Our clients owned an antique four family apartment building that sat on top of Nicholson Hill in the Old & Historic district of Marblehead. Approach Architects was asked to renovate and expand one of the existing two bedroom apartments into the vacant attic space without cannibalizing any of the other rental units. All exterior modifications were subject to approval from the Old & Historic district commission. Upon completion of the renovations, we were then asked to prepare both Unit & Master Deed drawings so that the building could be legally converted from apartments to individual condominiums for future sale.
The apartment to be renovated had two bedrooms, a full bath, kitchen, and living room. The expanded program was to also include a dining room, powder room, play area, laundry, and an additional bedroom.
Understanding that we were in the historic district, to win approval, we kept the majority of the expansion within the existing structure. The major exterior changes included some minor window alterations and the addition of four gable dormers that penetrated the existing roof on two sides. The existing apartment had a door that opened onto the common stair and was immediately adjacent to the attic stair. We reconfigured this second floor landing so that the common attic stair now became internal to the renovated unit. With direct access now established to the third floor, we located the three bedrooms, full bath, play room and laundry to the third floor. We take great pride in capturing the maximum amount of living space available. In the new attic space, the laundry area, children’s play closet, home office, and master closets were all carefully integrated into existing roof eaves. The second floor was then dedicated solely to loving space. The partition and abandoned fireplace that separated the existing front bedroom and living room was removed and converted to a dining room and living room area. A new arched two-way brick fireplace was built to provide a break between the two spaces. The existing full bath was reduced to simply a powder room to allow for a larger dining area. The existing kitchen and second bedroom were both removed and combined into one large remodeled kitchen and breakfast area.
It was important for us to capture the historic charm of the old house and to reveal the hidden antique qualities. To this end, we removed the plaster and lathe from the post and beam floor framing and similarly exposed the corner posts and structural timbers. The new kitchen had simple natural maple cabinets with an antique red tile backsplash. The existing oak hardwood flooring was sanded and refinished. The interior casings and moldings were painted poplar that had a custom designed header pediments and blocks. The existing crystal door knobs were re-used in new three panel doors.