Oak Alley Transforms Provisional House Into A Long-Term Solution Home
In 2010, this family of four moved into a less than perfect house within walking distance of the local grocery, library, dining, and school. It was the perfect location but the house – dated and in poor condition – needed a lot of work. The homeowners considered tearing it down and starting new on the property but after a few years, making minor modifications for livability along the way, they ended up falling in love with the house and chose to renovate.
Facing a lack of curb appeal, poor drainage, water damage, old windows, an outdated kitchen, inadequate bathrooms, and an overall lack of usable space, the homeowners recognized the need for an organized plan. Additionally, they wanted to improve the flow between the kitchen and family room, create a true master suite, and rework the hall bath layout. No easy task on a home that had seen multiple additions and unique modifications over the years at a variety of skill levels.
Adding the needed living space was balanced with the desire to affect the exterior as little as possible. In order to maintain a similar neighborhood look, resourceful design was employed to maximize the usable space upstairs with minimum impact to the exterior look.
The house had a truss roof system allowing for a bedroom above the main floor but not much more. The homeowners used this space as the master suite, but were concerned about their ability to climb the stairs in the future. This presented one of the biggest challenges for the project. The room itself provided only a portion of the space necessary for what the homeowners hoped to achieve. Deciding what to tear out and what to keep was a complicated design exercise. By carefully removing parts of the roof system, building out and up over the existing space, and adding new sections of roofline, this area was increased by 740 ft2 into three spacious bedrooms with closets, two full-baths, a landing, and walk-in attic storage, all maintained by a new HVAC system.
The second floor, through innovative design and surgical carpentry, was recreated into a landing, three bedrooms, and two baths, for the children. The Sixties era modern style stairs were replaced with a transitional staircase, allowing a half-bath to be built underneath.
Downstairs, relocating an awkwardly positioned bath and laundry allowed the buildout of the rear bedroom’s bath and closet, creating a true master suite on the main floor. Modifications to the layout allowed the bathroom and closet to be recreated to meet functionality, comfort, and storage needs. Moving it from the prior location on the second floor allowed the homeowners to view the home as a permanent living solution as opposed to a stopgap house. Being on the first floor eliminated concerns about climbing the stairs to a master bedroom later in life.
Reworking this area along with redefining other space in the rear of the house, made it possible to build a true guest room with guest bath along with a changing room for the swimming pool. These were additional needs the homeowners wanted to address.
Portions of the kitchen and family room walls were removed to open both spaces, allowing communication and traffic to flow freely. The doorways of the dining room were also enlarged, providing an even greater sense of openness. Eliminating the confining aspects of both rooms opened them to both warmth and usability. Traffic flow was also eased with the opening of the doorway into the family room, while at the same time, creating a new area for cabinet storage. This allowed the creation of a dedicated coffee nook.
The cramped conditions of the family room were addressed by opening the doorway and wall to mirror the similar new opening in the kitchen, allowing both rooms to breathe. Existing windows were replaced with Monarch Majestic aluminum clad double hung windows.
Matching paint and hardwood floor treatment brought the room in line with the rest of the house. Sixties modern style stairs leading to the original upstairs master bedroom were repositioned and replaced with a transitional staircase. This repositioning allowed further usability to the room by creating space for the inclusion of a half-bath under the stairwell.
Opposite the stairwell, exterior doors led to an expanded screened entertainment porch with access to the pool. The deck was expanded in size and new steps installed to provide additional accessibility to the backyard pool. A screened porch was created by adding a roof over a portion of the deck, which increased the usable space by an additional 200 ft2, giving the homeowners an area to watch television outdoors. Covering this also improved the attractiveness of the roofline which needed attention.
All windows in the house were replaced, all the hardwood floors, new and old, were sanded and stained to match, and a coordinated color palette was used throughout to provide a unified design aesthetic.
This design/build project allowed the homeowners to reimagine their long-term housing plans. Where they had originally seen the house as a property to be sold after the children were on their own, they now see it as an answer to both their short term and long term needs. The elements selected for the kitchen and baths provide a classic look that won’t become dated. The expanded deck allows increased maneuverability and functionality. By creating a master suite on the main level, moving the children into spacious upstairs rooms, adding the necessary storage space, and opening the flow throughout the hub of the house, living on the main floor is now a comfort, not a challenge. The structure will now serve them for years to come.
When completed, this family found a home hiding inside their house. Oak Alley was proud to participate in their journey.