Beth’s heritage Renovation
Beth is the fourth generation on this land in Vermont and in this home – built in 1810, her great grandmother doubled the size in 1910 and we renovated it in 2010. Beth’s extended family keeps contiguous parcels uncultivated, as woodlands, with brooks and moose and moss and beaver ponds – everything is making home everywhere.
The original home was a small post and beam and the land was a dairy farm. Beth’s grandmother added a garage and bedrooms on the back, facing south. For Beth’s heritage Renovation, the first thing we did was to transform the garage into the central living space – the Great Room – open to the warm sun and expansive view of Stratton Mountain.
From there, we kept the bones of the two prior constructions – especially the post and frame core, whose north side now forms a figurative forest edge in the Great Room – and fully renovated every square inch, always considering energy-efficiency, a balance between the existing home and more playful, modern interventions, and the relationship between the home and land. The entire ground floor’s plan was thus revised; the only new space is a small bed bay on the south side off the Great Room. The original fireplaces were removed as they were not energy-efficient and a new efficient wood stove was set where the central hearth was.
The builder, John Newton, 80 years of age and most of it in Vermont, worked with us in our desire to build with local materials, especially wood from near-by, well-managed forests. He also graced the home with his wisdom and thoughtful, hard-working crew.
Honoring the land is Beth’s primary intention; the home is a gateway into and a guardian of the land. We kept the home close to the road as it was originally built – as much as we were tempted to move it down the hill, away from road noise – so as to have minimal impact on the land. And the landscaping uses overflow spring and storm water to form a small pond next to the entrance of the home – a cleansing – overflowing into a pond, for swimming and centering outdoor activities.