Friday, August 30, 2013

Making Okay Spaces Better

Not every design project has the same starting point.  Often, we're called in to a make sense out of a chaotic space...but sometimes we get to take a space that looks pretty good, and take it to a whole new level.  A project that is currently underway is just that sort!

This historic property has beautiful, spacious living areas, but the kitchen and adjoining breakfast room were under scale by comparison, and though they had undergone a renovation from their original form, they could still use a fresher, more up-to-the-minute look.  Here are some interior before shots.

Likewise, the garden area was in need of updated finishes that would bring it in line with what the stately home deserves.  Here are before photos.

Next week we'll start taking a look at some of the design solutions, and watch this project as it takes shape!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tear Out and Clean Up

For the courtyard project we've looked at over the past couple of weeks, as I mentioned previosly, the homeowners pretty much started demolition the day after the design was presented.  Once all of the old plantings, walkways, steps and railings were out of the way, they came in and ran the necessary electrical and pipes for irrigation.  Then, the "hard part" could begin!

We chose a rustic, man-made paver in an "Autumn blend", to coordinate with the Mediterranean colors in the house, and the existing walkway down the side of the house that will connect with the new paving.  But first, the pergola was constructed at one end of the courtyard area.  This pergola spans from the house to the apartment behind, and was carefully designed to fit precisely between and under the eaves of these two structures.

Though we most often recommend painting pergolas and arbors, this one will be sealed, but left natural for a more rustic appearance.  Here are more detail shots of the paver installation.

These areas along the side will be bordered with additional brick pavers to create the planting spaces.

And this centrally located circular area will house the fountain.

Several details of the project are still being finished up, so the final photographs may not appear for a couple of weeks.  But while we wait, we'll take a look at a large renovation project, also currently under way.  See you there!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Taming the Wild Things

Last week we took a look at a courtyard project where the old plantings had pretty much gone wild.  In meeting with the client to discuss their program, these were the goals we came up with:

1.) Remove the Tiki hut
2.) Create a new, larger partially shaded area
3.) Remove and simplify the plantings
4.) Create larger, clean space for entertaining
5.) Provide area for grilling
6.) Provide space for kitchen garden
7.) Provide space to potty dog
8.) Tie into existing paving in side yard area

A plan was devised that incorporates mostly paving, with simple, symmetrical planting spaces along the side.  A new pergola structure was designed that spans one end of the courtyard from the house to the apartment behind.  Raised planters were placed at one end of the courtyard which would add to the European feel.  Here is the proposed plan.

The very next day, these go-getter homeowners started the arduous task of tearing out brick and concrete walkways, metal railings and plantings.  It was a bear, but necessary to start laying out the plan.  We'll look at more of the process in the coming weeks!