Taking the Plunge In Reverse

Our clients had recently purchased an 1800's home with a too tiny kitchen and a dated 70's indoor pool addition. They wanted to optimize and revitalize this antique home, while keeping its historic character.


Because it was not financially feasible to keep the pool, we filled it in, adding a significant amount of usable living space to the home, including guest quarters and a sunny playroom.


An addition atop the pool allowed for an expanded gourmet kitchen adjacent to the family room and a new mud entry, while improving the "look" of the rear of the house. The final layout offers an open informal space for the family to gather at the heart of the home with features and details that respect the integrity of the original antique home.


Careful attention was paid to respecting the age of the home and its details, although new materials were introduced so the client could take advantage of the latest and greatest in building materials. Maintenance free energy efficient replacement window sashes, closed cell foam insulation, composite decking materials mix with custom wood cabinetry, fir flooring and cedar roof shingles to create a harmonious blend of old and new.

Befores and Plans


before picture of the indoor pool addition

To get started, let's look at some "befores" and look at what we plan to do.


Here's the pool. An indoor pool addition had been built in the 70's, but had not been properly maintained. No provisions had been made to manage humidity generated by the pool.


view of the indoor pool looking towards the yard

This excess humidity was creating problems in the home.


We explored the option of restoring the pool and installing a humidity control system in the home, but it was costly.


bright colors and pool furniture are the highlights of this indoor pool

Our clients decide that this was not the best possible use of their remodeling budget, and made the decision to have the pool filled in and repurpose the space for mixed family use.


Clark Construction floor plan of lower level of New Canaan Connecticut home before home improvements.

Before Plan Lower Level


Here's what the layout of the lower level was like. Most of the space was taken up by the pool. There were narrow steps from the upstairs which landed in a dingy laundry room.




Clark Construction of Ridgefield’s after plan for the lower level of a historical New Canaan CT home, where the pool is to be converted to finished living space.

After Plan Lower Level


Filling in the pool gave space for a playroom with adjoining flexible space that can be used as a guest suite along with an en-suite bath, or as an exercise room.


A new open staircase will lead down to the lower level mezzanine.


On this lower level, there is more closet storage, including a huge walk-in closet, a fresh appealing laundry room, and space for a future wine cellar.



Before layout of a historical New Canaan CT home before renovations.

Before Floor Plan, First Floor

Atop the pool was a woefully undersized kitchen, family room and a leaking deck.


The clients wanted a chef's kitchen for two: one that better integrated with the family room. They also wanted to improve the entry and have a mudroom.


Adding an addition gave us an opportunity to improve the architectural lines as well.

Clark Construction of Ridgefield’s after plan for the first floor of a historical New Canaan CT home, including the kitchen addition and great room.

Here are some "before" shots of the kitchen. The only access into the house from the driveway is through the door on the right. There's no coat closet, and no place for our clients to dump their stuff as they came in the door.


Kitchen “before” picture with small windows and limited counter space.There's very little counter space, too little storage, and certainly no room for two people to cook together.


L shaped kitchen with old cabinets before kitchen remodeling begins.The appliances dwarf the space, and the cabinets were dated.


Oversized appliances dwarf the cabinets in this before kitchen image with white cabinets.

After Floor Plan, First Floor

The kitchen will be expanded, and placed alongside the great room, allowing the two spaces to work well together.


The side entry will be relocated, allowing us to carve out some space for a mudroom and an easily accessible set of stairs to the lower level.


The mudroom will have built-ins as well as ample closets for coats.


We even found room to shoe horn in a walk-in pantry off the new kitchen.


”After plan” for the first floor of a historical New Canaan CT home by Clark Construction, including kitchen, diningroom, great room and sunroom.

Rear Elevation


The lower level guest room and en-suite bath layout necessitated eliminating the two sliding doors on this face of the pool addition.


We popped in a couple of windows and filled in the grade. This allowed us to create a way to get from the deck to the lower level's walk out patio.



A new staircase was added and descends from the deck to a flagstone walkway on top of the filled in space near the guest bedroom windows. From here, new flagstone steps lead to the walk out patio.


Shed and gable additions on this historic home slated for removal as part of the renovation project.


Here you can see the old shed and gable additions atop the pool addition, and the sliders that we will need to take out in order to install the guest bedroom windows.

shed dormer and gable roofThe shed dormer was over the kitchen, and the gable roof over the family room.


area outside the existing pool addition awaiting backfilling

Here is the area that we will be filling in so that we can make a pathway from the upper deck to the lower patio.


