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The new kitchen and sunroom addition is attached to the south face of the existing two-story residence.
Residential architecture comes in all sizes. Austin Design has a number of home additions in the works, both here in western Massachusetts and in nearby southern Vermont. The other day we paid a periodic site visit to our kitchen and sunroom addition for the Bennett residence, on the eastern side of our hometown of Colrain, MA. The original building was hand-built by the family decades ago in a highly individualistic style, with poured concrete and structural steel framing sweeping views of the forested hills to the north in Vermont. The techniques employed reflect the hands-on experimental approach of the owner/builder, the late William R. Bennett, a noted American physicist and co-inventor of the first gas laser, while at Bell Labs in the late 1950’s. Always an innovator, he served on the faculty at Yale University for 38 years where his courses were a favorite for their novel approaches to the subject matter at hand.
Bryan Louisell (right), project designer and manager, consults with John from Thayer Street Associates.
Project manager and designer Bryan Louisell collaborated with the family on their wishes for the new space, developing layout concepts and material options that would meet their program needs and preferences. He prepared 3D renderings in Sketchup for visualization of various views and worked out the details for an integrated design approach as well as the brass-tacks building system. Joan S. Rockwell Associates, one of our primary professional partners, assisted with the design of the landscaping aspects.
A simple pergola shelters the southeast corner where an Ashfield Stone patio will soon be installed.
The new construction, by Thayer Street Associates of South Deerfield, is currently closing in on a finished exterior for the structural expansion. Windows (by Marvin) and entry doors are hung and trimmed, clapboards and overhangs are installed, and coats of paint are being applied to match the existing house. Still to come on the outside will be a patio of Ashfield Stone flagging, an appealing native schist stone quarried right here in the Berkshires.
A bank of Marvin casement windows will gather the light on the south-facing wall of the sunroom.
The interior’s finished surfaces will be next, now that the shell is closed in and weathertight. After the framed walls and roof were wired and/or rough-plumbed, a hybrid insulation system was applied using spray foam for air-sealing and a cavity fill with dense pack cellulose. Drywall has been hung and taped and the ceilings covered in tongue-and-groove pine. The floors will feature another Ashfield Stone product, an unusual thin stone “plank” sawn and diamond polished to a satin finish. Custom cabinetry built by Thayer Street’s own shop will grace the kitchen area; we’ll have more on that when the time comes.