The town of Jamestown, R.I., had been suffering from what the local planning board calls "aggrandizement," that is, residents buying small houses and remodeling them to the tune of homes double or triple the size of the original. Though the owners of this cottage wanted more space, they wanted to avoid that fate.
So architect James Estes designed an outbuilding addition that houses a guest room but preserves the charm and scale of the original house. The covered walkway that joins the two buildings is simply an extension of the roof of the front porch, which had been enclosed years before.
Moving one of the bedrooms to the second building meant that, with the addition of a structural beam and a single column next to the fireplace, the core of the main house could be opened up.
The one snag removing the walls presented was where to put the refrigerator. The judges applauded the "ingenious solution" to built a playful, beadboard tower, which matches the cheery refaced cabinets in the kitchen and echoes the chimney next to it, around the obviously necessary appliance The judges agreed that the key to this remodel is its simplicity. "The integrity of the project remains intact," they agreed. "They preserved the summer cottage personality, and it looks like it's been there for a long time."
Category: Whole-house remodeling, $100,000 to $250,000
Location: Jamestown, R.I.
Contractor: Walter Pilz, Darlington Home Builders, Providence, R.I.
Designer: James Estes, Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport, R.I.
Breaking the Law
Architect Robert Gurney used a few simple but dramatic design details to update a law firm's office within tight space and an even tighter budget. He had to fit 10 offices, a meeting room, a conference room, a library, a kitchen, and storage into a 3,800-square-foot space. He organized the entry around an open reception area with a curved wall that begins at the reception desk and ends at the conference room. He chose weathered steel panels and used maple battens to hold them off the wall to create the illusion of depth. The judges thought it was an innovative and cost-effective use of materials. "The space has nice composition and daring colors," one judge said.
The panel agreed that staining and waxing the concrete floor was a creative way to re-use the existing floor to meet the client's tight budget. Gurney also kept the existing office walls but replaced the doors with maple panels and sliding glass doors to allow light to flow into the central area.
Category: Commercial remodeling, $100,000 to $250,000
Location: Washington, D.C.
Contractor: Regency Commercial Construction, Beltsville, Md.
Designer: Robert Gurney, Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect, Alexandria, Va.
The owners of this '60s lakefront house wanted to add a large, informal great room/kitchen area for entertaining. Design/build firm The Danberry Company gave them an addition, new kitchen, and an exterior remodel that, according to the judges, created an "incredible transformation" of the property into an "elegant house."
To make the best use of space, designer Jeff Danberry pushed over the existing dining room but made it appear longer by stealing some space from the screened porch. His crew replaced the kitchen's load-bearing exterior wall with four clear span girder trusses and constructed the hexagonal addition with microlam framing and a hand-framed hip roof. Oak floors, cherry cabinets, and granite countertops finish off the kitchen.
The judges praised Danberry for creating an addition that "reaches out toward the view." They also appreciated the nautical feel of the final product, citing the great room's resemblance to the bridge of a boat and the way the grade-height deck feels like a dock.
Category: Design/build, $100,000 to $250,000
Location: Deephaven, Minn.
Contractor and designer: Jeff Danberry, The Danberry Company, Spring Park, Minn.
A in Geometry
When it comes to adding on to a home, the A-frame may present the biggest challenge. For this little house in Annapolis, Md., contractor and designer had to resolve issues of space and light within a veritable geometric riddle. The solution lay in creating an addition that has its own presence but does not take away from the original. Architect D. Wayne Speight basically designed a trapezoid that sits on the corner of the original A-frame. The new concrete, glass, and metal beam space houses a laundry room and guest room and allows for a larger foyer. It also provides two spaces for storage, with one area for outdoor items that's only accessible from the outside and has a galvanized metal door that slides up and down.
Inside, the juxtaposition of heavy beams and walls of glass celebrates the clients' modern bent. The judges agreed that this house possesses a "small, heroic quality." And indeed, it may take a certain amount of bravery to take on the classic A-frame.
Category: Additions, $100,000 to $250,000
Location: Annapolis, Md.
Contractor: David B. Ko, Architectural Renovations, Annapolis
Designer: D. Wayne Speight, SPEIGHT studio architects, Annapolis
Steve Larson's renovation of an outdated 1910 bathroom creates a peaceful new retreat. The judges were drawn to the Asian theme bath because of the dramatic mix of slate with stainless steel and glass.
The design/build remodeler added 3 square feet to the bath by opening up a closet in the bathroom and an adjacent closet. This allowed him to add a deep soaking tub, enlarge the shower, and open a slot at one end of the shower to incorporate it into the bathroom. The slot brings light into the room from the shower while maintaining the homeowners' privacy. A Shoji screen over the window does the same.
Larson used stainless steel for the countertops and tub deck and a tinted glass panel to separate the toilet. The contrasting slate tile walls and river rock shower drain, the judges said, add a romantic touch to the straight lines and modern materials.
Category: Bathroom remodeling, $25,000 to $50,000
Location: Madison, Wis.
Contractor and designer: Steve Larson, Architectural Building Arts, Madison
This elegant and architecturally sympathetic breezeway connects an existing house to an new garage and opens onto a new terrace. Contractor Daniel Donatelli of C. Raymond Davis and Sons considers it the "major accomplishment" of the remodel because it successfully integrated the old and new, leaving guests of the homeowners to wonder where the old house ends and the addition begins.
The darkness of the Spanish cedar beams contrasts with the lighter beaded cypress boards, which were custom milled for this project. This contrast gives the abundant light in the space different shades to play with, without jeopardizing the stately character of the existing home. The materials and design of the breezeway's exterior, especially the gable and trim details, echo those of the house. The judges lauded the delicate balance and appreciated the "comfortable" relationship between the different materials. They also liked the transparency of the structure, which reinforces the open feel of the adjacent terrace.
Location: St. David's, Pa.
Contractor: Daniel Donatelli, C. Raymond Davis and Sons, Kimberton, Pa.
Designer: Bill Johnson, Peter Zimmerman Architects, Berwyn, Pa.