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March 11, 2013

New Addition to our House | Driving me nuts... I need your help!


We purchased our new house because it was in our favorite neighborhood, had great curb appeal and enormous potential.  As I've mentioned a thousand times before, we plan on doing a substantial addition to make the home bigger and more open.  We're in the process of meeting with architects and contractors in our area and starting to really think about what we want the addition to look like, feel like and how we want it to function to suit our lives.

I'm discovering that there are so many things to consider.  It seems like once I have a good vision of what I want it to look like, I see a photo of another interior and I change my mind completely.  The big debate is whether to do it open and airy (think Barefoot Contessa's barn) or cozy and warm (think wood paneled room, stone fireplace hearth room with big leather chairs).  I'd love to find a way to do both... maybe open floor plan with warm and cozy finishing.

I was so amazed at the great ideas offered up last week on recommendations for our bedroom, that I am now seeking your advice on this giant project.  Any tips you have on doing an addition - are there things you wish you would've thought about when you did your house?

I've been doing a little sketching on my computer of various layouts.  By the way, this is my test for architects and contractors when we're interviewing them - I show them my sketched ideas.  I want to see how frightened they are by a client that has many ideas and wants to be very, very involved : )

Here is what our house looks like now :

If you are new to the blog, you can see photos of our house here :

And here is what my vision (for the moment...) is : 

As you can see, we'll be refinishing the existing garage space into a guest suite with full bath attached (an idea from our neighbor's home!) and adding an attached 2-car garage.  We'd also like to extend the foyer area by 3-4 feet so the entrance is more open.  We'll add a 12 foot addition and combine the existing dining and kitchen areas into the new part to create one large room with designated areas for kitchen, dining and family/tv.  

I'm envisioning a center stone fireplace with a table (either long or round - depending on the day/occasion) and french doors on either side opening up the patio.  I love this photo from For The Love Of A House - her cozy table in front of the fire has been my main point of inspiration.  You must visit her blog... the entire house is stunning.   She blends light and open with cozy perfectly.  Our kitchen will have very similar finishings (I think) - painted cabinets with marble countertops. However, our room will be quite a bit larger and more open, so I want to be sure I'll be able to create that same cozy factor...?

Notice how her ceiling is normal height.  Our ceilings will be 8ft because that is what they are in the rest of the house and we will be adding rooms above and a basement below... so, I do know that we will not have the grand vaulted ceiling look in our new addition.  I would like to add the beadboard ceiling and beams, though to add some interest and breakup the large room (which will end up being 28ft x 22ft).  Any other ideas are welcome!

Here are other inspiration photos I've gathered... I'm keeping them in this Pinterest board.  If you find something you think I'll like, pin it and add the #tag #JennysNewAddition

Timeless Beauty  Calacatta marble tiles installed in a herringbone pattern cover the wall behind this commercial-style range. The timeless backsplash reflects the venous marble countertops, and the soft white and gray colors provide an elegant setting for the warm wooden island and custom-built hearth.

I love this kitchen.  The stained wood island, marble and painted cabinets remind me a lot of my sister's kitchen - all of the things I love.   I think the wood adds some of that 'cozy' factor.

Lake View Residence 

Open.  Our seating area would not be nearly this size.  I'm picturing two over-sized loveseats facing each other with a big ottoman in the middle. 

Me, being the symmetrical-all-lined-up nut that I am, loves this kitchen.  
Long island, long table.  Perfect clean design, but not cold.

Pretty Storage.. 

And then... I love this warmer tone.  Is it too refined?  Do you picture it with a cozy sitting area?  Not sure!

white kitchen cabinets, mix of open and closed shelves with tile backsplash & white marble countertop 

Love all of the finishings here - I will definitely be keeping my brass pulls for the kitchen.   I shared this photo last year and it is still amongst my favorites... I guess that is the test!

Here are things I need your help on :

Storage ideas?
Desk spot in the kitchen?  Built in?
Layout - should their be more separation?

Please share links and ideas - or links to your own pinterest boards!


  1. I wasn't sure how to pin directly to your board. I love this living space.

    I would trade out the bookcase for something a little more traditional but other than that I love the cozy feel.

