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."
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.
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 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
A reminder to all: Zoe's Race will take place on Sunday, August 26. This is a fun event for people of all ages and raises money for a great cause. CBD has been actively involved with Zoe's Race from the beginning. The event itself is a 1k and 5k run in Burlington, followed by a feast of great food and entertainment. As it says on the website (www.zoesrace.com), "HowardCenter’s “Zoe’s Race” is a 1K fun run and 5K race to raise funds for Vermont families who are in need of creating accessible homes for their children. In its first year, the race had incredible community support and raised over $13,000. “Zoe’s Race” was also awarded a $5,000 grant from the Brenner Foundation. To date, over $60,000 has been raised to help remodel homes for local families." Here's a link to an article that appeared recently in kidsvt: "Beyond Handicapped Accessible"
Here are a few progress shots of the East Hill Road project. This is a renovation of a house located on a beautiful Vermont hillside. The new exterior siding is a combination of galvalume metal siding, cement board panels and fir. While the siding and windows are all new, care was taken in the design to minimize significant structural changes. The transformation is nonetheless dramatic. Additional photos to come....
A sampling of the recently completed Beaver Creek renovation project. This was an interior project focused on the main living spaces of this house. Shown here are before and after shots of the den space where the wood-burning fireplace was completely re-done, and the kitchen / dining / living spaces. The kitchen / dining / living space photographs are taken from the same vantage point and demonstrate how much the space was opened up as a result of the renovation. More images and information about this project will be coming shortly.
The Stowe Craft Gallery renovation project received the "Best Commercial Renovation Award" for 2009 from the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Vermont. This project involved extensive, mostly exterior, renovations to an historic building on a challenging site in Stowe. The design features a three-story deck and roof structure that greatly enhances the relationship of the building to the site, providing many outdoor retail spaces, improved staff circulation routes, and a private roof-top deck overlooking the river below. Leach Construction of Vermont built the project, scrambling up and down the steep bank countless times in the process.
A couple of recent photos of the Brewer Parkway renovation project that is being built by TrueNorth Construction. The first photo shows the sliding barn door on the "commuter bike" storage shed, with exposed galvanized track and vertical grain fir panel. The second photo is a view of the southwest corner of the house as seen from the street and gives an indication of the building massing. The addition on the backside of the house may be seen projecting above the lower roof. Clerestory windows in this taller band bring in south light to the back rooms of the house.
Thanks to Tim Johnson of the Burlington Free Press for the well-written article about the Nestor renovation project (Cliff Street Project) and the first annual Zoe's Race. Erika Nestor, along with the Howard Center, has organized what will be an annual fund-raising run to benefit families with disabled children in Vermont who need to make renovations to their houses. Participation in the first run exceeded Erika's expectations and suggests that this will continue to be a great event for years to come. One of the aspects of this project of which I am particularly proud is that the house functions very well for the specific needs of Zoe and the whole Nestor family without appearing to be accessible. As Tim Johnson writes in his article:
"At some point as Erika and David Nestor contemplated the daunting renovations their house would require to become accessible and fully functional for their disable child, they decided they really didn't want an elevator. And the more Erika thougt about it, the more she realized she didn't want her remodeled house to be stamped "handicapped accessible."
And it isn't...."It was an aesthetic thing for me," Erika said. "It doesn't have to look like a hospital to work."
The Nestors have high praise for their architect, Christian Brown of Jericho, who came up with various options, and for the builder, TrueNorth Construction. Brown said his aim was to propose renovations that were both "aesthetically rewarding" and "uniquely suited to the functional requirements" of the family."
Shown below is an image of the first floor bedroom suite in what was formerly the garage. The new stained concrete slab has radiant floor heat, and the large windows and skylight fill the space with warm sunlight.
A quick update on the South Street project. The new fir entry door has been installed (no finish or final hardware on it yet). The exterior painting has been completed. The final landscaping is underway, and the house numbers and mailbox will be installed next. Once these pieces are finished, the exterior will be complete and dramatic transformation of the renovation may be fully appreciated.
The South Street renovation project is nearing completion. Shown below are images of the front elevation, before renovation and during construction. The entry porch has been expanded, with new fir posts and exposed rafters, new vertical grain fir siding, a new roof, and a new cast concrete porch and steps. The brick veneer has been removed from the garage, and new vertical grain fir siding has been added with exposed fir brackets supporting a new roof over the doors. Interior renovations include a new kitchen/living/dining room, new den and a new entry space.
The Cliff Street project is wrapping up. To mark this I am posting before and after photographs of the south elevation (the front of the house facing Cliff Street). The contrast between these photos is an indication of how extensive a renovation project this has been. The south facade has a new porch, new siding, new roof overhangs, new roofing and all new windows and doors. The garage has been converted into a ground floor bedroom suite. The roof overhangs on this side of the house are deep enough to provide solar shading during the summer months while allowing solar heat gain during the winter months. The siding is cement board clapboards, with vertical grain fir siding around the recessed front door.