The Silver Home
Over the years, the Silvers’ 1950s split-level home – located just north of Route 2 near the Dallin School in Arlington – gave them little trouble. But recently, they decided some major improvements were in order. The roof and heating system needed to be replaced, and the exterior paint job was on its last legs. In addition, extra living and storage space had long been on their wish list.
The Silvers had hired Custom Contracting back in 2005 to renovate their family room. Now, they had something much larger in mind: a two-story addition.
“This time around, we didn’t even talk with other contractors,” said Louise. “There was no question; we wanted Custom Contracting to do the job!”
A Real Cooperative Process
As the design phase of their latest remodeling project began, the Silvers translated their ideas into preliminary sketches. With the sketches as a starting point, they exchanged ideas with Custom Contracting president Bill Farnsworth on a regular basis, often sending PDFs via email.
“We went through so many iterations,” said Leonard. “Bill would take a look at our sketches and work with our ideas, letting us know what would work and what wouldn’t and how we could improve upon those layouts. It was a real cooperative process with lots of give and take. Bill was a very good listener.”
“They were very detail-oriented and committed to getting everything they could out of their square footage,” Bill noted.
Once everyone had a sense of how the rooms would be laid out, an architect was brought in to help firm up the plans. The addition, built off the side of the house, would include a room on the bottom floor along with “his-and-her” dens on the top floor. Also, the Silvers’ two children’s former bedrooms would be combined into a master bedroom with bathroom and walk-in closet, while their former bedroom would become the guest room.
Zoning and Setbacks a Concern
One of the interesting challenges of this project was how to fit the addition into the long and skinny lot. “We had to deal with zoning and setback issues, and it took some creative thinking – as well as extensive communication with the building department – to make sure everything met code,” said Bill.
The lower part of the addition is a garage-size room that will allow Leonard to indulge his passion for model railroading. He’s currently designing the layout and plans to begin building it this fall.
The addition’s upper floor features a one-foot overhang, matching the front of the existing upper level of the home, maximizing the living space and meeting the setback requirements. The two dens, located across the hall from one another, are comfortably sized and offer ample closet space. The dens, which are actually bedrooms, also provide additional space for houseguests.
The Silvers love the extra storage space upstairs – especially the walk-in closet – and the quality of the tile work in the master bathroom. One of our professional trade partners, Sean Fitzgerald, was responsible for the latter.
“Sean’s execution of our tile design was meticulous,” lauded Leonard. “He takes great pride in his work, and that shows in the final result. In fact, we were really pleased with all the trade partners.”
The Silvers also had praise for lead carpenter Dave Surrette. “He was great. Nothing seemed to fluster him,” said Louise. “He was very good at problem solving and could always find a workaround for whatever came up.”
Warmth and Efficiency
A final major goal of this project was to keep the Silvers warm all winter. The home used to have two heat zones: one for the family room and one for the rest of the house. As a result, the bedrooms were often cold when the family went to bed on chilly nights.
With the assistance of one of our other trade partners, Meehan Plumbing & Heating, we overhauled the heating system to create four heat zones. The combination of more zones and a new high-efficiency Burnham boiler allows the Silvers to keep each room in the house comfortable during the winter months.
Replacing their old windows with modern energy-efficient windows, adding insulation in various locations and installing new roofing have also helped keep in the warmth and cut energy bills.
“We’ve been saving money. It’s a larger house than it used to be, and we definitely used less oil this winter than last,” said Leonard. In addition, the energy-saving upgrades qualified the Silvers for $700 in MassSAVE Energy Star rebates.
At Custom Contracting, we’re always pleased when our work saves our customers money over the long haul. Thanks to the Silvers for allowing us to share their story!