A Hyphen More Fitting

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Architectural salvage helped fix a jarring addition.

By Catherine Lundie

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When it comes to very old houses, changes are to be expected. My New Jersey house, for example, was a 1780 stone structure that got a hall-and-parlor addition in 1838, creating a classic center-hall plan. Then, in the 1950s, the New York art dealer who owned the property put on a stylized Modern addition at odds with the house’s vernacular simplicity. To the 1838 section, he added a glass-walled hyphen (or connector) that led to a new kitchen wing. We found the glass and marble room unbearably hot in summer and cold in winter. (One wall was stationary glass; the opposite had sliding glass doors that no longer functioned.)

We installed pairs of double-hung windows in conventional framed walls and then, between the window pairs, we fitted arched doors salvaged from a Georgian Revival house of the early 1900s. Furthermore, we used a salvaged raised-panel door and sidelights to restore the front entry in the old house, which had been replaced with sliders in the 1970s.

3 house for context

Besides the 1950s addition, the old farmhouse consists of an original block dating to 1780 and a sympathetic hall-and-parlor addition of 1838. top: A 1950s modernist “hyphen room” was an ill-conceived addition with Mondrian-like glass walls. Without changing the roof pitch, the owners brought the addition in line using salvaged Georgian Revival doors and new divided-light windows.

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