The first hurdle proved the most time-consuming: Drawing up plans that the town would approve took nearly six months. The home sat on a tenth of an acre, and strict zoning codes confined all new work to the existing footprint. So to add extra square footage, the couple decided to build up.
They had to get creative. "There was this ugly little tool shed attached to the house that didn't quite line up, so we decided to make it into the space that holds up the balcony," says Betsy.
Working from a rental home, the couple approached the project with a tag-team mentality. Betsy sketched out the plans at the kitchen table and Dan worked on making them a reality, either with his own hands or by supervising sub-contractors.
Pictured: The new, stepped-down backyard features stone paving, plants given as gifts from friends, and a second-story balcony.