This Midcentury Modern Renovation located adjacent to Williams Creek and Meridian Hills Neighborhood near 81st/Springmill Road is a hidden gem buried in the woods. Our MCM-fanatic clients have selected this lucky location to re-create the home of their dreams to their particular custom semi-retro specifications. Construction kicked-off in summer 2016 and substantial completion was achieved in mid-2017. Please check back for updates as we will be updating project information including new photos and more about the design and construction process.
Architecture: HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles (Chris Short + Derek Mills)
Interior Architecture: HAUS with Design Studio Vriesman (Tom Vriesman)
Construction: Wrightworks (Christopher Wright)
Landscape Architecture: A2 Design (Eric Anderson)
Progress – Design Process
The question with many residential renovation projects is, “how far do we want to take this – will it be like a new home? – is it easier and less expensive to just build new? – or is it better to rebuild to our specifications in this desirable location?”. Check, check, and check – all of these questions and more were discussed during the design stage. Ultimately, our client had committed to purchasing the property prior to engaging with the design team. A few big-picture design solutions were discussed focused around the client’s very thoughtful list of prioritized goals. We didn’t hold back too much in the brainstorming phase, and as per a normal design process, we kept the best ideas addressing priorities and budget, and down-scaled some of the negotiables.
Please check back, as we will plan to share more of the design process, including a few big ideas and concepts.
Progress – Midcentury Modern Renovation
Progress – Midcentury Modern Renovation
This Midcentury closet detail below is one of many refined retro-modern features at Midcentury Modern Renovation 2. Spring has sprung and Owner has moved-into the project even while mostly exterior work continues forward. Book-matched Walnut veneer is a continuous theme throughout the interior including Entry, Kitchen, Bedrooms, Vanities, and TV/Family Room.
Hard and soft-scaping continues outside, and we are particularly eager to see final exterior finishes applied. As one can see, we have maximized exterior windows to capitalize on the scenic panorama.
Screenwalls are a predominant theme in Midcentury Architecture, so here we utilized a screenwall to achieve multiple goals in a unique way. This wall above and below serves multiple purposes: One, it frames a slightly more formal entry court with material continuing outside to inside, and two, it turns the corner to frame a private outside courtyard accessed via large bedroom openings (maximizing south light + privacy/security). One move, multiple benefits.
Please check back as we will be posting new updates as the project progresses!
Modern Lakehouse revitalization has now been completed at Lake Clearwater in Indianapolis. This neighborhood, originally established in 1980s, has been undergoing a wave of substantial property improvements for the last several years. It has the benefits of lakefront property in a desirable area just south of Clearwater Crossing (proximity to the best restaurants and shopping that Indiana has to offer). This project marks our third project in the neighborhood and second Clearwater design-build effort in 4 years. Our client has affectionately named the project “Esther”.
If you are interested in seeing this project in-person, please stop by for a visit during the AIA Architects’ Home Tour this September 2018!
Architecture/Interior Design/Renderings/Photography: HAUS | Architecture + Client (Chris Short, Derek Mills, Paul Reynolds, Judy Laibe)
Construction Management: WERK | Building Modern (Derek Mills)
Featured: 2018 AIA Home Tour
Esther was selected to be on the AIA Home Tour on September 15-16, 2018 – we enjoyed seeing so many of our friends, colleagues, clients on the tour! Here below are some media links featuring Esther.
This home had been renovated several years ago, but it was time again for something new. Our client is moving here from their downtown home (see Adagio) that we helped them design in 2010-2012, and they wanted to incorporate their favorite features from that location where appropriate. The question was how far would we be able to take the design with required approvals from the Lake Clearwater HOA.
The design concept simply looks to simplify and accentuate the existing structure with elementary expressions at entry, main living spaces, and lakeside maximizing south light and panoramic lakeside views. We eliminated the 45-degree angles, busy rooflines, and interior partitions for a streamlined solution capitalizing on the simple open-concept gable form. Entry, Kitchen, Home Office, Dining Area, and Master Suite are all completely new, and highlights include a white oak ceiling, porcelain tile floor, custom cabinetry, zinc standing seam roof, all new windows, and new exterior cladding. Our initial goal was to go darker on the exterior colors, but HOA-approved exterior color palette leans lighter. We may re-open the exterior color discussion again a bit later (see if we can go dark grey.
Construction Begins – Modern Lakehouse
As we like to say, please check back again soon, as we will be posting periodic updates – the project is very close to completion. It’s another good one, and we will be planning on 2018 photography when the time is right!
Our clients for the Vintage Modern Garage project contacted us in early spring 2016 to assist with the design for a new large-scale, freestanding workshop to compliment their 1950’s Midcentury Modern residence that they had just recently acquired in the Lakeside neighborhood on the northwest side of Indianapolis. They were looking for the right architect to match their overall aesthetic, including interiors, to partner with them on the new garage and also help brainstorm a master plan for an overall home renovation project respecting the Midcentury spirit of the original home and site.
The new garage location was to replace a former in-ground swimming pool that had just recently been removed. The topography of the site and garage location was a challenge, but these unique challenges usually help inspire something extra in the end product, and we saw great potential for refinement at this already established property. This home has an intriguing story that we will let our clients tell later, but they essentially rescued the property from its prior illicit occupancy, with a prior owner extraction involving the DEA.
