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Our Wolfeboro Home Renovation Takes Shape

I’ve gotten a little behind in my chronicle of my own home renovation. July has been busy!

If you missed my previous posts, the short story is that my husband and I decided to live full-time in an historic house that we originally bought as a second home. An addition that was planned for some point in the future all of a sudden became a priority. We broke ground in late May. If you want to read more, check out these posts: Wolfeboro Historic Home Renovation Round 2 and Our Wolfeboro Home Renovation Begins!

So here we are in July and the addition is starting to take shape!

Wolfeboro NH historic home renovation

Huge kudos goes to Nick Lagannas and his crew (Carroll County Exteriors). These guys are skilled and meticulous… and, especially with a job like this, paying attention to every detail along the way is key.

Tying an addition into an old structure is always a challenge, but a tricky design has added to the fun. We needed to incorporate varied floor heights and elevations. The goal was to work with the existing grade, keep the addition in scale to the house and maintain the lines of a classic New England farmhouse — if you are familiar with the term “vernacular Vermont” architecture, my house is a great example, despite the fact that we are in New Hampshire.

The need for a two-car garage under the house drove the size of the space. On the main living floor, the family room has lots of light (and amazing views to the rear). The top floor was brought down as much as possible to incorporate a back staircase leading to the master bedroom and bath. By using lower knee walls and shed dormers, all of the roof ridges are lower than the existing house.

Rough plumbing and electric is underway…

Exterior roof trim is wrapping up and by the time I post this, the roof shingles and siding should be moving right along!

Thanks for sharing my renovation journey with me. If you’ve got any questions or comments, please use the “conversation” link below.

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Our Wolfeboro Home Renovation Begins!

My husband and I didn’t plan on adding on to our historic home in Wolfeboro so soon, but you know what they say about best laid plans! If you missed my first blog post about our renovation, check it out for a full explanation about how we got ourselves involved in an addition so soon after we completed a major renovation. Here’s the post: Wolfeboro Historic Home Renovation Round 2

Wolfeboro NH historic home renovation

And so it begins! The site work guys have arrived and excavation began this week.

To a homeowner, excavation seems like one of the less interesting parts of construction. It’s hard to visualize your dream home or addition emerging from a hole in the ground and most of us are just eager to move on to more exciting things, such as framing. Hopefully, the pros working on your project are a little more patient because the foundation is one of the most important pieces of every project. The height of the concrete floors, the exact location of the walls, and the right dimensions are all essential, particularly with additions. If measurements are off in any way, chances are good that you will be chasing problems the rest of the way through the construction.

Old houses offer their own unique challenges. None of the existing measurements are exact, framing varies and — in our house —  175 years of settling has affected things as well.

detail quote

We spent last Friday painstakingly measuring grades and floor heights. We needed to check and double check that measurements were correct to accommodate staircases and ceiling heights. Most of all, we needed to make sure we will be at the same floor height from the existing structure to the new addition when we connect the two sections.

Attention to detail is crucial. For example, we decided to shift the entire structure to the right by 8 inches. Seems like 8 inches wouldn’t matter, right? But I knew we needed to have a 30 inch finished interior wall in order to have built-ins fit right in the connection piece between the original home and the addition. Knowing this was one of our key dimensions, I had this on our checklist and lo and behold, we were off by 6 inches. As a result, we decided to do the shift to 8 inches… just in case!

Excavation should finish this week and looks like the foundation will be sometime the following week. I’ll keep you updated as the project progresses! (I promise the photos will get more interesting as rooms start to take shape).

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Wolfeboro, NH Historic Home Renovation Round 2

Cooke house Wolfeboro, NH

Sometimes the path that life takes is unpredictable. My husband and I were looking for office space in downtown Wolfeboro when an abandoned 1850’s home on Main Street caught our eye. We bought the house and I designed it to work as space for my office and as a guest house for visiting family and friends. Fast forward two years and guess what? We decided to move into the house full-time.

The decision came about out of a desire to simplify life – although it sure doesn’t feel like simplifying at the moment. We are gearing up for another major renovation but this time we will be living through it on site.

The first time around, I completely renovated the house. It just needed a lot of TLC to become the gem that we knew it could be. (You can see more photos in the Wentworth Style home design portfolio or on my Houzz profile.) The results were so dramatic that it won the 2014 award for Best Historic Renovation from New Hampshire Home magazine. More than 500 visitors also came through the house when it was on Wolfeboro’s Annual Hospice Tour.

The renovated house worked really well as the guest house and office space that we had originally envisioned, but it was a little cramped for full-time living – particularly when my three adult children are all in town! Fortunately, I had left options open when I planned the first renovation.

NH Historic Home Renovationf Wolfeboro Nh historic home renovation back of house

We had removed a large section to the rear of house at the start of the initial renovation. Rot and structural issues had made this section unsalvageable. However, I planned the first phase of renovation design to accommodate adding the piece back on in the future. The house worked well without it – but could be even better if we (or future) owners decided to add the space.

Here we are just two years later and we are preparing to break ground on this addition. Our new rear ell will include a great room, a transition space that includes a bar area, vaulted space to add light, and a stairway up to the second floor with a new master bedroom and bath. A lower level entry mudroom and two-car garage make the most of the sloping terrain.

Excavation will begin mid-May! I’ll keep you updated as the project moves along. Here we go!

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