Unsightly balcony that does not go with the house is slated for removal during renovations.

Reworking the roof lines meant removing the old awkwardly placed balcony seen in this photos which was accessed from the upstairs hall.


The old door and window were replaced with an arched window that features a period correct, Gothic arched grill pattern. The new window will be aligned with the existing shed dormer above to improve symmetry and balance.


Clark Construction left side elevation of kitchen addition with new deck, on Weed Street, New Canaan CT home.

Left Elevation


The side entry was relocated to allow for a new mudroom, and finished off with a landing and roof above.


We will be replacing all the sashes with energy efficient versions. This will allow us to retain all the original moldings inside and out, as well as keeping "the historic look" of the home.



Right elevation of historic New Canaan CT shows new great room addition with pool conversion to interior space below.

Right Elevation


The pool originally had a series of five extra tall sliders that opened to a sunken patio.


Two, previously mentioned, were on the right end and were eliminated where we popped in two windows for the guest bedroom.


The remaining 8' sliders were replaced with standard height sliders, with detailing to make them look like they have always been that way.


Tall sliders ready for removal to bring the space down to scale and increase weather-tightness.

Here are those extra tall sliders.


Construction Begins

empty pool waiting for Clark Construction to begin.

Here's the pool - Ready to go!


slider has been removed and excavator reaches into break up the pool.

We removed one of the sliders so that we could get the machine in to break up the pool.


Excavator squeezes through the opening.

The machine just fits through the opening.


Hydraulic hammer gets ready to break up sides of pool.

A hydraulic hammer was used to break up the pool.


We had to break it up because if we didn't then if the water table rose, the pool would rise up as well.


Hydraulic hammer starts to break up pool surface.

Starting to break up the pool surface.


Dirt is exposed as pool bottom is broken up.

You can see the dirt underneath as the base is broken up.


close up of pool bottom with pool bottom being broken up


fill dirt added once base is broken up.

Once the base was broken up, fill dirt was added.


gravel is added to pool surface

Gravel was added on top of the fill dirt as a base for concrete.


rebar is drilled into the sides to preclude movement in the concrete later

Rebar was drilled into the sides. This ensured that the concrete would not drop after it was poured and time passed.



Now the pool is completely filled in.


After the concrete gelled we used a power trowel to smooth the surface. This puts a proper finish on it.


demo of ceiling begins

After we had a solid working floor, demolition of the ceiling began.


Doing it in this order was so much easier and more efficient than trying to manipulate ladders over a 10' deep uneven pool floor.


As we demoed the ceiling, we discovered extensive black lumber and rot.


A Professional Engineer was called in to evaluate the structure and make recommendations for our clients.

framed basement floor with joists over concrete

While we waited for his recommendations, we framed a floor atop the concrete in order to be able to insulate the space and have somewhere to run the ducts and pipes.


Since the ceilings were 12' to 16' high, it wasn't like we needed the extra height.


temporary walls hold up the ceiling

Where we've taken the sliders out, temporary walls were required to hold up the ceiling.


base of sliders has been raised up to preclude future water incursion


Typically sliders and doors are raised up a few inches from the grade outside, so that you "step down" when you step out through them.


In this pool addition they had been built flush to the patio. We built them up with concrete block to preclude future water incursion.

masonry openings framed down to provide standard height door openings

So that the facade would look more original, we filled in the top of the openings with masonry to provide for more standard height slider openings.


masonry wall framed with concrete block with a brick pattern

Here's where the guest bedroom windows will go.


Note that the concrete block has a "brick pattern' so it will look like painted brick rather than concrete block when it is done.


After the wall was built it was waterproofed.


plastic added over waterproofing of the concrete wall as a belt and suspenders solution to preclude water incursion

Then, as a "belt and suspenders" practice, plastic was added over the waterproofing.


We'll do everything we can to keep the house watertight!


backfilled path with flagstone

This area was backfilled, and then we reset the old flagstone, creating a new walkway to the backyard.


steps from the patio to the side

The mason is making the steps from the back patio to the side. These will be faced with flagstone.


completed steps with flagstone

The steps are complete.


wrought iron rail dresses up the steps

And then a wrought iron rail was added.



trench has been dug for generator electrical and propane lines

Here we are digging a trench so that we can run the electrical and propane lines for the generator.


hole dug for large propane tank

A big hole was needed to bury 1000 gallon underground propane tank.


propane tank is lowered into place

Lowering the tank into place.



