This small modern house had been designed by the wife’s father, modern architect Henry B. Hoover, whose work was only beginning to be recognized when the Gieses approached Wolf Architects to renovate and expand this house. The special challenge was that the couple wanted the changes to be as sympathetic as possible to the existing --while nevertheless updating and expanding it. Given that the logical location for an addition would make it visible from the approach to the house, its size and appearance were even more sensitive.
Our design adds a dining and sitting area to the renovated kitchen, and a larger entrance vestibule, while still keeping an open passage and vista from the entrance path into the garden beyond. This solution highlights the “reciprocity” between the landscape and the architecture that is found in Hoover’s work. (His architecture can be seen in the book, Breaking Ground: Henry B. Hoover, New England Modern Architect, by Henry B. Hoover Jr, and Lucretia Giese.)
The south-facing addition features a floor-to-ceiling window wall providing views of the surrounding landscape. We designed unique sliding sunscreens for the window wall that filter the sunlight through flitches of maple veneer, and provides a warm finish at night. These movable screens allow the owners to vary the addition’s interior environment.
The exterior of the house and garage was repaired and restored, with a new paint color to recapture the abstract form of the original house. Inside, a surgical approach added a small glazed bay to the living room for increased openness, invented space for a powder room, and linked the screen porch to the dining room.
The rejuvenation of this small modern house demonstrates the continuing viability of such buildings in an age when they are often being demolished.
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The new entrance and vestibule leading into the original house.
Our new bay extending the original living room toward the woods.
A view of the kitchen addition with its Rais fireplace unit, veneer sunscreen, and custom cabinets and shelves.
The new addition alongside the redesigned patio and garden.
Looking beyond Hoover's circular staircase and closets to the new vestibule, with Heather Brown quarry tiles.
Eames' chair in front of our custom sunscreen with maple veneer.