Did Starting Small Work Out?
We revisit a house designed to grow over time.
Synopsis: When Robert Knight first began working with Chris and Bette Noble on a new home in Maine, they were looking to start with a small structure that could grow as money and time became more available. While the house did grow over the course of 10 years, it didn’t necessarily follow its original plan as the house evolved to accommodate the changing needs of the changing family. Originally conceived as a three-bedroom house, the starting plan had two phases to make it more affordable. By the time the second phase of the plan got under way, changes were made as a removable bedroom built on piers became a home office/bedroom. Finally, a dedicated office/studio became part of the house, an acknowledgment that the homeowners required more than an office coexisting as guest space.
In the late 1990s, my firm designed two projects that tackled the problem of how to start using your land when you’re not ready to spend the money for your dream house (“Building smaller, for now,” FHB #141). This story is about how one of them, the little Greek-revival farmhouse that was phase 1 of a larger home, worked out.
When they bought their land, Chris and Bette noble were committed to living part of the year in maine, with an eye toward eventually living there full-time.
Initially, we designed a Greek-revival farmhouse that pleased all of us. By our calculations, however, it was going to cost around $350,000. Although that figure would be affordable for the nobles at some point, it wasn’t in the cards in the late ’90s, so we decided to build the house in two phases. phase 1 consisted of a main room with a kitchen and space for sitting and a dining table. A ladder in this room led to…