Blog Cabin

Jan 5

After Floor Plan: The When, Why and How

We’ve been keeping track of Blog Cabin 2012 remodeling questions and thought we’d address a few here, with information provided by Knickerbocker Group’s Kimberly Tuttle.

The Front Entrance: Although the double doors are amazing, current building codes restrict the expansion of the front entrance or addition of a farmer’s porch. It made more sense from a design perspective to move the entrance and carve out a cozy, welcoming foyer and mudroom when one first enters the home. To maintain the home’s charm and design symmetry, windows will replace the original front doors.

The Double Staircase: The original staircase was dangerously steep and did not meet modern-day building codes. A new staircase will descend into the living room/foyer area.

The Kitchen: The original plan was to centralize the kitchen, but after several stabs at a floor plan, it became clear that the living room would better serve as the first-floor hub. Large windows in the kitchen will capitalize on water views and sliding doors will offer easy access to the deck and terrace (the home’s grilling area).

The Living Room: Once a long, narrow room, this space will be moved to the center of home with easy access to the kitchen and the master suite. A bump-out will house a full-sized window seat that provides a spectacular view of the rolling landscape and river.

The Master Suite: The master bedroom will be enlarged and include a new spa-style master bathroom. The home’s original front doors will serve as bedroom doors. The doors’ frosted glass panes will provide absolute privacy. Other bedroom amenities will include corridor closets and sliding glass doors that lead out to the deck.

The Original Floors: The build team saved everything inside, from trim to old doors and lighting fixtures. The old floors, unfortunately, had to go. Floor boards fell apart and joists crumbled in construction workers’ hands as the flooring system was dismantled.

Other Important Tidbits:
• Cost prohibited the relocation of the home closer to the shoreline.
• Setbacks restricted front expansion of the home.
• Flooding will not be an issue, since the home is elevated so far above the flood plain and located so far away from the river.
• Building materials not repurposed in this construction project will find their way to the local ReUse store.
• In place of a wood-burning stove (the home’s original heating source), a gas stove will provide warmth and ambiance.

  • Posted at 4:50 pm on January 1, 2012
  • Permalink


  1. OK, That s'plains a lot. doesn't it? Codes, codes, codes good for safety, bad for historic detailing. It still will be a knockout of a house. I rather like the new staircase.

    AnneEliseSouth on January 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm
    • AnneElise–they certainly DID have some 'splaining to do, after all those months, LOL! ;)

      LLColeman on January 6, 2012 at 4:41 am
    • I think the codes are taking some greatness out of the house. I think a lot of people now a days have the ideal that making something modern somehow makes a home an ideal place to live in. But in the process of updating sometimes the charm is sucked out of the soul of the house. I for one don't want to BBQ out in the front yard off of a terrace that changes a great cape cod nto a summer vacation home rental found at Fire Island Pines in NY.

      Hawkweed on January 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm
    • I agree. And I'm thinking the loss of antique Maine cottage charm has nothing to do with the codes. The Blog post DID say we could BBQ up front, (on the terrace), didn't it?:|o.0

      DwnSoDwnEaster on January 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    • No. They said they were going to construct a grilling deck at the back which is completely logical. The front terrace was simply to improve accessibility to the new front entrance. I believe that will be a big opportunity to make the front entrance really welcoming with climbing roses or vine flowers. DIY may partially cover it also to enable some added shetlter for those awaiting an invitation to enter.:)

      Clive on January 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm
    • That sound very nice, Clive! I missed the Grilling deck comment somehow… A pergola or arbor would be charming in the terrace area, but I do hope there will be a covered area. Thanks. Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on January 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm
    • They write in the infoirmation (above) concerning the front entrance that they could't build a 'Farmers Porch' (not quite sure what that is) on to the old front door due to the setback rules so they moved the entrance to the side. Presumably that is so they can now build a porch that I hope will be covered. :D

      Clive on January 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm
    • Clive, A coverd porch, how nice would that be! Hope it has a few rocking chairs! :)

      Windee on January 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm
    • mmm bbq…we should meet.

      Elizabeth on January 13, 2012 at 11:21 am
    • Seeing those floorboards all torn up make me think of how necessary it is to have slip resistant floor plates and non-slip coatings on the floor surfaces. No use having a beautiful house all shiny and new only to fall over and break something! Shouldn't cost too much and you should still be able to maintain the charm.

