Since the first time we saw our house (a little over 3 years ago now!), there have been a few areas that haven’t been exactly what we hoped for … what else can you expect with a 95 year old house?  And even though the house was in really good condition when we moved in, we knew we’d be doing some projects while we lived here as we re-decorated and made it our own.  So, the first year we lived in the house, we hired a semi-retired architect with an eye for historical homes to come give us some ideas on the direction we should be working in with our home improvement projects to help address some of our less favorite things with the house.

The first area we looked at in detail was the front entry way.  We chose this project to start with mostly because our house was built to face the other direction, so what is now our front door and our front entry way was intended to be the back door and back entry way.

The Front of Our House

The Back of Our House

Initially, it doesn’t seem like that would make a big difference that the house is “backwards”, but there are a lot of little things that just don’t feel quite right about it.  For one, most people don’t even notice the front door and come in the door on the left, which is to the mud room / porch off the kitchen.  For the way the house is right now, that’s actually not so bad since the front entry way is only big enough for just a couple people and there’s no coat closet or anywhere to leave shoes … but it’s not an ideal arrangement.  The house also looks very asymmetrical for a colonial house since the window configuration is so different from the standard and, from a distance, the portico roof looks very unintentionally slanted to the right … and it’s hard to do something to really dress it up and distract your eye since the normal things like adding shutters or awnings just don’t work with the windows.

We shared all of these thoughts with our architect (Fred) and he worked on it on and off for a few weeks before calling one day to say that he thought one way we could address a lot of our concerns would be to take the space that’s currently under the portico and use part of it for a small entry way addition and the rest for a front porch.  Then, eventually, when we re-pour the circle driveway, we’d change the shape some so that it goes in front of the old portico, leaving room for some plantings by the house.

Fred put together some drawings for the changes, which I translated to a space plan in the Better Homes & Gardens Home Designer software so we could get a better idea of what the updated elevation would look like.  Here are some screenshots of the changes Fred proposed:

The New Entry Way & Front Porch

The new floor plan gives us a proper front door with sidelights that will be more of a focal point on the front of the house.  To help balance out the windows, we’ll also add shutters to the two single ones so that their width will be more similar to the banks of windows in the other rooms.  Inside, the 7′ x 10′ addition gives room for an expanded entry way, a 5′ coat closet, a door to the basement stairs & kitchen (that doesn’t require you to go through the powder room like today) and a small broom closet off the kitchen (which we’ll probably use as more of a pantry).

The Updated Floor Plan

While none of these changes individually seems all that significant, the total package is something that we think will make a big difference to the curb appeal of the house as well as to the functionality of the entry way.  Although it still won’t look like your typical 1915 colonial, we’re hoping that the combination of all of these changes will make it seem a little less “off” than it feels today.

So, we’ve had these plans on a shelf in the office for the last couple of years, but we’ve finally decided it’s at least time to get some estimates for the work.   We had two contractors come out last week to take an initial look at the drawings and the project, but we’re still waiting to hear back … we’re really hoping that (if the estimates don’t come back too high), we can get started on the project yet this fall!  So exciting!

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