22103   Non-Addition Backwards House

Houses are designed to orient towards the street outside. An entrance brings people into the more ‘formal’ part of the house and the more private areas are beyond. But what happens when the city, township or town makes changes to the surrounding areas and suddenly your street is abandoned, replaced by a large earth fall off and down to a new highway?  Happily, a new street was added, but it was behind the house!  These changes also consumed the backyard. The plan needs to be completely re-thought.


This colonial home was built in 1903. The original house (A) and must have had a small addition on the back for the kitchen and a back porch.

Years later, after the street was stolen, someone built an addition (B) was built and a new entrance (C) was established on the side. This provided ample room for a large, open kitchen (D) and dining area (E).

And finally, the last addition (F) was added for a family room (G). This was on the new front of the house.

The entire house was two stories and the homeowners added a second stair (H) because the primary stairway (I) was far away and enclosed with doors.

The furnace flue (J) was stuck in the middle and was eventually removed when a PVC ducted furnace was installed.

Parking (K) was along the side of the house with no garage.

This house had some serious plan issues that made living in it awkward.


One particularly important change was to rebuild the front stairway (I) orienting the opposite way. The original front door was eliminated, and we added a closet (L) in what was the small foyer.  We were able to open the living room (M) and with some changes in windows, the den became a sunroom (N), with small French doors at the entrance.   This new sunroom takes advantage of the south side.

A coffee bar (O) was added next to the half bath.

French doors (P) are added to access the new and spacious deck (Q) that replaced the concrete slab that was used for entertaining. This helps to visually widen the house at the center.

The dining (E) is flex space as it was before.  On occasions where many people will be dining, the table has lots of room to grow.

A walk-in pantry (R) is great to store countertop appliances, food, etc. The kitchen (D) is re-worked (S) to include a large peninsula (T) with stools on the family room side.  This effectively opens up and connects the kitchen (S) to the family room (G). This was made possible when we re-routed the stairway (H) to go along the side wall and not separate the family room addition (F).

MARCIA LYON is a professional remodeling designer and freelance writer, producing projects locally and several other areas across the US and Canada. Like Creating Spaces on Facebook! Reach Marcia at archimeatus@gmail.com; or phone 515-991-1300.   Her website is http://www.creatingspacesdesign.com


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