Description of your space/land/area in question.
The Bell-Spalding House is a timber framed and wood sheathed farmhouse likely built around 1848 and listed on the US National Register of Historic Places for architectural significance. The original farmhouse is Greek Revival, but it is now almost completely surrounded by historic additions, including a prominent two-story Italianate front section added in 1864. The house is located on 2 acres atop a hill fronting the Washtenaw Avenue Business Loop of Interstate 94 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A local landmark, it is passed by over 20,000 people per day and included in tours of historically significant buildings.
What is the existing condition?
In 2013, the house was converted from the headquarters of the Michigan State Historical Society to a private residence. We have a fairly large room that makes no sense. Is it a hallway? Is it an entry? What is it?
What is the problem?
As this was previously a public building, there is no place to do laundry. As it is a historic building, it was designed without closets. The building was assembled from many additions, so it is difficult to understand what some of the rooms should be used for. Our proposed laundry room / boot room currently no storage and 5 doors. It contains the primary entry door used by the homeowners.
What is the challenge?
Create a remodel plan that will maximize storage space and provide a workable laundry area and boot area. However, this has to satisfy the odd traffic pattern of people walking through the room--and still respect the aesthetics of the historic building. It’s a lot to ask from one room. The ideal proposal will almost certainly involve detailed plans for built-in cabinetry and may also involve adding interior walls for a closet.
(*) Add a boot room (either as a separate room or as a space within this room designated with different flooring) featuring built-in benches where you can take off your shoes. These benches should not have fronts so that our shoes can be stored under them on shelves.
(*) Add a laundry area (either by adding a closet for the washer/dryer or placing them in a location that makes sense in this room. Washer/dryer measurements are attached as PDF. Washer/dryer can be side-by-side or stacked.
(*) Add storage space by constructing closets, built-in wall shelving, or some combination of the two. New walls can be built in the room or the room can be redesigned so that the whole room is recognizable as a closet. (Right now the room’s purpose is not clear.)
(*) Provide a path that makes sense for the high-traffic route from the exterior door to the kitchen door.
(*) Specify a suitable waterproof boot room flooring for the boot area (all or part of the room). Keep original wood flooring and/or add tile/linoleum/marmoleum elsewhere.
DESIRABLE, But Not Required
(*) Interesting features consistent with the period of the home, such as small-pane glass windows looking from one interior room to another interior room, or a pass-through to provide more light/visibility if the room is subdivided. Note that the style of this room is simple farmhouse, with plain trim.
(*) Built-in wooden cubbies in the boot room area for 3-4 occupants so that each person can have their own designated space. We like dark (stained) wood.
(*) A place to hang two modern closets worth of coats. (Closet rods might be within new closets or attached to shelves if the entire room is considered to be a closet. Double closet rods might be useful.)
(*) The more shoe storage, the better.
(*) This was originally a farmhouse, so we like sliding barn-style doors. Maybe there is a way to incorporate one?
(*) We like open shelves so all shoes can be plainly seen. We had boot benches with hinged tops but we never bothered to put the boots inside the hinged bench.
(*) Add a place near the washing machine to install a flip-down ironing board for an ironing station.
(*) Place tile and a drain under the washer/dryer machine in case of leaks.
(*) If it would help, remove the door to the basement so that this weird room has fewer doors.
(*) Maximize storage in any way possible -- e.g., by designing shelves all the way to the ceiling or using every available surface for hooks, racks, etc.
(*) A drawer, cupboard, and/or very small counter near the back door for keys, electronics chargers, etc.
(*) A designated rack/space for laundry baskets. See example in inspirations link.
(*) A place to dry clothes (such as a fold out rack or interior washing line) that doesn’t obstruct the path from the back door to the kitchen. See the ceiling-mounted Victorian drying rack on pulleys under houzz "inspirations" link. This would require tile or waterproof flooring underneath it.
(*) LOW PRIORITY: The adjacent bath (room 7) and bedroom (room 9) *almost* creates a mother-in-law suite with an separate outside entrance (to room 9). It isn’t a big priority but it seems like something might be done with this. We aren’t sure.
(*) No laundry sink. We don’t like laundry sinks (and the bathroom and kitchen sinks are already close by).
(*) No bench compartments for shoes that have hinged tops, drawers or doors. We prefer open shelves so all shoes can be seen. (See cabinetry examples in inspirations.) However, it is fine for other cabinetry (not benches for shoe storage) to use doors/drawers.
(*) You can’t make a path to the kitchen that cuts through room 6 (see whole house floor plan for numbering) in order to make a straight line. Room six is unfinished and very narrow.
(*) Don’t modify the swinging door to the kitchen. It was originally the front door to the house (that’s why it has sidelights) and we feel the strangeness is a feature.
(*) Don’t modify the exterior walls of the house.
(*) Don’t modify the exterior windows.
(*) Adding walls is fine within this room, but you can’t remove any walls as we are already happy with the adjacent spaces.
NOTES ON PHOTOS:
We’ve attached photos of nearby rooms to give you a sense of what we think already works well and looks good. We’ve attached photos of rooms 7, 4 and 3 (see floorplan).