Design Matters

A Wyndmoor transformation increases space, intimacy and light

by Val Nehez
Posted 11/16/23

Located in a charming and bucolic pocket of Wyndmoor is a stone cottage. But built in the 1920s, the original kitchen was too small.

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Design Matters

A Wyndmoor transformation increases space, intimacy and light


Located in a charming and bucolic pocket of Wyndmoor is a house I would describe as a Thomas “the painter of light” Kinkade-style stone cottage. Built in the 1920s, the house has small rooms, each filled with dappled light filtered through the old-growth trees that surround the house. The original kitchen was too small for our clients and their young family. 

The back door of the existing small kitchen stepped out to a driveway that wrapped around the house, past the kitchen door to the garage which was packed with bicycles and lawn equipment. Because the garage, like most suburban homes, was only being used for storage, and not parking cars, we decided to swallow the garage into the footprint of the house. This required building an addition over the section of driveway that connected the former kitchen and the garage. 

While filling in this cut-out of driveway with house did not add a lot of additional square footage, it did dramatically change the function of the property. 

To replace the garage storage, our clients purchased a smaller tasteful pre-fab wooden shed that they assembled in the corner of the backyard. This, of course, meant that Rachel and Ryan had to roll up their sleeves and purge a lot of old baby stuff, along with other personal items. But that’s a story for another day.

Now, in the newly conceived space, the driveway ends at the side of the house. You step out of the car to a short walkway covered by a pergola, which leads to a Dutch door that faces the driveway. I grew up with a Dutch door and see them as welcoming and great for connecting with kids and guests in the backyard. 

Beyond the Dutch door is a mudroom, and then another exterior door that leads into the kitchen, which now has additional pegs, shelves and cubbies for more storage. The mudroom space works well for both kids and pets because there is an opportunity to kick off muddy sneakers and drop backpacks and skateboards before entering the kitchen.  

The former garage is now a guest room or home office. We flipped the door to the powder room so that instead of connecting to the living room, it is now off the new room. This way a guest or person working from home has privacy from the upstairs family bedrooms.  

The kitchen now spans from the wall we opened as a pass-through in the dining room all the way to the backyard. The stove and hood are on the driveway side of the house, which allows all the kitchen windows to open out onto nature. 

The space is highly functional, open and airy. It gives the original smaller rooms a feeling of intimacy, in contrast to the bold expanse of the new addition. 

In the process, the family gained a mudroom, guest suite, eat-in kitchen, appliance garage, a pass-through to the dining room, increased storage and natural light.

It was a relatively simple fix with big rewards.