Before contacting HAUS, a general contractor and landscape designer/builder had already been hired. One of the biggest project priorities was budget. They had already begun some design scopes with the contractor and landscape company – and were looking for help to achieve strong architectural design concepts to compliment their vision for the Midcentury Modern site. We are happy that we were invited to participate with the team and help our clients achieve the vision for workshop and residence enhancements outside to inside.
When we design, we keep budget in-mind, but we have to let the ideas flow freely; we know we can always dial-back the scope or complexity. The key is to be sure to come-up with an excellent idea, then go from there to figure out the details and see how it can fit the budget. If the client is motivated enough by the solution, they may also consider increasing the budget a bit. For many of our projects, it can be compromise of all those options (size, complexity, quality, timeline, budget).
The workshop design solution maximized the footprint and height allowed per zoning while working to compliment the original primary structure up the hill. The sloping topography of the site made connections between house and accessory structure challenging, requiring retaining walls which became an integral part of the architectural design solution. Workshop and lower level of house are essentially aligned, and the former house auto court (original garage was at basement level of house) will become an outdoor garden terrace connecting house lower level to new auto workshop.
The architecture of the workshop compliments the house with the use of a shed roof that pops-up revealing a 3-sided translucent acrylic clerestory wrap that reveals the wood structure while flooding the interior with natural light. Clear glass overhead doors reveal the vintage cars inside while allowing more views and light. Finishes compliment the original house with gray and stained siding a match to house, then concrete retaining walls compliment house limestone cladding.
The initial phases of this project including most exterior and interior scopes are complete and our client is still continuing forward with some details on their own time. Please check-back as we will be adding to the story.
Project Info – Vintage Modern Garage:
Architecture/Renderings/Photography: HAUS | Architecture (Chris Short + Paul Reynolds)
General Contractor: Thrine Construction
Landscape Design/Build: Start to Finish Landscaping, Inc.
Design Process – Vintage Modern Garage
Stay tuned for more updates, as we will be adding to this story, including the design phase and before-photographs.
New Modern House 1 located in Zionsville, IN broke ground in fall 2015 for family of four seeking an energy efficient, modest, modern dwelling responding emphatically to its site #Copperwood.
This design, located on a 20 acre lot with natural habitat and wetlands, features open concept planning with distinct components for Living, Bedrooms, and Garage. Major design element includes a dramatic wing roof overhanging primary indoor living spaces and Airstream port, with Airstream functioning as Home Office + Guest Suite while docked. Kitchen space features front and back areas with pass-through to serve outdoor entertaining. Lower level features architectural stair, north bay light, and regulation table tennis area for nationally-rated Owner. Mostly low-tech passive and active green-building strategies were implemented throughout, with the home achieving a HERS Performance Rating of 43, which is 60% better than a standard new energy-code-compliant home. Smart Home Technology is used to control lighting, HVAC, and security from the Owner’s mobile devices.
This project was substantially-completed in late September 2016 – please check-back as we will be posting periodic updates and Owner feedback.
Copperwood was selected to be on the AIA Home Tour on September 16-17, 2017 – we enjoyed seeing so many of our friends, colleagues, clients on the tour! Here below are some media links featuring Copperwood.
Architecture/Interior Design: HAUS | Architecture (Christ Short, Derek Mill, Kevin Swan, Rachelle Swan)
Construction Management: WERK | Building Modern (Derek Mills + Chris Short)
Renderings: HAUS | Architecture
Exterior Finish Photography: HAUS | Architecture
Process Photography: HAUS | Architecture + Kevin Swan as noted
Interior Finish Photography: HAUS | Architecture + The Home Aesthetic
Featured: 2017 AIA Home Tour
Design Process – New Modern House 1
Progress – New Modern House 1
No special ceremonies – let’s get digging. Actual site grading was a bit different than planned, but we were able to make the desired adjustments to coordinate with adjacent wetlands and grades.
Foundations – New Modern House 1
There were some questions about actual concrete scope requirements relative to field conditions that were answered during the excavation work. We ended-up realizing some savings by making the right design decisions on the fly. It’s critical that the architect is involved in every phase of the construction to make the right decisions consistent with DESIGN INTENT. We like to shoot for getting footings in the ground and backfilled prior to the ground freezing for winter. Despite some delays, we were able to achieve it on this project.
Retaining Walls – New Modern House 1
The large footings in the foreground are for the Airstream canopy area retaining walls. Initially we had a number of retaining walls on the project, but reduced a few to save on costs. Negotiating the site grades was an interesting process, but we were happy to have saved some effort and cost with some of the decisions.
Basement Foundation Walls – New Modern House 1
It’s interesting how the residential market differs from the commercial market regarding design and construction. It seems the structural engineers and residential trades are often at odds. Having come from a commercial architecture background, and now working predominantly in the residential marketplace – the differences are very evident. Whenever we have a structural engineer collaborate on our unique projects, the concrete trades in particular often have differing opinions on best techniques. It’s interesting to learn the different opinions – many related to costs. Is it really “over-designed”? Maybe it is – maybe it isn’t. In the case below, the concrete contractor wanted to add a few counterfort walls to reinforce the long foundation wall – maybe more for backfilling operations, as once the floor framing/sheathing is installed, adequate lateral support is achieved. Some opined that we could have done with less rebar reinforcement – we stuck with the structural engineer recommendations.
