New England Farmhouse Takes Wing.
My client’s house stood as a gambrel colonial with three somewhat formal gable dormers facing the street. They requested an addition design from me for more living space for their family including lots of new second floor space. So how to expand it gracefully? Would an addition with the same gambrel roof design be the answer? There are many reasons to like the gambrel colonial archetype. I like them because the roof edge stays close to the ground making it less overwhelming and more honest from the outside. The best reason is that the gambrel roof surrounds you in the interior second floor spaces making it feel cozy and welcoming. Expanding with another gambrel roof might become monotonous though, so how best to expand without losing those friendly attributes?
Following in the New England Farm House tradition this addition design concept aimed to make the house look like it has grown over time, many years perhaps rather than one addition over a year’s time. By studying old New England houses you can see how additions and dormers “grow” on houses. All of which reveal the design aesthetics or trend of the time period they were built. The effect is authentic and real to me. The expanded houses tend to look natural and avoids looking too wide or too monotonous.
In the final design new multiple dormers in the addition hide a bedroom and study on the second floor and a family room with mudroom and garage on the first floor. Simple architectural details and devices enhance the classical farmhouse language. The new center gambrel roof above grows a shed dormer to let in light and view above. Another simple shed dormer centered over the garage doors for the bedroom above keeps a watchful eye on the street while the rooftop cupola adds just the right exclamation point! Columns with a low roof projection mark the entrance onto the covered porch and into the mudroom.
In the interior, the generous mudroom receives guests from the front porch and the homeowners from the garage. Nicely built cubbies and closets hide all the undesirable clutter of family life. French doors open up to a family room with the main focal point: a simple stone clad New England fireplace. Large flanking double hung windows with transom above expose the woodsy backyard. The cathedral ceilings here provide needed ceiling height and distinction. The TV is positioned on the adjacent wall rather than stacking it above the fireplace. In this configuration, the fireplace retains its rightful hierarchy in the room if not the entire home. Just off the new family room is the existing kitchen. Behind it is the new rear deck for outdoor grilling and outside enjoyment.
Life seldom travels a straight line. Sometimes a little visual variety and asymmetry is just the right answer and provides an appropriate response. Ramble on, farmhouse.