How to Make a 90’s Home into a Modern Farmhouse


These clients are part of “Urban Flights 2020”. For this young couple with two small children, Covid entered their home in Southie as Daycare shut down and both working in Corporate America were suddenly working from home. She grew up in Vermont and he grew up in Maine and his brother was a client of mine (“Cape Addition”) in Portsmouth who also has three small children. Suddenly, living by family and outside of Boston sounded not only amazing but possible. Since offices were closed and they were able to work remotely successfully, they took the plunge and bought a home in Kittery Point, Maine. We interviewed via zoom in November as they were going under contract and we were designed by early December.

We were able to meet life and get into the house just once during inspection to discuss goals and visions. After that, the homeowners would not let us in again with Covid concerns, so I wasn’t able to measure. The realtor did have some dimensions that they had taken so I used those to sketch over just to come up with a Scope of Project and general layout to secure a builder.

Luckily, Havenhill Builders happen to have an opening because another project wasn’t able to get off the ground, so we were able to secure a Time & Materials contract with them in order to start construction as soon as they closed on December 30, 2020. I measured on January 4, 2021, and they were already doing demolition by January 15. This timeline is much faster than we are used to, but we have grown accustomed to responding quickly when opportunities arise during Covid.

These are the nicest people who have genuinely been impacted by Covid and are making huge life changes for the good of their family and lifestyle. They make fast decisions and are committed to becoming contributing members of their new community.


The lot is 2.84 acres with seasonal ocean views from the second floor. A big lot but… lots of wetlands. Kittery was reasonable and gave us a building permit for the building envelope, but we were not allowed to put it on the front porch until they had the property surveyed and showed that the new front porch was not within wetland setbacks. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for them) Civil Engineers are simply swamped. We reached out in early February and as promised late April we received the completed survey.


As mentioned above, the design process was not as we traditionally work but ultimately it came together quickly. As with the typical 90’s home, there were a lot of rooms. We removed the structural wall between the kitchen and dining room by installing a steel beam. A pantry was created by moving the powder room into the space of a vast laundry room. The sunken family room had a strange half ceiling of the cathedral, so my plan was to make that ceiling consistently flat then creating more square footage on the second-floor master suite.

On the second floor, the master bath/closet layout was strange and dysfunctional so the added square footage over the family room became the master bath with a huge walk-in steam shower, double vanity, and water closet complete with a bench. The closet is the footprint of the old master bath/closet and you will walk through this to get to the master bath. The other requirement was creating two offices. The large Rec Room over the garage easily divided into a large office simply by building walls. And the other office was created by building a new gable dormer improving curb appeal and creating a really nice space for her office. We also were able to take a small modest kid’s bath and connect the upstairs space through that bathroom and move the toilet into a water closet connection with a second vanity.


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