John Zipser was a friend from Bedford who bought a very old small saltbox.

He said he needed more room and wanted to add a wing with a more gracious living room on the ground floor and a new master bedroom and bath above. The problem was that since it was a house from the colonial days it was very close to the road. It was also built into the side of a hill that was mostly rock.

To make the challenge even more problematic the front and side yard setbacks were so restrictive on the one side that one could conceivably plan the new addition I kept sketching a circle that was tangent to both the front and side yard setbacks. I remember John saying “You’re clever – I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”

The solution was not exactly round but an octagon just might do the trick. John also said that the new addition was to be a bit more stylist than the existing saltbox but must complement each other (He used the analogy of a dignified mother whose daughter had come home and settled next door).

PHOTO: View from the road. The octagon worked as it is practically tangent to the front and side yard setbacks