Located in the heart of Salt Lake’s Yalecrest National Historic District, Harvard Ave is home to many architecturally significant residences. We recently had the opportunity to renovate one of the few neoclassical styled homes in the neighborhood, built in 1926. In addition to many elegant features including a generous front porch, an expansive porte cochere, and beautiful original stencil and woodwork in the formal living areas, the home also revealed a series of small, isolated back rooms, traditionally considered the “service” zone. The owners enlisted us to renovate these rooms and convert them into a bright, open, and active space for their young family.
Our goals for this historic renovation:
- Connect the home to the backyard to facilitate outdoor living & dining
- Open up the jumble of tiny back rooms
- Create a new master suite upstairs
- Preserve the original character of the home
We began by infilling a second stair to the basement and removing the wall separating stair and kitchen (above left), significantly uncluttering the rear of the home. In its place, we created a family room open to both the expanded kitchen and a new backyard terrace (below). We also removed the breakfast room wall (above right), creating space for an open built-in breakfast nook, and direct views from the dining room to the new pair of French doors that open out onto the back terrace (below). Light now streams into the unified space, and the abrupt separation between the traditionally formal areas of the home, and the “servant” spaces is gone. The transition is seamless.
Upstairs, the challenge was to fit a complete master bath and dual closets into the existing footprint. The key was utilizing existing square footage that was previously concealed behind closed walls, under the wide gables. In both the master bedroom and a child’s room, attic space was reclaimed to expand the space and create cozy sleeping nooks.
While a portion of the generous upper landing was converted to the master bath, we were able to recreate the landing on the opposite side, previously a shallow cedar closet and inaccessible attic space, with only the addition of a small dormer. The washer and dryer are hidden behind a set of doors.
The design eye of the homeowners Tim, a TV producer, and Megan, a painter and designer, is revealed throughout the house in the colors and finishes that complement Meghan’s evocative paintings and the refurbished light fixtures.
The original house is a contributing historic structure in the Yalecrest National Historic District. The commitment of the owners and the design team to preserving the historical character of the home and meeting the requirements of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation was key in qualifying for the Utah Historic Preservation Tax Credit. You can learn more about the process and requirements for the state tax credit here.