SNEAK PEAK: HEALTHY HOUSE

This week we continue our “Sneak Peak” series of posts that take a deeper look into one of our projects.  Most architects websites, ours included, feature a portfolio section which acts as a digital analogue to our leather bound physical portfolio.  This provides a superficial look at our past work with a series of pretty pictures.  The intent of our “Sneak Peak” series is to provide deeper insight and context into the design challenges and solutions behind these pretty pictures.  This post will focus on our “Healthy House” project in Riverside, Ct which was completed in 2006.


Our clients, a young family of four, approached our office to design a new house in Riverside at a yet to be determined site.  Once they had narrowed their search to a couple of properties, we visited each property (as we frequently do with our clients) and explored the pros/cons of each site - we did FAR computations, setback and utility reviews, solar orientation, etc.  After our review, our clients purchased a .472 acre property, which allowed them a home of no more than 4,537 square feet.  The property is on a wonderful dead-end street in Riverside with a south facing lot and a wonderful streetscape.


One of the primary concerns of our clients was the indoor air quality of the home.  The family had multiple chemical sensitivities that the homes with standard construction materials and practices had exacerbated.  As such, we had to review and evaluate every material that we specified for the home and every typical construction practice with respect to their effect on the indoor air quality of the home.  Therefore, the primary goal of the project was to design a house focused on indoor air quality, while simultaneously designing a beautiful, high-end home with gracefull proportions and quality finishes.

 After a pre-design review of our clients needs and goals as well as a review of case study images, we decided to proceed with a classic shingle style home in a more formal design vocabulary.  Because of the small lot and the streetscape context, this shingle style home would be more “elevationally” designed than other shingle style homes we have designed.  In many shingle style homes on larger properties, we would typically design an asymmetrical structure that offered different views and unexpected moments as you moved around it - the result being a home with a sculptural quality.  In this house, we designed the front elevation to respond to the streetscape with a more symmetrical design and a more formal trim package.  On the exterior of the house we detailed the roof and walls in such a way that all of the shingles are back-vented with a drainage layer so that the wall surfaces can dry as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth and moisture issues.

After a pre-design review of our clients needs and goals as well as a review of case study images, we decided to proceed with a classic shingle style home in a more formal design vocabulary.  Because of the small lot and the streetscape context, this shingle style home would be more “elevationally” designed than other shingle style homes we have designed.  In many shingle style homes on larger properties, we would typically design an asymmetrical structure that offered different views and unexpected moments as you moved around it - the result being a home with a sculptural quality.  In this house, we designed the front elevation to respond to the streetscape with a more symmetrical design and a more formal trim package.  On the exterior of the house we detailed the roof and walls in such a way that all of the shingles are back-vented with a drainage layer so that the wall surfaces can dry as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth and moisture issues.

 With any house it is really important to break down the scale of the home into beautifully proportioned, and well composed elements.  In this home, the first floor roof lines at the front door and wrap around porch cast deep shadows on the southern facing (direct sun) elevation.  Also, the second floor overhangs at the two front gables as shown in this image separate the first floor from the second floor gables which result in pleasing proportions and shadows at the first floor.  Finally, the balance between white trim, columns and beams, and this panelized bay (the “white” elements) and the Western Red Cedar shingles help break down the scale of the two story home into a beautifully composed front elevation.

With any house it is really important to break down the scale of the home into beautifully proportioned, and well composed elements.  In this home, the first floor roof lines at the front door and wrap around porch cast deep shadows on the southern facing (direct sun) elevation.  Also, the second floor overhangs at the two front gables as shown in this image separate the first floor from the second floor gables which result in pleasing proportions and shadows at the first floor.  Finally, the balance between white trim, columns and beams, and this panelized bay (the “white” elements) and the Western Red Cedar shingles help break down the scale of the two story home into a beautifully composed front elevation.

 The Porte Cochere serves as a place to park the car to unload kids, dogs and groceries.  It also allows for a detached garage in the rear yard which reduces the visible mass of the front elevation, and de-emphasizes views of garage doors from the street.  The paving at the porte cohere changes from blacktop to bluestone to break up the driveway and emphasize the side entrance into the mudroom.  The driveway edge is a vertically installed bluestone instead of the typical belgium block.

