A Welcome Addition

The right materials, detailing and architectural scale create a seamless 2,000-square-foot addition

January 31, 2008
Addition Over $100,000
Products List
Open-Air Beauty

The new wing on this Nashville country home increases its living space by more than 2.000 square feet but looks as though it were always a part of the home.
After photos by Peyton Hoge Photography

Residential designer and remodeler Ridley Wills worked magic on this 1930s Georgian-style residence in Nashville, Tenn. increasing its living space by more than 2,000 square feet with an addition that blends seamlessly with the existing exterior architecture of the 80-year-old home.

"What made this project particularly challenging was that the homeowners were looking for a really big addition that would involve increasing their living space on both the first and second floors," says Wills. The scope of the project included replacing the existing kitchen with a home office and butler's pantry; adding an outdoor-oriented, dine-in kitchen more than twice the size of the original; and a three-season porch on the main floor, as well as a recreation room and exercise room upstairs. Also part of the plan was the construction of an attached, 2½-car garage to replace an open-air carport and a second, separate garage to increase storage opportunity for outdoor equipment.


"It was very important to my clients that their new space would work with their home's existing style," says Wills, who has a degree in architectural history and whose 16-year-old design/build firm is a recognized leader in historical home renovation in his Nashville market. "They definitely did not want to have the addition dominate the house — to have the tail wag the dog so to speak."

Although the addition would not be directly visible from the street, Wills was no less diligent in developing a design that was architecturally sensitive to the style and scale of the original home. "I did not want it to appear as though a huge addition had just landed in their backyard."

From the rear yard and terrace, which were also relandscaped as part of the overall project improvement, the new kitchen resembles a single-story breezeway that connects the main body of the home with a two-story outbuilding. That contains the three-season porch and garage on the ground level and exercise and recreation rooms above them. The irregular massing of Wills' design minimizes the bulk of the addition when viewed from any direction.

"The home was built with 9½-foot ceilings," he says, "but my clients were looking for more drama in their new space. The challenge was to give them the higher ceilings they were looking for inside without having the addition overwhelm the primary structure from the outside."

Reclaimed pine paneling adds an element of rustic charm to the game room, which was designed to accommodate the homeowner's active family.

Recreating the distinctive rooftop balustrade — originally used above of the home's solarium to accent elements of the addition — not only promoted visual continuity on the exterior but also allowed the remodeler to downplay the higher roofline created by an 11-foot, barrel-vault in the new kitchen.

"The balustrade made it possible to conceal the pitch of the roof above the kitchen," he says, "by hiding it behind the railing. At the same time, I could give the indoor space a much more dramatic ceiling treatment."

The inviting kitchen, with its oversized island, fireplace and conversation area, serves as the anchor for the home's new wing. The existing laundry room was also reorganized to create a modern service entry for the homeowners. A recessed side porch now provides access to a family foyer that connects directly to a separate laundry room and the secondary garage. A rear stair hall in the new wing provides another route to the upper floor.

The formal dining room was renovated and enlarged to create a curved back wall with a custom niche that accommodates a large sideboard. "This detail really added a lot of character to the space," says Wills.

Blending old and new

Wills used a number of techniques throughout the project to ensure a smooth transition between old and new. Inside, custom-milled trim; a walnut counter in the office; and reclaimed flooring and paneling recreate an old-fashioned look, he says.

Outside, the two-story portion of the addition features a hip roof and mousetooth cornice detail consistent with the home's original architecture. New brick required for the exterior finish was carefully matched to the existing brick, and the two were intermixed to downplay any variation in appearance. The remodeler also made sure that old and new materials met at right angles so that natural shadow lines would help to mask the transition.

"The addition appears as through it has always been a part of the house. The end result is that the remodeled home not only lives better for its owners, but it looks better than ever, too," says Wills.


Addition Over $100,000

REMODELER AND ARCHITECT: The Wills Co., Nashville, Tenn.
INTERIOR DESIGNER: G.S. Hinsen Company, Nashville, Tenn.
PROJECT LOCATION: Nashville, Tenn.
AGE OF HOME: Approximately 80 years old
SCOPE OF WORK: Build an addition to encompass a new kitchen, recreation room, exercise room, screened-in porch and two-car garage

Products List

Appliances: Bosch, KitchenAid, Sub-Zero, Thermador, Wolf Tile: American Olean Fixtures: Kohler, Waterworks Doors: Simpson Windows: Marvin, Velux Fireplace: Isokern HVAC: Carrier Housewrap: Tyvek (DuPont) Insulation: Owens Corning Roofing: CertainTeed Garage Doors: Wayne-Dalton Paints & Stains: Pratt & Lambert

Open-Air Beauty

With its own inviting fireplace, built-in entertainment center and terrace access, the three-season porch adjacent to the kitchen in this home's new wing has become one of his client's favorite spots for informal entertaining, says Nashville-based remodeler Ridley Wills. Its unique design employs a combination of solid and screened walls and a pair of French doors to provide both desirable privacy and alfresco appeal to the charming and rustic space.

To gain every inch of available ceiling height not only in the porch but also in the new exercise room directly above it, Wills designed the porch floor to sit level with the home's new terrace.

"The homeowners insisted that they wanted a wood floor in this space, and that presented us with two challenges," says Wills. "We had to find flooring material that was very durable, and we had to develop a way to provide drainage for a room that was virtually at ground level."

Wills' solution was to install a poly-vapor barrier on top of the room's concrete slab foundation, which had a drain two inches below the floor height. Next, pressure-treated 2 by 4 boards were used as spacers between the concrete pad and the tongue-and-groove flooring above it. A brick border with weep holes was installed level with the finished floor around the inside perimeter of the room to drain away any remaining moisture.

Although he had never used it before, the remodeler chose ipé, a South American hardwood known for its durability and beauty, for the porch flooring. "It was the ideal material for this application. It turned out really well," he says.

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