Our Autumn Hill Lane house is on the cover of the January/February 2015 issue of Design New England. Inside there is a great article about the house written by Kathleen James that captures the design story behind this house. The article also provides a good description of the main features of the house which include not only the visible design elements such as the modern materials, abundant natural light, open plan and clean lines, but also the quality of the construction and energy-efficiency of the design. Thanks to Kathleen and the staff of DNE for this feature article, and to Jim Westphalen for his beautiful photography.
We are pleased to announce that our Autumn Hill Lane house received a citation award from AIA Vermont this year. This year's AIA VT award entries were juried by a committee from AIA Wyoming and the awards were presented at the annual AIA VT dinner this week, held at the State House in Montpelier. A total of eight projects received awards this year and we are honored to be among those chosen. There were many great projects entered, confirming that Vermont continues to create quality architecture. Thanks again to our clients, the crew from Leach Construction of Vermont, and the many artisans and craftsmen who worked so hard to make this building possible. A final thanks to Jim Westphalen for his photography.
Over the past few years, we have done a series of renovations to this small house but had not yet done any work on the living room, which happens to be the central space of the house. When our client's granddaughter offered this appraisal of how the living room looked in comparison to the newer spaces it was all the motivation necessary for this latest phase of work. The new stair and balcony railing are designed to be more open, allowing light and views to filter through the spaces, making the spaces feel larger and more connected. The solid landing on the stair, wrapped in walnut, conceals mechanical equipment. Open treads, made of solid walnut, float between a blackened steel panel in the center and the side walls of the stair. The new fireplace surround is made with blackened steel and walnut, complementing the stair and railing.
What a difference thoughtful design makes! While our clients (a busy family of four) initially came to us for a new kitchen, we learned there was more to the story. Working closely with this family we began to understand the many ways in which their existing spaces did not function as well as they could for them. The renovation became both an aesthetic and functional overhaul of the main floor of the house. Without changing the footprint (size) of the house, the spaces feel larger and work better as a result of the new design. The kitchen was relocated to the corner of the first floor where it is directly connected to the family room and dining space. Careful space planning allowed for the addition of a walk-in pantry, larger mudroom and a separate powder room and laundry room. A consistent palette of light, neutral colors creates a bright, cohesive and welcoming series of interior spaces. The new kitchen features custom maple cabinets and gray quartz countertops.
Our happy clients have enjoyed their first summer in their new space. Renovation projects are always fun and it was particularly rewarding and satisfying to see the transformation of this house as the renovation unfolded. As always, we appreciate the trust that our clients extended to us for this project. Architecture projects involve a leap of faith which isn't possible without this trust. We work hard to see it fulfilled and love it when our clients are happy. A recent email from our client sums up her feelings well: "I LOVE OUR HOUSE….JUST LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. I can't say enough positive about working with you two from start to finish and the final results are exactly what I envisioned and better really. Can't thank you both enough for the fantastic work and the ease of working with you. It truly was a most positive experience for us."
As architects we work in a profession that is highly collaborative in nature. Despite the painstaking thought and detail that we put into our construction documents, they are still only drawings. We rely on the builders we work with to bring our vision to reality. We are fortunate to live in Vermont where we are surrounded by a network of highly-skilled and dedicated craftsmen to work with. The stuff we build with is big and heavy. Making the pieces all come together is not easy and requires a combination of heavy equipment, hard work and attention to detail. Thanks to all the great craftsmen we have the pleasure of working with!!
Our Autumn Hill Lane house received two HBRA awards: the People's Choice Award for Best Overall Project and the Energy Star Energy Efficiency Award. Thanks to Leach Construction of Vermont for their great work on this project and for submitting it to the HBRA awards program. Photo by Jim Westphalen.
Construction is nearing completion on this renovation project. All of the cabinets and built-ins have been installed, including a dropped wood soffit above the kitchen island, a built-in banquette bench with wall panels and ceiling soffit at the dining table and a wall of bookshelves and entertainment cabinet in the living room. All of the woodwork is custom-made locally from quarter sawn white oak. The new flooring is also white oak with a clear oil finish. There is a new blackened steel wood storage unit and surround for the wood stove in the living room. The countertops are white marble from Vermont, being installed this week. The resulting interior spaces are unified by the simple warm palette of materials and colors and feature abundant natural light and open sight-lines. Its exciting and rewarding to see these spaces come to life. Thanks, as always, to the great craftsmen who have worked to make this happen.
Construction is underway for this renovation project on Turkey Lane. The focus of this project is the main floor of the house, including the kitchen, dining and living spaces. Existing walls have been removed and new windows added to open up the interiors, add light and enhance the connection to the surrounding country setting. Interior materials will include quarter sawn white oak cabinets, locally-sourced white marble and charcoal-gray slate.
A few recent images of this exterior stair. The stair is suspended from the Douglas Fir beam above on stainless steel rods. The stringers were water jet cut and then had channels welded on to receive the stainless rods and to hold the treads. The treads are individual pieces of Ipe held together by stainless steel rods. Another example of the great craftsmanship and attention to detail that has characterized the work on this project!