The Porte Cochere serves as a place to park the car to unload kids, dogs and groceries.  It also allows for a detached garage in the rear yard which reduces the visible mass of the front elevation, and de-emphasizes views of garage doors from the street.  The paving at the porte cohere changes from blacktop to bluestone to break up the driveway and emphasize the side entrance into the mudroom.  The driveway edge is a vertically installed bluestone instead of the typical belgium block.

 The kitchen is composed of custom cabinetry with painted perimeter cabinets and a stain-grade mahogany island.  The perimeter countertops are a gray-green limestone with a custom edge profile.  We decided on a handmade ceramic backsplash tile which becomes a subtle backdrop to the other elements of the kitchen.  It’s hard to see in this image, but to the right of he sink, we cut grooves into the limestone counter to serve as a custom drain board.  The island is a beautifully clean Calacatta Gold Marble with a thickened edge profile which makes the island counter a chunky 2 1/2” thick.  At the kitchen sink, we designed a bay window which gives ample space behind the sink and we brought the windows down to the countertop.  At the gas range, we designed custom turned posts which gave us the opportunity to use a professional range which would have otherwise stuck out 2 inches from the face of the cabinetry.  In terms of the “healthy” aspects of the kitchen, we specified cabinet boxes to be made from a particular brand of plywood that uses glues that do not contain arsenic (most do) and finishes and adhesives that were approved for their voc qualities and chemical make-up.  The HVAC system incorporated a make-up air system so that when the hood is operating, outside air is drawn into the heavily filtered HVAC system and replaces the air lost to the hood venting.  This prevents problems with pressures in the house which can draw in pollinated, unfiltered air through small cracks around windows and doors.

The kitchen is composed of custom cabinetry with painted perimeter cabinets and a stain-grade mahogany island.  The perimeter countertops are a gray-green limestone with a custom edge profile.  We decided on a handmade ceramic backsplash tile which becomes a subtle backdrop to the other elements of the kitchen.  It’s hard to see in this image, but to the right of he sink, we cut grooves into the limestone counter to serve as a custom drain board.  The island is a beautifully clean Calacatta Gold Marble with a thickened edge profile which makes the island counter a chunky 2 1/2” thick.  At the kitchen sink, we designed a bay window which gives ample space behind the sink and we brought the windows down to the countertop.  At the gas range, we designed custom turned posts which gave us the opportunity to use a professional range which would have otherwise stuck out 2 inches from the face of the cabinetry.  In terms of the “healthy” aspects of the kitchen, we specified cabinet boxes to be made from a particular brand of plywood that uses glues that do not contain arsenic (most do) and finishes and adhesives that were approved for their voc qualities and chemical make-up.  The HVAC system incorporated a make-up air system so that when the hood is operating, outside air is drawn into the heavily filtered HVAC system and replaces the air lost to the hood venting.  This prevents problems with pressures in the house which can draw in pollinated, unfiltered air through small cracks around windows and doors.

 This is the Butler’s Pantry between the Kitchen and Dining Room.  We designed custom mahogany cabinetry and a Calacatta gold counter to match the island in the kitchen.  The backsplash is a lightly antiqued mirror.  In the Dining Room the walls were stenciled by a specialty paint company.  The stencil was sized for the height of the room, so that the baseboard and crown moulding assembly would not cut off the pattern.  This process was a 6 step process to produce the background in a linen finish, and a mix of plaster and paint for the stencil.  The wood flooring is a beautiful rift & quarter sawn white oak in long boards.  In standard construction, wood floors are nailed to formaldehyde emitting underlayment and then finished with solvent-based finishes that will off-gas for months.  In this project, old-fashioned, solid 1x8's were installed diagonally over the framing for the subfloor (instead of plywood), "dustless" sanding with a HEPA vacuum was specified to the floor installer and a solvent-free floor finish was used.

This is the Butler’s Pantry between the Kitchen and Dining Room.  We designed custom mahogany cabinetry and a Calacatta gold counter to match the island in the kitchen.  The backsplash is a lightly antiqued mirror.  In the Dining Room the walls were stenciled by a specialty paint company.  The stencil was sized for the height of the room, so that the baseboard and crown moulding assembly would not cut off the pattern.  This process was a 6 step process to produce the background in a linen finish, and a mix of plaster and paint for the stencil.

