Windows Create a Sun Porch Atmosphere

When the owners of an early 1900s bungalow in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., had another child, they found themselves with too little space for their expanding family. In addition to needing more room, they wanted any addition to match the historical design of the home. To accomplish this, they turned to the design/build team with which they had a previous working relationship: Teakwood Builders, also in Saratoga Springs.

The homeowners wanted a master suite, which meant creating a second-story addition. “They didn’t have a lot space to work with because of the existing footprint,” says Thad Smith, project planner, Teakwood Builders. The new master suite includes a bedroom, bathroom with double vanity, shower with casement window and a small walk-in closet.

In addition to more space, the homeowners wanted a sleeping porch feel in the master suite. Strategically placed windows satisfy this desire. “Windows over the bed drop down to give [the bedroom] a sleeping porch feel. Windows were positioned around the headboard to provide light without having to back the bed up to windows,” Smith says.

Because of the home’s age, finding windows to match the existing divided lite windows was important. Pella’s Architect Series was chosen to accomplish this task. The windows are aluminum-clad exterior with wood interior, Smith adds.

Evolving Design

Replicating the bungalow roof style was crucial to maintaining the seamless integration of the second-story addition. The solution involved numerous design sketches before the final version was chosen.

Teakwood Builders partnered with an architect on the project, but Teakwood drove the design as is often the case with their projects. “We do a lot of the legwork. This was a perfect fit for that. We did a sketch, received budget and had [the homeowners] buy into design process. It’s a collaborative effort,” Smith says.

Connecting a new space to an older one is a challenge because you never know what to expect, DeCenzo says. “Nothing in an older old house is level or square. And working over existing space in the middle of winter adds to [the challenge],” he says.

At the same time, the addition was easier than DeCenzo expected. “When it’s an old home and you’re adding on or changing the layout, it looks much more difficult in the plans than it actually is,” he adds.

Realistic Expectations

The design/build nature also helped the challenge of getting the homeowners to understand what would and wouldn’t work in the space. It was imperative for Teakwood Builders to show the homeowners their expectations in the limited space they were working with. This is where the continuous sketches came in to play. “The benefit of being design/build is that we have a fair idea of what we can and can’t do in the space,” Smith says. “In 3-D, they can see and get a feel of why it does or doesn’t work. You need to have the patience and willingness to put it on paper and go through iterations. And coach them.”

The team provided at least five sketches before agreeing on the final version, which was an important aspect to getting the roofline to match, achieving a design that met the homeowners’ expectations and using space efficiently. In fact, the bathroom ended up on the other end of the original floor plan sketch, Smith adds.

The homeowners were very involved in the process, living in the home during construction. This aspect presented an opportunity for DeCenzo to share advice to other remodelers who are working with live-in clients. “Keep the place as clean as possible all the time — not only your work space but also their space,” he says. “Clean up dust every day everywhere you’ve been. It makes the homeowner feel like you care about their space and their life.”

Smith adds that Teakwood’s clients are almost always involved in the projects, and it’s key to a successful project. “It’s very important to work with clients who are willing to invest time and effort,” he says. “These were great clients to work with. They knew what they wanted, and were very engaged in process.”


Maureen Alley writes about remodeling and design from Madison, Wis.