    I also love this kitchen. (I think I pinned this from your board)
    When we build in a year or so this is what I would like my kitchen to look like. I love the windows and think they would mimic the French doors. You have such great taste! Just do what you love and incorporate what you love. It will turn out just how you want it.

  2. I am in love with your decorating style! I would definitely add a mud room. The one thing missing from my home:/

  3. It is so exciting to start a project of this magnitude! You have impeccable taste In all that you do! I'm sure this project will turn out perfect with all the warmth & comfort you imagine. I can't wait to follow your progress. Just reading your blog today has me giddy with excitement. We have been "under construction" for a year now doing a full scale remodel & addition on our new cottage home. We are in the process of finishing adding, flooring, tile & cabinetry. I think you have done the first thing right. I admire that you chose a home in an area you want to be in. Then you make the home work for you & your lifestyle. We got that all wrong with house#1. Home #2, is in a quaint area in our historic hometown. Perfect! Ok, I can see that I may start rambling on about this topic. Sometimes when I stop by your blog it feels like going to lunch with a girlfriend, I can't stop talking. I've been blogging about the progress of our renovation throughout the process. I think I may do a post on this topic to put some suggestions into a list. I'll stop back by later to add the link!

  4. I vote for open layout. We are building a master bedroom suite on our first floor and the shock to us was what was involved in getting permits. We are on a river so we need(ed) permits from the health department (septic), wetlands commission ($5k in engineering and surveying and soil testing) and the zoning variance to come (our house is 125 years old and "too close to the street" - of course there is no where else to build because we have a river and wetland.) All in all about $9k and 5 months just to get permits. We had no idea! We hope to break ground in May.

  5. Anonymous9:35 PM

    Hi Jenny

    Adrienne here (from Lincoln). Its been a long time but I still follow your blog and love to see Emma coming into herself - she looks just like you!

    I love the first picture with the stone fireplace anchoring and neutral everything else. It seems very in keeping with your style (from what I've seen here) I think that fireplace is timeless and gives you the warmth you are looking for. But also a lot of swap out options to lighten it up or warm it up further with pillows and accessories.

    IMHO, wood panelling, etc. can seem dated fast. Maybe I am just remembering my moms "country kitchen" from the 80s with mini print wallpaper, distress wood beams (that were hollow) and antique copper pots and assorted dried herbs hanging from the ceiling. It was very early Martha Stewart and yuck.

    I also think the "warmer tone" photo, while gorgeous, is very formal and it sounds like you use every inch of your house the connecting rooms do not have that formality.

    I don't have a lot of pinterest ideas for you on space, but one of my favorite (it is actually a photo of kind of a cheesy kitchen) shows the toe kick space as an extra slide out door for half sheet pans, etc. Why is that always wasted space? I love that idea.

    Good luck with your renovation!

    Kind regards, Adrienne

  6. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Also, it looks like your entrance from the garage is between your kitchen and living room. That can get to be a garbage hole fast when your kids are older. You should put lockers in the garage before people come in and make it a little wider to accommodate that if you need to. Also bikes, etc.

    So sorry to see that darling porch go though!

  7. I agree totally with the comment above. No need for a mudroom- I make my muddy/wet 4 kids + dog stop in the garage and disrobe anyway-- otherwise my mudroom gets filthy, lol. But definietly incorporate a designated space in the garage for muddy/wet + sporting gear!! As for cozy- the low ceilings help!! Then warm whites, wood + texture takes care of the rest--- you do that well, so no worries there. If you have a laptop, no need for a built in desk- a drawer to store papers, sure, but as Emma grows + more (maybe?) Are added to your family, you will want to be where they are, or where you can see them outdoors!! Then the deskspace becomes a messy catch all! Also in an open floor plan where your furntiure is not against the wall- make sure to add an outlet of two IN THE FLOOR- otherwise if you want a lamp on, it's. A cord across the floor or no lamp! Outlets near where you envision your Christmas tree are important too!

  8. Anonymous9:35 AM

    We sooo have the same style! I think I have all of the photos you have here already pinned on Pinterest. The "For the Love of a House" eating area is my favorite! I love the open concept of the new plan. Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, it allows for easy entertaining and conversing with guests while you cook via the two love seats. Or a great place for the family to hang out while you cook. I am currently redoing a kitchen, eating area and sitting area all in one. I'm curious how yours turns out! Best wishes!

