Seeing the importance of better relating both structures to their surroundings, the team quickly developed a plan of action. “Because the guesthouse was in desperate need of repair, we chose to tackle it first,” Norris says. “Our decision gave the owners a place to live in while the main house was under construction.” As a result, this charming, backyard retreat now resembles a bygone carriage house and offers a wonderfully private setting for overnight guests.
To create better circulation in the main house, the architects chose to reverse the main staircase—an ingenious move which not only connected the front and the back of the house more succinctly but also allowed for the addition of a new master bedroom on the second floor. “The original stair was completely enclosed in a dark, unpleasant spot,” Spitzmiller recalls. “After we removed the walls of this enclosure, we replaced them with a handsome wooden balustrade and a handcrafted, period-sensitive starter newel. Now the staircase stands as one of the premiere architectural ornaments of the house.”