Framing Begins – New Modern House 1
We considered various methods of project delivery, construction techniques, and client priorities relative to project costs. For this project, although we and our client were inspired by prefab homes and their advantages relative to a controlled environment and fast site erection, we chose to site stick-build. We felt this method was going to be the most cost-effective and most logical based on the overall design (open-concept bay widths, heavy timber, large Airstream canopy). We were ready to frame by late December, but had some delays with weather and framer availability. So ultimately, we ended-up starting actual site framing work in early February 2016. So looking-back, maybe prefab would have benefited the process – if feasible with our design. The trick is, we didn’t design it from the beginning with prefab in-mind, which is important in making that technique feasible.
Lumber Sourcing – New Modern House 1
We didn’t anticipate having to source the heavy timber for the project via out-of-state suppliers, but the local lumber yards said they didn’t have access to what we needed. We were able to find what we needed from American Pole and Timber out of Texas. We can’t say it was the greenest way to source the material – I guess if we were doing this project in the Pacific Northwest, we would not have had a problem. Part of the challenge is that all of our exposed wood needed to be treated. We needed 32′ long 2x12s treated, which was not readily available in that length. Texas cut that material for us out of logs, and since their other 6×6 timbers were a better bargain than local suppliers, we decided to load-up the truck with some additional lumber to cover some of our other needs.
Skylight Framing – New Modern House 1
We strategically placed a few skylights into the bedroom wing roof to maximize natural light in the right places – this particular opening is a 3-skylight-wide slot in the Master Bedroom ceiling primarily over the master bed headwall, which floats short of the ceiling and separates bedroom from bathroom. Most of the skylights are fixed, but a couple are motorized to allow stack-effect ventilation. Light and panoramic views achieve a dramatic engagement with the site. Stay tuned for finish photos of these spaces in a few months.
Exterior Wood Siding Installation – New Modern House 1
Framers are working their way around the house on the wood siding installations. The thermally-modified Ash is really beautiful, so client is debating whether to finish the siding to maintain the nice warm tone. Ultimately they decided we will let it weather to grey. We ended-up coming up a bit short on the siding, and had to wait a few months to get enough right-sized Ash to finish the job. This caused some delays on metal copings and some other areas, but on the bright-side, we ended up getting some extra material that we were able to use in a few places on the interior.
Exterior Progress – New Modern House 1
For the most part, the details are coming-out as planned. We have some work to do here and there, but overall we are pleased with how things are coming along. We were fortunate that we were able to acquire the black cement board siding from the supplier, as that particular color has been discontinued – they just happened to have a small quantity still available in-stock. This prefinished cement board siding installation requires precision and patience. Cut edges need to be light-sanded and rolled with a sealer prior to installing, so it is not fast-going. For the exposed steel columns and brackets, we have decided to leave the galvanized finish exposed instead of painting them black. The roof-framing members are treated 2x12s and the supporting glulams are treated 7″ x 16″ mostly oversized for scale/appearance.
Airstream Shelter – New Modern House 1
A major design driver for this project was our client’s passion for travel, and particularly, the integration of their Airstream, “Annie”, into the design. We established early-on in the design process that Annie needed to be 1) Protected, and 2) Functionally-integrated into the design. We achieved each and more. With Annie located on the west side of the property (just a few steps from the Kitchen and garage), the soaring wing roof structure protects Annie while providing abundant shelter from the hot west sun (for the house).
Entry Bridge – New Modern House 1
Each client and each site bring a unique set of design opportunities to the table. The raised buildable portion of this particular site had sloping grades and an abandoned gas pipeline running through the desired house location. The initial and ultimate design concepts deferred to the pipeline, oriented house to receive the south light + best views, and gracefully addressed the sloping site.
This north-facing entry is framed to the right by the garage coming forward and to the left by the short section of the bedroom wing. The angle from bedroom wing to garage mimics the adjacent pipeline. Higher grade is to the north, yet we wanted to achieve natural light into the lower level, which was achieved with the north bay, requiring (well, not really requiring, it was just a cool thing to do) the architectural bridge to access the front door. We are excited about the finishing details of the canopies not yet complete, which includes heavy timber posts and beams with treated glulam beams spanning the basement clearstory. To achieve the structural requirements for diagonal bracing, we are incorporating galvanized bracing of rods with clevis and turnbuckles, while bridge guardrails utilize stainless-steel cable-rail infill. The basement clearstory area steps down to lower level with a couple of 30″ tall landscaped platforms to eliminate the need for guardrails. The light achieved helps make the lower level a desirable living space – stay tuned for photos/progress of the lower level, architectural stair, and canopy details.
Rainscreen Siding – New Modern House 1
We are really happy with how the project is coming along and it is great to see things coming together mostly as planned. The big initial goal for us is that the design-intent is achieved. Then, from there, fit the expected quality within the agreed budget. The trades for the project have never worked on anything like this from an overall design standpoint, so it has been a key asset having HAUS, the Architect managing the construction via WERK | Building Modern, in collaboration with our client. It is a unique, but mostly simple concept and design. However, we have learned over the years that simple, minimal details are usually less forgiving and more challenging to achieve than more traditional details and assemblies – things line up, the trims are minimal, having less ability to hide imperfections.
The white siding material is pre-finished cement board with matching exposed fasteners and 3/8″ gaps at panel joints. The joint gaps are designed to allow the elements (rain) through the assembly, and waterproofed/flashed to drain out. In all but a few special conditions now, our wall assemblies are always detailed as rainscreens. Even the thermally-modified wood is a rainscreen system. The joints between boards are not tight, and designed to drain water and breathe. We sleep better at night knowing our wall systems are built with the best techniques (RESILIENT DESIGN), especially when a project has minimal or no roof overhangs to shelter the facade.
