First-time homeowners took advantage of the solid bones of their 1904 house and added longevity, function and beauty.
JEFF PELLETIER APPROACHED the achy Queen Anne Craftsman like a skilled orthopedic surgeon, noting the age of the patient, assessing her weary bones — and ultimately knocking her out and opening her up.
This was a major operation.
This is the first home for Kaitlyn and Jason Tamulonis, and it’s an old one, built in 1904. They loved its walkable neighborhood, its proximity to family and its charming aesthetic, but it had been limping along with painfully poor circulation since an unfortunate remodeling incident in the 1980s.
Assorted ailments included a sunken family-room addition that “was like two separate homes next to each other”; an enormous master bath with no shower; a massive master bedroom with no closets; and “a series of really tiny, closed-off rooms,” says architect Pelletier, of Board & Vellum.
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“A lot of older homes typically have large, open spaces; this was the most cramped house I’ve ever worked on,” he says. “Early on, like a ball of string, we could slowly pull it all out and have it make sense. We tried to keep what we could, but the whole house was gutted.”
And now it’s cured, thanks to the fusion of a strong, central spine: one single staircase.
“The biggest problem was staircases everywhere: The front stair was like a dollhouse staircase, super-tiny; the one to the basement was like a ramp; and the addition had two staircases to the basement,” Pelletier says. “The staircase kind of designed the house. Solving the stair problem allowed everything else to happen.”
Lots happened. “By opening up the main floor, we created a grand space for entertaining, a quiet window seat off the entry and a generous mudroom at the back entrance,” Pelletier says. “The addition a few steps lower than the kitchen…