First off, the freestanding garage had to go, allowing the yard to unroll like a plush carpet. Wilson next proposed digging down 30 inches in back to have enough height for a comfortable family room that would open onto a patio stepped down from the rest of the yard. Above the family room would be a kitchen and great room and a deck, thus connecting the back of the house to the outside on two levels.
Alongside the family room there was just enough room to squeeze in a one-car garage. "Luckily they had that driveway," says Joe Singleton, who served as project superintendent for the general contractor, Plath & Company. "It meant we could get an excavator and a Bobcat back there."
Shown: In the original dining room, the nonworking fireplace became a more dramatic focal point after the tile surround was restored.