Interior Progress – New Modern House 1
We are going on about month-10 now in the process. Trim carpentry and painting is progressing along with electrical fixture installations, cabinets, and tile. Kevin/Rachelle Swan (clients), Chris Adams (trim carpenter, painter, floor installer, quality control expert), and Derek Mills/Chris Short (Architects-Construction Managers) have been teaming together and with the numerous trades to “bring it home”. Exposed clear-coated Southern Pine beams are double 2x10s spaced with hidden track lighting between – inside space between is painted dark grey to camouflage the dark track fixtures. Beams also are equipped to uplight the vaulted ceiling. All lighting, security + HVAC is controlled via owner’s smart devices (Smart Home Technology).
Rough Grading – New Modern House 1
During the construction stage, we considered a few alternatives to the original south-stepped landscape wall. Ultimately, we decided to abandon the stepped-wall in favor of a new concept – a new elevated soccer plateau – achieved with many, many loads of excavation spoils from other project locations. Coordinating the desired elevations and precise angle at plinth edges has been an effort, but will be well worth it in the end. We think it will be a dramatic functional and aesthetic base – an extension of the modern architecture – a mediator from house to otherwise virgin landscape. Intent is that plinth is manicured lawn, while the surrounding grades will be seeded with wildflowers and wild-grasses for a natural, low-maintenance landscape.
Thermally-Modified Ash – New Modern House 1
Conceptually, the thermally-modified wood-clad east bedroom wing slides though the side of the living space, so we continued the wood from exterior through the interior living space to stay true to the concept. The wood on the exterior will weather to grey – the wood inside should maintain this darkened effect of the Ash wood. The burned-wood smell is evident on the finished product, but only in very close proximity.
Stair has been finished in clear Southern Pine. We considered using the Ash from walls, but it is more brittle and we were afraid it may crack on installation and over time. The pine works for the stair, as it is a nice compliment to the exposed Southern Pine beams in the adjacent living space. We are looking forward to seeing the steel rail system and wood-burning stove installations next.
Client has been instrumental and a great partner in coordinating interior trim carpentry details, lighting fixture selections, and interior finish selections in collaboration with HAUS and the Construction Manager, WERK | Building Modern.
In the early fall of living in the house, Owner has confirmed that Passive Solar Building Design is no joke – home maintaining 70 degrees inside during the daytime (35-45 degrees outside) on sunny days without furnace.
We met our Broad Ripple Modern Craftsman clients at the Broad Ripple Home Tour in Fall 2014 when they were volunteer docents for our Broad Ripple Bungalow project, which was one of the homes on the tour. We were very happy when they called to begin the planning process for their craftsman-style bungalow also on Carrollton, a beautiful, walkable street lined with several excellent Craftsman-Style homes.
Having lived in the home for 20+ years, clients don’t want to leave but want a respectfully-modern, light-filled transformation to support their lifestyle for the next 20 and beyond. The new design will reflect their personalities and life-stories (who they are and how they want to live) on the inside, while the outside will be a major upgrade fully respecting the Craftsman tradition with a touch of funk.
Since the clients are passionate about good design, high-quality materials, and efficiency (energy + resources), this project was a perfect fit for a design-build approach (Architect-Led Design/Build, via WERK | Building Modern, our construction management company). Is there anyone better to build the project than someone who has worked personally with the owner to dream the concepts and articulate the details? Since we understand the design intent better than anyone, we enjoy continuing the collaboration directly with the trades to ensure that design-intent is realized. This method ensures that our clients receive the custom design solutions as intended. This is very important to us and most of our clients!
The design modifications included in this complete gut/remodel include new everything + personal touches inspired by the owners (exposed details and hardware making a nod to the owner’s father’s background in the building industry, a kitchen laid out to fulfill their culinary ambitions, and a design concept + details that pays homage to the owner’s stringed instruments.) We will share more of the story including INTERIOR DESIGN concepts and renderings as the project progresses – the interiors are what really sets this project apart.
This project is currently under construction; please check back as we will be posting periodic updates. The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2017.
Project Info – Broad Ripple Modern Craftsman:
Architecture/Interior Design/Renderings/Photography: HAUS | Architecture (Chris Short, Paul Reynolds)
Construction Management: WERK | Building Modern (Paul Reynolds, Chris Short)
Featured: 2018 Indianapolis Monthly
The project is beginning to get some recognition – check out these articles and blogs:
The Design Process – Broad Ripple Modern Craftsman
It is important to think about the big picture but also the fine details. At HAUS, we look at every item in depth and work closely with the owners to ensure they have ownership not only in the physical home but also in the design process. While we are able to design disconnected from reality, each project has a personality that is reflected by the owner. After all, what we do is service to clients.
Although the construction documents are two-dimensional, we think, see, and live in three dimensions. The image below is a ghosted version of the 3D computer model. One can begin to see all the elements within the spaces, from the structural elements to the furniture pieces. Please check back later for more enhanced interior views – we plan to share those once we have a chance!
Breaking “Ground” – Broad Ripple Modern Craftsman
Here’s a shot of the existing house as lumber began arriving. The existing eaves were in disrepair and were casually referred to as a raccoon motel by the owner. We will be bringing this bungalow above and beyond its original Craftsman roots from a design, detail, and quality standpoint. This roof is coming off to accommodate the new upstairs.
