~ Residential Renovation ~
She had colorful dinnerware, the desire for a large island, and a vintage kitchen sink with sideboard that she wanted to refinish.
Instead of the typical 5 phase design plan (SD, DD, CD, Bid, CA) I met her at her house for 5 hours on a Saturday. We’d met prior for lunch and I learned of her initial thoughts about the project. I had taken her existing blueprint (real blueprints!) plans into CAD and then developed them into a 3d Sketchup model. By pulling in furniture and showing images that I’d collected, I had everything we could use to begin nailing down a style. She had brought her own ideas forward, and with the books and ideas laying across her dining room table, we set up our work station for the afternoon.
We talked about how she used the spaces and I took a tour of her house. While talking I determined that we could go one of two ways. I drew two schemes in plan and then we sat at the dining room table for three hours playing with a Sketchup model. We had the plan to go with and determined the next steps as we concluded on liking one scheme, hands down, it was efficient.
Here are a few mid-century-modern photos we looked at to begin our style discussion.
I like to show images to my clients to begin an educated discussion, determine likes and dislikes, and pull something unexpected out of our conversation.
Next, with a desire to renovate in a responsible way, she took a trip up to Pittsburgh to visit Artemis.
On the same trip she also visited Tri-State Antiques in Canonsburg PA to find furniture to fit the style of her new entertaining area. A love seat paired with a mid-century modern table and chairs is what she was looking for. Something similar to these:
She considered paperstone and concrete countertops, looked at Concrete Zen out of Pittsburgh, and decided upon quartz Cambria countertops that could be purchased through a local builders supply store, Famous-Supply, in Wheeling.
There are many ways to determine what building products to use in your home. A large part of decision-making is knowing what is available where you are. Typically, I ask myself, what materials are available locally, or is there someone where I live who can make this? The decision of what to use is also dependent upon the ability of local contractors.
Anyone with a product to sell can make the case for greenness. Furthermore, it is difficult to justify decisions when you are dealing with the shipping cost versus balancing money spent and energy used in local shops. In my practice, I search for the most basic products, that can be made locally, by neighbors in the community. I also have to consider what each homeowner desires, and what’s available in the market.
We have to decide what is important to each of us, and base these decisions on what makes sense. When I talk Green, I mean the true cost, embodying not only the money spent, but the energy required to get what is wanted, here. Determine what the money cost of something may be hiding, and be thoughtful in your choosing.
So, getting back to the renovation, it was important to my friend to be ‘light on the earth.’
The existing wood floors in the dining room were in good condition, and the cost to place bamboo flooring in the entire renovation was decided against. The transition between the new bamboo floors and the existing refinished wood divides the central L-shaped island, and defines each part of the new room in a nice way.
The cabinetry is made by Schrock, a company who seeks to make minimal environmental impact. She found roman shades made of thin reeds woven with jute at JCPenny and ordered Vapor bar stools from Crate & Barrel.
A few ‘Before’ pictures are below.
This is the sketch we came up with at the end of the day as the direction of our project:
And, the final product: