Addition Update: The Down & Dirty Part

We are in week two of our addition/ renovation and it’s been so cool (and scary) to come home everyday to crazy fast progress. One day we had a garage and narrow driveway, the next we have a wide open excavated space and framing! While this isn’t the fun, decorative stuff it is the foundation for all of that!

The excavation began and immediately doubled the width of our driveway… (and we made the decision to bury our power lines while the driveway is all torn up.)

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Of course Andrew being of the male persuasion has been excited about the “big toys” (don’t worry, there were no keys anywhere for him to find.)

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Where my mudroom used to be! This is when I started drinking more wine.

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The foundation was poured and waterproofed (and I found myself digging the whole black and white stripe look-ha!)

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And this is literally beyond exciting to only Andrew and I, but this was the first time we could really park our cars side by side! After two  years of having a 7 foot wide driveway in which I needed a sherpa and pickaxe to exit my car, this was a jump up and down moment!

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And then on one day the framing started!

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And I could start seeing the shape of things!

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As of yesterday the bottom level was enclosed and things start revealing themselves- like where my pantry will be, and my teeny tiny laundry room!

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And while you are in the middle of the banging, sawing, ripping down and re-building you can’t help but think about where you’ve been and how far you have to go. This was our house when we bought it.  Helllloooo gold eagle! Built in 1941 and owned by one single family not much had been done SINCE the 40’s! The house was 1,500 square feet at start (not counting our sunroom or mudroom, both of which were not heated, nor the small bedroom above the garage you could only access through the tiny “Being John Malkovich” door.)


This was our house before we started phase 2- most of the construction was done to the interior, as you recall (and will see in the book), but we did paint the shutters black, add some landscaping and new lighting, got rid of the screen door and painted the wood door (after a brief fling with horrifically mustard yellow paint and the notion that I wanted a bright front door…). We added no more square footage during this phase.



This is what it will look like after we complete this phase (master suite, garage, laundry, mudroom and pantry). We will be about 2,000 square feet after this phase.

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And here is our ultimate goal- after phase three (which will take years to save up for after this current round!)  This phase would include extending the entry a little (an extra couple feet would make a WORLD of difference in our tight entry) and adding a portico to give the house a better profile and dimension while turning our sun room into a family room and FINALLY fixing the tiny, off center window above the front door that makes me CRAZY.  No biggie (she says sarcastically).

Final square footage: 2,200. Not too big, not too small. Juuuuuuust right. :)

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Architectural Plans by New England Design

Construction by VW Builders.



  1. This is beyond exciting! I love how blue the sky got on the day you finally got the framing up…meant to be! I love all of the plans and how much progress you have made. The paint change alone makes a world of difference!

  2. I LOVE this kind of stuff! “This Old House” is my guilty pleasure and your project is like that, but with a more attractive cast. Could Andrew be any cuter on that piece of equipment?

    I definitely relate to your excitement over the side-by-side parking. We also have a narrow driveway, so there’s a constant need to switch vehicles around when someone is parked in. So annoying!

    It’s so much fun to watch your renovations progress! Keep that wine flowing!

  3. Have loved reading your blog and finding out what’s new!
    As I was looking at your plans I realized that we used the same builders for our renovation/addition project!
    Had a great experience with them! Good luck with your project-you will love having a little more space!

  4. We just renovated our 1947 smaller home in an expansion similar to yours in square footage. Love the way you’ve taken your time and its clear you are keeping your final goal in mind. We did it in one fell swoop w/ 2 kids ( b and g) sharing a smallish bedroom. Like your plan better. We also used an architect which made a world of difference in the final result. Love the black front door and the wider driveway( despite the addition we are still a one door garage/driveway family as i think it fits our home better.) Anyhoo, good luck. I appreciate what you are doing and going thru but think it truly beautifies the world by tastefully renovating/expanding these older/smaller homes.

  5. Looks so amazing – i am loving following your progress. We have future plans for an addition on our colonial home including adding a 2-car garage, mudroom and master suite – so your renovation is total inspiration.

    Random question – I noticed the wires going to the house in the original photo, then in the second photo where you had painted shutters, the wires were gone – were you able to have them connected to your home underground?? how did you go about doing that?


  6. Ali- In that shot they were photoshopped out! :) But we ARE burying them during this phase of the reno- it’s not cheap and we are only doing it because the driveway (where they need to be buried) is already excavated- if that wasn’t the case it would be REALLY pricey to do! You would have to contact a construction company (with a good electrician) as well as your power company to figure it out.

  7. “teeny tiny laundry room?” It looks like you have a bit more space on the side there, and of course you don’t want to go all the way up to the fence as you want enough room to push a lawnmower through, but I’m sure you’ve thought about how far to extend it over, and now that you see it, do you wish you had made the area a little bigger towards the fence with your neighbor? Or is it JUST right?

  8. Thanks for the reply @Erin! Good to know — i guess we’ll have to wait till we do our reno and driveway and we will look into having that done also!

  9. Also, question: I live in Arlington, Virginia, and some of the gorgeous homes here, I love it when I see it, will paint different colors inside the windows. Like, shutters one color, and then the lines that outline/criss-cross the window will be a different color. And then underneath the roof/siding that hangs over the side of the house, I’m sorry, I don’t know what this is called, but it will be where the roof comes away from the house, the underside, will be a matching color of the lines around and criss crossing the window. I can’t find a picture online, but if you know what I’m talking about, have you thought of doing something like that? I do love the black and white, but a third color on houses makes things look more interesting or bright and fun.

  10. It’s going to be so warm and inviting and classic. Love it! I adore the black and white. Very chic.

  11. So exciting! I’ve never done major construction on my house but from talking to my clients, it is certainly anxiety-inducing now matter how ready you are to do it. Cannot wait to see the finished work!

  12. Erin this is all so exciting! I have to admit, your personal renovation posts are always my fave so keep ’em coming, girl. You rock! Can’t wait for the book and can’t wait to see the final reno complete! I would give anything to buy an old house and rip it to shreds in order to have the home I dream about. Unfortunately, my husband can’t stand renos, so we will most likely always have to live in new construction. Boo!!!

  13. I bet your house thanks its lucky stars everyday that it has owners who love it enough to restore it. It’s gorgeous!

  14. Good luck during your construction. It is so much fun to following along. You keep your readers on the edge of their seat while we wait for more from you!

  15. LOVE, love, love! Just wondering if you know what are the parameters for a slab foundation (which it looks like you have?!) versus a true foundation with a basement? Thanks!

  16. Because of the slop of our lot we are able to do a crawl space under the mudroom/laundry for pipes instead of expanding our full basement.

  17. I know it’s kitschy but I totally love the gold eagle. Please tell me you kept it and it’s somewhere in your house? (I call all gold eagles American Chickens.)

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