We managed to get the majority of the lumber in one delivery which worked to our advantage. The site is unique in that it shares a driveway with the neighboring property and much of the landscaping is to remain. We managed to tuck the lumber package back into the owner’s carport and driveway, which gave us room to set a dumpster next to the house, rather than in the front yard or street.
Demolition – Broad Ripple Modern Craftsman
And with a few swings of the hammer, the renovation has begun! We began by salvaging a lot of elements from the existing space. We donated much of the existing light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and cabinets to Habitat for Humanity for re-use, thus diverting them from going into the dumpster. The existing doors and trims were salvaged for re-use in the new design. It was not our original intent to completely demolish all interior walls and ceilings, but our framer urged us to consider it since that would make the construction process easier for his crew. Let’s do it.
This Mid Century Modern Renovation project was originally built by the Architect/Owner in or around 1959. Our client purchased the property in 2011 and tackled renovating the Kitchen/Living spaces as well as other areas of the home.
The design solution worked to simplify other previous renovations with a simple open plan, layout, and neutral materials designed to enhance the original design concepts. Existing skylight and roof drain plumbing was altered to enable opening the plan to enhance what was already a classic. It helped that our client is an MCM enthusiast and accessorized beautifully!
Mid Century Modern Renovation
Architecture/Interior Design/Photography/Renderings: HAUS | Architecture
Construction Management: WERK | Building Modern
Dining Table: Craig Mann/Brian Presnell
Lakeside Modern Cottage located in Unionville, IN broke ground in fall 2017 for a an extended family retreat located right on beautiful Lake Lemon south of Martinsville and north of Bloomington.
Our client has owned this property for about 25 years and it has served as primarily a weekend destination during that time. The site and lake is a fabulous family recreation spot for all water-activities, and this particular site abuts a protected forest preserve on one side with no worry of future development. As some surrounding neighbors have been renovating their properties, our client decided it was time to do the same and invest in the long-term for themselves and future generations.
The design transforms the pre-existing cottage built in the 1970s with a new modern design solution that completely breaks the architectural design expectation for the area. It was important to have enough space and beds for large family stays, so much of the initial focus was on providing enough sleep-space and support facilities for bigger groups. On initial discussions, we were under the impression that or clients wanted to continue the design theme of the existing waterfront (traditional), but perhaps dial-up the level of design, detail, and quality to fit-in. Our early concepts did just that while adding a new master suite, enhanced bedrooms with bunk space, screened porch, enhanced kitchen, wet-bar, fireplace, laundry, bathrooms, and living spaces while infilling the space between house and garage. To that point, our discussions had focused mostly on the functional and budgetary aspects of the project. Once we got a good start on those issues, the discussions turned to the exterior and interior aesthetics.
Our client shared a few images and surprised us with a desire and means to go modern. Months later, the client remembered that Chris’ eyes lit-up when the conversation went that direction. That’s probably true, but for the record, HAUS enjoys all types of architecture including the nuances of each client relationship and resulting design solutions. We love that our clients challenge us and Don/JoAnn have done just that; what a pleasure it is to work with such fun people.
HAUS’ sister company, WERK | Building Modern, is the construction manager for the project, so we get to be involved in every aspect of the project daily. Our best projects are the projects where we are the builder and are able to protect the vision. With the process, the client and project benefit from the daily involvement of the Architect within the construction process; every design, detail, and cost decision goes through the Owner and Architect, which is really important if design is a priority. Thanks to Chris Adams for his daily oversight, framing, and trim carpentry work. Thanks to all of the other trade contractors, many of whom we are working with for the first time due to the project’s location.
The construction of this project is underway, so please check-back as we will be posting periodic updates as we move forward. We expect substantial completion in late summer 2018.
Project Info – Lakeside Modern Cottage:
Architecture/Interior Design/Renderings/Process Photography: HAUS | Architecture (Chris Short + Derek Mills)
Construction Management: WERK | Building Modern (Derek Mills, Chris Short)
Construction Process – Lakeside Modern Cottage
The two large windows on top of the two-story volume are the locations of the matching bunk platforms that have their own nook inside two of the four upstairs bedrooms.
This raised ceiling accommodates clerestory below to bring south light over the covered porch (covered porch not framed yet in this photograph), but also forms the base for the upstairs raised bunk nooks overlooking the lake. Our clients say these bunk spaces are the most popular and talked-about feature of the project when they give tours.
After this photo was taken, a few weeks later, Don and JoAnn brought JoAnn’s father down for a visit recently (he just turned 100-years-old this year). He said, “this is just how grandpa would have built it”. Grandpa was JoAnn’s grandpa, her mother’s father – a builder from his day. JoAnn said we now have validation from her father, which is a good feeling.
Please check-back as we will be posting updates periodically – you won’t want to miss the upcoming progress!
Scandinavian Rustic Cabin located in Carmel, IN began master planning first of the year 2015, and re-construction was completed before the fall holidays.
The design of this 1990’s shingle-style rustic cabin was primarily based around the desire for a more open and light-filled interior, with better connections to its beautiful site. It was a really interesting and ongoing design-dialogue … how to effectively mix pre-existing rustic features (log-cabin walls, brick floors) with new modern features (cabinetry, fireplace surrounds, details, hardware). The same questions came up over and over for each specification, finish, and detail. Should it lean more rustic, more modern, or somewhere in-between? The contrast between rustic and modern details and materials provides for a rich and unique experience inside and out with a result that in many ways reveals a Scandinavian vibe mixed with Rustic.
