Friday, February 12, 2010


Here is our beloved home as it stands today. It is a five bedroom, 1.5 bath home. It's actually quite comfortable for the way we live today, given that it was built 100 years ago.

When we toured the house as potential buyers, however, we had a list of "cons" including:

1. Detached garage - difficult to get to in the snow or while lugging car seats/sleeping toddlers.

2. Zero closet space. This is not an exaggeration. I guess closets were an afterthought in 1901. Maybe they had less clothes, or people were just smaller?

3. One full bath. Not a big problem now, but with two daughters, this would not work long term.

4. Small kitchen.

5. No "great room."

As potential buyers we wondered how much work was required before we could even move in. We painted the interior top to bottom, gutted a moldy basement, and immediately contacted an architect.

But now, after living in the home for over a year, we've grown used to its quirks. Only one outlet in many rooms. A single wall sconce for light in our bedroom. These used to be deal breakers for us, and now we barely notice them.

Perhaps this is why, during the planning phase we've agonized over this burning question: how much space do we really need?

We've gone back and forth and ultimately we decided that yes, we will want that larger family room eventually. Having a third child, and hosting a couple 15+ holiday dinners during the planning stage also solidified this opinion. When the kids get bigger, we will need more space.

After a few meetings with the architects to discuss our needs, they came back with the initial drawing.

Either we picked the right architects or we are incredibly easy to please, but we went with the first thing they came up with. Or the plan is just that obvious. In fact it was our idea to pop out the back and connect to the garage. They just drew a very life like picture of it.

This is not a new idea, people have built connectors for ages. You can see these rambling ells and old barns-connected-to-home structures all over New England.

So that is the plan, to connect the home to the garage. This gets us our attached garage, a family room, a mud room up front, a master bath and closet on the second story.... and also some extra living space above the garage.

When this project is complete, we will have a home that can serve us for the next 50 years if we want.

While the size of the project gives us heartburn, there are other factors that make us confident this is the right thing to do. Three words: Location, location, location.

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