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Archive for November, 2014

Morning Light

unnamedI always tell clients that natural light is the one thing their architect cannot manufacture. It is the element though that, through the day and through the seasons, makes a home come alive. It nurtures us and brings us joy. What your architect CAN do, is site a new house or design your addition or renovation to capture the magic of the light you do have available.
It’s the defining element of any successful home.

Cheers, JS

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A Field Guide to American Houses

Field guide to american housesBy: Virginia Savage McAlester

Second Edition Knopf 2013
Comments by Jeff Schwartz 11/10/14

Clients often ask me: “What is the style of my house?”
In her book, McAlester has taken pains to document more than fifty styles and their variants over seven historical periods. Here in New England popular styles include, among others:

  • Colonial Revival
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Queen Anne
  • Victorian
  • Shingle Style
  • Farm house
  • Cape
  • Tudor
  • Ranch
  • Greek Revival
  • Mid-century modern
  • Contemporary
  • Dutch Colonial

Clients also wonder if a new building or addition ought to hone to the style of the “anchor” home. The answer is: Maybe.  Maybe not. If a home is on the National Register of Historic Places, then anything we do to alter it from the outside, should be in keeping with its heritage.  And that is what we do in consultation with Historical Commissions from various cities and towns.However, almost all homes do not fall into this category.The style of a new home or addition to an existing home should evolve organically from the client’s program, the site, the neighborhood, the climate and any number of factors.In the end, a home may not be easily slotted into one style or another, but may most appropriately be a hybrid of two or more styles. Ideally, client and architect will create a home that is unique and true to itself.

Cheers, JS

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New Windows in Your Home

new windows in your homeMarvin, Anderson Pella.

If you are contemplating building a new home or an addition/renovation with high-quality new windows, you no doubt will be considering:  Marvin, Anderson and Pella. We have specified them all for clients over the years. We have found that each project is unique. Budgets, aesthetics, functionality – they all come into play when choosing a window manufacturer. In addition, each manufacturer has a series of lines, appropriate to different climate conditions, price points, and finish characteristics, as well as various stock configurations and customizability options. It gets pretty complicated. The best decisions always get made in consultation with the architect, the builder and the client as a team.

Cheers, JS

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Master Bath Design Concept

master bathroom design conceptThis 3D perspective sketch of a proposed Transitional Master Bath Renovation in an 1890 Shingle Style home shows our Architecture and Interior Design skills working beautifully in tandem.

Highlights include:

1. A new Gabled Dormer to receive the free standing transitional soaking tub and to bring more light into the space.

2. A private toilet room (not shown) behind the custom vertical cabinetry with built-in shelves.

3. A curb-less, frameless glass shower that fits comfortably under the sloping roofline.

4. Floor treatments that flow organically, breaking up the linearity of the space.

5. An ample two sink vanity with mirrors and sconces shown as well as a vertical cabinet for additional storage.

6. Soft translucent darker panels framing the tub composition and cityscape views beyond.

Enjoy. JS

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Your Topographic Survey – A Key First Design Step

topographyWhenever you contemplate an addition or any renovation that alters the footprint of your home, you will want as a first step to engage a professional land surveyor to perform a Topographic survey. Your city or town building department will require a document showing existing dwelling and site improvements as well as the proposed footprint of the new spaces on the site.Often your architect or designer will set some major design directions from the vertical contours of the site and the allowable setbacks.Lot coverage before and after – not just the buildings, but proposed impermeable driveways and the like will also come into play. So again, for any renovation where a footprint change is desired, make a Topographic Survey your first order of business before going too far down the road of designing your new home addition.

JS

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