A few progress shots of this outbuilding designed for an active family of four. Modern details include a standing seam metal roof that wraps down one face and cantilevers out over the opposite, south face for solar shading. The remaining exterior materials include Eter-Color cement board siding, galvalume corrugated metal siding, polished concrete and Douglas Fir. The large covered concrete porch faces an outdoor firepit and seating area, expanding and enhancing the opportunities for outdoor living behind the existing house. The simple shed roof slopes up toward the south end of the pod and allows for large south facing windows and an interior loft space.
What a pleasure it is to work with great craftsmen. There are few things more satisfying for us as architects than to see one of our designs built with care and attention to detail. The stair for the Clark Road project is a great example. The clean lines and simple palette of materials make for a sculptural stair that complements the interiors of the house. The craftsmanship brings it to life, enhancing the clarity of the design intent. Thanks to Steve, Will, Zach and Ben for their efforts on the wood components of the stair, thanks to Mike and his crew for the great sheetrock work and thanks to Bob for the excellent painting.
Progress moves along steadily on this project. Most of the interior walls of the main living spaces have been removed, proving once again that less is more. In this case, fewer walls means more light, more views and more connections between the spaces. To enhance this affect we added new windows on the east and south sides of the house. The result is an interior that is filled with natural light and that allows for the sweeping panoramic views available from this hill-top site. At the same time, we have added new insulation to the building shell and in this case, more is definitely better. The entire roof now has new ventilation under the sheathing (created with a layer of rigid insulation), new blown-in dense pack cellulose insulation and a new layer of rigid insulation on the bottom face of the rafters for a continuous thermal break. Where we have worked on the exterior walls, we have replaced the existing fiberglass batt insulation with new blown-in dense pack cellulose insulation. All told, these changes will make for a much more livable house and will result in a drastic reduction of annual energy usage. Thanks to Jim Bradley of Caleb Contracting for the initial energy assessment, recommendations and follow-thru with the insulation and air sealing work.
Our Chase Street house was published in the May/June issue of Design New England. Thanks to Jim Westphalen for the excellent photography used in the article, he was great to work with and the images are fabulous. He really manages to capture both the overall feeling as well as the finely crafted details of this simple, modern house. Thanks also to Kathleen James who wrote the article. She was a pleasure to work with and her genuine interest in the spirit of this project is reflected in the text of the article. Thanks to DNE for their appreciation of this house and for putting together a consistently great magazine featuring some of this region's best work. Finally, huge thanks to Kirk Williams and Mark Bonser. Kirk, for being both client and highly-skilled metalsmith/collaborator. Mark, for your enthusiasm, skill and experience as the builder. As on previous projects, your leadership brought us through to the successful completion of this one. As always, we feel grateful to have the fortune of working in Vermont where we seem to be surrounded by talented builders, artisans, artists and craftsmen. Here is a pdf of the article: "A contemporary home in Burlington, Vermont, breaks the boundaries of the farm-and-barn vernacular." dne pdf
Finish materials are being installed inside this modern Vermont house and it is great to see the interiors coming to life. The floors are Ipe, a Brazilian walnut, with a dark ebony stain. This Ipe has a beautiful, earthy richness with a surprising amount of color and variation. The interior spaces are flooded with natural light which now glows as it is reflected off the colorful floors. The white walls and ceilings add to this affect, reflecting the light back into the spaces. The custom-made walnut cabinets are being carefully fitted into place throughout the house now as well. (Thanks to Mark and Louie for their great work on these.) Shown here are some images from the kitchen (where the wall oven, cooktop and refrigerator will be) and the master bathroom (featuring a floating vanity cabinet). Check out more images of this modern house here.
Our clients found this vintage 1971 prize perched on top of Nob Hill and were instantly captivated by the killer views, if not the architecture. Its an "upside down" house with the main living spaces on the upper floor to take full advantage of the panoramic westerly views sweeping over the Champlain Valley, Lake Champlain and the distant Adirondacks. Phase one of the renovation work is focused on improving the thermal performance of the shell - replacing the existing insulation in the roof, adding insulation and a moisture barrier in the basement crawlspace and general air sealing. Inside the house, we will be opening up the main living spaces on the second floor, installing a new kitchen, new floors, and new finishes on the sunken seating area in the living room.
We have begun work on this years projects for Zoe's Race, currently doing the design and planning work in preparation for the construction. We feel proud and fortunate to be involved with this effort every year: the whole Zoe's Race team is fabulous, the organization is really well run and collectively we are all making a big difference in our community. On top of that, the actual fund-raising run is great fun as well. This year's run will be on August 25 (Sunday morning) at Oakledge Park in Burlington. Bring the kids, have a fun run, eat great food, get involved, support this effort! More updates to come. Here's a link to the website: http://zoesrace.com
Exterior siding work is nearing completion on this project despite the winter weather. Exterior siding materials used are standing seam metal roofing panels, Douglas Fir wood, and two colors of Eter-Color cement board siding. Eter-Color is a high-density cement board with the color integral to the material (solid throughout) that requires no finish. It is installed over rainscreen strapping with a reveal between each panel. The result is an exceptionally durable and maintenance-free siding. Interior finish work is underway, progress shots coming soon.