Kitchen addition / re-build in Boxford, MA

Wall Section / Detail

After a few weeks, some engineering, and a couple of productive, informative meetings at Boxford Town Hall – the contractor, D.W. Philpot Construction – is ready to pull the building permit on a small – but important kitchen expansion for our clients. The challenge on this project was two-fold; cutting an 18′-0″ ‘hole’ out of the north side of the house and supporting it structurally, and providing new footings that can support the addition – but can be ‘hand dug’. The property is close enough to an adjacent wetlands so that no excavating equipment may be driven onto the site.

These two portions of the work allow the existing kitchen to extend out four feet – a relatively small increase in square footage – but of great value in making a more functional kitchen – with a direct connection to the deck and the backyard. The kitchen designer came up with a floorplan that the owners were excited to get built – so my portion of the work was to get the drawings done to illustrate the structural and architectural components necessary for the extension, and for a building permit. Over the two weeks or so the project took to execute, two site visits were required and a few phone calls with both the structural engineer and the building inspector clarified any and all questions.


While Boxford, MA does not yet employ the ‘stretch energy code’ – a series of building code modifications that increase a building’s efficiency – with the addition of a new, 6′-0″ sliding door, I felt it important to frame the addition out of 2X6 dimensional lumber to allow for increased insulation. This would offset the newly introduced heat loss (in the form of nearly 60 sq. ft. of glazing on the north side of the house) and keep the scope of work from expanding to additional heating equipment / mechanical work. Even these small measures help reduce energy use, and the associate carbon footprint. Both Dan Philpot, the builder -  and I are fans of spray-applied closed-cell foam for its great insulation performance as well as a good performing vapor retarder. The project calls for this system throughout – new floor framing, walls, and roof – as well as any existing structure that gets modified or opened up.