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Transformation in Stages

Meadowlark’s first project! When the homeowners purchased this pre-1830’s Ann Arbor home in 2003, it had fallen into a state of severe disrepair. In order to save the home, the current structure had to be stabilized and the foundation rebuilt. A multi-stage remodel, this home has had several phases of work.

The Vision

Attracted to the idea of The Not-So-Big®House from Sarah Susanka’s, the homeowners wanted to make a "jewelbox” from this small neglected original farmhouse in the Water Hill neighborhood of Ann Arbor. While the footprint remained the same, a master suite addition was needed on the second floor to support a growing family in this small old farmhouse.


The Team

Design & Architecture: Doug Selby

Project Manager: Doug Selby


Schematic Design

Before any true remodeling began, all the layers added over 175 years needed to be peeled away, revealing the inner core of the home. Portions of the home required complete re-building, and most parts of the home were recycled back into the home or would be made into furniture. Careful planning and building followed to realize the full beauty and utility of this 1576 square foot home. At 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, every square inch of this home is utilized.

  • Complete gut remodel
  • Wraparound treads of the stairs become a curio shelves in the living room
  • Cabinets, doors and trim throughout the house were made from highly figured curly cherry wood
  • The basement was dug out by hand for future finishing
  • The front porch was re-built with cedar and copper pillars in the same dimensions as the 1924 addition to the home

Design Development

  • Addition was made using reclaimed wood from the original home
  • The wrought iron stair railing was custom designed and built by Drew Kyte of Kyte Metalwerks
  • Built-in cabinets made from curly cherry are throughout the home
  • The kitchen cabinets are bookmatched curly cherry
  • A cook’s kitchen has a large built-in cutting board
  • A complete energy makeover makes this home a model of efficiency

The Results

This small old farmhouse lives large into the future. In many hands this home would have been destined for the wrecking ball. Instead, it lives into the future as a model of green renovation. Hand craftsmanship and small delights can be found throughout the home.

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