The wood flooring is a beautiful rift & quarter sawn white oak in long boards.  In standard construction, wood floors are nailed to formaldehyde emitting underlayment and then finished with solvent-based finishes that will off-gas for months.  In this project, old-fashioned, solid 1x8's were installed diagonally over the framing for the subfloor (instead of plywood), "dustless" sanding with a HEPA vacuum was specified to the floor installer and a solvent-free floor finish was used.

 This is the second floor landing of our entrance stair.  The handrail, and balusters are all custom profiles with alternating painted baluster profiles and a stained mahogany handrail.  The arch top windows have custom muntins and serve to bring light down the open stair area into the entry space.  The walls throughout the house are a specific sheetrock product that uses glass fibers on the surface instead of the typical paper face - the paper surface on gypsum board is a nutrient that promotes mold growth.  Because the glass-fiber surface of the specified sheetrock was not as smooth as we like, we had the entire house skim-coated with a thin layer of a special joint compound that was evaluated based on it’s chemical make-up.  In addition to foamed sill & top plates of the wall framing, the sheetrock was tightly sealed/taped and was thoroughly sealed around all openings (windows/doors, plumbing penetrations, electrical outlets, recessed lights, etc).  This airtight assembly prevents airborne moisture and undesireable gasses from penetrating the building envelope.  Finally, all the paints, glues, sealants and other elements that make up the house had to be specified based on their chemical make-up because gypsum board sucks up the chemicals of the home during construction and then releases them into the space over the next decade.

This is the second floor landing of our entrance stair.  The handrail, and balusters are all custom profiles with alternating painted baluster profiles and a stained mahogany handrail.  The arch top windows have custom muntins and serve to bring light down the open stair area into the entry space.  The walls throughout the house are a specific sheetrock product that uses glass fibers on the surface instead of the typical paper face - the paper surface on gypsum board is a nutrient that promotes mold growth.  Because the glass-fiber surface of the specified sheetrock was not as smooth as we like, we had the entire house skim-coated with a thin layer of a special joint compound that was evaluated based on it’s chemical make-up.  In addition to foamed sill & top plates of the wall framing, the sheetrock was tightly sealed/taped and was thoroughly sealed around all openings (windows/doors, plumbing penetrations, electrical outlets, recessed lights, etc).  This airtight assembly prevents airborne moisture and undesireable gasses from penetrating the building envelope.  Finally, all the paints, glues, sealants and other elements that make up the house had to be specified based on their chemical make-up because gypsum board sucks up the chemicals of the home during construction and then releases them into the space over the next decade.

 This is an image of the same windows at the second floor landing, but from the exterior.  Here we designed shingle pilasters to give the custom mahogany brackets a base to sit on.  The white trim here was simplified down to a flush panel, so that fussy trim details would not take away from the custom windows.  Because the typical (pink) fiberglass insulation can release particulate matter and formaldehyde gasses, and must carry a warning label "probably human carcinogen", we researched alternatives to the typical insulation package.  The insulation package throughout the house consisted of a spray foam insulation that encompassed the shell of the building (roof, exterior walls & floors at the overhangs).  The spray foam insulation that we used is free of formaldehyde, CFC's and HCFC's.  On the interior we used a formaldehyde-free, natural fiber insulation made mostly of recycled cotton/denim.  The result is a very tight, well insulated and sound controlled home.

This is an image of the same windows at the second floor landing, but from the exterior.  Here we designed shingle pilasters to give the custom mahogany brackets a base to sit on.  The white trim here was simplified down to a flush panel, so that fussy trim details would not take away from the custom windows.  Because the typical (pink) fiberglass insulation can release particulate matter and formaldehyde gasses, and must carry a warning label "probably human carcinogen", we researched alternatives to the typical insulation package.  The insulation package throughout the house consisted of a spray foam insulation that encompassed the shell of the building (roof, exterior walls & floors at the overhangs).  The spray foam insulation that we used is free of formaldehyde, CFC's and HCFC's.  On the interior we used a formaldehyde-free, natural fiber insulation made mostly of recycled cotton/denim.  The result is a very tight, well insulated and sound controlled home.