  9. I agree with the comment above. I have 4 kids and a dog and stop them in the garage or I'd be cleaning the literal mud room daily! Just make sure you have a designated area in your garage for muddy/wet + sports gear! We have a deep utility sink in our mudroom to clean the dog/ paintbrushes etc that of I had it to do over I would have put it in the garage!

    As for cozy- the 8 ft ceilings will help, other than that, warm whites, aged wood colors and texture will complete the feel- and you do all that well, so no worries!

    For your open floor plan, if you plan on furniture away from the walls- place an outlet in the floor-- no unsightly cords if you want lamps!! Also plan for outlets near where you envision yoir Christmas tree!!

    As for a desk space? Not needed! As Emma (+ siblings?) Get. Bigger, homework will be at the island or table and when playing indoors you will want to be near with a laptop and outside, you will want to be whereyou can see them - on a sofa in front of the awesome french doors!! (Another reason for a floor outlet- emergency charging!!!) Then the desk space becomes an all too convient catch all for papers.

    And lastly, don't forget outdoor outlets + spigots on all new sides of the exterior!!!

  10. I love your layout. Having been thru 3 major remodels, I know that the majority of the time is you and your family in the area. Just remember to add flexibility for more of a group for your extended family and entertaining events. Also, remembering those events mean more non-dinner seating. I love the fireplace between the french doors but would it be more cozy in your seating area? Or, you could add a couple of comfy chairs in front of the fireplace for "Emma time." As far as the pantry goes, I just love Ina's easy access to everything in her pantry.

    Good luck and I am sure you will make the right decisions. Your style is always right on.

  11. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Hi, Jenny. This is Joselyn; I shared our recent kitchen renovation pictures with you from Schloegel Design. I have two comments. For storage, definitely consider an appliance garage. Ours is pretty much my favorite thing in the kitchen. We have a double-stacked cabinet that is recessed and set directly on the countertop with electrical outlets inside. We have our toaster, coffee maker, microwave, and tv (which you won't need) inside. I love the easy access and being able to close it away when we are finished.

    I think a desk space would be lovely but I would recommend you consider something like an antique secretary rather than a built-in. An antique would help add warmth, and if you could place it near one of the back windows it would give you a lovely view while working.

    The project looks very exciting, and I can't wait to follow the progress!

  12. I vote "yes" on a mud room. Also, will you miss not having a formal dining room?

  13. Hi.

    I love your blog and love this posting! Great ideas! You're going to love this remodel!

    I've remodeled one kitchen and completely designed another, plus done a family room tear-down and re-build. For a time, my husband and I used to joke, "Remodeling? It's not a hobby! It's a lifestyle!"

    In our first kitchen, I went with all white cabinetry (plus leaded glass doors, black stone countertops, toile curtains), and it turned out to be a bit more elegant and formal than I had imagined. With our current kitchen, I went with ivory on some cabinets and mahogany stained cabinetry on the rest with a large crown moulding of the mahogany on ALL the cabinets (black knobs and pulls, black granite countertops), and the result was a warmer look with a nice mix of formal and casual.

    If your family room is going to have a TV in it, I would definitely recommend the high-end KitchenAid dishwasher, as it is one of the quietest ones on the market. Don’t bother getting a wood panel on it, because the steam escaping from it will cause the paint to peel.

    Some aspects I love in our kitchen(s): a desk for me for home management stuff, a cabinet where I can stuff my purse and get it out of sight, a dishtowel drying rack in a cupboard, pull-out trashcan bins, under-cabinet lights on a dimmer switch (can’t tell you how much I LOVE them!), the microwave built into the island, deep drawers for pots and pans, a dishtowel drawer deep enough that you can store the towels with the folded side pointing upward (so quick and easy to grab).

    I LOVE my large walk-in pantry! But in my first kitchen, I had armoire-style pantries built into the design with wooden spice racks built into the doors, and that worked too. But nothing beats a walk-in pantry!

    When you’re going through the remodel, have your carpenters leave you your current kitchen sink for as long as possible. They cut through my cabinet with a Saws-All and left the kitchen sink cabinet standing. I literally only lived without it for a couple of days. A lifesaver!

