Friday, February 25, 2011

Two Steps Forward and One Back

It would be great if every aspect of every project proceeded smoothly...but then there's the real world!

On visiting our back porch and garden one day recently, I was excited to find it looking like this.

It looked like the main field of the pavers was complete, perimeter cuts ready to be made and edging pieces would go in. But on closer inspection, the pavers were just not up to quality standards. This is what the job looked like the next day.

In discussion with the landscape contractor, about 3/4 of the pavers were pulled up for replacement. Since it is a natural product, some variation in color and texture is expected in the Travertine pavers, but the original load had too many missing corners and too many holes to be suitable.

New pavers have now been delivered and re-installation is underway, but meanwhile planting has started.

A small glitch, but by this time next week all of Phase I of the project should be complete. Check back for the update!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Great Walls

And then suddenly, it's a house again! The renovation starts with demolition, breaking it down to basics. Then starts the slow, careful process of putting pieces back together in a new shape. Sheetrock on the walls is the base layer leading to the "trims and details" coating.

Here are the kitchen and master bath taking shape in the big project we're following.

The porch has really taken shape too. Very careful consideration has been given to matching the existing stucco finish and architectural details of the original exterior.

More great details to follow!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Knowing the Process

When working with a Historical Review Board such as we have in Tampa, it's very important to know the process well if you hope to gain approval for your project.

The process begins with a "Due Diligence" investigation to obtain such information as; does the structures meet current setback rules, if there are protected trees on the property, etc. In our pursuit of approval, we also begin with a face-to-face meeting with the Architectural Review Commission to explain what the client's hopes are for the property, and get the input of the Commission on these proposals. This can be an early form of intervention if there is any aspect of the project that the ARC won't support.

Then design work begins. At this point, it involves meetings with the client to ascertain their expectations, and translating them to a design.

Once the floor plans are approved by the client, then the exterior elevations are next. For ARC (and aesthetic) consideration, careful attention is paid to duplicate appropriate materials and finishes--however, the ARC will regard the new plans to look for a perceived delineation between the original structure and the addition.

In the case of this project, a secondary structure (garage and studio) were also up for approval.

Because appropriate measures were taken on the front end of the project to meet all necessary guidelines, this project sailed through for complete approval. In fact, in this case the ARC was very excited to see that a home in a historic neighborhood that had been considered for complete demolition would now be rehabilitated, and brought back to be a beautiful and vital part of the neighborhood!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Scrubbed Clean, Ready for Makeup!

We're about to add the final elements of "Phase I" of the back yard project we've been watching. The porch and pergola are in, and the slab has been poured for the pavilion-which will be Phase II of the project.

In preparation for the pavers and plant materials, the irrigation system first had to be addressed. Because of the relatively small, multiple plant areas, the entire system will be drip-irrigation, which will keep spray off of the walkways, pavilion floor, and porch steps.

The entire area is cleaned and graded now, and the area for the pavers is mapped out. In grading the soil, we want to be sure that once the plants and mulch are in, everything is still below the level of the pavers and driveway, to be sure that mulch isn't constantly creeping into areas it shouldn't be.

By this time next week, we should be looking at a semi-finished project. I, for one, can't wait to see it!