Positioning it exactly.


propane tank in place in large hole

Now it's in place.


man and tank work together to fill the hole

Man and machine work together to cover up the propane tank.


final touches on filling in the dirt around the propane tank


 concrete pad poured to provide a stable base for the generator

A concrete pad was poured to provide a stable base for the generator.


Generac generator

Here's the generator in place. It's settled in and the flowers are blooming. Note how they match the Generac logo!


More importantly, this generator is big enough to run the whole house, so power outages will be a "non-event" for the clients.


demolition of the family room is underway

Once the masonry work was complete, demolition of the family room began.


The engineer's recommendations included replacing the whole ceiling at the deck end of the pool addition, and sistering up a lot of joists nearer the original house.


joists sistered for reinforcement

Here a joist is sistered up where the original one was rotten.


exntesive rot seen at the connection of the addition to the home.

This is where the addition connected to the house. There was extensive rot here as well.


looking into the kitchen after demo is complete

Demolition is complete. Here we are looking into the kitchen.


We were able to retain the ceiling and outside wall of the great room, although we had to remove the entire roof structure.


ceiling of the lower level has been removed

Here the ceiling of the lower level (aka the floor of the kitchen) has been removed for replacement. This gives you a bird's eye view of the ducts running across the floor on the lower level.


rotten materials have been removed, leaving the home open to the sky

Rotten structural material removed. The lower level is open to the sky.


another view of the lower level after all demo has been completed



materials are ready for reframing the damaged areas

Here's the material we are going to use to reframe the damaged areas and restore their integrity.


ceiling of lower level is replaced

The whole ceiling of the lower level was replaced.


Here you can see the ring beam circling the perimeter.


Peeking inside, on the lower level, gives you a view of the newly raised interior walls.


subfloor is installed in the kitchen

With structural work out the way, the sub floor went down in the kitchen.


insulator gets ready to spray open cell foam

Then work was able to start up again in the lower level. Here the insulator gets ready to spray closed cell foam in the floor.

open cell foam insulation in progress

Closed cell foam was used for two reasons. First, since fiberglass insulation would have absorbed the moisture created by the concrete floor's temperature differential with the room, and to avoid having a "cold" floor, typical of a concrete room.



He will return after rough mechanicals are complete to spray insulation in the walls.


Now the floor is down, and interior walls are laid out, framing materials are in place, and we are getting ready to frame the interior walls.


Work on the lower level HVAC is underway.



The interior walls are going up; here is the door to the guest quarters.



HVAC ductwork is being installed the wall on the right, with the mechanical room straight ahead.


The clever layout of the space eliminated the need for unsightly soffits to disguise the steel I beams that traversed the ceiling without reducing the ceiling height.


Here's the guest room with its windows cued up for installation.


This is where the steps that descend from the mudroom to the lower level will go.


Back on top at the addition, the new perimeter kitchen wall is up.


With everything open, it was important to keep it dry and night. Massive tarps did the trick.



Underneath the tarp, the interior walls for the kitchen and great room are taking shape. Here is a shot looking from kitchen to great room.


On the left we'll have the pass through. Between the two walls, cabinetry.

Here the walls of the addition are framed, and insulation is installed that will provide cushioning for the EPDM roof above it.


Here the insulation is being installed, and you can see the deck posts which are in place.





The ceiling joists are on the great room. It's starting to look like a house again! The deck has been trimmed out, with the EPDM roof complete.


The new sliders are being installed in the openings on the lower level.


Upstairs, in the great room and kitchen, the walls have been framed. Here you can see the recess for the TV in the great room. The controls will be housed in a cabinet in the kitchen, keeping it sleek and simple on the great room side.


In the kitchen, the bay window and window seat have been framed.


In the middle where the island will be located you can see where the plumbing has been roughed, ready for the island sink.

Here's the mudroom, and the relocated door to the outside and the covered porch.


The roof has been covered with builder's felt and awaits cedar shingles, matching this detail on the antique home.


Ice and water shield is applied first, directly on top of the plywood. This provides a watertight surface. Then on top of that, there is cedar breather which allows air movement under the shakes, and allows them a longer life.


Cedar shakes are being installed.


The new sunroom doors with side lites are installed.


Siding is installed.


Now the siding is done.


Back on the lower level, the walls are being sprayed with closed cell foam.


Here's a closeup shot!


Spray foamed walls

This is what the walls look like after the spray foam is complete.


Concert base in the shower

The tile installer is creating a "mud" (concrete) base in the shower for the shower tile.


Sheetrocking begins in the lower level

Once framing is complete, and rough mechanicals and insulation are done, sheetrock begins.



Sheetrocking phase


Pass through after sheetrocking

Here's the pass through after sheetrocking.


