Friday, June 29, 2012

What You Don't Know Sometimes Hurts!

We started following this new pool and garden project last week, and I promised surprises would be in store.  We do our best to help our clients anticipate problems that could arise during the construction process, but sometimes the turn of events surprises even us!

At this project, the Bobcat had just barely started to scrape away earth when they hit something...and not buried treasure, I'm afraid!  Take a look from above.

Apparently when the developer built the existing house and garage, rather than removing the old pool on the site they decided to push the razed house into the pool, and bury it all!  Bad developer, bad!!  You can see how about half of the pool (we think) is in the yard area, while the other half would extend under the garage and driveway.

Well, there is almost always a solution.  Here, special equipment was brought in to jack-hammer the old pool walls away as they are dug out.  The walls were cut off so that a portion of the old pool will remain under the garage, but everything else will be easy task!

For all intents and purposes, this process went fairly smoothly.  But, not to be outdone by man-made obstructions, Tropical Storm Debby decided to stop by, and she more than overstayed her welcome!

Yeah, it's a pool...but somewhat less formal than we had anticipated!
Okay, this can happen while building a pool in Florida in the summer, and the pool contractor knows how to deal with it.  But, as if this weren't enough, while trying to manuever the Bobcat in a tight space during debris removal, the driver bumped the neighbor's brick wall.

Not a good day for him, I'm afraid!

But, the good news is, I feel certain that the project has had its share of mis-steps now, and everything will proceed smoothly from here on.  I'm counting on it!

Friday, June 22, 2012

New Pool Project

We were recently hired to do a landscape design for a new pool and front yard area.  The pool was still in the planning stages, and the client provided us with a drawing of the proposed design from the pool company.

A decent design that is fits well in the space.  But the curvy, free-form shape didn't seem like the most appropriate design solution for the architecture of the home.  Though it has a stucco finished exterior, the proportions of the home are decidedly Georgian in nature. 

Though the pool design above had already been approved by the client (and permitted!), I decided to go out on a limb an offer an alternative.  As designers, we will generally take the approach that a client has hired us to hear all of our suggestions.  Taking into consideration the symmetry and square shape of the of the home, I proposed a pool that would fit into the same basic footprint they were already looking at, but a design that would lend a bit more formality to complement the home.  Here is the new design on the full lot.
This design would create a pool and spa that will be as beautiful as a reflection pool/fountain as it will be useful and fun for the family swimming days.  Let's face it...a pool is more often viewed than used, right?  It didn't take a lot of convincing to switch gears, and the pool company couldn't have been easier to deal with on the new plan!  So we're off and running.  A couple of other changes were made along the way, such as Travertine decking instead of concrete pavers, a new, darker pool interior surface and glass tile for the accent instead of ceramic.  All terrific choices!

Here are some photos of the back yard site.

A clear site, ready for construction.  All the plants and scabby trees have been removed, with only the remnants of some plant beds remaining.  Should be a straightforward job of digging, forming, piping...and ready to fill with water.  Well, hold your horses!  Major surprises are in store in this project, and not all good ones.  Wanna guess what the first hurdle is going to be?  Stick around!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Master Bath Completed

A few weeks ago I promised to show you pictures of the completed master bath renovation we had been following.  Well, the wall paper is up, the mirror is installed, and the tub is ready to fill.  But before we see the completed photos, let's take a trip back in time and remember what the original bathroom looked like!

Clean and functional, but not the bathroom the beautiful home deserved.  Now let's see the remodeled version.

An elegant choice for an over head light!


The WC is now in a dedicated closet, complete with custom frosted-glass pocket door.
I love this art piece, and it looks even better on the rich, gray grasscloth wall covering!

The incredible soaking tub, surrounded by built-in panels, and Carera marble.

Creating the shower without a curb allowed the marble floor tile to be continuous right into the shower.  The glass partition virtually disappears, creating a wonderful, open space!

The door to the sauna matches the WC door.
I hope you've enjoyed watching the incredible transformation.  Let us know what you think!

Friday, June 8, 2012

When "Okay" Isn't Good Enough

Basically, at our office, "okay" is never good enough.  Good design is all about details!  It's fun to watch the design challenge shows on HGTV where the contestants have an extremely limited amount of time to accomplish their designs.  (Or at least we're led to believe as much!)  But we believe that the best designs are carefully thought out, and extreme attention should be paid to getting the details right.

Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about from the job we've recently been following.

This doorway has an actual transom above it.
Due to a lower ceiling in the adjoining room, the transom above this door is a "false transom", with mirrors instead of glass.  Take a look at the closeup view below!

The ceiling over this breakfast nook could have been flat.  But look how much more intimacy this beam treatment will create over the table.  And by putting bead board into the beam area, it adds instant personality and character!
Yes, the clock is a Vogel Kitchen trademark.  But instead of just mounting a clock to the wall, a beautiful unit is created to house the clock, and the entire piece is trimmed to make it integral with the kitchen details.

Knobs on all of these drawers would have been appropriate, but mixing the beautiful, hefty handles with the knobs creates another interesting design element.

A single counter top material would have been "okay" in this kitchen, but mixing the two complementary elements (Silestone and Brushed Cambrian Black) is even more exciting.
When you're investing the kind of money that a renovation of this sort costs, taking advantage of every design "trick" available will definitely help to make you feel it is money well spent!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Extreme Makeover, Interior Spaces Edition

Though there are still a few minor details to be wrapped up, the family is moving in, so we're ready for the big reveal!  We've been watching the speedy remodel on this project for a couple of months now.  Honestly, it is easily one of the quickest projects from design concept through remodel completion that we've been involved in.  This is due to a semi-divine triumverate; a competent and efficient contractor, a talented, ready and willing design team (yes, I did just pat our own backs, sorry!), and a client who trusted the designers and contractor, and was prepared to make quick decisions.

Let's reminisce for a moment, and look back at some before photos! 

Here are some views of the original kitchen.

And the side porch, which is now the mud room.

Here is the beautiful new kitchen!
Bar area.

Mirrors for the backsplash are on the way!

Waiting for the pendant lights to be installed.

A custom made breakfast table is slated for this spot.

Here is the view from the kitchen to the screened back porch.

                                                         And the signature Vogel clock!

Now for the new mudroom.

An extra refrigerator is great for a large family!

Storage, storage, storage!!

Downstairs laundry closed...doors closed, nobody knows!

Even as final details are put in place, and the upstairs work is being completed, moving trucks are rolling, and the family is on the way to a place they can be proud of.  Hats-off to everyone who had a part in this project!