Chapel Hill, NC | Photography by

The new owners of a carefully maintained colonial revival home were drawn to the comfort of its historic neighborhood. They hoped, however, to enlarge and improve on the arrangement of spaces for the family of seven they intended to raise there. They needed more bedrooms, more communal living spaces, and better connections to the compact but inviting yard outside. Not only did the addition need to fit them, it also needed to fit in the town’s carefully controlled Historic District. The challenge was to respect tradition while providing a contemporary setting for modern living.

The addition rises three stories behind the original volume of the historic house. It adds two bedroom-and-bath suites, a playroom, exercise room, and study. On the upper floor, the addition connects all the family’s private living quarters via a light-filled “bridge,” which floods the original interior stair and hallway. An enclosed sunroom on the main floor adds family living space to the side, spilling out onto a sunbathed front yard terrace. To the rear, a new screened porch and deck overlook the children’s backyard play area.