Tile installation on lower level

After sheetrock is finished, tile installation begins in the lower level playroom.


String line ensures straight tile installation

Of course, it is important for the tile to be installed straight. A string is run to make sure that it stays straight across the room, and great care is taken positioning it.


Lower level tile floor is completed

Here is the completed tile floor.

Steps to the basement

Steps down to the lower level have been installed. A hand rail will be installed on the right, but is not there yet.


Rosin paper covers the floor

Rosin paper covers the floor in the lower level ready for paint.


Painting is underway

Painting is underway. The floors have been carefully covered to protect them.


Bright yellow laundry room

And here is a very bright yellow for the laundry room.


Cabinet install underway

Cabinets are being installed, and await finishing details and counters.


Counter installation in the kitchen design




Granite counter installation in the kitchen remodel

Counters are installed.


finished pass through

Here is the finished pass through.


mudroom floor has been tiled

The mudroom floor has been tiled.


installed counters are covered to protect them

The counters are installed, but covered so that they don't get damaged while the finishing details are completed.


The appliances have been installed and it's starting to come together.

backsplash is carerra marble tile

The backsplash has been completed. It looks classic, with a little pattern to it, giving it some interest, without being "in your face".

window seat has been trimmed out

The window seat has been trimmed out.


painting the kitchen addition

More painting.


new deck with rails

On the outside, the deck with its rails.


outside of the kitchen

Here's the outside of the kitchen. The window seat is within this bay window with its cedar roof.


Trex on steps

Trex has been used on the steps.


sunroom doors

Sunroom doors are done.




new steps to backyard with Trex decking

Here are the new steps off the back deck going down to the backyard, with Trex decking.



lower steps completed, and painting underway

The lower level steps have been completed and painting is underway.


 =modern floating vanity

Here's a modern floating vanity for the bathroom.


completed shower

The shower is now complete.



floating shelves near the shower

Floating shelves adjacent to the shower will be very convenient for towels and baskets of toiletries.



hardwood stain samples on the floor

Now it's time to finish the hardwood. You can see the squares of stained floor samples at the end of the island used to select the final flooring color.


floor finshers at work

From the mudroom, you can see the floor finishers at work.



screening the hardwood floor

Here they are screening the floor.



 hardwood floor finishing work

While much of the flooring work can be done with a big machine, the edges are done by hand. Good quality prep work is essential for good results with the final finish coats.



completed floor in the great room

The finished hardwood in the great room, appropriately looks great!


finished floor in the kitchen and great room with natural light

The finished floor in the kitchen and great room with the sun making patterns on it.



finished window seat

Here's the finished window seat.



island with butcher block and farm sink

The island features butcher block recessed into the counter and a farm sink.



mudroom floor

Here's a shot of the mudroom floor.



steps to mezzanine with new handrail

The steps down to the mezzanine with the new handrail.


stone landing

A stone landing makes the stairs more interesting than they would have been if they were "all wood".


combination of wood and stone at the base of the stairs

Here, at the base of the stairs, the combination of wood and stone looks great.



replacement window sashes

A final challenge was to replace over fifty windows with new energy efficient versions while preserving the various original case moldings found in the different additions that had been built over 150 years ago.


Rather than doing full replacements, we replaced just the sashes.


Simulated divided lite grills were ultimately chosen and look historically appropriate for this new England classic.

After Photos

Clark Construction's great room and kitchen addition atop the former indoor pool addition, on a historical home in New Canaan CT

Looking at the house from the backyard, you can see the addition we built atop the former indoor pool addition.


The kitchen is on the right side. On the left, the great room. Below the kitchen and great room is the lower level where the pool was located. It's been replaced by the guest bedroom, playroom and en-suite bath.


Attention was paid to bringing the pool addition back in line architecturally with the rest of the home. Squaring off the addition allowed for a “ski slope” roof line to replace the former gable and shed dormer.


You can see on the lower level where we filled in the grade and popped in a couple of windows for the guest suite. A new staircase was added from the upper deck that leads down to a slate pathway. Now there's easy access to the backyard and the lower level spaces both the great room.



Covered side entry porch leads to a new mudroom in this kitchen addition project in New Canaan Connecticut

The new covered side entry porch leads into the new mud room.


By relocating the side entry, we were able to carve out some space for this mudroom area, and fit in an easily accessible set of stairs to the lower level.

Mud room cabinetry organizes muddy shoes and snow covered books on this New England historical home.

