A peninsula divided the kitchen into spaces: a galley work area on one side and a storage area on the other. Each of these was too small to be fully functional, and an underutilized hallway closet protruded into the storage area further compromising its utility. A laundry closet at the back of the kitchen impeded traffic flow to and from the mudroom. And the mudroom, which lacked storage, was littered with shoes and bags.
A Tudor Transformed
While this gracious Tudor had ample overall square footage, many rooms were cramped and awkwardly laid out, with circulation paths bisecting living space.Jump to Gallery
On the second floor, the primary bathroom was equally dysfunctional. The room was so narrow it felt like a closet, and the vanity location made it impossible for the owners to be in there together. Finally, the stairs to the two third floor were unsafe and the lack of a bathroom was inconvenient for the owner’s oldest child, whose bedroom is up there.
Getting the laundry out of the kitchenArchitect Bill Harper made two key design moves that dramatically improved the functionality of the kitchen and mudroom.
First, he relocated the laundry to the basement and replaced the laundry closet with a full-height kitchen pantry and a mudroom coat closet. Second, he incorporated the underutilized hallway closet into the kitchen, creating space for an island. (During schematic design we considered relocating the laundry to the second floor, but the owners decided it wasn’t worth the cost).
And up on the second floor...A very small change in layout had an equally dramatic impact on functionality. Bill shifted the partition wall between the bathroom and the bedroom by a foot. This was just enough to reorient vanity to the side wall—eliminating what had been a major pinch point—without sacrificing the spaciousness of the bedroom.
The addition of a third-floor dormer enabled us to fix the stairs, gain a full bathroom, and add a light-filled desk area to the oldest child’s bedroom.
As we do on all of our projects, we did an energy assessment of the home, which identified several opportunities to improve the building envelope outside the main work areas. Due to the age and condition of the existing equipment—ductless heat pumps for the 3rd floor, a furnace and central air conditioning for the 1st and 2nd floors, and a gas hot water heater—full electrification was not part of this project (although we did install an induction cooktop in the kitchen).
This is somewhat ironic given that the owners initially reached out to us because they were interested in transitioning to heat pumps. We eagerly await the opportunity to help them get off gas when their existing furnace and central AC gets closer to the end of its useful life. In the meantime, we are delighted by the improved functionality, efficiency, and livability of their home.