 This is the master bathroom view toward the vanity - a custom 13 foot long vanity with flanking upper cabinets that serve as medicine cabinets as well as storage.  At the bottom of these upper cabinets we incorporated a pull-out shelf with an electrical outlet for the hair dryer.  The tile floor as well as the countertop were Calacatta gold tile.  Because the tile had such a strong  veining pattern, the tile was opened from it’s boxes and laid-out on the Master Bedroom floor in a pleasing a combination as possible, then numbered for installation.  The tile grout we specified was a product that did not contain fungicides or latex additives as typical grout products do.  The sealer we specified does not contain the harmful chemicals or high-levels of VOC's as is typically used.  As we frequently do, we installed the wall sconce through the fixed mirror.  This means that the specific light fixture needs to be selected not only based on its front view, but also from the back because the rear of the shade is reflected into the mirror.  And, as with all wall sconces, we do not determine the height based on drawings, but leave the wires long so that we can hold up the sconce and locate the height in the field.  We do this because even an inch up or down really affects how the composition feels in the space.

This is the master bathroom view toward the vanity - a custom 13 foot long vanity with flanking upper cabinets that serve as medicine cabinets as well as storage.  At the bottom of these upper cabinets we incorporated a pull-out shelf with an electrical outlet for the hair dryer.  The tile floor as well as the countertop were Calacatta gold tile.  Because the tile had such a strong  veining pattern, the tile was opened from it’s boxes and laid-out on the Master Bedroom floor in a pleasing a combination as possible, then numbered for installation.  The tile grout we specified was a product that did not contain fungicides or latex additives as typical grout products do.  The sealer we specified does not contain the harmful chemicals or high-levels of VOC's as is typically used.  As we frequently do, we installed the wall sconce through the fixed mirror.  This means that the specific light fixture needs to be selected not only based on its front view, but also from the back because the rear of the shade is reflected into the mirror.  And, as with all wall sconces, we do not determine the height based on drawings, but leave the wires long so that we can hold up the sconce and locate the height in the field.  We do this because even an inch up or down really affects how the composition feels in the space.

 This shows the other side of the Master Bathroom with the tub, shower and toilet room.  The tall windows bring ample light into the space, but can be screened for privacy via a mechanical shade that is custom built into the ceiling panel above the tub.     Although, it doesn’t have much to do with this image, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the sophisticated HVAC system in this house.  Because of the client’s multiple chemical sensitivities, we collaborated with a MEP Engineer to design the heating and air conditioning system.  The system was designed with two “pre-filters” that filter the air before it is conditioned, a pleated “post-filter” and several heap-filters that provide an extremely clean supply air.  The heating and cooling coils also incorporate a UV light to prevent mold growth.  The system is designed to continuously run so that the air is continually run back through the filtration system.  Finally, several ERV’s are incorporated into the system which brings in fresh air (via the filtration system) so that the air in the house is changed with fresh, filtered air 7 times a day.

This shows the other side of the Master Bathroom with the tub, shower and toilet room.  The tall windows bring ample light into the space, but can be screened for privacy via a mechanical shade that is custom built into the ceiling panel above the tub.  


Although, it doesn’t have much to do with this image, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the sophisticated HVAC system in this house.  Because of the client’s multiple chemical sensitivities, we collaborated with a MEP Engineer to design the heating and air conditioning system.  The system was designed with two “pre-filters” that filter the air before it is conditioned, a pleated “post-filter” and several heap-filters that provide an extremely clean supply air.  The heating and cooling coils also incorporate a UV light to prevent mold growth.  The system is designed to continuously run so that the air is continually run back through the filtration system.  Finally, several ERV’s are incorporated into the system which brings in fresh air (via the filtration system) so that the air in the house is changed with fresh, filtered air 7 times a day.

A project such as this requires a very dedicated design team (both Architect and Owner).  We did extensive research into several books and research reports on indoor air quality and healthy construction practices.  The homeowner was dedicated to this process and put in countless hours of their own research and following up on reviewing the chemical makeup of various products.  We had a mold specialist, MEP engineers as well as Building Science Corp review our drawings and make their recommendations.  Finally, we had a builder that went through the painstaking process that involved atypical materials and construction processes that were not typical for the industry.  The result is a healthy home that is focused on indoor air quality, that is beautiful as well.

Check out other Sneak Peak posts in the Series:

RIVERSIDE RESIDENCE

NEW CANAAN RENOVATION

SNEAK PEAK: RIVERSIDE RESIDENCE

Here is a sneak peak into another recently completed project that we have scheduled to photograph this spring (2018).  We are waiting for the landscape to bloom to show the Architecture in it's best light, but we are excited to share this project with some preliminary photographs of the project taken this past fall.

