1930s Lawrence home with modern addition blends old and new

photo by: Mike Yoder

From left, Evan, 14, Bella, 12, and Kiera, 8, sit in a dining area in the original wing of their house at 1524 Barker Ave. The Maletsky family wanted to maintain the arched passageway from the original home. Exposing restored wood lath from an original wall created a unique divider between the original structure and the new addition.

A lath wall transitions the Maletsky household from its antique, original section to its modern, bright addition.

Through the spaced wooden panels — once used as a wall’s foundation — one can view the living and dining room of a house originally built in the 1930s. There are wooden floors and arched doorways, windows letting in light from Barker Avenue. From the other side of the lath wall, a modern kitchen with almost floor-to-ceiling windows shows a view of a walnut tree whose branches embrace the home.

The partially see-through wall creates a fluid segue from old to new and new to old.

In 2001, Lorin and Becky Maletsky moved into a historic two-bedroom Lawrence home at 1524 Barker Ave. But three kids later, they decided they needed an addition with an extra bedroom, a bigger kitchen and a bathroom on the main floor.

photo by: Mike Yoder

The Maletsky family added a contemporary two-story wing to the east side of their original house at 1524 Barker Ave. The new addition contains a large kitchen and dining area plus an upstairs bedroom, full bath and laundry area.

They hired local construction company Struct/Restruct for the job, and the Maletskys, who are both engineers, got involved in the process, which culminated in 2017.

“The lath wall between the old and the new is one of the things we debated long and hard,” said Becky, who is a business development engineer for Willdan Group. As the addition was being constructed, part of the plaster in the old living room fell down, revealing the lath wall. Becky thought it looked cool and convinced Struct/Restruct to leave it there.

“We took down all the lath, sanded it, refinished it, reinstalled it so that you could see through it,” she said. “So we were super fussy about the spacing of the lath, and then mounted the arch French doors, which are original to the house, back in.”

photo by: Mike Yoder

The Maletsky family maintained an arched passageway with original, restored wood lath slats exposed from the original home in place of a solid wall. Bella Maletsky, 12, is pictured in the new addition through the arched entrance and French doors from the original part of the home.

On the side of the lath wall facing the modern addition is a large kitchen, now the family’s favorite part of the house. The Maletsky children — Evan, Bella and Kiera — are 14, 12 and 8, respectively.

The kitchen features a large center island, windows on three sides of the room and open, suspended shelving.

“I was adamant that we wanted it to just look like they were suspended without really anything holding them up,” Lorin said. He’s a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Kansas.

photo by: Mike Yoder

A view over the hide-away kitchen table and large island counter, leading to several suspended open shelves.

Next to one of the many windows in the kitchen is a painting of Ireland, framed in wood that matches the window frames. Becky calls the views from the kitchen their “window to Kansas” and the view of the painting their “window to Ireland.”

The kitchen table can be hidden underneath the island, or can be pulled out at various lengths depending on the number of people eating, offering the family much flexibility, Becky said. The table can seat four, six or eight, depending on need, or can be stored away underneath for more standing room next to the island.

photo by: Mike Yoder

The large open kitchen and eating area with windows to the east and south is one of the family’s favorite places to hang out. The Maletskys incorporated a sliding table that can be revealed for large gatherings or hidden away beneath the kitchen countertop. Clockwise from top left are Bella, 12, Becky and Lorin Maletsky, Evan, 14, Kiera, 8, and the family dog, Kelbi.

The kitchen has no cabinets, so most of the storage is in the basement. It was a concession the family made to have more windows.

Bella said she loved the kitchen because the family spends the most time in there and the views are great.

“It’s so nice that you can see the entire yard, and it’s really bright. And even when it’s raining it’s really pretty,” she said.

The Maletskys’ former kitchen is a small space that — after its renovation — blends into the hallway of the original home. Lorin said they wanted the new kitchen to be big.

“We wanted to make sure that people could be cooking and then people could be sitting here and having a conversation,” he said. When his mother came to visit after the renovation, “she would sit here most of the morning and see everybody as they came down for breakfast, or to cook meals or do whatever. It was really nice to have that open.”

On the second floor of the new addition, the Maletskys added a master bedroom with an extra bathroom and laundry area.

Their bedroom, like the kitchen, is also very bright. In their bathroom, Struct/Restruct made a live-edge wooden frame for a large mirror from the wood of the walnut tree outside their home. (One branch of the tree had to be cut down to make room for the home’s addition.)

photo by: Mike Yoder

In the bath of the Maletskys’ bedroom on the second floor of the addition, builders used wood from a walnut tree on the property to build the body of the vanity cabinet and the frame for the mirror.

On the second-floor walkway leading to the master bedroom, a look back toward the original part of the house provides another example of the ways the Maletskys blended old and new.

The original home’s former exterior — stucco walls, two windows and all — has now become the home’s interior. The Maletskys even extended the stucco down and added brick to the inside of their home at the transition to match the outside of the original home.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Lorin Maletsky, right, stands on the second-floor landing that connects the original portion of the family’s home to a modern addition. The window, left of the hallway opening, used to be an exterior window of the original house at 1524 Barker Ave.

“So when you look through the door you see the same exterior and interior,” Becky said of the side door of their home, located next to their new porch.

The Maletskys’ home has a distinctive shift, Lorin said. The modern addition is furnished in a more contemporary fashion, and the original portion of the home is more traditional.

“The transition,” Becky noted, “is a mix.”

photo by: Mike Yoder

Viewed from the first-floor kitchen area of the addition, Lorin Maletsky is shown on the second-floor landing.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Kiera Maletsky, 8, walks along the east-facing backyard wall of the Maletskys’ addition to their home at 1524 Barker Ave. A painted metal siding was used on the lower exterior wall.

photo by: Mike Yoder

A large walnut tree in the Maletsky’s backyard provides abundant shade and treehouse-type views from the interior of the new addition.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Lorin Maletsky walks beneath the family’s large walnut tree on the east side of their home’s new addition. The new addition contains a large kitchen and dining area and an upstairs bedroom, full bath and laundry area. An overlapping area of the second-floor addition created a northeast corner patio.

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This Journal-World feature takes readers inside interesting Lawrence homes. Have a suggestion? Please contact us at news@ljworld.com.

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