Category Archives: project addition


Moving right along – here are the three elevations of the addition (remember to click on them to enlarge):


I had a post last fall about materials, specifically our final choice for the exterior material of the addition and the garage. I think that using brick on the addition was the right way to go, although we’ve moved away from the idea of using both a matte and glazed brick on the exterior, and are sticking with just one brick finish. We originally thought we’d try to carry the line over from the line at the top of our stone foundation on the original house, but it was too fussy. The new addition will be all brick, with no exposed foundation wall.

If you look at that top elevation (east elevation), you’re looking at a view that you will never see in real life! That’s because our neighbor’s house is less than seven feet from ours, and so you can’t really see this side of our house at all, except a skewed version of it from the sidewalk between the houses, looking up. Our neighbor’s house is also longer than ours, although our new addition will extend further into the yard than the end of his house. So you will be able to see some of this from the cross street. That’s another reason we put that large window at the corner of the dining room. It will be nice to have a view to that street, and to also catch that morning east light.

I think I also mentioned this before, but we designed and re-designed the balcony enclosure many times. Originally we wanted to leave the top balcony as porch-like as possible, and use it as a screen porch. But when water gets in, it must come out, and that floor framing actually becomes a roof, and we quickly ran out of room to make that work. We opted to put in the largest sliding windows we could fit, installing the sills just over guardrail height. We’ll be able to slide the windows open and also open the rear door to the deck (which will have a screen door) and it will feel like a screened in porch without the headaches of having one over occupied space.

If you look below the two big sliding windows on the balcony, you’ll see a long, narrow window. That’s in the pantry, high above the shelves. That will let some natural light into that room without cutting down on its usefulness. Some of that light will also spill into our kitchen, which is now technically windowless, outside of the skylights.

The dashed diagonal lines represent a cable system for growing plants up the wall. Behind that we would use a wood T-11 siding, it has a vertical line to it, and it would have an opaque stain, likely similar in color to the brick, but currently not selected yet. We would need to have a shade tolerant climbing plant for this location, but there are a few options out there. I really would love for this entire wall to become green, with just the windows peeking out.

You can also see all the glass at the new side entrance. That entrance is at grade, and comes in at the stair landing. It will be our primary entrance from now on. Continuing to the left is the large casement window in the dining room, and there are two high windows in the basement den below, just above grade.

The south elevation is the folding glass wall system, and the surround in there is also wood, finish TBD. If you look on the second floor of this elevation, you can see the new door from the balcony onto the roof deck, and the green cable system wraps around there. That dark area of brick with the window in it is in the studio space in our house. We might have to rebuild a portion of that masonry wall when the new steel goes in below, so that’s why it’s shown darker. I’m excited to sit at the desks in there and look out onto our roof garden one day!

The west wall is SUPER exciting (not exciting at all) – all brick, as it sits right on our property line and we couldn’t put a window there even if we wanted to. All walls along our property line have to be rated fire walls, which dictates their size and their materials, so it’s just another one of many little things that add up to a fairly complex little project! That complexity is what makes this virtual tour of the project take so long. Thanks for your patience, and for all the funny messages you’ve been sending. If I had a nickel for every “holy cow!” text I’ve received this week, I could probably afford this project.

lights, part two

Hopefully these posts don’t seem too drawn out or redundant. It’s nice to have time to write them again, and it’s also nice to finally be able to show you what’s kept us so busy for so long.

I was talking about lights in the last post, so here’s the rest of those thoughts.


Moving into the Stair – that link between the old and the new – we have another sconce above the ref/freezer/dishware cabinets on the west wall of the link that will match the ones in the Kitchen. I also want to find a cool pendant to hang in the landing of the stair – it will be centered on the floor to ceiling glass to the left of the entry door. I’ve been eyeing the Flos IC Light S – it would be a great compliment to the wall sconces in the Kitchen and across the link from the front door.

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Super elegant, and simple. But maybe something else will strike our fancy – I think it’s a great opportunity for an elegant fixture. Right now I’m also showing a ceiling pendant in the adjacent Mudroom, but that will really depend upon how that room is finally laid out and where we’ll put the ceiling – if we have one. A fourteen foot ceiling in that room would be sort of elevator-shafty, but… it might also give us the opportunity to hang an additional pull down hanging rod for extra coat storage – we could hang out of season coats above the in season ones, and swap them out when we need to. If we opt for a higher ceiling in there, I think another wall mounted fixture might be the way to go in there.

