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!!
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!
Exterior finish work is nearing completion on this project. The wall and ceiling of the front entry porch are lined with douglas fir, and the wall of the house surrounding the front door is finished with rusted steel panels. The warm colors of these materials complement the gray colors of the standing seam metal roofing and cement board siding. The combination creates a welcoming entry, clearly visible from the driveway approach. There is a built-in bench on the porch that cantilevers from the west wall of the porch. A horizontal opening in the porch wall allows for seasonal views eastward to Camel's Hump mountain.
We are fast approaching the completion of the Autumn Hill Lane house. We have been fortunate to work with a collection of great builders and craftsmen on this project. The efforts have been extraordinary across the board and as the finishing touches are happening it is particularly gratifying to see the end result. Its been over a year since we began design work and it is very exciting to see the house coming together (and coming to life).
Here are images of the finished masonry heater, along with images of the space before the renovation. The new masonry heater is built to replace an existing woodburning fireplace. In the new design, the firebox of the masonry heater faces the living room, and the opposite side has a bread oven that faces into the kitchen.
Here are some construction photographs of a masonry heater that was part of a significant renovation project on Crescent Beach Drive. The masonry heater was designed to replace an existing wood burning fireplace and be the hub of the main living spaces, linking the kitchen, dining and living rooms. Masonry heaters combine a high mass of masonry with a complex flue design to capture, store and slowly release the heat from a wood fire. They burn very efficiently and release heat slowly over a long period of time. These images show the intricate layers of masonry and exceptional craftsmanship involved. Major props to William Davenport and his crew from Turtle Rock Masonry (www.turtlerockheat.com), Kirk Williams (www.kwdesigns.net) who fabricated the steel wood storage box and integral steel mantel, and Chris Mason from Champlain Industries who coordinated the show. The firewood storage box and mantel are fabricated from 1/8" thick blackened steel. Its easy to underestimate the level of precision required to bring together these materials with such precision. What a pleasure to work with these dedicated craftsmen. Photos of the finish heater to come.....
A few images of the newest addition to the prana table series. This table features a live-edge walnut slab that is 42" wide and 108" long. The base is a modern version of a traditional trestle design made from blackened steel and walnut. The steel provides a dramatic combination of structural stability and thin, clean lines. Kirk Williams fabricated the steel base and Brian Jones fabricated the wood components. Images of a matching walnut bench will be coming shortly.
Exciting new details continue to be finalized at the Chase Street project. Following are images of the custom handrail on the entry porch. The gentle curve of the stainless steel handrail complements the curve of the steel stair stringer and creates a graceful and welcoming entry porch. Kirk Williams fabricated the handrail and support posts which are beautifully hand-crafted. The combination of simple, sophisticated design, a clean palette of materials and great craftsmanship result in a fitting entry for this unique project.
Exterior siding work is almost complete now. The interior insulation work continues, plumbing and electrical rough-in work is complete, and sheetrock work begins this week. Got some great photos of the front of the house this weekend. The steel stair stringers have been installed on the front porch. The web for these stringers is 1/2" thick plate steel that was water-jet cut using digital files sent to the fabricator. Kirk Williams then worked his magic to weld flanges on all sides of the web, following the profile of the steps. Kirk then clamped this unit onto the main steel beams and field-welded the connection. After some clean up work and paint, the connection is seamless. The inside faces of the beams have steel tabs to anchor the wood deck framing.
Great progress continues to be made on the Chase Street project. The windows are in, exterior doors are in (except for the sliding barn door on the storage room), and siding will begin next week. The roof membrane is done and the skylight is installed. This week, some great exterior steel structural elements went up. On the front entry porch there are two slender steel pipe columns that will support the front porch roof. On the back side of the house, there are three steel pipe columns to support the second floor deck. These sit on exposed hockey puck spacers to isolate the steel posts from moisture in the concrete piers (perfect size and material for this application, this time of year hockey pucks are not hard to come by in Vermont) . At the top of these posts, the connection to the wood framing is exposed, creating another nice steel detail. The last image gives a sense of the loft-like living space on the second floor, which is really one large space with two small rooms for closets, bathroom and laundry. The proportions of this space are really great, with lots of natural light and interesting sight-lines.