A couple and their son owned an old (and tiny) family home in a former “spiritualist” compound on the Niantic River. The house sat on an 1/8 of an acre and faced a “green” to its front and the river to its back. On the pre-existing, non-conforming site, the new house had to maintain the existing footprint (with some modest discretions).

The new maximumized septic system could only accommodate two bedrooms, so a den space that could handle any emergency sleepovers was provided. Level changes, windowscaping, walk out 2nd floor balcony, and 12’ ceilings on the first floor maximize the effectiveness of the 1,800 available sq. ft. The affordability of this house was not only keyed to the simplicity of its means and methods and use of standard building products, but also to the owners’ dogged following up of every detail, material source, etc. and a small construction company with a “can do” spirit. The structure could not have been simpler – symmetrical gable framing with a central interior line of support. Clear wood trim and siding, a full basement, a fireplace, a granite counter or two and wood flooring were all afforded under the stiff budget cap of $200k.

Accreting the “serving” elements allowed the common spaces to be opened up. Raising the entry level, tucking the refrigerator into a finished shroud and backlighting the big window view to the river with the lightwell-cum- staircase made the simple first floor a terrific dance of space, light and building parts.  

$110 per sq. ft. in 2000!