    Can’t wait to watch your progress! Have fun!

  14. How exciting! I think some walls are needed to keep it cozy, and to provide a place to anchor furniture, plug in lamps, hang pictures, etc.

    We built our house and here are some of my favorite things we did:
    1. Regular doors that swing out - no bypass or sliding doors for pantries or closets. There are always things in the middle that you can't really see.
    2. A large mudroom/laundry room. So nice to have a large enough space for storage, cubbies, a coat closet and to catch the shoes as you walk in from the garage. Also a great place for charging stations. It may get messy but better to have a mess there than the kitchen and family room.
    3. Speakers in ceiling kitchen/family room and outside on patio. Great for parties.

    There's a great thread on Houzz about building a custom house. I know you're not building an entire house bu I'm sure there are great tips you could use.


  15. Sorry! One more thing... couldn't figure out how to pin to your board, but check out these patio doors. To die for. (scroll down to "bifolding doors" - there are two different sections with that heading so see both photos)

  16. I don't have much advice I'm afraid but I just want to say best of luck with it all - I was getting mild chest pains reading about your plans!

    All I will add is that when I was in my tweens I remember my mother renovating our kitchen, we lived on microwavable foods for 6 weeks and it was a struggle! I'd say definitely try and get the kitchen done as quickly as possible!

  17. Anonymous12:39 PM


    I know someone who recently did a fairly extensive renovation of/addition to their ranch house. Their original ceilings were 8 feet, but they made the ceilings in the new areas higher - 9 or 10 feet. They also were able to raise the ceiling in their foyer. It looks beautiful, and the rooms with the original, lower celings look good, too. Maybe you can't do this because your house has two floors, but you might want to consider it (although, you probably already have!). - Anne

  18. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Jenny, How about an office nook off the kitchen and with a big window over the desk? That's what I would love. I know someone with something like this and I am so in love with it. I'll try to describe what I'm talking about. Please bear with me. There is a door off one wall/hallway of the kitchen that leads to the nook. The chair of the desk is opposite this door and faces the window. Drawers are on either side of the desk and wrap around the side walls. Shelves are above the desktop of the side walls. The entire area is probably 7 x 9 feet (I'm just guessing - like a walk-in closet). Here's a link to something similar to what I'm talking about.

    - Anne

  19. Anonymous2:20 AM

    I think a mudroom would be a necessity with Emma and Mr. Darcy. Once she starts carting home a backpack from school, winter coats start to pile up, you'll be happy to have some sort of space. I would recommend creating one by the garage entrance, even if just a half wall that provides division in the space, but still gives an open feel. Storage benches are always a great solution for ditching snowy boats and dog leashes.

    With how much you cook, I'd think some sort of pantry option is a must. You could even do a sort of build out that includes a wall that acts as your "mudroom" of sorts, then the pantry, then the kitchen cabinets. The pantry could be a large pull out piece on wheels that is two sided, to save space. YoungHouseLove just featured one the other day in a house crashing they did:

    And again, with how much blogging you do about food, I would think an integrated desk in some way in the kitchen would be a must. A built-in could be great, and you can always use the desk chair as an added seat in your eat in kitchen when needed.

    And I think your instinct to again go white, but find those ways to keep it cozy and warm are all good. Brass, but burnished hardware, a natural stone fireplace (the less straight lines, the better), and a more casual eat in style kitchen (large farm table) would all help to give it the homey feel.

  20. Beautiful! I am a big fan of white too.

  21. WOW!! How beautiful! I can't wait to see the project in progress. I'm so excited for you, Jenny! Your home is already lovely!
    Have a beautiful weekend!

  22. Yes!Yes!Yes!!! I love those ideas. I agree with sledgehammerwithstyle, a mudroom is a must! I have a 3.5 year old and a 13 month old and I wish I had a space for muddy boots and jackets and all.the.stuff! That is actually high on my "To Do" list, a large mudroom with laundry. I have loads of inspiration on pinterest if your interested. :)

    Happy Reno-ing!

  23. Oh, but there are more than a few contractors who are up to the challenge. Believe me:) They live for this thing, and then possibly bring in a few ideas of their own, not just in the layout of the design, but in the eventual visual profile of it, as seen from the street.


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