      Fred Rodriguez on October 31, 2012 at 11:53 pm
  2. Thanks for all the explanations. That clears things for many I hope.

    My only BIG disappointment is the last line item. Why oh why can't we get a green, efficient wood or pellet stove (the house has nearly 25 acres of woodland that could provide unlimited fuel) instead of, yet again, going with the un-green, fossil fuelled gas imitation? :(

    Clive on January 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm
    • That far north may cause a problem with being able grow enough hardwood on the property. The other issue would be at 25 acres nearly all the land would become woodland leaving vary little lawn space. But the pellet stove idea is truely good rather than gas.

      Daniel_Gard on January 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm
    • I'm chuckling at this comment. The house comes with over 50 acres of land including over 20 acres of mature hardwood woodland. If you look at any of the images the predominant tree species are oak, maple and ash. I would not be surprised if there's is a smattering of hickory, walnut and a few others too. Very little pine.

      It takes about 3 acres of managed woodland to probvide a 100% renewable wood source to fuel all the heating needs of a 4000sq ft house. Of course the wood must to be cut and stored & dried so it's labor intensive but it's quite possible with this property. I'm sure that's why the original house heating was from wood burning stoves. Much cheaper and greener than any alternative fuel source, especially expensive propane or oil. I have no idea whether there's any natural gas supply in this area. Any one out there know about this?

      Clive on January 6, 2012 at 11:09 am
    • Clive, You are closer to being right than I am. I found some information on N.H. woodland management and the discussion determined they could get 1.5 cords of wood per acre if the acreage is well maintained. This number should be close to what might be expected in Maine. That means the 25 acres should provide all you need. However, I would prefer to take any Cherry or Oak and make hardwood lumber. The beech, birch or sugar maple would make good firewood. But then again if there is a lot of sugar maple I might prefer to make syrup rather than cut it down. Thanks for the corection, love the research.

      Daniel_Gard on January 6, 2012 at 1:58 pm
    • I wonder about the figure of 1.5 cords per acre: I've taken 4 cords from a single, mature, Silver Maple out of my back yard. By the way, a cord measures 4' x 4' x 8' closely stacked. I own 25 acres of wooded property, with a mix of hardwoods and pine/fir, I am able to keep more than enough firewood for my needs without stripping the land clean. At one point, as part of my management plan, I had my property selectively logged; I was seeing 30+ cords of logs per acre and more in the stuff the logger won't make money on at the mill.

      DGustaf on January 9, 2012 at 9:37 am
    • I got this figure from a University of New Hampshire blog. I would assume these folks were big time naturalists and were spouting a conservative number. I know from a discussion with an educator in ecology that a well maintained acre would have been cleared of deadwood first. Only repeating what I have been told, I personally could careless I would rather leave the trees for the birds and squirrels.

      Daniel_Gard on January 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm
    • Leaving the trees is a lovely idea, but as a Dutch Neck resident, I can tell you that the trees regularly fall over, break or just die for other reasons. They don't live forever and it makes sense to use them for heat rather than having them rot on the ground

      Carole Mac on January 10, 2012 at 11:02 am
    • A good wood stove or wood fire insert produces about the same CO2 emissions from burning a whole tree as are produced naturally from the same tree decaying. Managed, diversified, natural woodlands (which these are) are much healthier places for wildlife too. There are times and situations to save trees and other times to cut and replace thus completing the cycle and giving the 100% renewability of wood as a fuel.

      Companies like Quadrafire ( have an extensive range of options including gas fired units also. There is also for excellent wood fired & clean heating systems. :)

      Clive on January 10, 2012 at 11:43 am
    • No natural gas around (guess that's not all bad—-no FRACKing).

      basincrew on January 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm
    • Good point. :)

      Clive on January 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm
    • Being a Dutch Neck resident, I can tell you that we do not have natural gas, just propane. Also , many of us do heat with either wood stoves or wood furnaces. Most of our wood is, as you said, oak, maple and ash.

