Project Spotlight: The Yao/Rossacci Home

At Custom, it’s a real pleasure to work with homeowners over the course of several years to bring their vision to life. That’s certainly been the case with Arlington’s Yili Yao and Mike Rossacci.

Yili used to live in an apartment right next to our office on Mass. Ave. in Arlington, so she was familiar with our name. Years later, she and Mike were looking for a contractor to build a new addition and back deck for their cape-style home. In reviewing recommendations on a local listserv, Yili read good things about Custom and contacted us.

“We talked to a few contractors; what sold us on Custom was the trust we had in [president] Bill Farnsworth,” Mike says. “He transmitted a lot of confidence, and we really got the sense he knew what he was doing.”

We completed that first project for Yili and Mike in 2014 along with a couple smaller projects thereafter.

The original home lacked enough usable space.

The Gym Upstairs

Earlier this year, Yili and Mike decided the time had come to tackle their problematic second floor. It had two bedrooms and a bathroom, but they estimate that about half of the space was unusable due to the sloped ceilings. The project involved removing the existing second floor to create a colonial with two full floors and a walk-up attic.

The new second floor houses a bathroom with shower, two bedrooms (which are used as an office and a guest room) and a master bedroom with walk-in closet. By extending the second floor toward the front to make it flush with the first floor, we added some square footage. And because the ceilings are no longer sloped, there’s much more usable space.

The addition of a full second story and finished attic transformed the home inside and out.

Yili and Mike’s favorite part of their remodeled home may well be the attic, which they use as a workout room. “It’s great,” Mike says. “We used to have all the weights and bike jammed in down in the den, which was also our office at the time. Now everything is up there in the attic.”

The homeowners use the new attic as a workout room.

On Bill’s recommendation, Armstrong CushionStep vinyl sheet flooring was installed, which has proven to be the perfect solution.

The original master bedroom had sloped ceilings and a chimney stack.

‘The Last Big Step’

As with any project of this scope — and any house that’s nearly seven decades old — we encountered certain challenges that called for some creativity. For example, some of the floors on the second floor were a bit sloped. We managed to reduce the curvature by pushing down the center corners of the room and reattaching the floor joists to the wall.

The new master bedroom.

Since the house was transitioning from a cape to a colonial, the position of the portico was an issue. Colonials are usually symmetrical, but that wasn’t possible with this home. Bill came up with the idea of installing a window on the second-floor landing to balance out the appearance.

New office space on the second floor.

Mark Bozicas who worked on Yili and Mike’s first project two years ago, served as lead carpenter this time around. “He managed the whole thing,” Yili says. “He’s very meticulous, with great attention to detail, and very good with communication.”

“He’s also creative,” Mike adds. “He physically makes things happen and brings ideas to life.”

While we’ve enjoyed working with Yili and Mike, we probably won’t be seeing as much of them in the future.

“This project was pretty much it,” Yili says. “We’ve done quite a bit over the past few years, and we see this as the last big step. The second floor had always been uncomfortable, but we finally took care of it!”