Wilson soon realized he could gently extend and widen the house in back, adding enough room on each floor to create that missing piece, as well as a family room for watching TV and a proper master suite. Lots of glass would bring light into the back of the house, and repeating woodwork motifs would tie old and new together. "The owners wanted a new-world layout but with old-world detail," says Wilson, who began making an inventory of existing architectural elements that could be reinforced and replicated.
Though known for his contemporary aesthetic, Wilson has a soft spot for historic buildings and a deft touch with period details. "He is able to create a warm feeling while being light," says the husband, who learned about him through friends and liked what he saw in Wilson's online portfolio.
The architect sums up his mission in this case as "taking an old house with beautiful formal rooms and adding a clean addition."
Shown: The desk alcove is tucked into a recess where the chimney once stood. Further set off by a dropped ceiling, the alcove allows kids to do homework without disappearing upstairs.