Contemporary Residential Renovation

Dover, NH

Within the home's original footprint, an expansive new structure with modern sensibilities

Chris Parker could tell the quaint hilltop cottage he purchased in 2021 needed work, but as he took in the sun-dappled lot and mature Japanese Maple by the front door, he knew it had the potential to become something special.

He envisioned a renovation that would open the existing compartmentalized layout, modernize the home, and more fully embrace the property’s expansive outdoor living space, unique for its location just outside of downtown Dover, New Hampshire. Stylistically, Chris aspired to have an open indoor living area, finished basement, and two bedrooms - one with an en suite bath. The existing modest footprint - and fixed budget - would require some creative thinking to develop.

A fan of contemporary architecture, he sought out Winter Holben Architecture + Design to collaborate with on the project. The design challenge was to increase square footage while adhering to current planning guidelines and matching the original cottage’s footprint. Going up to expand a second floor allowed for an airy, sunlit primary bedroom with en suite bath and private deck, a second guest bedroom, and a main bathroom. Going down however revealed that the foundation was shallow and would need to be lowered several feet to create the desired basement space. Despite initial ideas to simply renovate, it became clear that a full tear down and rebuild would be necessary.

Thinking creatively beyond the confines of the structural footprint, a focus was placed on expanding living space outdoors. Celebrating the expansive views and afternoon sun along the side of the home, we designed a large, wraparound porch running from the front door to a side entry that leads to the dining and kitchen area. Along the back, a wall of accordion glass doors opens to a dramatic, multi-level back patio with connecting decking, stone, and grassy areas. Further stylistic details include poured cement floors throughout that create cohesion and a modern feel, sloped ceilings to provide gentle visual interest in the bedrooms, an artistic open stairway connecting three levels and adding sleek drama, and rich exterior finishes of charcoal and reddish wood. Mirroring the new home’s exterior details is a separate, two car garage boasting clean lines, a sloped roof and oversized wooden door.

"It was clear from the start that Winter Holben had the experience and passion for modern design that we were looking for in an architecture firm. Partnering with their team gave us the opportunity to successfully navigate unexpected obstacles and get the dream home we always wanted.” - Chris Parker

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