The owner is a repeat client of ours - a couple of years ago, we did an addition/renovation of the Family Room, Kitchen and Master Suite to this house.  In this project, we basically took down the rest of the house and built around the previous work.  The owner has a young family and wanted open, airy spaces with views to their backyard and pool so that they not only could enjoy the light that large windows and open spaces afford, but could also be able to see their kids play in the yard.

Here is a first look at this fantastic project.  Enjoy!

FRONT ELEVATION

 This is the front elevation of the house as viewed from the street.  The material selection and wall surface treatment was used to help break down the scale of the house so that it was in scale with the streetscape.  On the first floor, we used a large 9" wide ship lap siding with a 1/2" reveal between boards.  On the second floor, we used a standard clapboard siding which matches the previous addition.  And in the two main gables, we designed custom louver panels to provide a different texture and depth to the surface.  All is painted the same color, so the difference is one of texture and horizontal line spacing.

This is the front elevation of the house as viewed from the street.  The material selection and wall surface treatment was used to help break down the scale of the house so that it was in scale with the streetscape.  On the first floor, we used a large 9" wide ship lap siding with a 1/2" reveal between boards.  On the second floor, we used a standard clapboard siding which matches the previous addition.  And in the two main gables, we designed custom louver panels to provide a different texture and depth to the surface.  All is painted the same color, so the difference is one of texture and horizontal line spacing.

GARAGE ELEVATION

 On the Garage portion of the front elevation, the louver panels were not used in the gable end and the entire roof form is dropped from the height of the other two gables.  This was done to de-emphasize this form - making the main block of the house the focal point from the street and visually reduces the overall bulk of the house along the streetscape.

On the Garage portion of the front elevation, the louver panels were not used in the gable end and the entire roof form is dropped from the height of the other two gables.  This was done to de-emphasize this form - making the main block of the house the focal point from the street and visually reduces the overall bulk of the house along the streetscape.

REAR ELEVATION

 On the rear, a covered terrace overlooks the existing pool. 

On the rear, a covered terrace overlooks the existing pool. 

ENTRY STAIR

 This is the view once you enter the front door.  The Living Room is to the right, the Dining Room is behind the stair, and an open space leading to the Kitchen, Office, Mudroom and secondary stair is to the left.  This central stair is a central figure between all of these spaces.  We panelized the stair and left all other wall treatments as smooth painted surfaces to emphasize the figural quality of the stair as a piece of millwork.  Chunky stair treads and handrails are finished to match the floor in this light filled space.

This is the view once you enter the front door.  The Living Room is to the right, the Dining Room is behind the stair, and an open space leading to the Kitchen, Office, Mudroom and secondary stair is to the left.  This central stair is a central figure between all of these spaces.  We panelized the stair and left all other wall treatments as smooth painted surfaces to emphasize the figural quality of the stair as a piece of millwork.  Chunky stair treads and handrails are finished to match the floor in this light filled space.

VIEW FROM LIVING ROOM TO DINING AND ENTRY

 This is the view from the living room looking back toward the entry.  We designed a wet bar in this living space, painted a deep blue, with a gray quartz counter and antique mirrored backsplash.

This is the view from the living room looking back toward the entry.  We designed a wet bar in this living space, painted a deep blue, with a gray quartz counter and antique mirrored backsplash.

LIVING ROOM

 This is the view from the entry into the Living Space.  We designed a 6 foot long by 12 inch high gas fireplace which provides a linear flame.  We surrounded this firebox with blackened steel panels, and designed a custom gray quartz hearth.  This entire space is wrapped in large picture windows with transoms above to provide maximum light to the interior and transparency to the rear yard and pool area.

This is the view from the entry into the Living Space.  We designed a 6 foot long by 12 inch high gas fireplace which provides a linear flame.  We surrounded this firebox with blackened steel panels, and designed a custom gray quartz hearth.  This entire space is wrapped in large picture windows with transoms above to provide maximum light to the interior and transparency to the rear yard and pool area.

ENTRY HALL AT SECOND FLOOR

 Matching Second Floor windows on the front and rear of the house bring light deep into the center of the house and let it drop down into the entry space.  On the back wall of this image, between the two kids bedrooms, we designed a custom cabinet unit with irregular display cubbies and a white oak rear panel to match the wood counter tops in the space and the floors in order to keep the material palette muted with a singular white oak finish and a white paint throughout.

