge was to unite the front with the back of the house and with the outdoors, bringing the entire house together appropriately and conveniently for family living in the current era.
A vista from the entry through the house, across the breakfast area, through a pair of french doors, onto the deck and into the garden beyond was created. The new and old rooms of the house now open one to another with gracious simplicity.
Before, visitors were confronted with the bathroom door as soon at they entered the house. Previously, this most private room was centered between the twin staircases and on axis with the front door. The location gave the toilet an embarrassingly inappropriate importance, and made it a barricade between front and back.
After renovation, a new half-bath is tucked discreetly to the side and under one of the stairs. This reconfiguration creates an arrival vista through the house that seems so obvious and correct that it can be difficult to remember it did not previously exist.
The renovation divided the single large room across the back of the house into kitchen, breakfast and casual seating areas. The more modern, open plan is modulated by historical references that include a new copper-clad skylight flanked by beams supported on pilasters.
Now the kitchen has a large center island and generous counter space. At the other end of the room casual seating embraces a new fireplace. A careful rethinking of the door placements improves the flow between kitchen, breakfast and seating areas.The resulting conversational grouping and activity centers are more comfortable, generous and efficient.
The original kitchen was small, dark and separated from the life of the house. Windows opening to the back yard were stingy.
New windows either side of the range, triple windows over the sink, french doors, skylight and a new bay window in the seating area assure that the suite of casual living spaces is always flooded with natural light.
A new butler’s pantry provides a convenient storage and beverage service area between the kitchen and the formal dining room.
Before, windows in the existing kitchen/family room did not take advantage of the site. The existing deck was awkwardly located in relation to the interior spaces and undersized.
Now a generous new deck, with railing details that match the porch on the front of the house, provides outdoor living areas that bridge the centuries between a 21st century lifestyle and the historical character of the original house.