      Carole Mac on January 10, 2012 at 10:57 am
    • Dear Clive,
      If you see me on here late tonight please do me a favor…Read me a story or if you can sing, sing me to sleep. I went where your told me to go and when I looked I almost jumped out of my skin! I am so excited with the location, counting sheep isn't going to help me tonight. LOL Do you think DIY will put in a dock with a nice new shinny boat that says, Windee.LOL A few lobstahhh pots and a electronic winch would be nice :) Ok and may be a few rods…..I'll get my own worms…

      Windee on January 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm
    • Changed my mind. New boat should say Blessed not windee. Had to fix didn't like it when I wrote it. Thanks,
      Windee :)

      Windee on January 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm
    • We can name our dreams whatever we like.:)

      I can guarantee there will be no dock or boat but this is your dream so go for whatever you want and enjoy it to the full. :D

      Glad the Google maps helped. They also show the roadside setback (land that is reserved for road expansion I'm sure) and the riparian setbacks from the pond / small lake (Gross or Peter's Pond) behind the barn.

      Clive on January 6, 2012 at 11:14 am
    • Hi Clive :)
      What no dock or boat???? Awww Though I could hear the lobstahhs and fishies saying catch me if you can . Will save that dream for a different day to enjoy. Thank You :) .
      When I went to google maps, I saw white lines which I believe were roads although one line to the left behind the house was like a zig zag? Saw water and what looks to be a peninsula where the house is loacated. I will go back and look again.
      I didn't like naming the boat because it hasn't been established who the winner is.Thanks for the info, much appreciated. So glad I didn't get the worms yet……lol

      Windee on January 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm
    • Two reasons for no dock: the river is tidal and at low tide you have quite a ways to go to water that's deep enough and, more importantly, the town won't allow it. There is a public landing less than 2 miles further down the neck.

      Carole Mac on January 10, 2012 at 11:09 am
    • Carole Mac.,,,,Thank You for that information. I did think after the fact maybe it wasn't deep enough for a boat. But whether is or not wouldn't matter since the town won't allow it. Does the town allow swimming , rafting?
      Thanks Again,
      Windee :)

      Windee on January 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm
    • Well, this being my first time blogging, I wanted to express my view and personal experience with fireplaces and heating stoves. Growing up in New England it was a necessity to heat with wood, coal and then an oil burning furnace…each an improvement in heating and quality of life. I don’t believe that a fireplace functions as an efficient home heating device. It actually acts as a vacuum, sucking the warmed air out and sending the heat up the chimney. When a wood fire is burning it takes constant attention…you can’t make a run out for dinner or a movie and let it burn.

      Carr54 on January 7, 2012 at 11:42 am
    • Welcome to the blog carr54 :)
      As a New Englander too, I found our fireplace came in very handy for the times we lost power for a few days on end and we could still be warm. It was nice on a cold night to have the fire going, not all the time but just enought to enjoy having it, At Christmas time the fireplace was a focal point in the room. I very much miss having the fire place.:(
      Enjoy blogging!
      Windee :)

      Windee on January 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm
    • I would say it has to do a lot with sponsorship!

      Nebraska on January 7, 2012 at 11:58 am
    • You're probably on the money! :) Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on January 14, 2012 at 11:21 am
    • There should be another heating source as a back-up, even if would just heat up one room. Why not have on old-fashioned wood-burning stove or a fireplace somewhere? That's the real rustic coastal way of living and it should be cherished, not demolished…. Just thinking about the storms and power outages. Gas fireplaces are not the same than real ones. This idea really stinks.

      AnneFinn on January 8, 2012 at 11:35 pm
    • I would always choose a real fireplace over a fake fireplace any day of the week.
      I hope DIY comes to realize they need to keep the fake out of such a grand house and just bite the bullet
      and put in a real fire place and call it a day.

      Hawkweed on January 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm
    • Hi Clive,
      My neighbor augments his gas fired furnace with a wood fired unit; it is, as you've mentioned elswhere, a bit labor intensive, but it saves him quite a lot on his gas bill. I would prefer to see a fireplace, where I can enjoy the warmth and beauty of the fire in a given room (say, the livingroom). A firewood pile to support a fireplace isn't as labor intensive to attain or maintain and a fireplace adds so much to the ambiance of the home. A gas flame doesn't give the same effect due the lack of aroma and variation of flame from real wood fires. A gas fireplace in the bedroom can be romantic, but a real wood fireplace in the livingroom offers comfort.

