Award Winning!

Whew it is OCTOBER! Summer flew by. I have been busy designing wonderful projects and working on my own house. An August  highlight was receiving a Design Excellence award from KC Magazine for a renovation/addition to a Prairie Village Kansas home near Corinth Shopping Center. It is the 5th KC Design award I have won and fourth house I designed  an addition or renovation in the Corinth Hills homes Association area. One day I could have a homes tour just in Corinth Hills!

 

The KC Magazine Design Excellence Awards are a favorite to enter. It just isn’t sending a bunch of images. There are detailed questions to respond to on the entry form. This creates a chance to to tell the design story.  This is the fifth time I have won awards through the KC Magazine Design Awards. Each and every time it is a treat I don’t take lightly! There is REALLY tough competition here in Kansas City! I admire and respect my fellow architecture firms and enjoy seeing everyone at the awards ceremony. KC Magazine provides a tremendous event to celebrate residential design.

 

 

Design Excellence award from KC Magazine
Design Excellence award from KC Magazine
awards
KC Magazine Design Excellence Awards 2014 Bronze Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was very happy to attend with my daughter before she headed back to college. “Is she studying architecture?” Is a common question. Nope! Even though she made her site visit to home under construction at the age of ONE week! She is an art history /chemistry major who dreams of working at a museum.

Below are the answers to required questions for project entry in KC Magazine Design Awards. I was really touched when 2 judges came over and introduce themselves. They complimented the home mentioned they enjoyed the story of the project.

 

Living Room Featured in Kansas City Star’s House and Home and KC Magazine Design Excellence Awards 2014

 

Traditional Architecture

Describe the needs or criteria presented by the client and how this influenced the outcome

At the initial interview for the renovation and additions to this home, the owner stated she wanted the home to have more character. She felt her suburban ranch was nondescript, bland and boring. It didn’t have any memorable identity and she even contemplated tearing it down and starting completely over.  The overall floor plan was comfortable with enough space but in the wrong places. Dining room was too small yet there was an ample underused living room, a cozy family room with fireplace and a sunny dated sunroom complete with hot tub!  The kitchen was recently redone.

She was especially drawn to the craftsman style and had many pictures. I suggested she take look at Prairie Style. The existing bones of the home “brick, large roof overhang, hipped roof and modern linear fireplace” naturally lent itself to the horizontal, gentle and refined Prairie Style.  

A few days later after the client had time to investigate Prairie style she agreed and was excited about the qualities her home already had that could be accented.  She was most intrigued by the use of stained glass throughout the homes she studied.

Describe the workflow/creative process for the project.

The client was a pleasure to work with and encouraged “thinking big.” It was a true collaboration that when finished I am not even sure whose ideas were whose! A sign of a great project team for everyone involved including owner, architect and builder.

 

Living Room Featured in Kansas City Star's  House and Home
Living Room Featured in Kansas City Star’s House and Home

How is it innovative or unique?

Careful attention throughout gives the home a sturdy quality reminiscent of older turns of the century home.  The porch with built in bench creates to place stash UPS packages as well as a comfortable to spot to stop and read the mail. Or even chat with a neighbor. The brick porch walls match the existing brick. The cast stone porch wall cap is a detail that adds richness and even brought a memory of a boyhood home to a relative of the homeowner who visited and remarked I didn’t know it was possible to even build this way in this day and age!

Interior trim was detailed to give each room a distinct feel but use the same pieces in different proportion and placement so the overall feel of the home feels unified. It also allows for paint to be transition and colors accented. Doorways between rooms in the existing open floor plan were carefully considered. One was removed to create an office while others were added. The existing sunroom had large interior sliding glass doors that were removed and the opening was reduced to give a tailored formal feeling to both the family room and living room. A doorway was moved slightly to allow better sightlines through the home.

Interior hollow core doors were replaced solid 3 panel, cabinetry throughout was cherry to match an existing kitchen renovation that had been designed in simple shaker style. To unify and add richness the same style with glass instead of panel was added to the family room. The cabinets are taller than traditional to provide contrast the adjacent fireplace.

The same floor tile is used throughout the entry, mudroom and even bathrooms to give a unified feel of slate or stone as in a traditional Prairie Style home but is actually Italian Flor Gres porcelain!

The balance between old and new and understanding that the owner wanted to be able to use the furniture she had collected over the years and not a set forced style. We made sure that we were careful with design but didn’t set rules for the house.  It is updated and fresh yet feels thoughtfully timeless and comfortable.

 What was the design philosophy behind the project?

Take a non-descript suburban ranch house and create timeless character. Simple enough? It is when there is careful attention to detail. The new front porch was built with matching brick and cast stone wall cap that adds definition and begins to blur the exact time when the house was built. It begins to feel older and sturdier from the moment one approaches the front door.

