Our clients had recently purchased a four-bedroom 1890’s house in an historic part of Arlington. The house had no first floor bathroom, which made it awkward for entertaining. The everyday access to the house was through the rear door, and this opened into a small hallway with a rear servant stair, connected to the main stair at the second landing. We proposed removing the servant stair, locating a half-bath in that space on the first floor, and expanding an existing closet above to create an office/nursery. The rear entry hall was enhanced by the addition of a millwork boot bench with storage cubbies and overhead shelf, a “Communications Center” with places to download and recharge cell phones and PDA’s by the back door, and hardwood floors.
The house is located in a historic district, which placed restrictions on changing the exterior. We were able to retain an existing window for the half bath, and we added an egress skylight to bring light into the office/nursery and comply with the state building code. It took a while to find someone comfortable with installing a skylight in a fifty year old cement-asbestos roof, but the final result makes it all worth it.