Welcome to the first, real official introduction to our house project.  I know I've been talking about this foreeevvveerr already, and you've heard my schpeel many times as we've prepared for this. 

I've been holding back the full plans until we got the final OK from our city's planning board because most of our decisions were hinging on one important part - being able to add and attached two car garage.  We had almost enough room to add the new garage in the place where the side-porch is in this photo, but we needed the city to grant us a variance of 2ft on the side setback.  And for the record, I hate that we have to get rid of the charming porch, but it really was the only way to accomplish many of the other things we wanted to be able to do with our budget - and provided us the perfect spot to build a generous and lovely master bathroom.  So, after a nail-biting couple of month collecting signatures from neighbors and reviewing architectural plans, we got a huge OK from the city. 

If you would like to read about where we started, you can start here and here to get a little background for those of you just joining me to follow along in our journey.  Basically, we bought this small little house because I love its elegant curb appeal, it is in the most charming neighborhood in our city, on a beautiful tree-lined street full of families, and it had never been added onto.  It has a huge flat backyard perfect for bumping up, out and over. 

So... these are about two days later than I promised, but finally - here they are.  Hey, it is a construction project after all, I'm told to expect a ton of delays so why not here, too, right?  In addition to working with architects and contractors, I've been a busy bee behind the scenes preparing for my new Spring Line that will be available in my online store in less than 10 days.  I have so much fun stuff that you'll love to refresh your home - new types of products that I've custom designed and others that I've discovered.   Thanks for your patience while I've been working away.  Let the journey begin!

Our goal was to keep the house looking very much the same from the front - a very simple and classic Cape Cod style with a steep pitched roof.  The only real change with the front of the house is the addition of the garage on the left side, and finishing the old garage into livable space.

I was very particular in designing the back of the house.  There are much more cost effective ways to bump out a home, but it was important for our addition to be just as pretty from the back as it is from the front.  I also wanted it to look like it was supposed to be built this way - instead of an afterthought.  I love this style of roof and came across the idea from a book called "Updating Classic American Capes" given to me by our old neighbor from Concord, Mass that had recently added onto their own house.  Our trip back to New England last fall gave me so much inspiration that I relied on when redesigning the house.

As you can see from the drawing above, we're adding a covered porch just off of the new open kitchen and hearth room through french doors.  Hopefully this area will be a good replacement for the porch we're loosing.  All the way to the right is the mudroom/my studio area that also opens up to the backyard with french doors.

Last week I shared the plan for the main part of the house - the new kitchen, dining and hearth area.  Here is the plan for the first floor.  The front Living Room will stay the same, then it will open up into the open plan room.  I have always loved cozy houses with small rooms, but life with kids really works better with open living.  I can't wait to be able to fix dinner while I can keep an eye on Emma in almost every corner.  For more details about how we'll use this room and the vision for it, see this post

As you can see, through the kitchen doors is what I'm so excited about... a mudroom and "studio."  I love utilitarian spaces.  I am envisioning it to look like a classic potting shed with open shelving, deep sink, wood cabinet storage and wooden "lockers" for every member of the family.  This will also be home to our dry goods storage and pantry.  A very hard working room.  Besides all of that, this is what I'll also be using for taking photos for the blog.  I have designed it so it will have the perfect amount of natural light on the counter for my photos - and a quick trip from the kitchen to get a good final shot of food.  I can't wait to work on my crafty projects here... I already have visions of all of my wrapping and packaging supplies in neat rows and organized in drawers.

The old garage will be transformed into a "Library" - which will be our cozy room of wood paneling and leather.  It will have french doors that can be closed off and be a private, quiet place, which I think will be nice to have with everything else being open.  In fact, I interviewed Sarah Susenka of The Not So Big House book series on her thoughts of how to plan a cozy house with a modern open floor plan.  Her tip was to create one area that could be closed off so that there was a spot to get away to and curl up with a book.  Great advice.   

I should mention that I'm calling it the Library and Mike is calling it His Room : )   I'm giving him majority rule in this room to make most of the decisions (so that means I have majority rule in the rest of the house, right...?), it will definitely be masculine and probably his favorite spot in the house... and probably feature a small collection of golf plaques and trophy's.  I think it will work for both of us because we both love the handsome Ralph Lauren sort of layered look with leather and plaids.  

The second floor is pretty self-explanatory.  The two front rooms are existing and changing very little besides adjusting some window placements to accommodate the garage roofline.  Emma will likely move from her nursery to our room and her nursery will be open for another baby - hopefully someday.  And just in case you're curious, not quite yet... don't want to start any rumors out there.

We are opening the hallway upstairs to be a large central hall for all of the rooms vs. the long a narrow hall that it was before.  Another huge bonus is the upstairs laundry room.  Yes.  I can not wait.  Right now I'm lugging laundry all the way down to the unpleasant unfinished basement.  As I said before, I love utilitarian spaces and can't wait to organize this room with handy and useful storage.  There will also be a big linen closet in the central hall - we're trying to add as much storage as we can.  My goal is to have everything at least have a place - a constant struggle. 

The master bedroom leads to the master bath that extends over the mudroom/garage area.  My plan is to have the bathroom itself be simple, airy and open with a sort of mini-vaulted ceiling that leads to a big soaking tub under the window.

Of course, in the next couple of weeks and months I'll share design boards, inspiration photos and layouts for each individual room.  Today, I just wanted to give you the big picture of where we're headed.  We won't break ground for at least another month while we get final bids and financing (details, details...) underway.  You can look foward to a weekly update (at least) of our progress and new ideas.   I welcome any advice and resource recommendations.  Thanks for taking the time to follow along.  The weather is beautiful here and as soon as Emma wakes up from her nap we'll be taking a long walk to the park.  In the meantime, I'll be doing laundry in the basement ; )

Have a great Sunday!