Existing rooms were rethought and functions changed…a dining room became a cozy home office. A living room is now the dining room. A sunroom porch that featured a hot tub was gutted and reworked into a stunning sunny living room. The front porch, a new screen porch, a deck and slate patio were also added. The side entry garage was torn down and replaced with a front garage which allowed room for a spacious new mudroom addition connection between garage and kitchen. A first floor laundry room and large pantry were added in this additional space.

Attention to details included changing doorways between rooms, one doorway was removed, some enlarged, some narrowed, a few aligned to accent views through the home. Trim was added throughout with a rich palette of layers. The dining room was redesigned to be a perfect square in contrast to the ling rectangular adjacent family room and vaulted living room. The square allows for the ceiling to enhance the square by adding another layer of trim to and lighting the highlight the room and focus attention of the table. The family room has a simple trim detail that adds refinement to ceiling in a timeless statement that even guests will ask exactly how old is this house?

What were the victories, challenges or interesting stories or facts presented by this project?

Not very often as an architect, do I have the chance to not only transform a home but also inspire the owner to create stained glass artwork! 

At the initial interview for the renovation of this home, the owner stated she wanted the home to have more character. She felt her suburban ranch was nondescript, bland and boring. She was especially drawn to the craftsman style. I suggested she take look at Prairie Style. The existing bones of the home “brick, large roof overhang, hipped roof and modern linear fireplace” naturally lent itself to Prairie.

A few days later after the client had time to investigate Prairie style she agreed and was excited about the qualities her home already had that could be accented.  She was most intrigued by the use of stained glass throughout the homes she studied.

She casually mentioned she had at one time many years ago enjoyed creating stained glass windows but she had become busy with other things including her jewelry design business and hadn’t been able to design and make the windows for years!  She missed creating them and thought perhaps she would be able to make one to be included in the home renovation. WHAT!  That would be incredible I remember thinking! One window turned into a few and then many! Together we looked at potential places in her home where the stained glass could be highlighted.

The living room which was before the renovation a sunroom with a hot tub faced south and had beautiful light thought the day. The existing windows were small, short and didn’t accent the vaulted ceiling. New windows and a window seat were added. We carefully designed the new window configuration in anticipation of the stained glass. The owner worked with the new window sizes to create a custom stained glass piece installed in the 8 (!) exterior windows.

Another interior window was designed and created to accent the stairway which leads to the basement design studio. We looked at opportunities to showcase the stained glass throughout home to be enjoyed in unexpected areas. Once a boring stairway, we created an interior window by framing in stained glass piece at the stairs which are adjacent to the family room. The wall was removed and reframed to create an interior window. Additional lighting was added on each “side’ to allow the window to glow.

With room to grow over time, cabinets and even doors into office have been designed to add additional future stained glass pieces as the home owner creates them.  To have a homeowner proud of a beautifully renovated home is certainly the goal of any architect but to have a homeowner rediscover a talent and be inspired enough to create a work of custom art is really a dream come true!

 How is it innovative or unique?

Incorporating a homeowner’s artistic talent a feature of a project is a treat. During the design stage we worked together to figure out a design solution for her home. Using the same ideas she carefully reflected the ideas in the custom art pieces.

 The interior window was drawn full scale and studied before the wall was demolished to see exactly what size galls piece would work best.  The design sketch was taped to the wall and the trim and framing discussed in detail to decide what would look the best and to accomplish it. The placement of the lighting to accent it was also debated to select what made the most sense!

 The ranch home while modest in size feels spacious by the use of contrasting elements. The existing room sizes were similar and non-descript. The dining room became the center of the house and was carefully laid out to be a perfect square. A round table with a circular light fixture reinforces the square shape. The new trim was designed highlights it and the square repeated in the corners with a new small light round light added. The owner when designing the stained glass pieces repeated the circle in square room motif in the stained glass pattern. The new exteriors windows were designed and ordered to be a square.

The interior window is a nature theme to evoke images of what is experienced through an exterior window. The design highlights a three pieces pattern that is similar to new three panel interior doors that were installed during the renovation. 

How is the design relevant to the purpose or lifestyle of the property?

The stained glass helps the home reach the timelessness, refinement and character that the client felt her home was lacking. The entire redesign of the home while reworking all of it and carefully adding new porches and details keep it within the scale of the neighborhood. Adding the front porch created a new welcoming feel for the home. The overall new appeal of the home has been appreciated enough for two strangers to ring her door bell and ask of the home was for sale or if she would consider selling!

 The new outdoor areas, front porch, screen porch and slate patio help the home reach the timelessness, refinement and character that the client felt her home was lacking. The entire redesign of the home while reworking all of it and carefully adding new porches and details keep it within the scale of the neighborhood. Adding the front porch created a new welcoming feel for the home. The overall new appeal of the home has been appreciated enough for two strangers to ring her door bell and ask of the home was for sale or if she would consider selling!

 

 

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