We have just begun to document this project, so please check-back as we will be posting periodic updates, Owner feedback, and backstory.
Project Info – Scandinavian Rustic Cabin:
Architecture/Interior Design/Renderings/Photography: HAUS | Architecture
Construction Management: Blaze Construction
Progress – Scandinavian Rustic Cabin
Owner forwarded an evening photo of the living room fireplace that we modified with a new hearth + steel cladding and light reveal – #ambience
This New Modern House Ditch on a large isolated suburban landscape is free to be whatever it wants to be – no neighborhood design review committees or zoning variance review – just meet the established zoning criteria and go for it. Owner expressed an interest in privacy, natural light, and Mid-Century Modernism, referencing a few Midcentury images they liked along with a few examples of courtyard-style homes that suited their taste. Most importantly they made it clear that, “this is the last home we are doing, and we want to do it right”.
Design Concept – New Modern House Ditch
The campus-style, courtyard-driven design solution for this home balances passive design opportunities with a multi-tiered program working to balance aesthetics and budget. Each major program element is defined with its own building mass placed with respect to beneficial adjacencies, solar orientation, views, access, and privacy. Front approach is intended to be low-key and private, achieved with a sheltering front porch, offset front door, and smaller front windows. Upon entry, views open to the back courtyard and vaulted living space, with visual access to the bedroom and recreation wings framing the pool terrace and covered outdoor eating area. Main living core, recreation, bedrooms, art studio and garage are each expressed with unique massing, all connected by a central axis. Overall architectural aesthetic is a blend of Modernism and rural agrarian form and material.
This rear-view diagram above illustrates the linear axis connecting all portions of the plan, including the grain-bin studio to the far-right (to be used for gardening, painting, and metalworking), which will be part of Phase Two after move-in. The project is currently under construction and scheduled for a winter 2016 completion date. Please check back for updates as we will be adding to the story as construction progresses.
Foundations – New Modern House Ditch
After many months of planning, we are excited to finally be breaking ground in late fall 2015. The vantage-point in the photo below is taken standing on the excavation mound in the rear. Lower right of photo is the pool-deck, and the front left-side space is the Recreation Wing (pool house). Far upper left is the 3-car Garage. Pool Deck originally faced south southeast, but in a last-moment decision, the decision was to turn the footprint about 55 degrees counter-clockwise so pool deck would face the back woods – almost directly east. As the house was designed to take advantage of the south passive solar light while maintaining enough privacy from the property to the south, we are watching closely how this adjustment may affect the interior quality of light.
Framing Progress – New Modern House Ditch
This framing-progress photo below was taken in mid-November 2015. It’s always fun to see the bones taking shape in built form. Things seem to be just as we had hoped from a scale, proportion, and interior volume standpoint. Computer modeling has made things so much more accurate in communicating the design (for us, our clients, and the construction teams); less surprises and design-misunderstandings. This house is being constructed all stick-frame (2×4 walls) on 8″ thickness concrete foundation walls – based on builder/crew familiarity; and therefore, cost.
Architectural Stair + Drywall – New Modern House Ditch
The unique window/wall design in the architectural stair is partially a result of HVAC system integration. Vertical chase feeding from lowest-level is to the left of these stair windows, and horizontal runs feeding the three floors of the bedroom wing run horizontally between the windows just below respective floor structure for each floor. Sloped window sills bring more light into the stair space, with an aesthetic nod to LeCorbusier’s, Notre Dame du Haut.
Infinity Pool – New Modern House Ditch
This photo from the back in early summer 2016 shows infinity pool and exterior siding/roofing progress. Courtyard-Style Homes like this with a mix of exterior cladding and roofing materials take more design, detail, coordination, and precision when compared to generic homes – the clean lines make imperfections more noticeable, so in many ways, “simple” can be more difficult to achieve. Brick-cladding on the bedroom wing to the right is nearing completion. Notice the subtle accent/texture in some areas of the brick – achieved with raked mortar joints in these areas adjacent to concave mortal joints – an effort to find the right balance of detail and simplicity. The siding areas to the left are to be primarily pre-finished cement board rainscreen walls, which are not as common, and require very precise craftsmanship, and will be installed later in the process. Outdoor Covered Lounge/Grill Area (to far left inside corner) is to have a wood ceiling and back wall.
Trim Carpentry – New Modern House Ditch
This photo below shows status of the main living space viewed from the Kitchen area as trim carpenters have taken-over. The big sliding-glass doors and transoms to the right are long lead-time items and will arrive in a few more weeks. Initial concept for the interiors included light to medium-gray large-format tiles to reflect light and absorb warmth from passive solar in winter. Trusses were to be pieced-wood painted white, with wood ceiling to add warmth to the space. Kitchen cabinets were to be rift-cut white oak door fronts, with exposed white cabinet boxes.
During the design process, some of the original decisions evolved on-the-fly. Owner preferred wood flooring over tile, and a semi-dark stained species was selected. Since floors were wood, we changed living space ceilings to white-painted drywall, and large trusses changed from white to stained wood to match floors. We are not sure if the darker floor and dark trusses when coupled with the new footprint orientation and less natural light will adversely affect the lightness of the space, but the new modified interior renderings and lighting scheme look nice. Overall, the original interior architecture concepts are true-to-form. The details are on-track and the cabinetry is true-to-concept, except the rift-cut white oak cabinet doors have been supplanted with light bamboo (Owner deals in office furniture where white oak is very common, so wanted to explore another option). We are hopeful that the bamboo will achieve the desired, timeless vibe.
