1300 S.F. mountain ridge house
After an electrical fire destroyed a 1970's kit log cabin, the client wished to explore options that honored the natural beauty of his land, his concern for excellent construction methods and preference for a modern aesthetic in designing a new code compliant retreat of a home. The exquisite house site just over the crest of the ridge is accessed via a serpentine drive which arrives at a small historic stone charcoal furnace next to the existing poured concrete foundation. Exposed limestone and quartz rocks encircle the site. An architectural fusion of exposed log ceiling timber structure with stick frame walls was designed to carry forward some the spirit of its predecessor in a much more open plan. A planned masonry chimney for the interior wood stove alcove will create an interesting conversation with the nearby furnace as part of an entry patio area. Privacy is enhanced by fewer openings on the entry side of the house while the opposite side opens with windows to a deck overlooking a private woods. This project design is complete and was interrupted by Covid.
Storage was needed for for a tiny yard, so Susan designed a low enclosed shed with blue stone floor to hold push mower, gardening tools and bicycle; and an attached open shed to hold containers for yard debris and recycling on a gravel floor that minimizes impact on the roots of a treasured adjacent red bud tree. By situating the sheds as part of an existing fence and gate, maximum storage was created with minimal physical and visual impact. Drainage had to be carefully configured and the design allows for future creative embellishments, such as birdhouses, water collection sculpture and post cap follies. The vertical cedar boards establish a new vocabulary compatible with its historic house and can be replicated as fencing around the yard needs to be replaced. Plus it smells really good in there! The roof will be red standing seam metal to match house.
door restoration + room renovation
Fairly soon after this carriage house was built, automobiles came into popular use. Through some exciting sleuthing, we discovered that the panels enclosing an unheated room had been the original sliding horse stall doors, relocated to enclose the former carriage entry portico, their iron bars replaced with glass casement windows. A human scale door was cut through one of them to access what became a rear patio. Initially hung on newer sliding tracks from an original boxed-in steel beam, the doors were later fixed in place by pinning their bottom rails inside with a raised wooden floor; and outside with concrete poured several inches over the wood. The old growth cypress withstood this unconventional detail remarkably well for 60+ years as the building evolved for use as nursery school, then dance studio. Now a residence, the panels were close to deteriorating beyond repair.
The owner opted to do a full restoration of the stall doors-turned-wall-panels, keeping the mid-century oak flooring to create a more refined, light-filled indoor space from what had become over decades a neglected "catch-all" rear entry through several ownerships. Details were developed in coordination with Meyer Woodworks design / build, who fully restored five of the panels in their mill-shop, repaired the two
largest end doors on site, and built an entirely new more proportionally
designed human scale door; and with Think Green Landscape Architects design/build firm for a new blue stone sill and threshold, which they installed. Morrow Brothers did a specimen job of prepping and painting and Joe Denardis refinished the wood floor.
toilet stack + pipes hidden in cabinets
A toilet stack was added to the corner of a dining room in this "turn of the century" Italianate twin residence, later encased with dry wall in an ungraceful upside-down "L' shape. In addition, there were 3 sets of radiator pipes, all in awkward locations for furnishing the room and two of which were in front of historic window trim. By relocating the radiator pipes, building a shallow soffit across one entire side of the dining room to absorb their horizontal arms, and designing cabinets to encase all vertical pipes, a visual datum was created that is sympathetic to the original aesthetics along with adding abundant, albeit oddly shaped storage - yet perfect for Margarita glasses and ingredients. There is even a column of mini shelves in one odd residual cabinet corner that can house the owner's collections of salt shakers. Might there be a set of cacti or cowboy boots among them?
1920's bath renovation
A general contractor asked if I would provide client interface for a second floor main bathroom replacement he was undertaking in a c. 1920's arts and crafts gem of a suburban home. Pipes had leaked into the foyer below necessitating a complete gutting of the bath, especially its concrete on cinder base lying between joists that had hand-hewn points on the tops to accommodate the old wet bed tile floor.
The owner guided a pragmatic and elegant aesthetic within the footprint of the existing bathroom, keeping the original pedestal sink, toilet stack and a recently replaced toilet; while replacing the vintage tub with an accessible walk-in shower and bench enclosed with a frame-less glass door. The vintage iron casement window frames and two heavy V-groove plank doors with black barn hardware provided grounding for the choice of black handles on new, high quality, classic chrome plumbing fittings, all set within new clean bright tile surfaces. Removing a dark corner shower stall allowed for relocation of the sink near the window, and adding a knee wall next to the toilet allowed for fastening a toilet paper holder and grab bars, along with creating better feng shui, and an area for a toiletry storage chest. What we know about bathrooms
and kitchens is that they are nearly as intensive to design and build as an entire building. The project moved along with minimal disruption and delay by integrating meetings to review design schemes and product samples, making it as easy as possible for the client to participate.