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This is the exterior of the home after the renovation. The main entrance used to be in the center of the facade, which chopped up the interior flow and meant there was pavement in front of most of the house. The new entrance is under the breezeway, which leads to the "mud alley" you'll see ahead. This allowed them to landscape along the front of the house, further connecting the indoors and outdoors.
The large bank of windows you see on the front of the house is where the attached garage used to be. The new breezeway connects a second existing three-bay garage to the main house, a necessity during New Hampshire winters.
The exterior before: "Our goal was not to make the space bigger, but to make better use of it," Smith says.
To the left is the three-bay garage, which came in very handy. Wondering why a ranch had the space for five vehicles in garages? A former owner was a contractor who needed the storage and work space. I'm sure this has saved the owners countless hours of digging out cars and scraping ice off windshields.
To the left of the painting, a window-sized opening into the mud alley entry hall allows a view to the front door; the main opening to the alley is on the right. This move allows the hallway to borrow light from the living room, which used to be a two-car garage.
The new living room enjoys a view of the woodstove. The material behind the stove is a 12" x 24" ceramic tile by Walker Zanger that has the look of a rust and silver patina.
In order to make the most of the space, Smith created "thick zones." This entailed creating walls that were deep enough to contain shelves for books, a pantry, and if you look on the right side of this image, even an upright piano. This eliminated the need for free-standing shelves and makes going from room to room a different experience.
The living room before: This is what the space above looked like when Smith was first introduced to the house.
The owner was on a mission to use local materials and discovered the beauty of Vermont slate for countertops in the kitchen. The red birch floors were sourced in nearby Western Massachusetts, and the floors were finished with a locally produced product made from dairy whey.
The iridescent glass tiles on the cabinet wall pick up the other colors in the room, reflect light, and make the space look larger; wine racks tucked over the cabinets maximize storage.
The kitchen before: Here's the same kitchen space before renovations began. "All of the rooms were like caves," Smith says.
Here, another thick zone contains open pantry shelves. "These thick walls are a great way to organize storage," Smith says. They "allowed us to get sculptural with sheetrock and color (each thick zone is painted an accent color). We got a lot of mileage out of the 'thick zones' ... It's also a different experience to pass by a wall that's four and a half feet wide."
The Nelson Saucer Lamp can be viewed from other rooms and draws attention from afar.
Past the thick pantry wall is the dining room, which used to be the living room. "Large arrays of windows added to the sense of indoor/outdoor connectivity," Smith says. Another budget-saving tip: Aiming to put windows in spots where openings already existed. "Oversized windows gave us a very good bang for our buck."
Another way Smith mixed woods in a modern way: The grooved wood ceilings in the dining room and living room are painted with a satin finish. "These ceilings bounce light around and add texture that references the country setting in a contemporary way," she says. As you can see, the ceilings also create a strong connection between the dining room and the living room.
In the spirit of using local materials, the owner purchased a dining table made of wood reclaimed from a local barn. The zinnia drum shade is hand-blocked linen by Galbraith and Paul.
"Danby marble has flecks of greens and browns, which pick up on the other colors in the home," Smith says. "Also, this counter is honed, which adds softness."
From the general layout of the rooms to the size of the openings between rooms, from creating storage walls that were four and a half feet thick to building in angled shoe shelves, thoughtful organization and arrangement was the key to making optimum use of the space. Additionally, the use of local materials and bringing in the light connects the home's interior spaces to the outdoors and celebrates the family's new New Hampshire surroundings.
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