Matching Second Floor windows on the front and rear of the house bring light deep into the center of the house and let it drop down into the entry space.  On the back wall of this image, between the two kids bedrooms, we designed a custom cabinet unit with irregular display cubbies and a white oak rear panel to match the wood counter tops in the space and the floors in order to keep the material palette muted with a singular white oak finish and a white paint throughout.

DINING ROOM

 This is the view from the Dining Room into the Kitchen area.  We designed these steel doors to seperate the space, but allow a view from the Kitchen out to the yard through the Dining Room.

This is the view from the Dining Room into the Kitchen area.  We designed these steel doors to seperate the space, but allow a view from the Kitchen out to the yard through the Dining Room.

BOYS BATHROOM DETAILS

 In the boys bathroom, large shower and wall behind the vanity were clad in a porcelain tile that resembles concrete.  We used alternating bands of two textures along the full height of the walls.  The vanity is a custom white oak cabinet with built-in finger pulls.  The counter is a mitered white quartz counter so that the edges appear 3" thick.  The countertop material and cabinet are seperated by a 3/8" reveal to give a shaddow and finished look to the flush condition.

In the boys bathroom, large shower and wall behind the vanity were clad in a porcelain tile that resembles concrete.  We used alternating bands of two textures along the full height of the walls.  The vanity is a custom white oak cabinet with built-in finger pulls.  The counter is a mitered white quartz counter so that the edges appear 3" thick.  The countertop material and cabinet are seperated by a 3/8" reveal to give a shaddow and finished look to the flush condition.

 We designed a 5 foot long soap/shampoo recess in the shower that exactly conforms to the height of the textures wall tile.  Because the cut edges of porcelain tile is unfinished, we used a brushed stainless steel corner trim to finish the recess which exactly meets the side edge of the gray quartz slab below.  All of these alignments when done well look easy.  But it takes a lot of care and attention all the way back into the rough framing stage of construction to get it right.

We designed a 5 foot long soap/shampoo recess in the shower that exactly conforms to the height of the textures wall tile.  Because the cut edges of porcelain tile is unfinished, we used a brushed stainless steel corner trim to finish the recess which exactly meets the side edge of the gray quartz slab below.  All of these alignments when done well look easy.  But it takes a lot of care and attention all the way back into the rough framing stage of construction to get it right.

MISC BATHROOM DETAILS

 In the Guest Bathroom, we designed this complicated vanity.  The 12 inch thick countertop is made of mitered slabs of Statuary Gold marble that sit on marble slab "legs".  Inside these marble legs, we floated a stained mahogany cabinet that sits off the herringbone floor.  The entire wall behind this vanity is clad in a white thassos marble tile and the fixed mirror is detailed so sit flush with the wall tile.

In the Guest Bathroom, we designed this complicated vanity.  The 12 inch thick countertop is made of mitered slabs of Statuary Gold marble that sit on marble slab "legs".  Inside these marble legs, we floated a stained mahogany cabinet that sits off the herringbone floor.  The entire wall behind this vanity is clad in a white thassos marble tile and the fixed mirror is detailed so sit flush with the wall tile.

 In the First Floor Powder Room, we designed a cantilevered vanity with reclaimed barn board concealing steel supports.  The semi-recessed matte white vessel sink sits on a marble countertop that is flush with the face of the barn board.  Back in the rough framing stage of construction, mock-ups were reviewed of this vanity and sink height to determine the best height for the wall mounted faucet that would be a comfortable height to wash hands, but would not be too high and splash water onto the wood floor.

In the First Floor Powder Room, we designed a cantilevered vanity with reclaimed barn board concealing steel supports.  The semi-recessed matte white vessel sink sits on a marble countertop that is flush with the face of the barn board.  Back in the rough framing stage of construction, mock-ups were reviewed of this vanity and sink height to determine the best height for the wall mounted faucet that would be a comfortable height to wash hands, but would not be too high and splash water onto the wood floor.

That is a small taste of some of the things we did with this fantastic project.  Check back with us later in the spring to see the final photos!  As always, we had a wonderful team on this project including a fantastic, creative client, talented tradespeople and a patient General Contractor to execute some of our crazy ideas (but we don't think they are crazy!).

