Sometimes you just have to add on to make the most of a site's potential. In this case, a center-hall Colonial home with a breezeway kitchen that attached to a garage turned its back on the wonderful view of a mountain to the south.
A large informal living space was added with a gable end of windows so the homeowners could fully appreciate the previously ignored view. A large and simple deck was built around the perimeter of this new room to extend the addition's social capacity.
Further, the outside is brought into this home in a unique way, using an interior window well that brought light deep into the middle of the house. A monitor roof above the new room had its side walls filled with clerestory windows to bring daylighting all the way back to the existing home.
This remodel is obviously a very large-scale undertaking that had a considerable cost, but the truth is the site almost demanded this level of appreciation.
There are over 80 million single family homes in America, and it's estimated that in 2011, 18 million of these were underwater, meaning with a mortgage larger than the value of the house.
Millions of families feel trapped, living a life of domestic frustration in homes that do not work for them, while being unable to move to solve the problems they confront on a daily basis.
The benefits of concise, appropriate remodeling where you live now, independent of market conditions, can include improved convenience and lifestyle satisfaction, better looks, and a reduced environment impact, since improving an existing house is almost always greener than building new from scratch.
This series in ArchitectureWeek, and the book Staying Put that it's drawn from, offer tangible hope for getting the home you want from the house you have right now.
Each of these projects is a select example of the great and affordable outcomes that can be created, when a good architect and a good client team up together.
Architect Duo Dickinson runs his own practice in Madison, Connecticut. In over 30 years of professional practice, he has built more than 600 projects across the United States, with budgets ranging from $3,000 to $5 million. Dickinson has written seven books, including The Small House, Expressive Details, and The House You Build. He is a contributing writer for Money magazine, the architecture critic for the New Haven Register, and a contributing writer for New Haven magazine. He has also taught at Yale University, Roger Williams College, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design summer program.