Exterior Details – New Modern House Ditch
After exploring a number of exterior cladding options, we ended-up with a bit more brick and a bit less cement-board rainscreen than planned. The brown brick in the left-side bedroom wing was as per original concept, but the darker-grey brick to the right was used to substitute for dark grey large-format cement-board cladding. Early-on in the process, we had actually explored ultra-high performance concrete panels, but they were extremely expensive when compared to other more traditional materials like brick and even lesser-grade cement board rainscreen cladding systems. Later, we defaulted to CBF, parts of which were replace with brick per photo below. From a conceptual standpoint, it was important to us that we do everything we could to maintain the integrity of the original cladding parti. Dark brick replaced original grey concrete panels to save cost, but we were able to mostly maintain the design integrity. In the rare cases we are not the builder for our projects, it is important that we, the architect, be involved and consulted during the construction process if design-integrity is important.
Sloped roof above is standing seam metal in a preweathered galvalume finish. This color is affordable, and is as close as you can get to a zinc-look for the cost. The black wall finish is Reveal-Shield, used for open-joint rainscreen systems as the WRB (weather-resistive-barrier) behind the final exterior wall cladding. The vertical black strips are composite battens with rubber strip gaskets used as adjustable mounts for the cement board rainscreen system. There was a flashing detail discussed with builder that had not been incorporated when this photo was taken (vertical to horizontal panel transition). This photo was taken after initial cement-board mock-up for Owner and Architect review/discussion.
In late summer 2016, it was finally time to install the cement-board cladding as we did successfully at Copperwood. But with this project, builder expressed concerns about the tolerances and difficulty of some of the details. This photo above shows the initial mock-up that was completed. White panels are the CBF cladding, the black weather-resistive barrier keeps water out, and the vertical channels provide a mountable surface for the panels. We had discussed flashing at the vertical-to-soffit panel transition that had not been installed in this photo. Joints between panels are 5/16″, and since the reveals are black, the contrast between black and white require a high level of precision. The details for this project were a bit more complex than those at Copperwood, and were going to drive the labor costs higher. In discussing complexities and alternatives, the team reviewed cement board vs the idea of using stucco. We believed the expected tolerances in the material and installation would be minimal and recommended to proceed as planned with the cement board (except the few areas with smaller pieces could be modified to use larger pieces). We felt this system would achieve the intended technically-refined, low-maintenance, water-managed cladding solution.
Although it is not an industry expectation, Owner desired absolute perfection, and builder was not confident that they could achieve a high-enough level of precision to meet Owner desires – concern that minor joint alignment imperfections, even if within accepted tolerances, were going to be a long-term disappointment. Earlier in the design process we had explored stucco as an option, but at that time, Owner had ruled it out due to water-intrusion issues that the EIFS product had in their previous neighborhood (water managed stucco/EIFS is a topic for another day). Stucco/EIFS was the final choice per the installation photos below, so all of the cement board WRB and battens were removed in-favor of a stucco system.
We pushed for the smoothest sand-finish possible with the new direction. We always recommend water-managed wall-cladding systems no matter the material, but are not sure a water-managed wall system was used here. We were able to advise on all the joint locations, which were achieved with the standard v-groove EIFS method. Aluminum reveal joints would have been a nice touch, but were not included. Some of the EIFS details were modified in the field from design intent, but overall, the look has been achieved, and more reflection and time will tell if stucco/EIFS was the right choice.
More architect involvement during construction is never a bad idea, but as with all projects, the team dynamic may dictate a different approach. We always push to function as architect, interior designer, and builder so that we can be intimately involved for the entire process beginning-to-end, including all details and important decisions along the way. The number one benefit is to help see that the design-intent is achieved and that our clients receive a comprehensive design + build solution beginning-to-end.
In the photo below, something is missing – the future studio to the far left is still planned for Phase Two. It will be a great feature for the owner, and will also complete the architectural composition by helping achieve visual balance and also softening an otherwise angular design (see renderings, especially the aerial view).
The front facade and front entry porch (photos above and below) are highlighted by an understated, horizontal, low-slung form with repetitive columns framing the porch, entry, and study. Opulence and grandiosity were sidestepped in-favor of restraint and privacy. This front living core is the central space from which all other wings radiate. The main gutter is to extend beyond the facade on each side and have a chain downspout to landscape.
These photos of rear exterior cladding progress were taken in late fall 2016, when rough grading was underway and exterior stucco was in-process. Overall, things are coming along well, and it is exciting to see the final touches coming together.
Entry Porch – New Modern House Ditch
The thermally-treated wood cladding at Front Entry Porch was originally-intended to be dark grey cement board cladding in 6″ wide horizontally-oriented rainscreen. This was part of the “grey siding ribbon” that was wrapping the Living Wing. Most of the grey siding was changed to the grey brick, but this area under the porch and running toward the Garage was changed to wood based on the Owner’s appreciation for the thermally-treated Ash at Copperwood. Architect-intent was to give the wood siding a grey-tint so as to maintain the design concept integrity and not have the appearance of too many materials being used. The wood cladding (in this case, thermally-treated Poplar) is a nice-looking product, but we are keeping an eye on how it will work with the overall composition. We hope this additional exterior material won’t be visually complex. Overall, this porch looks fantastic in this photo, including the simple white beams and plank ceiling. Owner chose to coat the wood in a clear/satin finish to protect it from weathering grey.