General Contractor:  DeRosa Builders

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New Review

We are very proud to receive a glowing review from one of our clients on Houzz.com.  We have been using Houzz.com more and more with our clients to share ideas and images.  Check out our Houzz profile here.

HOUZZ PROFILE

 701 West Putnam, Greenwich CT

701 West Putnam, Greenwich CT

2014 At Home Magazine A-List Awards

For the past few years At Home Fairfield County magazine has hosted a design competition for local Architects, Interior Designers, Builders, etc. entitled the "A-List" awards.  We had never submitted any projects for consideration, but decided this year to submit three of our projects.  Today, we were thrilled to find out that 2 of those projects are now finalists in their respective catagories!

In the "Poolhouse" category, our Modern Poolhouse project in Greenwich, CT  was selected.

And in the "Traditional Residence less than 7,000 sqft" category, our "Healthy House" project in Riverside, CT was selected.

We will find out the results at the A-List Awards event held in September.  Wish us luck!

We're Hiring. . .

We are looking for to add a key member to our team here at Mockler Taylor Architects.  Have what it takes?

Mockler Taylor Architects is looking for an intern/junior architect with 0-3 years of professional experience.  We are a small firm with a focus on high-end custom residences at various scales.

Interested applicants should possess,

·      Proficiency in 3D modeling skills (ArchiCAD a plus)

·      Strong rendering and presentation skills

·      Excellent written and verbal communication skills

·      Self-motivated and energetic

·      Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously

·      Team player with a passion for learning

Qualified applicants that can show creativity with a sense of refinement and interested in working in all phases of design/construction administration process can send a cover letter, resume and portfolio of work samples via email.  No phone calls please. 

Scout Shot of the Day: Display Cases

While traveling over the kids February break, we stayed at the Auberge Saint-Antione in Quebec City.  Throughout the hotel, there are these beautiful glass display cases containing artifacts that were found when excavating to build the modern portion of the hotel.

 Display cases at the lobby

Display cases at the lobby

The display cases were detailed such that they are recessed into the thick plaster walls and then the frameless glass display boxes pop out and are proud of the wall surface leaving a deep reveal of stainless steel between the glass and plaster.

 Display cases at elevators

Display cases at elevators

The display cases at the elevators were detailed similarly as above, but in a larger, square format and they contained colored LED lights that slowly changed colors throughout the day.

 Room number signs

Room number signs

Finally, here is the design of the room numbers for the hotel rooms.  Each room number was presented as a display case for a single artifact and the room was named after the artifact.  Very nice.

Quote of the day. . .

These clients say, “Oh, you’re going to remodel my master bath and master bedroom and master closet for $13,000, when the other bids I got were for $45,000 or $50,000.” But it’s like ordering surf and turf and being charged a buck ninety-five. Come on, how do you think this will turn out?

This is from comedian Adam Carolla in a recent New York Times article. Good quote about construction costs in general, but also apropos for Architect fees as well.

Full article here

Scout Shot of the Day: Tile Edge Detail

We are always particular about small details on our projects - details that can either ruin an otherwise successful design, or can make them sing.  One frequent detail that we must resolve is how to stop the wall tile at a bathroom, in this case, so that we have a clean detail without unfinished edges or unsightly grout showing. 

We have used bullnose tile, decorative profiled tile, wood trim details, etc., but in this project in Westport, CT we needed a more modern detail to finish the wall tile edge.  As shown here, we found a product that provides a nice clean line, flush with the face of the tile and is available in stainless steel, aluminum, solid brass, or white as seen here (they may have other colors as well).  This finishing edge trim allowed us to tile right to the edge of this window frame without needing any traditional wood casing - keeping the detailing clean and tight.

 Clean finishing edge trim for tile wall at window

Clean finishing edge trim for tile wall at window

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Scout Shot of the Day: Stairwell

We have been posting a few of these images on our Facebook fan page as a way to disseminate images that we would not typically show in our portfolio.  These are far from professional photographs, but literally scout shots frequently taken with our iPhones.  They sometimes show small details, cool materials, or just interesting images about our work. 

We have gotten a good response, so we thought we would do the same here.  Enjoy.

And, if you would like to check out our Facebook page you can see it here.

 Shot of glass guardrail looking up from bottom of stairwell.

Shot of glass guardrail looking up from bottom of stairwell.