Kyle Diamond

Last November, my company began remodeling a French cottage–style home in the Hudson River Valley region of New York. Built in the late 1960s, the existing wood-framed structure was set on a slab-on-grade foundation. It had half-round transoms above the doors and windows, a cementitious exterior veneer, and a hip roof with steep, unequal pitches and a curved "flare" at the eaves—all in keeping with its architectural style.

Currently, the owners use the cottage as a weekend get-away from the city, and to accommodate their growing family, they decided to make much-needed improvements to the home's size and comfort. Working with architect Jonathan Lanman, they created a scope of work that included tearing down the existing 13-by-18-foot screened porch on the south...

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