Wednesday, October 26, 2011

recent work

I haven't done a work update recently, so I wanted to show the two main projects I have been involved with.

A few months ago, I took a drive up to Washington, Connecticut with my boss and fellow coworker. It was such a gorgeous day to visit the lake house site. I can hardly believe it was considered work.

Besides the site being incredibly steep, there are many other limitations on the house, including the Connecticut DOT, zoning regulations, and wetlands control. Luckily, we had a fabulous summer intern who built us several models to figure out what the heck we wanted to do and helped us explain it to the DOT.

The house is practically right on the lake and it is gorgeous.

This is the current house that we plan on completely tearing down. Our clients are amazing. They have gobs and gobs of money (as you will see later) and are willing to do something really interesting and modern.

After our meeting with the DOT, the clients' lawyer offered to show us the other house the family is building in town. Keep in mind, they also have several properties in NYC.

While the lake house will be more of a short term, vacation spot, this house will be a more permanent residence. Sadly, the family used a different architect for this complex of buildings (it really is much more than just a house). 

The house is like a huge castle. Several auxiliary buildings house a garage and squash courts. Somewhere on the site is a tennis court/hockey rink. 

There is an expansive wine cellar in the basement.

Pool and spa area.

The house is located on over 300 acres that also include barns and fields. When our clients purchased the land, it was the largest sum of money paid for a parcel of land in the county EVER (love how I'm up on the gossip? The lawyer was quite a Chatty Cathy). Either one or both sets of parents have houses on the land. They also plan on starting a vineyard.

Our client also owns this cafe in the small town. Obviously it's more for fun than a livelihood. Not to say it wasn't good food. We had lunch there and it was quite delicious :) 

We're still figuring out logistical issues with the lawyer but hope to get moving on the design stages with this project soon. It's going to be very different from the work we typically do and should be exciting! I'll post updates as it goes along.

This project back in NYC has been taking up 95% of my time recently. It is a gut (in all senses of the word) renovation of an entire townhouse in the Upper West Side. Our clients are lovely (how did I get so lucky?) and our contractor is amazing. It hasn't been an easy process but I am learning tons.

When we first started, the house had tons of ornate detailing.

And a couple lovely bathrooms. Anyone in need of a pink toilet?

Or a mint green sink?

Once we really got working on the design for the house, we realized it was in some serious structural trouble and everything had to come out. I mean every finish, wall, floor, and joist. 

Then we realized that part of the foundation and soil underneath were bad. We have to stabilize the ground by driving steel tubes into the soil and then repour a good portion of the foundation. Because of the unsteady soil, one large masonry wall also has to be entirely rebuilt. Our clients have been such rockstars through the entire process. It's been a challenge for everyone but they have remained laid back and pleasant, signing checks with smiles :)

Speaking of rebuilding walls, the rear wall of the house was being changed so much, we decided to rebuild it completely.

It's exciting and scary at the same time to see an entire wall of a building come down. We make weekly site meetings and I am always surprised how much progress is made in that time. If all our structural woes weren't enough to worry about, the house happens to be sandwiched between two of the most ornery neighbors of all time. We are constantly trying to keep them happy and avoid getting sued or slowing down the project.

Sorry there are no pretty, glamour shots. I guess demo isn't that exciting for most people. I will be happy (and more relieved) when the tearing down process is complete and we start building back up. That's when the fun begins!


  1. those look like PERFECT stones for your low bookshelf idea!

  2. i want your job. and clients. :)

  3. I just want to know when I can flex some landscape architectural muscle on one of your projects...


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