The new covered mud entry on the side is just steps from the driveway and detached garage. The stone flooring will hold up to years of muddy shoes and snow covered boots. The custom built in storage bench and shelves keep gloves, scarves and the like organized and within reach.


Building on clues from the original styling led to a kitchen and mudroom that is a felicitous pairing of old and new. The cabinetry and trims, with an abundance of traditional detailing, molding and pilasters, feel fresh and classic at the same time.


Clark  Construction's kitchen renovations include furniture style details such as arched toe valences, side panels and decorative corbels in New Canaan CT

Custom furniture style details are found throughout the kitchen in arched toe valances, beaded side panels, decorative corbels at the island and the mantle style hood.


Even the placement of the required electrical outlets at the island was carefully considered. They are neatly integrated into the corner posts.



Contemporary lighting fixtures, whimsical window coverings, (on order) and pops of color make this classic kitchen feel fashion forward in an antique home.

Oversized Calacatta gold subway tile for the backsplash offset the honed black stone used on the counters.


New Canaan CT kitchen design features a window seat and island stools from Clark Construction.

A charming window seat allows for casual family meals while the island stools lend themselves to quick snacks.


Classic inset style white painted cabinetry was chosen for its neutrality and broad appeal.


A large built-in cutting board was cut into the island top next to the sink and directly over the pullout trash bin to make rinsing and chopping of vegetables a breeze.


Pass through betweent the kitchen and great room serves as bar buffet and homework center.

This large pass through between the kitchen and family room serves as bar, buffet and homework spot away from the island and kitchen table.


On the great room side, stools provide an ideal homework station.

On the family room side, a couple of stools provide an ideal homework station.


By matching existing fir floors and mimicking existing moldings, the new section blends seamlessly with the old original areas of the home. The addition of a large dog has aided in aging the new floors to blend in further with the original flooring.


New Canaan great room after the home improvements and addition is a great cozy space, designed and built by Clark Construction.

And here's the family room. It's a much warmer space now that we have insulated the walls and ceiling and replaced the windows. Lighting changes make it feel more cozy.


Additions, deck and other improvements on this historical New Canaan CT home.

On this side you have a good view of the new addition, the deck and other improvements to the lower level that were made.


Stairs from the mudroom to the lower level

Perhaps, the best feature of the interior reconfiguration is the location and design of the new stairs that go from the mudroom to the lower level. The elimination of the awkward dark stairs and fear of bumping your head makes an inviting entrance to the lower level.

As a bonus, the fact that the client's children can come and go from the side entry without needing to pass through the main living areas will help keep the peace in the house.


As you go down the stairs, there's a lower mezzanine, with storage, and room for a future wine closet.


Lower level playroom with guest quarters highlight the lower level of this historic renovation project in New Canaan CT by Clark Construction.

Here's the lower level playroom. In the distance you can see the guest quarters. Any sign of the former pool is gone from sight.


The repurposed lower level adds quality space to the home; dark dank spaces have been replaced with open, bright rooms full of custom features not often found in antique homes.

The lower level is a flex space, and can be used in limitless ways. The owners opted to tile the lower level playroom floor as they envisioned their young son using the space to ride his bicycle indoors. It will work just as well as an exercise room or as a family room.


 Guest quarters with its en-suite bathroom.

The guest quarters are bright and sunny, with an en-suite bathroom. The French doors will allow this space to act as a future office or work-out room should future owners not wish for another bedroom.


Contemporary bath design in New Canaan  Connecticut

The new bath, with its' contemporary design, feels like a day spa.


The en-suite bath was purposely designed in a contemporary style and boasts a huge shower to enjoy after taking a turn in the sauna.

Our clients initially had reservations about the challenge of mixing in contemporary details and finishes, but are ecstatic with the balance that was achieved between classic and fresh touches.


Laundry area in a historic New Canaan home.

Here's the new and bright laundry area. We had removed a duct that ran across the window, replaced the window, and relocated the stairs that came down into this room, so it is much larger and sunnier now.


Even the former laundry room received a fresh update. The tile floor replaced dingy carpet. A bright yellow wall and one wall of blackboard paint makes this space a pleasant one in which to spend time while doing laundry. The original door that led to the former pool space now accesses a bonus space that will act as storage and wine cellar.


Front of historic New Canaan CT home, with remodeling by Clark Construction.

The clients are thrilled with the new space.


Any doubts our clients once had in eliminating the pool have long dissipated as the new living space offers something for everyone.


They are thrilled with how the spaces flow seamlessly together, both inside and out.


They find it reminds them of past homes they have loved, and so they feel right at home here, as if they have been here all along.