This classic antique cape house is situated between town and country in Norwich, Vermont, bringing some wonderful challenges to Smith & Vansant Architects. The program called for the existing building needed to be renovated, interiors needing to be selectively reconfigured and rebuilt, and the architects needed to add a one-bay garage, support spaces (mudroom, laundry/pantry, office, powder room), a porch, and an art studio. The size of the original building is very small, so everything the architects did needed to respect that scale, especially as seen from the road.
Primary goals for our client, and avid collector and gardener, were to 1) dramatically improve the indoor-outdoor relationships in the house; 2) use every conceivable nook & cranny as creatively as possible for storage; 3) create a landscape setting for the house that allows her to have outdoor living rooms for the summer months, while creating privacy from a busy adjacent road; 4) incorporate her wonderful collection of antique tiles, lighting, hardware and books into the design of the house; and 5) create a classic, sunlit, eat-in farmhouse kitchen to be the center of the house. This project was a true collaboration between client, architect and builder from start to finish – a rich and wonderful experience for us all.
The transformation shown here involve everything from regrading the back yard, so that water no longer drains into the basement, to creating terrific outdoors spaces and fencing off the traffic on the adjacent road. The stone retaining wall was built using reclaimed stone wallstones, and helps form one edge of the new brick and stone patio. The new rear porch connects the rear of the house with the outdoors and lush gardens surrounding the property edges.
This exterior image shows how the original three-window shed dormer was extended to allow access to the upstairs addition. The carved out porch provides a beautiful connection to the newly renovated landscape.
This porch works beautifully to connect this home with the newly transformed outdoor spaces. The wicker furnishings help provide the comfortable, timeless feel for this perfect porch.
These built-in bookcases help provide much needed storage in a small home while helping to bounce light into the room from the windows. At night the books are illuminated by the monopoint track fixtures.
The built-in bookcases in this living room help provide much needed storage in a small home while helping to bounce light into the room from the windows. At night the books are illuminated by the monopoint track fixtures.
While the basic elements of the original stairs remain the same the addition of a window and built-in bookcase as well as a new paint job give these stairs a nice makeover.
This kitchen was formerly a dark paneled, cluttered, divided space with little natural light. By eliminating partitions and creating a more functional, open floorplan, as well as adding modern windows with traditional detailing, providing lovingly detailed built-ins for the clients extensive collection of beautiful dishes, and lightening up the color palette we were able to create a rather miraculous transformation. The wide plank salvaged pine floors, the antique french dining table, as well as the Galbraith & Paul drum pendant and the salvaged antique glass monopoint track pendants all help to provide a warmth to the crisp detailing.
This salvaged kitchen sink was found awhile ago by the client who new she wanted to use it if ever she renovated. Integrated beautifully into the Danby marble countertop and backsplash with new fixtures it is a real joy to clean up.
The underside of this staircase serves as storage for both the kitchen and the powder room on the other side of the stairs. An old timber measurer, and wooden snowshoe provide warm, artistic decoration to the light walls. The mast from a sailboat the client used as a child finds new life being repurposed as a stair railing.
Fixing windows which were painted shut, repairing and painting the walls, reconfiguring the closet and adding a long built-in with drawers and shelves in the kneewall opposite the bed this bedroom became much cozier and more functional
By replumbing this old and leaky salvaged bathtub, as well as giving a thorough makeover to the room, transforming the modular shower into a fabulous new custom shower with skylight, a new built-in and integrated wainscoting, a new window and fresh paint this bathroom now elegantly serves all the clients bathing needs.
This former modular shower was expanded by carving additional space out of a storage space above the stairs and lifting the ceiling to allow the skylight. Antique Delft tiles collected over time by the client were integrated into the tile field and Danby marble serves as both the shelf and threshold.
This studio space above the garage serves the clients needs for her custom card making hobby. Utilizing the kneewalls we were able to carve out lots of great storage space with drawers and shelves. The sink is a salvage soapstone piece. The skylights provide both fresh air and help illuminate the space wonderfully during the day while the medium pear pendants from George Nelson and the Cirrus Ceiling Fan/light by Modern Fan Company help move the air and illuminate in the evenings. A great space for designing custom cards!
This studio space serves the clients needs for her custom card making hobby. The drawers in this image are built-ins which get progressively deeper as they get closer to the floor, taking full advantage of the depth behind the kneewall. The bottom drawer is on full extension drawer slides and can pull out for 42″ of useful depth!
Fixing the leaky skylight, new lighting, a new built-in for linens and fresh paint give this upper stairhall a crisp makeover.
The high natural light behind the toilet as well as the frosted glass in the door help fill this small powder room with natural light. The built-in bookcase is carved out of the underside of the stairs. The small salvage sink, wallpaper, antique soap dish, and repurposed snowshoe as the mirror help make this snug room quite elegant.
Moving the washer/dryer out of the kitchen into their own space was not a difficult decision. Meeting all of the programmatic requirements of this new room was a little trickier. Designing enough room to be able to wash the dogs and water houseplants, as well as folding laundry in a small space was solved by providing a removable countertop. When the counter is needed, the two pieces easily slide in place and they are pulled out of the way when the water is needed. When the dogs get a shower, the handspray works best, but for the plants the swing-arm potfiller serves optimally. The client had been saving these 19th century English transferware tiles for just such a project. The mahogany countertop, antique drying rack, windows and built-ins, and exquisite tile work make this a stunning room to do your laundry.
The laundry room door connects to the rear porch and inviting back yard beyond.
The transformation shown here involve everything from regrading the back yard, so that water no longer drains into the basement, to creating terrific outdoors spaces and fencing off the traffic on the adjacent road. The stone retaining wall was built using reclaimed stone wallstones, and helps form one edge of the new brick and stone patio. The new rear porch connects the rear of the house with the outdoors and lush gardens surrounding the property edges. The barn in the back of the property received a new roof and paint job.
The hammock in the trees provide a cool space for repose int this beautiful outdoor space.
Photos: Rob Karosis Photography
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