Romanesque House

The Scope Of Work

A lovely but somber red brick Romanesque Arts and Crafts house in the heart of Forest Hill that had never been updated except for some minor improvements upstairs and the construction of a large hanger-like garage structure in the back almost touching the house, was our responsibility to bring it up to date. We were given a budget allowance. A plan was worked out dividing up the work into four phases :

  1. Build the addition in the back which will house the new kitchen. Do the critical renovation inside the house which contained about 8000 sq.ft. on three floors.
  2. Build the detached garage in the back of the lot and excavate around the foundation and carry out repairs and waterproofing.
  3. Refurbish the exterior of the house and complete the landscaping.
  4. Upgrade certain rooms in the house to higher standards.

We never did carry out phases two to four after phase 1. However, what we did improved the livability of the house by a tremendous amount.

The original house lacked a proper kitchen and a family room. The old kitchen was a small galley type and the family room was just a 5’ by 10’ alcove. The plumbing and wiring were outdated. There was no air-conditioning. And heating was by old fashioned cast-iron radiators.

The addition was a vast room with a twelve foot high ceiling. It housed the kitchen and family room. Before we could break ground for the addition, the monstrous garage had to be demolished.  Steel beams and columns had to be dismantled and removed.  The metal overhead door which weighed a tone had to be taken apart piece by piece.

The styling of the kitchen was consistent with the Arts and Crafts style of the house.

Our work included new plumbing and wiring for the whole house. The existing radiator heating system was retained but refurbished. Air conditioning was added.

The addition was single storied with a flat roof. The double wall construction for stucco was our trademark. Framing was heavy duty. See Construction Management section.

The Kitchen

This was our pièce de résistance.  We made use of the high ceiling in the addition and built a tall bookcase, plate rack and desk/counter near the window wall in the back with walk out to the patio. A Tudor column was created to camouflage the structural steel column inside.  A glass railing across the upper landing allowed view and conversation from the floor above.  A short island was built to suit the space but a long oak refectory table was installed for the children to do their homework and to eat on. The kitchen cabinets were a light cream color with little ornamentation.  The appliances were stainless steel and modern.  Some of the features of the kitchen were :

  1. stainless steel and white subway tile backsplashes
  2. satin nickel cup pulls
  3. large porcelain farmhouse sink
  4. plain shaker style cabinet doors
  5. honed charcoal gray granite counter tops with double ogee edges
  6. wide elliptical arch on top of the full height bookcase
  7. full height kitchen pantry (not shown in pictures) with ample storage

See related section : Kitchen Update