      DGustaf on January 9, 2012 at 9:50 am
    • I like the idea of an outside wood burner, they are wonderful for our MN winters & can heat the whole house over 2500 sq ft & huge shop on one fill per day……with all that hardwood available it's a shame not to take advantage of it & go green……We burn with wood & have our propane heat as back up, & have a gas fireplace…..but the wood burner heats the home much much better & it's a warmer heat……so what about the extra work……good exercise never hurt anyone & we're in our 50's…..
      I don't like the idea of slider's in the master……would rather see something else! Beautiful otherwise!!!! :)

      TAMMY on January 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm
  3. Thanks for the new info. As to the last comment, there is no ambience from a gas stove. Surely you could have found somwhere to put a beautiful stone or brick wood burning fireplace. I still feel that the layout of the master suite is extremely space-wasteful – all that space wasted on a hallway, I don't get that at all. Do I understand correctly that the terrace to be placed on the front of the house, which is very close to the road, is where you plan for grilling? What, you then take the food through the foyer, through the living room, to the dining room or beyond to the back deck? I don't follow the design logic here. Now, don't get me wrong, I'd learn to live with it if I were to win:S

    windsmurf on January 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm
    • You're reading the kitchen & terrace thing wrong. There are sliding double doors (yuck) at the rear of the house between the kitchen and dining areas. They intend there to be a deck out that side for grilling. It's logical if, possibly, a little unimaginitive.

      Clive on January 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm
    • Thanks Clive, I did read that wrong. I am with you on the yuck factor of the sliding doors and the lack of imagination.

      windsmurf on January 6, 2012 at 10:28 am
    • Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! This is NOT the example of Knickerbocker creativity! And I originally recommended them? What gives????:S:|o.0 Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on January 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm
    • Way too much hallway. Why?

      Hawkweed on January 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm
    • I've been asking that question too. :( I'm concerned about wall space in the master BR for a dresser and mirror, chest of drawers the only apparent wall available will probably be taken by the Sponsor's big TV SET in front of the bed. There's just lost space! And NO linen closet in the house–I suppose one could be carved out in the guest BR, but how inconvenient. The long hallway is too narrow to use at all. Whoever thunk this one out hasn't experience with a family size and needs household. =/ Too sad.

      DwnSoDwnEaster on January 8, 2012 at 11:58 pm
    • Because it is wasted space, it doesn't serve any good function and it could have been avoided easily thereby giving more space to the bedroom or a walk-in closet.

      windsmurf on January 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm
    • I was thinking about that hallway–wondering about the wasted space and how wide it is, now. We don't have that number, but IF it is wide enough, maybe it will fit a chest of drawers or two–not ideal—but where do we put our small stuff? One doesn't hang one's so cks and und er ware in the closet.

      DwnSoDwnEaster on January 17, 2012 at 10:06 am
    • BUT WAIT! There may just be a redeeming beauty that will smooth over the front awkwardness! If–big IF–they put in an "L" shaped farm porch along the front terrace, say about 6ft. deep (they can now do that because they moved the front door/entry!) and they run this porch from the edge closest to road past front door, turn left and run to the front left corner, you have a complete new, old New England Cape look! and VERY convenient, with the front porch ending near where you park the cars!
      B):*<3 Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on January 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm
    • Bet they can't bring this structure any closer to the road than they are now because of setback rules. Even a porch would count but a terrace may not.

      weejean on January 15, 2012 at 11:29 am
    • Weejean, you're right. I know that, where the original front door was, this setback issue prevented a farmer's porch. but I think there will be a small (smaller than I originally posted above) porch over the new entry, because of its position perpendicular to existing main house "wings" and within the terrace. This porch will offer some shelter, while one opens the door during inclement weather and adds some character to the entry. It could not be L shaped as I had originally hoped due to the short footage extension of the front foyer/mudroom part.:) Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on January 16, 2012 at 11:57 am
    • I agree with you totally – way too big a Master Suite. I know this house – it's about an hour from me on the coast. That is a busy road and if they mean to utilize that terrace for anything but an entrance it probably won't happen — even if you do win. You'll grill out back I'll bet.

      weejean on January 15, 2012 at 11:26 am
  4. Thanks for the info! Love that building materials are going to a reuse store. They are giving the future owners their first project….take put gas fireplace and replace with woodburning inserts to help heat home. Replacing the sliding doors are project two. Looking forward to learning more!

    archi on January 5, 2012 at 6:02 pm
    • Ha! You read my mind: "Now if I win, I'll change XYZ… " (Am guessing I'd also repaint the interior since I foresee not liking the final color choices)

      Adriana on January 6, 2012 at 8:30 am
    • I agree I have about the woodburninginserts I have one in my house It is wonderful I think the sliding doors need to be gone.

