Fixing the Flow—And More
Hopkins' smart design solutions delivered a house that feels much bigger, though in fact only 319 square feet of heated space was added. The bulk of the renovation took place in the family room and kitchen, adjacent spaces that had never flowed well together, in part because of a 22-inch step-down from the main house. "The family room and a mudroom entrance off the garage had been added after the house was built," explains Hopkins.

Her plan called for gutting the room and building up the floor 11 inches. "I decided to split the height difference," says Hopkins. "Before, you entered the mudroom and walked into the family room all on the same level, then stepped up four steps to the kitchen. Now, you enter the mudroom, go up two steps to the family room, then two more to the kitchen." To build up the family-room floor, local contractor Halsey Platt removed the carpeting, laid a moisture barrier over the existing slab, then added sleepers, floor joists with insulation in between, and a plywood subfloor topped with red oak flooring.

To maximize the feeling of spaciousness in the family room, where the ceiling soars to a 15-foot peak, Hopkins more than doubled the number of windows. She extended one side of the room with a bay of twelve-over-one double-hungs overlooking the backyard.

For the passageway from the family room to the kitchen, she devised a half-wall with steps on either side of it. This columned partition preserves a sense of openness between the two rooms while still providing some separation.

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