Little things like the HVAC return-air grille visible through the entry door transom window could be improved upon at a later date if deemed important. We have creative ideas for how to minimize the visual impact of mechanicals in circumstances like this, but implementation of these micro-details takes the extra time and effort above-and-beyond a normal builder-lead approach. In the creation of architecture, how far to take the design and detail is always a balance of priorities, timelines, and budgets.
Interior Details – New Modern House Ditch
Here below is another shot of the architectural stair in the bedroom wing. This is the only stair in the house and it connects the lower level Workout Gym/Locker area with the main level Master Suite/Laundry Room and upstairs Bedrooms. We attempted to make it an interesting, light-filled space, and for the most-part, things came out as planned based on the 3D diagrams. We didn’t over-detail things here, and some things were left to the trades/builder to work-out basing decisions on similar decisions/budgets to New Modern House Treesdale, which had the same design and build team in-place. The final window, trim, and drywall details here came-out just right.
We detailed this cable-rail condition so the cables would anchor into a minimal wood trim, but here they have been anchored into drywall – a difficult detail to achieve and a bit unresolved. Floor trims and stair treads were to match the factory floor finish, but not quite a match. Getting every micro-detail perfect requires a certain level of precision and team oversight (which usually translates to a higher budget), so it comes down to Owner priorities to determine how far we take the details and definition of quality. Overall, this is a great project and team achievement and we are happy for the opportunity to have been involved.
Master Spa – New Modern House Ditch
The integrity of the Master Bathroom design came though well – same as the related Kitchen area. Cabinet door-fronts were originally to be rift-cut white-oak, and replaced with light bamboo; overall a nice look. The cabinet run continues from this double vanity to the left into a make-up area, and then Master Bedroom storage drawers at same counter-height. We are really happy how the original interior architecture design concepts have come to fruition.
Living Space Interior Details – New Modern House Ditch
The large 10′ wide by 8′ tall sliding glass doors by EFCO arrived and they look great. The team and owner debated the idea of reducing the size of these doors down to 8′-width mainly to save cost, and we encouraged keeping the bigger doors. To the far right just past the kitchen island, one can see how 8′-wide doors would have looked (too small!). There were no local installations to inspect the EFCO commercial-grade sliding door product prior to ordering. There was some concern that the doors would be too heavy and difficult to operate due to their size and weight of the double-glazing. Builder visited an installation in St. Louis, and reported back that they should be manageable. As it turns-out, they are not ultra-light, but serviceable. Their lower price-point for that size door when compared to some of the smoother-operating more expensive products led to EFCO. Only time living-in and using the space will determine if this product was the right choice for the owner.
Steel Fireplace Details – New Modern House Ditch
We had fun with the fireplace and kitchen island/cooktop/hood areas in the interior. The goal was to create an alignment, detail, and material relationship between these three interior features. We utilized steel cladding to unify and camouflage the TV/Fireplace units, and then borrowed the same steel material to wrap the kitchen hood. Grey tile makes-up the difference, used on fireplace, kitchen island, and cooktop wall. This is the type of tile we had originally intended to use on the floor throughout. Sides of the fireplace incorporate storage cubbies for wood, books, and other items and will be painted a dark grey to more closely resemble the steel coloration. These are minimal/modern details that are tedious to achieve, but a difference-maker when accomplished. In the photo below, the steel cladding was to extend all the way down to the fireplace opening, so we may see an adjustment there.
New Modern House Ditch – Fireplace Detail Progress
Kitchen Progress – New Modern House Ditch
Even with changes to the floor, beam, and cabinet finishes, the integrity of the living/dining/kitchen design came through well. The bamboo cabinets should be a good alternative to white oak. This open-concept layout includes a back kitchen that continues beyond the cooking wall to left of window sink. These back pantry areas are ideal to enable some dirtier behind-the-scenes work … a work area to have the wall ovens, food storage, clean-up sink, and prep area. If some things don’t want to be totally on display with the open kitchen concept, then a connected back kitchen/pantry area serves that purpose.
Please stay-tuned for ongoing updates to the progress and story. Owner moved-in to the home in late 2016, and furnishings are nearing completion. Most of the exterior landscaping will be completed in spring 2017. We do not have a firm timetable for the Phase Two Studio addition.
New Modern House Ditch
Architecture/Interior Design/Photography/Renderings: HAUS | Architecture
Interior Design Collaboration: Design Studio Vriesman
Landscape Architect: A2 Design
Contractor: JBG Construction with Timothy Homes
We enthusiastically anticipate ground-breaking for Bridge House in October 2018 near the shores of Lake Michigan on a wooded lot in Douglas, Michigan. Our clients have enjoyed vacationing in the area for years, and have decided to build their dream retreat to semi-retire to the area, moving from their current home in Zionsville, IN. We have always wanted to do a bridge-house, and have been working on the project since fall 2017. What a pleasure it has been working with these special clients – thank you!
This one will absolutely be worth checking back for updates – we’ll do our best to share progress, so stay tuned!
Project Info – Bridge House:
Architecture/Renderings/Photography: HAUS | Architecture
Interior Architecture/Finshes: HAUS with Design Studio Vriesman (and Client)
General Contractor: TR Builders