The client selected Rob Wright to add a comprehensive master suite to this small 1927 arts and crafts bungalow style home. The house is in an up-and-coming neighborhood with small lots, but an increasingly desirable location. The neighborhood is close to trendy shops and restaurants, and downtown Richmond is a mere 10-minute commute. The client hoped to add a master bedroom, master bath, a seating area, loft, and den.
The homeowner specifically wanted to:
- Add space: The original house was about 900 square feet. The addition almost doubled the living space by adding another 700 square feet. Because we built the addition by adding a second story, it did not encroach on the yard or increase the footprint.
- Harmonize: The addition must complement the original house, and fit in with the neighborhood.
- Achieve a certain style: The homeowner’s tastes were in keeping with clean lines and a cool palette.
- Add light: To the extent possible, the plan needed to bring natural light into the new space.
Rob Wright and his company, Cabinetry & Construction, achieved these goals through the following:
- We added a large master bedroom over the front of the house. To provide light and make the addition look original to the house, we built two large dormers on the front. This naturally created the perfect place for the homeowner’s new king-size bed, a luxury he had not been able to afford in the old 900 square foot house with smaller rooms.
The homeowner wanted a modern feel in the bath, which we achieved using industrial materials of the art deco era, which was contemporary to the 1927 house. A glass-block wall, reproduction art-moderne sconces, and a chrome-legged sink base evoke that period. The owner chose multicolored slate tile for the floor and shower enclosure, with slate-and-glass accents to complement the glass block partition. We created the concrete vanity counter to blend with the slate but also to continue the industrial feel.
- We included large windows in the dormers to add a fire exit, as the building code requires. We added window seats to the dormers to add interest, and covered the cushions in a fabric matching the upholstered furniture in the adjoining seating loft or den.
- The owner’s prized Weimaraner dog, Woody, preferred to sleep in his owner’s bedroom. We cleverly annexed some space under the eaves to create a niche for the dog’s crate, which keeps the dog near his owner but the crate away from under foot and immediate sight.
- The chimney’s location made crafting a master bath a challenge. We succeeded by using every available nook and cranny. We captured a small linen closet between some studs just outside the bath. We installed drawers and a shallow medicine cabinet for storing toiletries and bath appliances around the chimney form.
- We created an art deco feel in the bathroom, selecting a rich brown tile, accented in green, bead board wainscoting, and a warm, dark brown acid stained concrete countertop.
- We wanted the addition to look as if it had always been part of the building. We took special care to make the trim in the addition match the original house by building replicas of the original eave brackets and rafter ends under the new rooflines. Setting the new roof a few feet back from the original, and matching the pitch of the adjacent house’s roof, the addition does not call attention to itself.
- The homeowner’s taste in art and furnishings is modern, and complements the clean lines of the craftsman style house. We chose ceiling fans with a “retro” feel to tie in with this.
- We brought natural light into every area of the suite with windows on all four sides of the addition.
- We salvaged the glass French doors between the seating area and the master bedroom from the basement; we found them disused and deteriorating, and repaired and repainted them.
An anecdote about this house and project:
During construction, an elderly woman and her daughter came to the front door. The woman, in Richmond for a visit, had been born in the house, and asked to see it again. The owner gladly showed her around, including the addition, which delighted her. Before she left, she recalled playing as a child in the old fireplace, where she had written her name. The owner quickly fetched from his shed a piece of the old flue he had removed in earlier remodeling. Sure enough, there was her name as she had written it some 70 years earlier.