Friday, September 30, 2011

Floor It

"The ribbon was cut" this week, and the room renovations project got underway the the Alpha House of Tampa. The first step of the design process is new flooring. Here is what the old flooring looked like in the hallways.

The rooms currently have very worn (and inappropriate for this setting!) carpet, which had to be torn out and the glue scraped up, and all the vinyl baseboards were removed. Then the waterproofing layer goes down.

Since all of the rooms are generally occupied, a lot of juggling of furniture and belongings has been a necessary part of this process.

Here is what the newly installed flooring looks like!

The new flooring is a beautiful change, and will be a wonderful "grounding" for each designer's room concept. And once the hallways are repainted and new wood baseboards are installed, the fresh new space is going to be a much more inviting and comfortable place for the residents.

Meanwhile, we have collected the final pieces for our own room installation, and I spent a glorious day in Florida, painting our bead board panels--outside!

We are scheduled to do our room installation the last week of October, but work on some of the other rooms will begin next week. If you would like to follow the developments and see what other designers are doing in their rooms, you can go to the Room of Her Own Blog site and subscribe to see the progress as it is posted. Many months, and many meetings, and now the payoff begins!

Friday, September 23, 2011

All Mixed Up

What do you get when you throw a dozen designers, another dozen financial donors and a group of dedicated staff together in a large room? Well, we're all about to find out together!

In a couple of recent postings, I spoke about our project for the Alpha House of Tampa where we are bringing together designers to create and implement individual designs for their 20 single resident rooms. We recently held a kick-off meeting where designers were asked to show a representation of their ideas, and they would also get to meet up with their room's "Adopter" who will be supplying linens and other items for the rooms that will both complement the design and add to the room's comfort for the resident. Here are some scenes from the gathering.

Energy was high as the group enjoyed lunch and heard about the developments on the project. Then, Alpha House Executive Director Pat Langford reviewed the exciting designs for the rooms and courtyard renovations.

The design approaches were as varied as the designers bringing them...exactly what we'd hoped for! When completed, this beautiful collection of rooms will give each of the residents a comfortable, safe space, and a room that will have it's own personality and character.

After months of attempting to round up a flooring donation, a generous donor stepped forward at the meeting and offered to pay for the flooring and installation for all rooms and the hallways! It was one of those days that is not soon forgotten. The flooring has been ordered, and installation is set to begin next week. Then the magic can start to happen in the rooms. I'm as excited to see what the other designers do in their rooms as I am to see ours put together. This will be fun to watch!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Parts In-Between

Back to our new home project. Sun's out again, which means building can move forward! The first several weeks of a home building project seem slow to the casual on-looker. This is when a lot of the technical, structural elements are being taken care of.

Once the footers were poured and block foundation was in place, loads of dirt were brought in to bring the living space of the structure to the appropriate height for flood codes. First and last time for a bulldozer in your living room!

This part always cracks me up. All this dirt is brought in, carefully spread and packed to just the right level. Then, almost immediately other subcontractors will start digging it up to put the utilities in that will be underneath the house, primarily plumbing and drains. I mean, I know they have to make sure the soil is up to the correct height, but couldn't the next crew be more careful and not mess up the whole place? Anyway, it's all part of the process of preparing for the concrete pads to be poured. These photos show the main house area.

The clients are lucky enough to have alley access behind their home, so their garage will enter from the alley. You can also see the side area that will have a separate entry and be finished as office space.

No glamour here--yet--but all necessary to insure that the home is built safely and to code. Before long, we'll get to see firsthand construction processes that have changed due to the impact of hurricanes on Florida. A lot to learn here...for all of us!

Friday, September 9, 2011

House Raising

A full home design that we have been working on for a few months is now through the permitting process, and construction began a couple of weeks ago. The design process required many meetings with the clients to determine room numbers and sizes, overall architectural style, interior and exterior details, and the multitude of other elements that go into a home design. We looked at the design during the process in previous postings, and here are elevations for the final design.

The Charleston style architecture with two-story, side piazza and faux street entry door are perfect for the narrow, deep lot, and the combination of stucco and siding will be complementary to the other homes on the block.

Rain is never a builder's best friend,

but work did proceed over the past couple of weeks, and the footers and foundation blocks are in place.

Watching a home go from concepts on paper through the final building phases is a complex and fascinating process. It can almost make you wonder how a house ever gets built! Stick around, and we can all find out together.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Snowball Effect

In the spring of 2010,we followed the construction project of a courtyard we had put in at our Maine cottage. We are very pleased with the results, and have been able to enjoy several evenings there with friends and cocktails!

As with many remodel projects, as soon as you finish one and get that area all spiffed up, it may make other areas look a little neglected. It had always been the plan to re-do the exterior of the cottage some day....."some day in the future". The home is currently vinyl-clad (they love their vinyl siding on vacation homes in the northeast!), and we assume that there is lap siding underneath, but have no idea what condition it might be in since the cottage was built in 1930.

Here is what the front looked like when we bought it.

Though the trees may appear to have added charm, they had been severely trimmed through their centers to accommodate power lines. Here is what the home looked like when the courtyard work was completed, then when the rail fence was installed.

We would like to bring some more personality to the facade, and give it a little more New England charm. The front of the house is very flat, and even though the courtyard and fence add some depth to the property, adding detail to the front plane could go along way towards dressing the cottage up. The structure already exceeds current setback requirements from the street, so nothing can be added to the house structurally. Here's a treatment that we're considering for the facade.

A shallow eyebrow roof over the front door would add depth to the front plane, and help to define the entry, and a combination of shake shingles and lap siding would also help by adding texture and shadow. Window boxes would further this, and bring some life and softness to the courtyard since the interior area is all stone and gravel. Top all of this with a raised-seam metal roof, a new front door and paint the entire cottage in a great new color (or two!), and it won't even be recognizable!

Yes, design projects can snowball, but it's always great to have dreams. Dream big!