We’re also going to mount some functional lights in the skylight area that will uplight that raised area at night when the sun is gone, and we’ll also install a linear fixture along the east edge of the skylight that will illuminate both the top and bottom runs of the stair.

We haven’t found the exact fixture, but we’re also hoping to install a linear LED fixture in the outer edge of the canopy over the entrance to shine some diffuse light down on the entrance. We’ll connect this to a motion sensor so the light will turn on when anyone approaches the entry door.

In the Dining Room I laid out a simple grid of nine fixtures – three by three. Six of those nine spots will be recessed downlights, In two of the spots I’d like to install a simple flush mounted wall washer to illuminate that big expanse of blank wall between the east window in this room and the stair. That’s a spot I’d like to reserve for a large art piece – TBD. The center spot in that grid would be the place for a pendant (or group of pendants) to hang over the dining room table. There are so many fixtures that I love – but I think I’d like to see the room complete before settling on one of them.

The Moooi Random light used to be a favorite of mine, and I still love it.

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Unfortunately my favorites go up in price from there, so I’m just going to keep an open mind, and I’ve got a few people keeping an eye on special deals / floor model opportunities for me. So we might be back to bare-bulbing it for awhile. Fine by me. I’m patient. We’ve done it before.


Photo from January 2000, the state of the plaster and light fixtures in our house when we first purchased it.

my (not so secret) obsession with lights, part one

I gave a run at the Reflected Ceiling Plans for the project, although we might end up adjusting things slightly as work continues. An RCP is similar to a floor plan (a plan is a cut through the walls at a certain height above the floor – typically around 4′, and then the view down to the floor), except that an RCP looks back up at the ceiling, versus lying down on said floor and seeing the ceiling in reverse of the plan. Like imagining a mirror on the floor reflecting what you see above. So this sheet shows both floor and reflected ceiling plans – with power and data on the floor plans, and lights and switches on the ceiling plan. You can also see what the ceilings will look like in each room – the exposed framing in the basement den, and the skylights and ceiling changes on the main level. (The dashed squiggly lines show the switching – which lights are wired to the same switch, and where those switches are located on the walls.)


When we first renovated our house in 2000 we had a very, VERY tight budget. We thought about where we wanted light fixtures, but we only installed the recessed downlights in that plan. At all surface mounted or pendant locations we installed a $1 porcelain socket with a bare bulb, with the exception of the bathroom where we put in the cheapest Home Depot specials we could find. (Those came out in this renovation last year.) Over time we selected fixtures that we loved, and I’m pretty sure that we’re almost rid of those old $1 sockets! Just in time for this project, ha!

I have a feeling we might have some holdouts this go around as well. My taste in fixtures tend to run on the pricier side, and I don’t mind saving and waiting. In the kitchen and pantry, I’d like to use the same wall sconces we used in our master bathroom – these Artemide Dioscuri fixtures.


They have a very clean line to them, no visible hardware, and they let off a very diffuse glowing light. With no upper cabinets in the kitchen, we’ll have very tall walls that will look great with these fixtures on them. There would be a spot for one in the pantry as well, visible through the opening from the kitchen, and to the right of the high window in that room.

We’ll use recessed downlights for general lighting, but I do want one signature fixture for the center of the room. This light has several requirements – it needs to be able to raise and lower, and also to swivel and angle into various positions depending upon what is happening in the center of the room. We plan to have a mobile island in here – likely one that breaks into two pieces for added flexibility. So I want task lighting that can be pulled into use when the island is there, moved as the island moves, and lifted out of the way when the island is gone so we don’t bonk our heads on it.

The Artemide Tolemeo is always an option – we have one in F’s room, and its articulating arm is perfection. (Old picture / cute baby alert.)


My favorite is the Flos Mod 265 – it would be wall mounted and swing where we want it. I need to model it in Sketchup and see if it would really work. It’s very cool, and I think it could look great in the space.

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The photos above are all from our friends / owners of Centro Modern Furnishings in the CWE. It’s my favorite dream and drool store, and I’ve got no shortage of dreaming and drooling for light fixtures. (My motto: Dimmers on everything!!)

I’ll pick up the lighting conversation again in the next post.