Bonafide Farm

The paradox of construction

October 20th, 2009 § 0


My house is certainly not large by anyone’s description. It’s a cozy country cottage. The original home was 1,300 square feet. I’ve added a second story that, and I am guessing here instead of scaling off my plan, may add another 500-700 square feet. But what I’ve noticed in the process of taking the original house down, staring a new foundation in the face, and building back up again is that my sense of the size of the home is elastic through each of these stages. Paradoxically, when the house was a big hole in the ground, only a crawlspace really, it felt tiny. I looked at the hole and thought wow, maybe I should have broken the confines of the existing foundation and expanded. Then the floor deck went up, and the first floor framing. And the new rooms felt alarmingly small. But then tonight, when I walked in the house, something was different. The rooms were boxed in with a roof, the new deck for the second floor, and yet they felt larger. Can anyone explain this phenomenon?

Anyway, the photo above is shot from the living room looking into the kitchen, which will have a vaulted ceiling with two skylights. The big opening is for a set of French doors that will go out onto the screened porch.

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My plan originally had the living room and kitchen divided by walls with five-foot pocket doors to create two separatable rooms, just like the entry to the library. But I asked my builder to hold off on those stub walls while I see how I liked the space as it is. I guess open-concept homes are all the rage, but I am not yet convinced I want to look at my dishes and stove while sitting on the couch in the living room. Thoughts? The door framed to the right of the photo above goes into the guest bedroom.


Here’s a part of the house I am very excited about. The new front hall! This space was really the genesis for the entire remodel, etc., as the original house didn’t have a defined entry. I love front hallways, and have an image in my head of a beautiful space with a hall table, mirrors, sconces, etc. A place of transition from the interior of the home to the outside world. So I had the idea to sacrifice one of the bedrooms of the original house to cut in a front hall, centered on the fireplace. That plan snowballed to include a powder room, coat closet, and eventually, a staircase to the new second floor. The photo above shows the powder room, which will nestle in the crook of the staircase. A crazy little cut up space, just enough room for a tiny sink and commode.


The gigantic silver maple, as seen out a guest room window, is starting to turn gold. Just beyond is one of my two new Hinoki cypress, which had lived for years in whiskey barrels on my parents’ deck. They grew so pot bound that I decided to set them free in the earth. Which meant two days of playing on tractors and heavy equipment to move them to my house and get them planted (including my maiden voyage driving my dad’s new one-ton diesel dualie). Whee!

Stay tuned for roof framing very soon–that’s where things will get exciting because it will be so vastly different from the original home.

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