General Contractor: Herich & Associates - Completed 2003
This project started as a remodel to an existing 1970’s residence with the typical vernacular of that era of natural cedar siding, wood shingle roofing, and river rock fireplace. The new owner wished to upgrade the look of the building with a more contemporary image while preserving the existing structure and its “good bones” as much as possible.
A desire to provide a more welcoming entry and upgrade interior finishes were also prime considerations for the project.
Preliminary site analysis revealed the original building had missed the opportunity of enjoying spectacular mountain views to the east. Although the structure was oriented correctly to take advantage of these views, the focus of the existing building was toward the opposite side and the adjoining river environment. The existing landscape (both hardscape and plant materials), consisted of unorganized large expanses of wooden decks, random lawns with sparse ornamental plantings, and driveways with haphazard layout and poor drainage design.
The prime architectural goals for this project therefore became:
A. Improve image of the house
B. Increase the value of the house
C. Provide discipline to the existing buildings design
D. Improve thermal and moisture performance of the building
E. Reduce exterior maintenance of the building
An extensive collaboration with the talented landscape architect, Bruce Hinckley of Alchemie, proved to be the “frosting-on-the-cake” for the Cinderella transformation of this tired, well worn property. From the initial schematic design stage, both architect and landscape architect worked closely to create spaces which flowed freely from inside to out and gracefully transitioned from the manmade to natural environment. Extensive exterior architectural concrete terraces and new, organized and architecturally oriented planting beds with substantial plant materials and native stone boulders created a beautiful new outdoor environment for the residence.
The exterior of the building was completely transformed with new horizontal cedar siding designed by the architect and finished with low maintenance bleaching oil stain. The notion to respond to the horizontal nature of the existing buildings form was further accentuated by new Bermuda style metal roofing and new horizontal windows and doors throughout.
The initial design concept of “gutting” the central portion (entry/living/dining) of the building and develop a new entry with large porte cochere/new upper terrace created the following:
1. An elegant, sheltered, human scale entry experience with gallery walls, coatroom and powder room.
2. The potential for a dramatic new stair to the upper level housing a sitting room, bridge to new upper riverside balcony and access to the new grand upper terrace with hot tub and built-in planters.
3. A raised main living area ceiling with an exciting new bridge dividing the dramatic new volumes of the dining and living spaces.
4. Raising the roof of this area improved an awkward existing roof/chimney flashing condition prone to leaks.
The kitchen/breakfast area was also completely remodeled with extensive new stainless steel cabinets and natural stone countertops incorporated into the new design. The owner, a gourmet chef, who loves to cook for friends and family, insisted on a commercial style kitchen with open access and direct connection to her guests while cooking. Walls were opened up to other living spaces, new lighting and storage spaces were provided by the architect to create an exciting area of this residence for everyone to gravitate to during parties.
The living room was dramatically changed with higher ceilings, clean modern walls, and refurbished fireplace. The old river rock was peeled away and a new stucco, stainless steel, and granite fireplace was used to create the focus of this room.
An avid reader, the owner requested large areas of library walls to house her extensive book collection. These elements became important ordering elements within the new entry scheme.
The previous master bedroom was limited by the layout of separate spaces walled off and connected by doors. These areas were removed and the resultant space opened up to provide a new, modern and spacious master suite with study and sitting areas. A new sixteen-foot sliding glass door was also installed to create more natural light and openness to the beautiful outdoor environment.
Another highlight of this buildings transformation is the main stair to the new upper level. Designed as floating red glass treads between two architectural wall planes, this spectacular vertical circulation element creates an artistic element in the center or the house while tempting the visitor to use it to explore the new upstair’s spaces. Integration of the owners tribal arts into this new element was a key challenge for the architect. Simple, contemporary stainless steel pins provide suitable display for these special Javanese bowsprits at the landing of the stair.
The new upper terrace over the porte cochere provides this home with additional outdoor living area and incredible views of the nearby Pioneer Mountains. The required size of the drive-thru porte cochere roof created a gracious outdoor living space for this home complete with built-in planters and hot tub.
The resulting composition of carefully crafted contemporary elements enhances this riverside residence’s experience while providing an invigorating modern home for entertaining and display of its owner’s collection of art and artifacts from world travels. The new building now takes full advantage of spectacular mountain views and provides a variety of interior and exterior spatial experiences with Zen-like qualities.