"Before & After" Project by Hamlin Goldreyer
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Wrap: If we were in the film industry, it would mean we’re
finished shooting. If we were in the food industry, it would
mean we’re serving Mexican. Since we’re in the
home design industry, it means we have taken an existing house
and doubled its size by wrapping the perimeter with all the
new elements requested by the home owner. This project started
with a 1920’s house which lacked the exterior charm
of most old houses. So we wrapped it - like wrapping a lady
of the previous century with an elegant silk shawl.
did not know, at first, that we were going to do a “wrap”.
When we were first approached by the Scarsdale homeowners,
we were told they had already been involved with an architect
but not satisfied with the results. Some architects might
have been tempted to say to themselves “that’s
a wrap” and try to get out of the situation as fast
as possible. Instead, my very talented design partner, Deborah
Goldreyer, went to work. Every project is its own puzzle.
From the very beginning, we knew this was going to be complicated.
emerged slowly. Our schematic design phase usually includes
lots of different ways to look at the project. We juggle the
project pieces, trying all kinds of combinations. Some we
throw out quickly and others are kept as strong possibilities.
Every project is unique and this one had some real challenges.
first floor of the house had a beautifully detailed entry
hall, lovely living room and delightful dining room. The flow
of the core of this original center hall home worked well.
The later additions did not work well at all. A small den
with an awkwardly located powder room was too small for anything
but a single desk and one small couch. The kitchen was claustrophobic
because the laundry/pantry addition completely blocked the
view of the rear yard from the kitchen/breakfast area. A tiny
family room off the kitchen was barely adequate and accessible
only through the kitchen (see Existing Floor Plan).
wanted to update their house with a new, more formal, entertainment
room, an attached garage, laundry room, mudroom, front porch
and rear deck. On the second floor, they wanted a new bedroom
suite so each daughter could have their own bathroom and dressing
areas. On the rest of the property, they wanted a large deck,
new pool and eventually convert their detached garage into
restrictions complicated the puzzle. The very large front
yard had a utility easement crossing only 18 feet in front
of the house thus eliminating the front for any major expansion.
Since this was a corner lot, the side yard faced a street
and therefore had a large setback requirement, leaving only
11 feet of building area in that direction. Also, the only
viable location for the pool was at their current driveway,
which would require relocating the driveway and building a
new garage (see Existing Site Plan).
house conditions kept the puzzle interesting, too. The very
narrow rooms at the first and second floor to the left of
the main gable were too small. Also, a previous, two story
addition off the kitchen was so badly constructed that we
had no choice but to tear it down. Luckily, the core of the
house had good bones. We looked to the core, and the client
requirements, to try and create the ideal solution.