We initially met our client in 2013 where we helped design a master plan to renovate their property in Monon, IN on Lake Schafer. Ultimately, they decided to focus on their full-time residence in Chicago rather than their weekend property. Indeed, to begin that process, they initially engaged with a local Chicago design firm recommended by their original contractor.
Months later, client reconnected with HAUS to request design feedback and possible project oversight to completion. We were happy to help offer some big-picture suggestions inside-and-out to help pull the initial ideas together into a comprehensive design solution. Albeit, our client needed final design input for their purposes and also for community approvals.
New Minimalist Modern House
Client: Svabaitis Chicago Residence
Architecture: HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles with Joe Trojanowski Architect PC
Interior Design: Client with some HAUS advice
General Contractor: Illinois Designers & Builders
Design Process – Minimalist Modern House:
Once engaged, we were able to clarify an identifiable architectural concept from preliminary development provided by Joe Trojanowski Architect PC. HAUS and Trojanowski worked together as a team with client to pull the final concepts and details together.
Accordingly, residential construction plans in Chicago area require an architect or engineer of record (or stamp). For this reason, it made most sense for Trojanowski to remain Architect-of-Record and finish what they started with HAUS oversight as “design architect”.
Albeit, Trojanowski had already begun a very detailed technical draft of plans. However, these drawings were more geared toward achieving permits and less geared toward a complete architectural vision. So for that reason, HAUS focused on conceptual ideas, materials, and related details resolution inside and out. Concurrently, Trojanowski focused on permit requirements, technical drawings, and structural coordination.
Rendering views completed above and below by HAUS included suggestions for exterior materials, exterior window adjustments, some subtle refinements to parapet heights, and wall locations. Ironically, this design process was similar to many of our renovation projects. This is because we already had a preexisting design that needed some review. So, as with many of our renovation projects, our primary objective was to essentially simplify and edit. We worked to clarify relationships and connections inside and out to help inspire decisions for material and form within the preexisting massing and layout concepts already established.
On the inside, we made a few suggestions and refinements to master suite and other room layout details. Later, we reviewed client shop drawings and provided feedback on proposed interior concepts for kitchen, fireplace, stair, and built-ins for client review.
The contractor with client also had some great suggestions on how to execute some of the details along the way.
Client did not commission HAUS for regular construction-phase consulting. However, we did keep in-touch with an ongoing design dialogue and some limited design consulting along the way.
As HAUS is located in Indianapolis, and the project is 3.5 hour one-way drive, HAUS visited the site semi-yearly. Without a doubt, we were happy to swing by the site on Easter and Thanksgiving while passing through for holiday family visits in the area to see progress. Also, it was great to continue the design dialogue during the construction phase.
Our client insisted the home be durable, long-lasting, and energy-efficient. For this reason, he built the structure with concrete foundation walls, steel beams, and CMU (concrete masonry unit) walls. Most certainly, the home would have cost less with wood or maybe even SIPS (structural insulated panel system) walls. However, our client wanted more heft, durability, and sound isolation.
As seen below, radiant heated floors encompass the entire lower level. Here, trades have installed the hydronic radiant system prior to concrete slab placement.
As we can see, all exterior walls are CMU (concrete masonry unit) construction, at Owner request. At this stage, Owner was still investigating exterior cladding options. As our initial concepts assumed a rainscreen, non-masonry cladding, exterior details did not include any masonry bearing ledges. For these reasons, we assumed a low area of concrete footings would remain exposed, and emphasized this feature accordingly. For example, referring to the back rendering elevations, we continued the exposed concrete base to wrap one side of deck and provide base for the outdoor fireplace. In comparing renderings to actual construction, team achieved portions of the original intent, while some details were added or tweaked.
This photo below is one of our favorite construction views, capturing the overall massing of the house on the property. It gives us a feel for final solid and void of exterior wall design.
On the backside, the sheltering porch is taking shape. At upstairs balcony, we had suggested elimination of the wall offset for a simpler flush upper story condition. However, this was not modified, as we would have had to add another steel beam to support the CMU. Actual installation keeps the upper and lower story CMU bearing wall alignments as shown. Flat awning is included to keep some precipitation off the Nanawall balcony doors.
From the interior, many of the windows are full-height. Other than sliding glass walls (Nanawall), all exterior windows are Fleetwood Windows & Doors. Many of the operable windows are awnings. Their size allows for emergency egress from bedrooms. This particular view below is from Study-Playroom.
High-Velocity HVAC Sytem
As seen here, a high-veolicity HVAC system is incorporated to supplement the hydronic radiant system downstairs. This system requires smaller openings and shafts for air movement, and lower profile outlets and inlets throughout the spaces. Most of the supply ducts are flexible plastic-wire wrapped in fiberglass and foil coating. The design and installation of this type of system when combined with hydronic radiant requires a level of expertise beyond the norm to ensure optimal performance and control appropriate for the locale.
Owner added 2×4 wood-stud furring to all perimeter walls with open-cell foam insulation. Roof structure received minimum R24 closed-cell board insulation over deck and under roof membrane. Underside of roof deck received minimum R30 open cell foam. Below we can see installation of NanaWall sliding doors with access to Master Bedroom roof balcony to overlooking backyard.
Owner maintained the two-tone exterior, but decided to change from cement board or metal cladding to masonry on both the light and darker sections. At the time of this photo, Owner had not yet made a final decision on the lighter material (2-story volume). Also, the outdoor fireplace base was built with CMU base instead of concrete per original renderings. Brick appears to possibly be Queen-sized for less depth than modular. Since we had originally designed for siding/rainscreen, we discussed adding steel lintels anchored to CMU to serve as masonry bearing since we did not include foundation brick ledges.
Product Details – Materials/Vendors/Manufacturers:
Interior doors: DILA Effebiquattro Newport (Italy)
Door levers: Serozzetta / Carlisle Brass (UK)
Main entrance door: Doors for Builders (Poland)
Patio and Balcony Glass doors: NanaWall
Garage Doors: C.H.I. Overhead Doors
Floors: European White Oak 8 inch treated with Rubio Monocoat – Smoke color
Kitchen Cabinets: Stay-Straight Manufacturing
1st floor room dividing wall closet: Silver Birch Cabinetry
Glass work by: Glass Innovation
Stairs: Europiron Group / Illinois Designers & Builders
Deck and balcony: Azek
Exterior concrete cladding: Techo Bloc Travertina
Driveway Pavers: County Materials / Elements Timeless
Please check-back, as we will be adding more details to the story!