A funny thing happened during all the poking around. Singer discovered that the original house was an asymmetrical structure, much smaller, that had been added on to over the years. The left side, and possibly a portion at the back, dated to different times. While DeGraw says his plan is all about function and flow, both on the first floor and leading outside, it may also recall the profile of the house before its 20th-century modifications. "The home's new shape and form most likely echo those of the original house," says Richard Hull, a historian whose family has owned the house across the street for the better part of a century and who remembers playing in the Silvestri home as a child.
All this historical head-scratching and cautious updating took time. Mark asked Singer to save and restore the existing double-hung windows. New copies for the addition, made by an expert a couple of states away, took the better part of one summer. Singer painstakingly re-created five-piece moldings around some of the windows, as well as decorative panels beneath.
Shown: A set of descending built-ins, finished with wood clasps, provides coat and boot storage in the mudroom.