Aieeee! The Room Addition That Got Away

by Kevin Gilday & Tom Gilday

It was around the 5th century, I believe, when the Greeks (who invented Greek Tragedy) introduced the expression:  "Aieeeeeee!"  The exclamation is wailed out by the the proud protagonist at that moment in the drama when his/her crippling tragic flaw is revealed.  When there are no words to describe the surprising, excruciating twist of fate  that befalls the tragic hero, "aieee"  sums it up with ear splitting efficiency.

It's a bit like that for an architect when the home design plan she poured her soul into doesn't get built.  "My baby" she yelps.  Ah yes, there is no fate worse than that of the permit-ready construction drawings that died on the conference room table--those visionary leaps and aesthetic bounds banished forever to the solitary chill of a steel filing cabinet.  To put it another way:  Aieeeeee!!!

It happens.  We hate it.  Here's a case where we put in hundreds of hours on a two story addition project.  The goal here was to make a home for a family of four that would give them absolutely everything they desired AND make the house into everything it was meant to be.   This was a big project with too many components to put in one brief blog post.  So for today, we'll just have a look at the rear elevation.

Here's what it (still) looks like:

Band-aid remodeling

It is not my intent to belittle the efforts of previous homeowners or remodelers.   My intent is to speak honestly about what we see in the photograph above.  We actually see a lot of this around Washington and Bethesda.  We call bad remodeling.

The structure on the left is a porch enclosure.  There was a time when this was all the rage as a way of converting a seldom used porch into much needed interior space.   On the right side we have what appears to be a deck that was quickly converted to a screened porch.  Though of questionable architectural integrity, the additions most certainly did what the previous owners needed them to do.

Here is what we planned for the house:

first floor additions provide a family room, breakfast room and open porch

Aside from not getting to deliver the envisioned home to the family, we weren't able to do right by the home.  That is, we dreamed of restoring some architectural dignity to the rear elevation.  It didn't go that way.  For reasons unrelated to the design plan, the homeowners decided to sell the house and move to another city.

Bath Design Home Additions