A smart floor plan transforms a cramped and outdated home.

Victorian houses are as beloved for their unique style and exquisite detailing as they are bemoaned for their chopped-up interiors. While boasting abundant square footage, these period gems often "live small" because of their outdated space configuration. With its undersized kitchen, minimal storage and awkward floor plan, this house was no exception.

Many architects and contractors solve space quandaries by blowing out the back or side of a house—creating a new, larger kitchen, a separate family entry, and informal living space. Even if we had wanted to take this approach here we couldn't have, because this home's lot is too small to accommodate an addition. Fortunately we were able to work within the existing footprint to meet our clients' needs. 


A Revitalized Victorian

Byggmeister's Solution

The first and most pivotal design decision the architect (Anita Rogers) made was to move the basement stair. The stair ran between the kitchen and adjacent breakfast room, obstructing traffic flow and isolating the breakfast room from the rest of the living space. Moving the stair allowed us to integrate these two rooms into a generous eat-in kitchen with views to the backyard. It also allowed us to carve out a mud-room space with a bench and storage for shoes, coats and bags.

Thoughtfully detailed cabinetry fulfilled the clients' storage needs, rendering an existing dining room pantry obsolete. Removing the pantry created space to relocate the basement stair without sacrificing dining room floor area: we grew the dining area into the space vacated by the pantry and widened the doorway between the dining room and kitchen, facilitating traffic flow and creating a feeling of spaciousness. 

The finishing touch is a new back deck with access from both the kitchen and the dining room. Glass doors to the deck admit plenty of natural light while also inviting the family outdoors to their backyard living space. The result is a lovely, vintage home whose space plan gracefully accommodates twenty-first century living.

Project Location

Brookline, MA