TOH TV's Barrington Beach House: Before
TOH TV heads to Barrington, Rhode Island, to restore a forlorn house with oceanfront views
This 1925 seaside cottage in Barrington, Rhode Island, will be the subject of the winter 2011-12 season of This Old House TV. The 1,600-square-foot house, which was built as a tiny, seasonal Cape Cod, has fallen victim to a hodgepodge of poorly planned additions and remodels. So Norm Abram, along with architect Mary Brewster, builder Andrew Tiplady, and the rest of the TOH TV team, will help turn it into a cheerful year-round homestead. The project will include a modest 120-square-foot two-story addition on the east side of the house, a bedroom addition above an existing garage, and a second-story balcony that will afford the homeowners sweeping views of Narragansett Bay.
The two-bedroom house will become a permanent three-bedroom home for pediatricians Geoffrey Allen and Michelle Forcier and their young daughter. After living in Chicago, the couple returned to New England to be closer to family in Connecticut, Massachussetts, and New York. They spent the past year and a half in a nearby rental before this house went on the market.
The south side of the house, which faces the bay, will receive a dramatic makeover. A second-story covered balcony will be built off the master bedroom to take advantage of the waterfront views. An enclosed side porch (left) and entry will be demolished and rebuilt to accommodate a covered entry porch, more square footage downstairs, and a new master bath upstairs. The house's weathered siding will be replaced with new cedar shingles.
The existing deck will remain, though, thankfully, the rusted awning framework will be scrapped.
The dark, narrow kitchen will be opened up to the rest of the first floor by removing a dividing wall and replacing it with an island. (Since the wall is structural, a support column will be added.) The kitchen will also gain square footage when a staircase behind it is relocated. Ceiling beams will be given a bit of old New England character with some new finishes.
Removing the current staircase will also add space to this south-facing corner of the house, which will be used as an open dining area.
This cramped, 5-foot-wide enclosed porch—Brewster refers to it as "the bowling alley"—will be demolished and replaced with a 120-square-foot two-story addition that will accommodate a covered entry porch, additional living space downstairs, and part of the new master bedroom and master bath upstairs.
A much-needed third bedroom for the couple's daughter will be built above the existing garage. If the budget allows, the house will also receive a new carriage-style garage door.
Right now, the only full bath in the house is located just off a garage entry downstairs. Since Brewster's plan calls for the addition of two full bathrooms upstairs, the downstairs one will be cut in half, with one portion used as a powder room and the remaining space given over to a small mudroom addition.
The master bedroom will be one of the project's most dramatic transformations when a new covered porch—with some commanding views—is added where the windows are now. The room will also get a master bathroom. The hallway landing seen here, a powder room, and the current staircase will be removed to make way for a new guest room.
This existing bedroom will be divided into additional space for the master bathroom, master closet, a new full bath, and the new staircase.
The garage entry currently leads to a mudroom/laundry room, with a full bathroom to the right. The new plan calls for updating and expanding the mudroom into part of the existing bath, and turning the full bath into a powder room.