House in Kenwood
The project was conceived as a transition between the existing home and the surrounding landscape. This addition to a house for a family of four was designed to open the existing house to the morning and afternoon sun, and to the views of the surrounding parkland.
Formerly, the house was cut off from the backyard by the driveway and basement garage. The backyard was accessed awkwardly through a service door in the kitchen, where one is required to descend several flights of stairs to a small concrete terrace overlooking the driveway and garage.
The addition, a family room with pergola/terrace, was planned as an integral part of the new garden landscape. The backyard was filled in, the grade level was raised approximately eight feet, and the height of the house was reduced by one story. A pergola/terrace located directly off the Family Room was raised a few steps over the new lawn.
The family room now opens up to the kitchen by way of the former kitchen windows; the (previously exterior) stone walls are now visible inside the room. The previous multifaceted breakfast addition is now connected to the room through a bookshelf open to both spaces.
The pergola columns were constructed of the same stone as the house and paved in bluestone to match the existing terrace. For aesthetic and cost reasons, the addition was softened and lightened with a stucco finish (traditional portland cement plaster over masonry). The family room, which is 15 by 22 feet, has exposed beams and was painted to convey continuity with the exterior stucco and pergola. In addition, the program called for additional pantry storage and a small office space off the family room. A small bathroom and study area adjacent to an existing bedroom were included above the family room on the second floor.
During phase one, the first of two garage bays was filled in to a level four steps below the terrace level, creating a backyard lawn in place of the former driveway. The second phase extended the lawn further, as well as incorporated a swimming pool on a lower terrace.
The home has essentially been turned inside out, the focus of the home now being the rear garden.
David J. Brown
Michael V. Bartlett