Dream Home 2021 Front Entry, millwork and the FINAL final layout

So, in my last Dream Home 2021 update, I suggested that I’d finalized the floor plan, unless… Lol. Of course I made changes! This week, I’m talking about the front entry millwork decisions made. But first I wanted to share the latest final changes to the overall floor plan, exteriors etc.

Linda Merrill Dream Home 2021 Floorplan front house


So, the biggest change I made is that I widened the two front wings out about 5FT each. The reason is that I didn’t originally have a staircase to the attic or basement. I don’t have design plans for the attic or basement, but it was really bothering me that I was ignoring access.  The only place I could add a stair case was in the garage, one up to the attic, one down to the basement. So, that required stretching out the sides. But, this is allowing me to add deep window seats flanking the fireplace in the formal living room and make the dining room a little wider as well. I did have to move the windows in the DR and window/door in the mudroom a tad to center the dining room. But the door works much better now in the mudroom. In the front hall I moved the door to the Lav which balanced the door placement in the space better. I am almost entirely positive that this is it for the footprint.

Linda Merrill Dream Home 2021 Front Exterior

So, assuming I’m done tweaking the footprint, the total square footage of Dream Home 2021 (possibly Merrill Manse?) is 4,478 sq. ft. The garage is 610, the back deck is 1,128 (bigger than Nook Cottage!) and the pool house is 600 sq. ft. Speaking of:

Linda Merrill Dream Home Mini Manse pool house

The pool house now has a smaller cupola, matching sliders, and on the left there is an outdoor shower and three changing rooms. The right side has a matching area which would be for pool mechanicals, storage, lawn care supplies, etc. I’m toying with calling this the Mini Manse. It will likely be the last space I design but would have a kitchenette, bathroom, sleeping space, sitting and dining space. Basically, a guest house but I could use as an office or craft space as well.

So, this week I worked on the front entry millwork and leading into the great room. A kind reader pointed me to a great post on hallways by my friend Laurel Bern which was also very helpful. I knew I wanted a board and batten look – very clean and simple. Here are some inspiration images I’ve been pulling:


Linda Merrill photo Newburyport home front entry millwork
Photo by Linda Merrill


Now, obviously these are all much more expansive spaces than my little front hall. But my hall does have 12 ft ceilings so the scale of the front entry millwork becomes really important. Below is where I’ve landed. A reminder: as I’m working on the architecture/layout/design I keep all the woodwork white and the walls light gray for contrast. The furnishings and lighting I’ve placed are for scale only. No decisions have been made about any of these elements.

Linda Merrill Dream Home 2021 Front hall to back front entry millwork

The new spacing of the doors on the left made a huge difference as did closing in the hall to make it a separate space from the great room.

 Linda Merrill Dream Home 2021 Towards front door front entry millwork

Looking back towards the front door you will see I’m wrapping the millwork around the great room seating area. Ignore the kitchen side!!

Linda Merrill Dream Home 2021 Side view great room front entry millwork

I have added two more upper windows over the sliders on each end of the run of windows overlooking the deck. I wanted the line to be uninterrupted from the top of the millwork and the bottom of the windows. I will also be placing motorized roman shades under the upper windows across the whole back wall. I played with drapery panels but think romans make more sense in this space. Oops, I just realized I lost the TV set in my various edits. It will go on the sitting area wall next to the double doors.

So, my big decision here is – painted wainscot or keep it white/off white? I realize all the images I picked are white. I want my dream home to be colorful and here I am with lots of white. It’s classic however. I am thinking I will leave it white (specific color TBD) but the kitchen cabinets will be painted. Possibly… No, they will be painted because I am so sick of all white kitchens.

Linda Merrill Dream Home 2021 Rear house view

Changes in the back are that I made sure all the windows have the same number of panes and I added small transoms over the sliders on the side wings. I tried to raise the ceiling height on the hallways of the wings (flanking the deck) to 10 feet which made those halls much more gracious and allowed for double height transom windows (as they are on the central wall). It changed the roof line in a very nice way which I really liked. But caused so many other odd problems that I spent hours fixing. I thought I got all the weird things fixed and tried again with the ceiling height and it still rendered it weirdly. So I gave up. Though, I will likely try again as it worked on the guest wing side, just not the owner’s side. And they should be mirror images, so… I keep reminding myself that part of my goal for creating this Dream Home was to improve my computer rendering skills. So much to learn!

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19 thoughts on “Dream Home 2021 Front Entry, millwork and the FINAL final layout”

  1. This is “drop dead gorgeous” imaginary home!! WOW! If I had a “hundred million” as someone mentioned…SOLD!! We custom built cupolas for our home, garage, boathouse, gazebo…yep, luv cupolas! KUDOS!! franki

  2. Beautiful. I love watching the process and think it is a great eye opener for others to see how things can evolve and change, and likely get more expensive when planning their own addition or remodeling project. You are inspiring me to work on ideas for my own dream home addition:)

    • Thanks Lisa! It’s been quite a learning curve! Who would have know the millwork on the walls would be achieved by using what are basically cabinet fronts. I’m sure there are other ways too.

  3. Happy Sunday Linda! You are teaching yourself so well on renderings – beautiful. I do think white millwork and I like the touches of black in the inspiration photos. And those transoms, Yes! Yes! Yes! Maybe in another room you can go “moody” on wall color or, since you’re working on a colorful dream home, a room or two with a fabulous wallpaper. I’ve learned a lot of decorating from you Linda and this is a fun way to learn more from my mentor.

  4. This is so fun, Linda. I love the addition of al the millwork and the transom windows…and yes please to those new windowseats in the formal LR!

  5. Linda, I love seeing hour detailed this information is. It really communicates your thought process. Beautifully done.

  6. Hello Linda, With each revision, your dream house plans get a little more elaborate. Better add another $100 Million to that lottery prize! I like the exterior transoms. They add light and interest (and ventilation options if operable), while breaking up the vertical expanse of a tall window.

    I have some windows like that in my apartment, but an odd thing happened. Some workmen were doing repairs, and they took off the screens to the transom windows leading to the balcony. When they put them back on, they trapped horrible fingerprints on the upper windows. The only way to clean them is to get on a ladder on the balcony to remove the exterior screens, but that is not about to happen!

    • Hi Jim – well, the thing about an imaginary lottery jackpot is that it’s infinite! I’m with you on no ladders on a balcony! But those fingerprints must really bug!


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