Even before Andy and Lydale Roberts were settled in Old Goodwood, they were meditating on major changes to their 1950s-vintage cottage.
Built with two bedrooms and one bath, the home had a later addition of another bedroom and bath “stuck onto the back,” Andy Roberts said.
“When we bought the house, we started sketching on paper what we wanted,” he said. “Our idea was to maximize the necessities and minimize the things we don’t use everyday.”
Working with architect Sutton Miley, the Roberts made some unusual changes to completely transform the house.
“We swallowed up a smaller house and built around it,” Andy Roberts said.
They stole about 12 inches from the original dining room and made the remainder of the room into a hallway leading to a 1000-square-foot addition of a family room-kitchen combination.
The tiny original kitchen and the area stolen from the dining room became a half-bath, a kitchen pantry and a butler’s pantry, which opens to a new mudroom-study combination.
In the process of renovating, the Roberts removed three layers of wallpaper and drywall from the old dining room ceiling to discover a wooden ceiling of shiplap, rough-sawn pine often used in barns and old homes.
“It was so nice that we decided to use the same idea on the walls and ceiling of the new addition,” Andy Roberts said.
Because the shiplap has natural imperfections, it is especially easy to care for.
“You don’t have to worry about nail holes,” Lydale Roberts said. “You can just nail something on and forget about it.”
The kitchen section of the big new room contains a center island, which is actually two feet smaller than originally planned.
“When it arrived, it was so big that we had to have it cut down,” Andy Roberts said, “but we still affectionately call it the ‘grand isle.’”
Cabinetmaker John Wilson built the kitchen cabinets exactly as the Roberts wanted, but he didn’t want to stain the wooden counters because of the difficulty in getting the correct stain color.
Andy Roberts, who says they “take do-it-yourself to the extreme,” decided to stain the counters himself one night after work.
“We came back in the morning and hated it,” he said.
“They were purple,” Lydale Roberts said.
The next night, he sanded the countertops to the wood and restained them. This time, the couple was thrilled with the results.
The white wooden 14-foot vaulted ceiling and walls, matching white kitchen cabinets and tall brick fireplace create a warm, expansive living area for the young couple and their two children, Drew, 5, and Mae, 2.
At the back of the large family room is a doorway, perfectly aligned with the front door to give the old and new parts of the home a clear pathway of light from front to back. The door opens to a large back porch with 16-foot ceilings and an extension of the tall brick fireplace.
“We wanted a huge back porch,” Lydale Roberts said. “We love to be outside.”
“A lot of people are building outdoor kitchens,” Andy Roberts said. “We built an outdoor living room.”
The Roberts are surrounded by young families with children, who all get together frequently. It’s what they love about their neighborhood.
They are always thinking and planning for other improvements in the coming years. One day, they hope to add a master suite and an outdoor kitchen and to do some extra landscaping to their large lot. But they are especially happy about the changes they made to the original house.