Game Changer

Gaining functional living space gives Kingston homeowners room to breathe.

By Rachel Arroyo | Photos by Christian Scully

Design: Doug Friesen of Duxburough Designs
Masonry: CPC Masonry
Finish Carpentry: Steven Mullins of Beach House Carpenter, Cape Cod
Built-ins: Wood Décor Inc.
Landscape: A.J. Tomasi Nurseries, Inc.
Fencing: East Coast Fence


On a quaint street in Kingston, Massachusetts, stands a late 19th-century New England Greek Revival farmhouse. The owners, a married couple who work in residential development, contacted Doug Friesen of Duxburough Designs to tailor the home to their needs while respectfully preserving its original character. The goal wasn’t to add more rooms to the antique three-bedroom house. Instead, the aim for the home, which had been in the husband’s family for three generations, was to gain more functional living space.

“We did not want to touch the old house,” says the wife. “We wanted to leave it pretty much preserved.” Without changing the rooflines or any bedrooms, Friesen, while working closely with the homeowners, designed an addition to the main house that included a new entryway, mudroom, bath and an attached garage with office space above.

The living room was expanded from the ceiling beam to the back wall; the dining room table is from West Barnstable Tables.

The collaborative approach between Friesen and the homeowners yielded five design renditions and a series of minor variations. “He works well with changes,” says the wife about Friesen, who uses 3D design software to communicate alterations. “We liked that he used 3D software,” says the husband. “You can look inside the rooms, spin the 3D diagram around,” explains Friesen. “It gives a familiarity that you absolutely can’t get using CAD drawings.”

Using 3D software was integral to designing one of the last-minute changes: a small tower above the new office. The 10-foot-by-10-foot tower, inspired by a place the couple stayed while on vacation in Florida, features seating, a small deck and distant views of Duxbury Bay. “Keeping proportions was a challenge during this project,” the wife says, especially in designing the tall tower, which needed to fit with the home’s existing architecture. The tower offers a bird’s-eye view of the property. “It is a nice place to have a bite to eat,” the wife says, or a round of evening cocktails.

Using traditional and contemporary elements, the new bath blends in with the old house as well as the new addition.

The main house was also renovated to gain more functional living space. The living room was expanded and a small sunroom was built in place of a three-season sunroom that had once spanned the entire back portion of the house.

“The sunroom is arguably the coolest spot in the house because it hit on so many things that we wanted,” says the husband. The cozy seasonal sunroom has a wood-burning fireplace made with Crystal Lake® thin veneer and “Blue Mist” granite for the hearth and mantel, Ipe flooring and interior shingling—a look that brings the outdoors in. Steven Mullin, of Beach House Carpenter, Cape Cod, suggested adding six-inch v-groove pine to the ceiling. ““We were going to leave [the sunroom ceiling] as is,” says the husband, “but it breaks it up a bit, the trim.” A roof deck was built above the expanded living room as an additional spot to lounge.

For the owners, the desire to create more spaces to hang out and entertain was as important for outdoors as it was for indoors. The wife, who has an eye for design and a love for gardening, worked with Pembroke-based A.J. Tomasi Nurseries on the landscape design. “[My husband] wanted lawn space for recreation and I wanted a good-sized patio,” the wife explains. The patio, made of Techo-Bloc pavers, is curved for an organic look and is lined with Knock Out roses along the perimeter to soften the transition between the lawn and hardscaping. To integrate the wife’s family history into the design, a pair of birch trees was incorporated into the patio for a German biergarten look.

Since the wife is an avid gardener, a stone wall with a built-in planter was a must. “I like gardening,” says the wife, “so it had to be somewhere.” The clever planter is filled with lettuce and kale and works to frame the hot tub near the patio. “We do a lot of our own vegetables,” she says, jokingly adding, “It’s important that we have our own farm to table here.” Later in the season, edibles will be replaced with flowers.

A view from the tower overlooking the new patio area and roof deck located directly over the living room.

Toward the rear of the property, a rectangular 20-foot-by-40-foot pool was built with “Blue Mist” granite coping and a travertine patio. “It’s a classic look, and, as a side benefit, it does not get hot,” says the husband about the decision to use travertine for the pool surround. Eighty-year-old grapevines, saved by the wife’s green thumb, provide additional privacy around the pool.

After two years of hard work, the owners have the home of their dreams. “I think most people would think we were a little nuts for doing all this work without picking up any extra bedrooms,” says the husband. But now, says the wife, “”We can breathe.”

“Something like this really changes your life,” sums up Friesen. “It really does.”

Storage built-ins in the tower were crafted by Wood Decor Inc. in Pembroke.

The tower has its own small deck for lounging.

Knock Out roses line the perimeter of the curved patio in the backyard.

Elevation changes made installing this classic rectangular pool a challenge.

A planter wall holds lettuce and kale, which will be replaced later in the season with flowering plants.

The garage, with office space and a small tower above, is part of the new addition as well as the new center entryway and roof deck. The original main house stands to the right.

Gloster teak Adirondack chairs were purchased at Paine’s Patio in Pocasset.

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