Project Goals: The homeowner initially requested a new master bedroom and bath to be located above the existing kitchen and den. During the creative design consultation, the suggestion to add a breakfast space with improved access to the new master bed and bath location was accepted.

Existing Home: Built in 1930s, this 1595 sq. ft. three-bedroom, three-bath charming brick Tudor cottage was in need of an expansion, repairs and updating. The home’s basement, HVAC systems, kitchen and second floor bath remodels had been completed in the 1990s. The one-story rear addition completed in the 1970’s had the potential for a second floor addition. The existing HVAC systems were in very good condition and had sufficient capacity to service the additions if high performance energy efficient insulation solutions were installed. The existing kitchen was dark and lacked an eat-in space.

Challenges: The stairs did not provide direct access to the new master bedroom, existing door to roof was in hall bath and would require tear out of remodeled bath. The rear floor plan ignored the home’s spectacular view of the rear yard boasting a magnificent oak tree.

Other issues included undersized ceiling joists on a one story previous addition, along with insufficient structural connections, and rotted framing due to water penetration. The kitchen was drafty floor and crawl space insulation was falling down.

The older home featured period touches and materials could not be replicated with an off-the-shelf standardized approach.

The property’s tight access due to backyard configuration and size in a densely built residential neighborhood was the chief challenge: there was no room for a dumpster; back alley access was utilized to bring in project materials. Tolerance for error was very small due to size of project.


  • Create a rear addition that complements and enhances the homes style and charm, maintains access to the garage without losing yard space.
  • Create a high performance energy efficient, comfortable space and not replace the existing HVAC system.
  • Repair and upgrade the existing exhaust ventilation.
  • Recycle existing fixtures and features while using environmentally preferred materials, finishes, and colors that are architecturally compatible with the home’s period and style.
  • Update the kitchen foundation, framing, plumbing and electrical systems.

The suggested solution to replace part of an outside rear deck with a new faceted breakfast room with lots of windows and skylights was accepted. The new room, which is approximately 140 SF, has an impact far greater than its size and serves as both a formal dining area and can be utilized for informal breakfast/dining with enhanced views of the rear of the property.

The new second floor addition now features the new large master bedroom and better closets, en suite bath, walk in closet and state of the art shower while the reconfigured second floor landing creates improved circulation in the hallway.

On the main level, a kitchen/den door was relocated and the back door off of the deck was also moved, resulting in improved circulation at the back of the house including access to a detached garage.

The new breakfast room with brick exterior and roof angles, combined with the new second floor rake extensions, provide architectural compatibility with the home. This was accomplished without sacrificing yard space.

Steep pitch gabled lines of the home were replicated in design elements of the new rear addition to the house. Clean, strong lines similar to contemporary British Tudor design were introduced with the breakfast room roof.

The project design kept in mind the efficient use of space achieving maximum comfort and style while enhancing the home’s architectural style. Daylight shines into the new breakfast room from skylights and windows creating an ongoing concert of natural light, complementing the spectacular rear yard view.

Energy Efficient, Sustainable & Green Features: Exterior materials match existing elements and are durable and low maintenance: brick clad exterior, wrought iron railings, Azek deck materials, synthetic slate roof with snow guard, high performance windows and door, vinyl siding and exterior window trim coverage assure that no paint is required for upkeep.

  • Air stop caulking, spray foam insulation, waterproofing, energy efficient windows, insulated siding, and new ductwork and ventilation all contribute to achieving a high level of comfort and energy performance.
  • New foundation walls with insulated crawl spaces provide durability and comfort which will last for many years.
  • New waste, vent and water piping were installed for the bathroom, with separate shut off valves.
  • New electrical wiring and lighting service the additions. Structural engineer designed foundation and framing were installed.
  • Over 535 sq. ft. of new living space—which under “normal” or “standard” or “code compliant” standards, would require an additional 1.5–2 tons of air conditioning to cool—is kept very comfortable with the existing equipment.

The owner has commented that his energy bills were the same or less than before the renovation and that his home is now very comfortable in any weather.