Hired by an upscale speculative developer, we surveyed the circa 1945 stone and brick French Norman style residence. The 1st floor is a composite slab of steel beams and concrete slab, the exterior walls are 18” thick stone with wood furring and three-coat cement plaster on the inside, and the primary roofs are Ludowici terra cotta tile over thick lath and rough sawn wood rafters. The house had generous upscale living spaces with the typical dated and small servant spaces, along with an anachronistic two-story glass curtain wall in the Living Room that was centered on a small indoor pool. The developer had a vision of updating the house as an artful and exquisite balance of the best of the old and new. Our challenge was to retain the best of the original house, remove the worst and transform the mundane; all while updating the systems and bringing the building envelope up to code.
A servants’ wing was gutted and transformed into an upscale sleek eat-in kitchen and breakfast room. A small walled entry was enclosed and became a Mudroom side entry with ample closet and built-in storage and Powder Room. The best rooms were retained and enhanced with decorative plaster being restored and new accent lighting added to highlight the intrinsic beauty. A greenhouse and utility wing was completely reinvented as a 1st floor Master Bedroom with a contemporary European Master Bath.
The original hot water heating system was supplemented with in-floor radiant heating in new spaces. Multiple variable speed, high SEER central air-conditioning systems were added to properly cool the disparate volumes. Electrical systems were replaced and augmented with high efficiency LED lighting. Due to the hygroscopic nature of the stone and brick exterior walls, we increased the depth of framing along the exterior walls where possible and provided a free flowing, open cell, no expansion spray foam insulation in the available cavity to air seal and insulate.
The finished home is a resounding success; a careful orchestration of preserving and restoring the historical character defining spaces, materials and features spaces while updating and modernizing the systems and adding contemporary finishes and fixtures to complement and elevate the overall aesthetic.