Cottage Renovation – Quincy, Massachusetts
This cottage on the Quincy Bay was originally built in 1906. The location, although not immediately adjacent to the beach, enjoys a superb view of the Quincy Bay to the north and of the Boston skyline in the distance to the northwest.
The renovation included the entire 1,716 sq. ft. living space of the cottage, excluding the basement. Due to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) regulations, the level of the first floor was mandated to be raised; however, the existing structure, including the cottage’s foundation and the main walls that would serve as framing elements in the renovation project, could allow the elevation of the first floor to be grandfathered in and maintained. Ultimately, the clients decided to save extensive construction costs and use this existing structure to its maximum extent instead of demolishing the entire structure and rebuilding anew.
The first floor includes a small entry foyer, a living room, a small dining room, a kitchen with pantry, and a half-bath. The second floor includes two bedrooms and two full baths. The clients’ wishes were to open up the interior spaces as much as possible to take advantage of and enhance the available view, and to provide the cottage with a new look. We worked to balance the cozy interior of the original structure with elements of expansion. To do so, we opened up and transformed the two-story enclosed front porch, which was only 5 feet wide and not really usable. Through this augmentation, we added an open porch and the entry foyer on the first level and a balcony and an enclosed viewing alcove off the master bedroom on the upper level.
The result was a very spacious and tall structure that complied with the zoning limitations but afforded the owners with a very tall basement, which could become the sacrificial level in case of severe flooding. This basement, with its height above 10 feet, is used as a spacious two-car garage and wood workshop; additionally, the height allowed for the installation of mechanical equipment right under the basement ceiling and an electrical panel very high on the wall, to meet FEMA requirements.
By adding larger windows in the living room and master bedroom, we were able to further cultivate the feeling of airiness and spaciousness in the cottage. Moreover, the character of the entry foyer and viewing alcove, crowned by a wide eave roof, additionally offer the impression of openness. The real advantages of these features are reinforced by looking out from the front of the cottage, where access to the available view is fully enhanced.