Jeffrey Jacobs, Jeffrey Jacobs Photography

Greg Ericson purchased an abandoned but structurally sound paint factory because he thought it had potential. He wanted to use the building to house the offices and warehouse of his marketing and entertainment company, but it would require a major remodel. Ericson acted as his own general contractor and hired architect David Schuermann and contractor Richard Hopkins to bring his dream to life. The size of the building and Ericson's budget led the team to complete the work in five phases over five years.

The crew removed a service stair to create a double-height ceiling in the reception area, and installed new aluminum and glass walls on the interior to allow natural light to filter through the space. The architect also employed these materials to enclose a conference room on an upper floor; the aluminum and glass walls are recessed behind and project beyond the existing wood column-and-beam structure, accentuating the contrast between old and new. That contrast is further articulated by exposed columns, new wood flooring, and original roof joists that serve as the finished ceiling. The team also kept the original wall graphics and paint-splattered brick walls of the paint factory shell.

“They slipped a lot of modern materials into the skin of an old building,” one judge said. The jury praised the team's dramatic vision, noting that the mix of wood, steel, aluminum, and glass with the existing elements showed design confidence. The judges also noted that the piano key cabinets are in keeping with the theme of the entertainment company. “Even if you just opened the mail, it feels like a place you'd love to work in,” one judge said.

Jeffrey Jacobs, Jeffrey Jacobs Photography

Category: Commercial remodeling, over $500,000


Memphis, Tenn.

General Contractor/owner:

Greg Ericson, Ericson Group, Memphis


David Schuermann, Architecture Inc., Memphis

Head subcontractor:

Richard Hopkins, RH Construction, Trenton, Tenn.