Some live in vintage homes. Others live in modern ones. We live in both.
At the same time.
You see, our house has a long architectural history, added to (quite dramatically, I might add) by my grandfather in 1968. The story of The Glass Room is one of family and architecture and dubious compromises.
In 1968, my grandparents, then in the their 50s, found themselves in the classic tweener generation. With their sons grown, with children of their own, my grandparents recognized that my grandfather’s parents were in need of assistance. My great-grandfather, George Leicester Thomas, Sr. was ailing, and my great-grandmother could no longer take care of him herself. So it was decided they should move in with my grandparents, here at Clifton (our farm’s name is Clifton on the Monocacy). As great-granddaddy was in a wheelchair, the house, which sits a half-story above ground level, needed to be made accessible. And additional bathrooms (the house had only one and a half baths) were needed. I don’t know all the details of the search for the architect, or any of the discussions involved, but somehow the addition you see here was conceived.
Constructed of steel I-beam girders, concrete and brick, the addition looks very much like an office building or public school from the outside. If you’ve ever been here, you’ve probably looked at it and wondered what purpose could it have served. Certainly something other than residential use was intended for this very business-like edifice. But here you’d be wrong.
The addition added four and a half bathrooms, a laundry room, an upper glass room with balcony, The Glass Room (which takes up the entire downstairs of the addition), and turned the one-time root cellar/basement into a concrete-encased, theoretically livable space with two of the four new bathrooms. All built to full-on industrial standards (there’s a room in the basement that looks more like the engine room of a submarine than part of a home) including steel beams, stainless steel railings and window casings, and double-pane windows.
All that effort, but the space could be no wider than 12′ because it was somehow inconceivable to move the driveway to accommodate anything wider. So The Glass Room is 40’x12′, including 3 walls of glass.
Just a word about the name of the room: we call it The Glass Room because my grandmother did. We were never to call it a sunroom because it was constructed on the north side of the house, and as such, according to my grandmother, it did not get sun, and was definitely NOT a sunroom. Part of her earnestness about this stemmed from her having wanted the addition to be on the south side of the house (where, incidentally, there was no driveway to interfere with the plans). I think she wanted it emphasized to all (especially my grandfather) that this was NOT a sunroom, as she had conceived.
Nonetheless, grandmother loved this room. Every evening she would walk down to the mailbox, gather her mail and the evening paper (back in the day, there were two papers printed daily, and she got the evening one.) Return to the glass room and read the paper (though she always said she didn’t know why she bothered, because there was never anything in it), and marvel at the setting sun. The narrow walls of the room face the east and west, respectively, and catch the rising and setting sun to perfection.
So let’s just take a look inside…
If you continue past the sofas and side tables, Chip has his desk at the very end of the room. Yes, he gets the corner office.
Of all the living spaces inside our home, this one gets the most use. It’s the brightest, most comfortable, and never fails to give the sense that you’re part of the nature just the other side of the spectacular windows. I hope you enjoyed peaking inside this distinctive space.
Next up: The Kitchen, Saturday, September 10. I have a surprise for you next Saturday, September 3. Stay tuned!
Thanks for reading,