      Thelma on January 6, 2012 at 3:27 pm
  5. Thank you for the post Mary and Kimberly for your information. I understand and am happy with most everything but am sorry to say I am hugely disappointed about the gas stove substituting for a fireplace. A gas stove may indeed supply efficient heat but has ZERO ambiance. Surely you can't be serious? A Maine coastal cabin without a fireplace-shame on you!:S:o:'(

    SID on January 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm
    • I think we all should raise our voices about the gas stove ideal DIY is thinking about. For it is bad one indeed.

      Hawkweed on January 8, 2012 at 11:24 pm
    • Couldn't agree more! I have a house on the Maine coast and I ripped out all the 'practical' wood/gas stoves and replaced them with gorgeous fireplaces (or should I say returned as the 1902 house originally had fireplaces). Not only are they beautiful, but when researched and built properly, they are practical. One word for stoves . . . HIDEOUS!!

      mtmslg on January 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm
  6. I agree with Clive, that definitely clears up some good suggestions we requested. I prefer to take the optimistic approach with the new information. It just goes to show Mary was reading our blog which is a great sign as we progress with future suggestions. Thank you Mary for that. I know that I will adore this home as we move along with the process.

    lucyourdog on January 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm
    • PS – Thanks Mary for the quick response and the new blog !!

      lucyourdog on January 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm
  7. Thanks for answering our most important questions, Mary. They all make perfect sense. As for the gas stove (and I'm sure they make them), how about a dual-fuel stove. One that uses either gas or wood? Very sorry to hear that the floors fell apart.

    Dghawk4 on January 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm
  8. Too bad about the floors and joists. It is what it is and I am sure the finished house will be superb.

    Daniel_Gard on January 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm
    • Hi Daniel! Do you happen to know how many sq. ft. the home is? From what I've seen, the home is massive. It would have been nice if they added that as a "Tid Bit".

      mommyto8 on January 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm
    • Hi Mommyto8…. I have seen two different quotes as to the size of the BC's square footage, one quote was 2,566sq.ft and the other one was 2,400 sq. ft. I will research again to see if I can find the correct square footage…..

      Jennie/Florida on January 5, 2012 at 11:17 pm
    • Good Morning Jennie/Florida! One thing I've noticed about this blog…..everyone is so kind, welcoming and informative. Thank you.

      mommyto8 on January 6, 2012 at 9:25 am
    • It's a bit confusing as there are sevreal area measurements given and all refer to slightly different things. The majority of realtors sites agree that the house is 2,566 square feet. However,there's a caveat on some that the total under roof is 4166 sq ft. You can take this to mean the 4166 figure included the (now demolished) attached old barn that was used for storage and maybe a summer / rec room. It could also include the basement or both basement and old barn. However, as one is gone and the other will probably not have living space (bedroom & bathroom) neither should be included in the total area of the 'house' which I believe remains at 2,566 plus the new, small living room bump-out, possibly. This depends on how Maine calculates indoor sq footage – is it actually measured indoors or do they take the ground footprint and multiply by the number of floors. If they take the footprint then the bump-out isn't included as taxable sq footage as it has no ground footprint.

      Lets just go with the 2566 sq ft and not worry about the minor discrepanceies. At least it's not like the 1400 sq ft mistake /difference between real and realtor area of last year's BC. xD

      Clive on January 6, 2012 at 11:45 am
    • Good way to look at it, Clive! B):D Kitty

      DwnSoDwnEaster on January 6, 2012 at 11:50 am
    • Don't really know how Maine figures sq footage. I always thought it was the actual space inside the house?

      Windee on January 6, 2012 at 7:17 pm
    • Daniel, I'm with you, I'm confident that the house will turn out great. Must have patience. For a lot of this they will have to go with the flow. They will need a lot of flexibility- to change course when they hit a snag. You can bet there are many!!! This is the beauty of a "redo" rather than being in a fancy schmancy "gated community" building a new cabin. Remember how it used to be??

      hokiemom on January 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm
  9. Thanks for the info. I'm sure it will be beautiful when its complete.

    mommyto8 on January 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm
  10. It's going to be so interesting to see the changes as they unfold. The house & property are so perfectly located & the scenery is gorgeous! You sure do find remarkable properties & transform them-love watching & wishing.

    Marji on January 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm

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