Breaking Ground!

So today is the big day- we break ground on our new addition!  This part of any renovation is stressful, but I’m trying to just focus on the good part- the end game!  This addition solves so many issues we have with our house- namely adding a master suite (and finally having more than one full bathroom), a laundry room on the main level, a coat closet (we had to take the one that existed out last time to open up the flow of the house and I have a coat addiction so…. it’s kinda messy up in here), pantry for more food/kitchen storage, a garage that works and fits a modern car and widening our driveway.

Here is our house as it is now (well, as it was in the fall).


This is the section that’s being knocked down!

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Above the garage is a bedroom that you can only access right now through a 36″ high mini door. It’s so strange (but would have rocked my world when I was little!) Andrew’s office will become our master bathroom and off this will be our new master bedroom!

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Getting out of our cars in this driveway has been a challenge to say the least.I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cursed it and/or fell on my face. Also pretty psyched to get rid of that flagpole.  We will be making this double width and using a stacked fieldstone retaining wall on the left hand side.

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Here are the elevations for the addition as designed by my Dad’s firm.  Doing an addition on a hip roof house on a raised lot proved to be tricky but he did a great job (per usual)!


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On this side we put a door to access the garage and one of the most exciting pieces of this reno- a central air compressor! No more window units! YAY!!!!

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We couldn’t put any windows on the mail level of the addition due to the location of the coat closet and laundry room so we’re going to put a large trellis on it and I hope to grow something gorgeous up the back to add interest- roses or wisteria perhaps- and below that a little veggie garden!

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All this activity is sure exciting for us, but not as much for our amazing neighbors to the side of us! We adore them, so as an offering I dropped off this yesterday! Let’s hope this is a quick, issue-less three months!





  1. Super exciting Erin!! I can’t wait to see the progress. Hopefully having it confined to one area of the house will make it a bearable three months of renovation.

  2. Hey, Erin, I’m so happy for you! Solving day to day livability issues is always a great idea!! Wisteria has been called the python of the flowering vines and wild wisteria takes over whole lots down here in the south. That better be one strong trellis. We just cut everything back from the house that was either 1. ruining the paint or 2. becoming a highway for ants. A trellis is a really pretty idea, though! (Our confederate jasmine smelled soooo good, but really messed up the siding after it kept climbing past the trellis.)

  3. Exciting! I LOVE the addition your dad planned and can’t wait to see the progress – we’re planning on doing a semi-similar addition in a few years (we have no garage though, so I’d like to blow out the kitchen, add a mudroom & garage and master suite on second floor)… I’m sure I’ll be referring back to your renovation for inspiration!

  4. Yay! We can’t wait to see the results. The plans are fabulous and your neighbors probably won’t mind in the end.

  5. Will you be living in the house during the addition? We’re in the process of interviewing architectural firms to get the ball rolling on our addition but unfortunately it’s going to be impossible to stay here during it so we have to find a rental (with 2 kids and a 70lb dog…that should go well). So was just curious if you had to deal with the rental dynamic as well. We’re pretty much gutting the whole house and putting a 3 story addition on so staying isn’t an option. Can’t wait to see your progress! I love the gift for your neighbor. Might have to steal that idea! Though they just did a 9 month renovation so I am hoping they will be understanding!

  6. I’m in Bruges right now squinting at this on my mini tablet so forgive typos. Whata frustrating/exciting time. Nothing like living with sanding dust. Do plan on cleaning every single horizontal surface on every floor of your home afterwards. Thrilled for you, And me too, must go walk…

  7. Very exciting and the end result is going to be so wonderful for you guys. On our long list of to-do’s at some point is an addition onto our home as well to include a garage, mudroom, and master suite (to add a second full bath since we only have 1 as well).

  8. Dina- we will be living here. Most of the work will be outside the main part of the house so it won’t be horrible- until they come in to gut Andrews office and then we may have to crash with my parents for a week or so!

  9. WOW! So addition is going to be gorgeous and so smart! Major upgrade! New England Design is the best!! So talented! They built a fabulous house for us five years ago and we love every inch! would not change a thing!! They are amazing!!

  10. We just expanded our very narrow driveway to be double wide and added a field stone retaining wall, best decision yet. Good Luck!

  11. So exciting!!! Do climbing hydrangea on the trellis if you are going to be in the house for a long time (which I hope you are because it’s going to be amazing!). It is by far my favorite climber. Prettiest shape leaves.

  12. Kim Crawford…I would love to be your neighbor during this reno!! Can’t wait to see the progress!!

  13. Your plans look great! How thoughtful of you with the wine (Kim Crawford is our everyday fave) and earplugs. I was thinking, “Why didn’t I do that?” then remembered the awful decrepit vacant house on one side, and the deaf neighbors on the other. :-) We ended up with some blank exterior walls and handled that with two lorepetalum espalier (which grows on latticework; no idea if this plant works in your zone or not, though) and on my to do list is to pick out a wall fountain for the remaining blank brick foundation wall. A wall fountain might be a good option for one of your blank walls, too. Best of luck!

  14. I know what you mean about that little room with the tiny door. It still rocks my world! I would have loved to have read books up there. Kind of reminds me of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” Good luck with the reno.

  15. So exciting! It looks like there is a power line or telephone line running above ground into your house — will you be burying that during the renovation? We have the same issue and I would LOVE to put it underground but I am sure that is a complicated (and costly) process!

  16. Erin, big congrats on your soon- to be new
    addition. It was quite thoughtful of you to drop
    off the bottle of champagne with the ear plugs!

  17. I just found your website and just want to say how much I enjoy it. I read a lot of blogs but yours just fulfills the right spot. Just like you, I love fixing ugly homes and make it beautiful, and we’re soon to be renovating our house too, to make an extra master bedroom and bathroom. Best of luck to renovating your house! Careful of that hammer!

  18. SO exciting! Can’t wait to see the progress. We added a master suite about a year and a half ago. Took about 4 mths to complete, and was so worth it in the end. So nice having a little getaway!

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