The Mythical Addition

On October 20, 2000, I stood with my wife in the driveway to our new log home in the  hills of Middlesex, Vermont.  We had just come to our new home from the closing, and it was a beautiful autumn morning.  We walked slowly up the driveway; while I’m sure we felt all the same anxiety and uncertainty that most new home-owners experience, we were sure of two things:

  • The movers would along shortly with all our belongings;
  • That the house – while smaller than our old home in Connecticut – would be just fine for us and our two little daughters.

How wrong we were.  The movers weren’t along shortly…they were along much, much later (as darkness was falling in fact), coked up and disorganized; they also promptly buried the moving truck up to its axles in our front yard.  We ended up unloading the damn thing in the dark and hauling the furniture from the yard to the house.  (The movers’ corpses are now buried underneath our compost pile.  While they sucked as movers, they made pretty decent fertilizer.)

The second – and ultimately more challenging – reality was that, while we loved our home, it was in fact too small.  Worse, its floor-space insufficiency grew drastically over the years:

I attribute this to a number of factors:

  1. The “two little girls” (ages 7 and 4, I think, at the time) had a disturbing trend of growing larger and more private, requiring more space as a result.
  2. Because we are gluttons for punishment, we added a third little girl to the mix.  We have found over time that 1 girl + 1 girl + 1 girl does not equal three girls.  It equals approximately 26.5 girls.  As the girls age and become young women, the value goes up exponentially.  I refer to this as the Female Exponentiation Factor.
  3. Under optimal space constraints, at any given time, approximately 1/3 of the female population is not speaking to the other 2/3rds.  When space is restricted, the ratio increases dramatically.

But, on that crisp October morning ten years ago, all these concerns were far in the future.  Walking up the driveway, we told ourselves “if space becomes an issue, we’ll just build an addition to the house.”

And so was born The Mythical AdditionThe Mythical Addition became a staple of our family lexicon over the years, as in:

“Daddy, when can I have my own room?  Hope’s driving me crazy!”

“When we build the Mythical Addition, honey.”

We had many variations of this exchange over the years (“Dad, you’ve locked me in the closet!  That’s your bedroom, Lynne!” and “I want a real piano!”).  Tears were shed; alliances were shattered; hope faded; The Twin Towers fell.  George Bush won the Presidency not once, but twice.  The economy tanked.   Things looked bleak, and it seemed that the Mythical Addition would reside forever only as myth.

Then, one night, last year in the fall of 2009, my wife and I had a calm, reasonable discussion about the Mythical Addition:

“Is it safe?” My wife said, holding the drill in front of my face.

“No, it’s not safe.” I replied through sweat and tears.

Screams.  Anguish.

“Is it safe?”

“Yes, it’s safe!  It’s so safe you wouldn’t believe it!”

See a recreation of the discussion starring Lawrence Oliver and Dustin Hoffman below:

Anyway, you get the idea.  And so we began the long, twisted journey of bringing the Mythical Addition to reality.  This blog post will document that journey now.


To get started, we needed a “kick.”  In our case, the kick was hiring a designer who could put our admittedly vague ideas of what the addition should look like into some realistic picture.

We scored when we hired Dora Coates of DoveCote Design, a great designer who was both insightful and very speedy with her work.  You can check out the PDF representations of her design below:

A1-McConnell 11X17 A2-McConnell 11X17 A3-McConnell 11X17 A4-McConnell 11X17 .A5-McConnell 11X17

With that, we were ready to build!  (Well, we thought we were…)

Vermont Creative Carpentry Steps Up

Before we could actually go deep into debt and start work , we first needed to find someone who would actually build the doggone thing for us.  We searched far and wide, and found the answer to our prayers just down the road, in the form Of Vermont Creative Carpentry, led by energetic and cheerful Myron Dorfman, who jumped in with both feet.

What a class act these guys are! Myron, Dave, Derrick, Zach and crew worked with surprising rapidity and a level of professionalism you just have to respect.  When you tell people that you’ve decided to build an addition, it’s much like telling people you’re going to have a baby:  Suddenly everyone has a horror story they just have to share about their own experience dealing with corrupt contractors who vanish to the Caribbean with all their money.  (We had no such concerns with Myron, since we know where he lives…)

Seriously, if you have a construction or carpentry project and you’re looking for a real professional team to take it on, give the VCC guys a call – they are simply the best!

And Now…On With The Show!

So now, sit back, relax, open the frothy beverage of your choosing, and enjoy our little slideshow, and see for yourself how the Mythical Addition has come to reality…

Evolution of the Mythical Addition

April 19th – We begin the dismantling of the Decrepit Deck, in order to make way for the Mythical Addition…

April 20th – Decrepit Deck gone…bring forth the magic!

Look, it’s a big hole…
April 28th – And then…it snowed…
I Love Vermont
May 3rd – A foundation takes shape!
May 12th – The first floor framing goes up
May 12th – Look at the scoops on those beams!  VCC rocks!
June 20th – ready for drying in…
June 23rd – Hope loves our new porch!  Look at the tree-posts!
The finished first floor ceiling
The tile work in the foyer…maple leaf front and center!
Another shot of the foyer (drunken camera-woman?)

And now…some interior shots!

Here’s John installing the ceiling fan in the master bedroom… Which hasn’t fallen (yet)…

The shower  in the new master bathroom…with the iconic tile and pebble floor

The “Bumblebee” Bathroom – so-named for its yellow-and black colors

Original artwork in both Lynne’s bedroom and the upstairs hallway was sensibly preserved…

Downstairs Living Area Pocket Doors leading to the music room

Entry way to living room from the kitchen                                                                                                   Looking out the sliding glass doors at the Vermont Autumn

The music room…

Well, That’s About it For Now…

And now, with the work largely complete and our bank accounts completely empty, we are slowly returning to some semblance of our normal lives, albeit in a much larger, and nicer, space.  I’d like to thank Dora Coates and Myron, David and the guys at Vermont Creative Carpentry once again for their spectacular work!

2 thoughts on “The Mythical Addition

  1. Raccoon?

    I’ve been smelling my friendly neighborhood skunk since March and finally spotted him for the first time this week. He’s mostly white with a narrow black stripe down the middle of his back. He likes to make sure, just about the time we forget, that he is in fact still here. Not a great smell, just a little plith now and again. An annoying as hell kind of thing. Little bastard.

    The addition looks great. It looks like you’ve stuck with the style and the guys are craftsmen. I bet the details like the porch railing and the beams really add a lot to the house. I like the master bathroom shower with the pebble floor.

    I hope your builder knocked something off for the great endorsement!

  2. John, it’s so fun reading your blog on the house addition! Great photos — it’s always a thrill to see how the design turns out in real life. May you all enjoy the space for many many years to come.

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