This Old House Starts Reno on a New England-Style Home in Newburyport, MA


This text appeared within the Winter 2022 concern of This Outdated Home Journal. To learn to subscribe, click on right here.

Set on a tree-lined road within the historic district of Newburyport, Massachusetts, near downtown and a bustling waterfront the place the Merrimack River meets the Atlantic Ocean, the 1902 home was in an ideal location, however had various less-than-perfect attributes.

Conventional New England Allure

Homeowners Palen and Melissa Schwab in their cramped, unrenovated kitchen

Owners Palen and Melissa Schwab of their cramped, unrenovated kitchen.
Anthony Tieuli

When Palen and Melissa Schwab purchased the home in 2015 and moved in with their daughter, Alice, now 9, they cherished its conventional New England appeal—white clapboards and inexperienced shutters on the outside, ornamental window trim on the inside—however whereas the home held three bedrooms, it had only one bathtub. Drained shag carpeting coated the flooring, chilly winter air blew by means of the home windows, laundry element required navigating scary steps to the basement, and the kitchen, eating room, and front room supplied no area for household gatherings.

A House Downside

A two-story addition with a poured-concrete foundation

A two-story addition with a poured-concrete basis will present the additional area the household wants. Stone from underneath the home’s again wall was reused within the facet yard.
Kathryn Fulton

Exterior, the sloping yard made it onerous to benefit from the open air, and the driveway led to a tiny again entrance. “The property had been effectively maintained, but it surely wanted updating,” says Palen, who eyed the attic as a third-floor dwelling workplace. At simply 1,400 sq. toes, the little home had an area drawback.

The Schwabs dreamed of a much bigger front room, an open-plan kitchen-dining space, a mudroom close to the again entry to cover the litter of day by day life, a real major suite with its personal bathtub to present them—and their daughter—extra privateness, a devoted dwelling workplace to keep away from occupying the eating room desk, and a better-insulated home with an all-new HVAC system. With Alice rising up quick and the pandemic having introduced the home’s area points into stark reduction, the Schwabs determined now was the time to lastly tackle them.

Kevin O’Connor and TOH general contractor Tom Silva discuss raising the handrail on the second floor to a safer height.

TOH host Kevin O’Connor and TOH normal contractor Tom Silva talk about elevating the handrail on the second flooring to a safer peak.
Yellow Home Inventive Consulting

To seek out the elbow room they wanted, Melissa and Palen turned to native architect Ken Savoie, who designed a brand new format for the previous home, in addition to a 13-by-15-foot two-story rear addition to go up on the one buildable a part of the slender lot. In addition they enlisted TOH dwelling builder Charlie Silva and the remainder of the TOH group for the venture, which is being documented as a part of the present’s forty fourth tv season (Newburyport episodes start airing in January 2023). Working with them is a frequent subcontractor on TOH initiatives, Bilo Plumbing and Heating—a family-owned enterprise based by Melissa’s father. Her brother, Brian Bilo, is performing as development supervisor.

Making a New Structure That Makes Sense

Charlie and Kevin cut and fit salvaged-pine flooring in the doorway of a second-floor bedroom (left) and Tom takes a look at the framing around the relocated staircase (right).

Left: Charlie and Kevin lower and match salvaged-pine flooring within the doorway of a second-floor bed room. The pine will proceed seamlessly into the hallway. Proper: Tom takes a take a look at the framing across the relocated staircase he and Charlie constructed to attach the second flooring to the attic, which shall be completed as an workplace and a playroom.
From left: Anthony Tieuli; Kathryn Fulton

The brand new format for the prevailing home made strategic use of two inactive chimneys—tied to out of date heating methods—which have been eliminated to assist create the open-plan kitchen-dining space on the primary flooring, and to make means for a second-floor laundry space and relocated attic stairs to entry a brand new top-floor workplace.

The addition will include a brand new again entry and mudroom, a first-floor powder room, and a major suite on the second flooring. Whereas the brand new development areas will function energy-efficient supplies, together with loads of insulation, and state-of-the-art HVAC, the previous home needed to be taken right down to the studs for correct insulation and new home windows, plus upgraded electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling.

For the Schwabs, one of the vital adjustments is the brand new open-plan kitchen-dining space, the place a wall was eliminated to show cramped rooms into one giant area. “Earlier than, we couldn’t entertain a couple of couple at a time,” says Palen. “Now we stay up for internet hosting Thanksgiving.”

The lounge additionally obtained larger; it gained nearly 80 sq. toes after incorporating a little-used facet porch, whose fundamental operate had grow to be bicycle storage. Charlie’s crew saved the porch roof however demolished the porch itself, pouring a brand new concrete basis and crawl area, and putting in two metal beams to assist the second flooring.

Palen and Melissa join Kevin to check out the French doors that connect the dining room to the new patio.

Palen and Melissa be part of Kevin to take a look at the French doorways that join the eating room to the brand new patio. A strong slab of granite serves as a transitional step.
Anthony Tieuli

“Increasing the lounge will make each the residing and eating rooms higher,” says Charlie. He prolonged the opening between the rooms to a full 7 toes large for a way of spaciousness and widened the doorway from the eating room to the rear patio to obtain French doorways.

Upstairs, the most important impression got here from rethinking the attic entry. “Relocating the steps is vital to getting probably the most out of the prevailing area,” says Savoie, whose plan requires rebuilding the stairway in a central location with wanted headroom. With higher entry—plus completed partitions, a ceiling, and new HVAC—the attic will grow to be a usable third flooring with an workplace for Palen and a comfy playroom for Alice.

All through the home, the group is preserving and reusing authentic options the place potential. The prevailing staircase and balustrade stay from the primary flooring to the second, whereas TOH normal contractor Tom Silva took on the duty of elevating the low stair railing alongside the upstairs touchdown by 6 inches to make it safer and extra comfy (for extra, see Bonus How-to, web page 92). Pine flooring salvaged from the primary flooring goes in on the second flooring of the addition, in addition to the place patching is required upstairs within the previous a part of the home. With all of the floor-plan adjustments downstairs, new white oak flooring will create a seamless look.

Reshaping the Driveway and Yard

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada

TOH panorama contractor Jenn Nawada lays out a planting mattress within the entrance of the home, together with a row of boxwoods alongside the stone wall.
Anthony Tieuli

Exterior, excavating for the addition offered a chance to reshape the driveway and yard. TOH mason Mark McCullough constructed a solid concrete-block retaining wall and a set of granite stairs to attach the driveway to the brand new again entry. Within the yard, TOH panorama contractor Jenn Nawada designed raised-bed vegetable and herb gardens and advised Melissa and Palen put in a low-maintenance microclover garden.

Modernizing Outdated Plumbing Methods

Excavation contractor Jesse Warren and TOH plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey remove corroded pipes while installing new water and sewer lines.

Excavation contractor Jesse Warren and TOH plumbing and heating skilled Richard Trethewey take away corroded pipes whereas putting in new water and sewer strains.
Kathryn Fulton

Essential to modernizing the home was addressing dated infrastructure such because the deteriorating iron water line and clay sewer line. “Since Bilo was replumbing the complete home, it made sense to switch the water pipe with copper, which gained’t rust,” says TOH plumbing and heating skilled Richard Trethewey.

In addition they changed the previous clay wastewater pipes with PVC after tree roots have been discovered obstructing them. “Having the household concerned means so much,” says Palen. “They’ve the experience to information us and assist us make selections that may final a lifetime.”


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