A Turn-of-the-Century Brick Home Addition and Spacious Master Suite in Bryn Mawr
Location: Bryn Mawr
A beautiful turn-of-the-century brick home in Bryn Mawr, this home was purchased by our clients some years ago. They had done some renovations with another contractor and in so doing, discovered that there were a lot of issues with the house.
They were happy with what the other contractor did with the kitchen, but there were serious problems with the original construction of the home that was beyond the comfort level of that contractor to correct. We were brought in because of these problems; the client knew that we had the skills to handle whatever came our way.
The house itself had been abandoned for some time before our clients purchased it. A builder came in and bought the entire street, intending to tear everything down. However, the neighborhood pushed back, and instead, he just rented the homes out, but eventually, he went bankrupt, and the homes sat empty and neglected until they were sold off.
Essentially, what they wanted to do was to create a master bedroom suite. There were two rooms on one side of the house, and the idea was to remove the wall between them and then build out a 20-foot long shed dormer and turn that into a large closet.
Next, they wanted to build a second story above an existing kitchen bump-out on the back of the house. The second story addition was meant to expand their existing tiny bathroom and create a nice, spacious master suite. To sum it all up, the vision was to put two small second-story additions onto the house and add a beautiful new bathroom.
There were many surprises along the way, and not the kind one wishes for!
The wall that we were to remove was a load-bearing wall, but it was unsupported from the time it was first built. It took six separate beams in the floor and ceiling to support it, and it was very complicated because there was a fireplace at one end.
Once we started taking the exterior wall apart, we discovered it had shifted over the years about two inches out of plumb.
We had to bring in the engineer several times on this job for analysis of the situations, sizing of the new beams, and other things. It just seemed to go on and on. Every time we opened something up, it seemed there was another problem waiting to be discovered, columns falling apart, old brick piers collapsing, and a multitude of items caused by the years of neglect.
Luckily, the owner was relieved to have us on his side and was happy with everything we did. We just attacked each problem as it came up, proposed the best solutions, and kept on working. Fortunately, they understood beforehand that they were going to have these kinds of issues—maybe they weren’t expecting it to be quite as bad — but they were willing to have us fix everything as long as it was done properly, so that’s what we did.
In the end, due to all the added work, we were well over schedule, but it turned out absolutely gorgeous, and the clients were so thrilled when it was complete!
What we ended up with is a beautiful bathroom with a separate toilet room with the original brick exterior wall exposed inside the room. We also made an extra-large two-person shower stall with two heads and an oversized big niche in the back.
The clients have exquisite taste in everything they do. The design was incredibly well thought out and every finish detail was meticulously chosen. The fixture finishes were all done in matte black; the faucets and the frame of the shower door as well.
The large shed dormer we created, has windows looking out towards the side yard. It expanded the space to the front edge of the roof, and it made an amazing closet. We left the old chimney brick exposed and put a little coffee area countertop and a lot of closet cabinetry.
The house is a gorgeous brick house with big, broad hip roofs on either side. There are areas with beautifully patterned panel work on the exterior.
When we put the second story on top of the bump out, we duplicated that flat panel work. In the end, it looks like it was built that way from the start.
The project is an excellent example of our experience in renovating older Main Line homes. While we don’t expect every job to be quite this challenging, we’re always ready to do what needs to be done to get the results our clients want. To learn more about what we do and how we do it, reach out today.