Chrysalis Award Design Winners

The thin strands of sand that pass for habitable spits of land along the Florida coast of the Gulf of Mexico include Casey Key, near Sarasota. This particular barrier island is only 1,000 feet across in some parts, and yet is home to some of the most beautiful and expensive vacation properties in the area, including a detached guest house that Michael K. Walker & Associates built for a remodeling customer. The idea was to give the clients an 1,100-sq.-ft living space to use while the main house was being built and to keep as a guest house afterward, when the entire project was complete.

For sheer drama and beauty, this small gem of a project, designed by Jerry Sparkman, AIA, of TOTeMS Inc. of Sarasota, wowed the entire panel of Chrysalis Award judges, helping Walker and the project garner top honors in this year’s competition.

“The owner basically asked if we could build a tree house on their property,” says Sparkman. “And it looked like we could fit this arc-shaped kind of a roof into the trees, so it would reflect the character of the site, particularly a protected set of live oak trees, that comprise a natural feature of the these islands, an oak hammock. We wanted architecture that fit that site. We wanted a deep overhanging roof. We wanted views from the east and the south, but also a shield from the sunlight that would shine in each morning.

“The other idea with the roof was that instead of having a wall and a roof, we were trying to blend those into one. Because of its site within the oak hammock, we wanted it to have a softer, more organic shape.”

It is one thing to draw and plan a beautiful detached structure like this one, it is quite another to build it, particularly given the harrowing constraints posed by the site. That job fell to Michael K. Walker and team. First, Casey Key is accessed only by a narrow two-lane road characterized by a short succession of 90-degree angles. In short, the massive glue-lam beams, would need to arrive in two pieces in order for the truck to make it down the road, and then subsequently to be carried onto the site. Second, barrier islands like Casey Key with sandy soils require special piers to be poured as foundations. On this site, the clients requested that not a tree be disturbed. As a result, the large equipment used drive standard-sized piers could not be used. Third, the $100,000 custom window package built by Marvin required exacting matches between curves of the beams and several of the window frames and panes.

The beams, windows and piers

The beams were made in a factory in Alabama. Walker had asked the beams be constructed in one piece, then cut for transportation down to Florida. Instead, the supplier made the beams in two pieces. This proved to be difficult for Walker and team. When the beams were pieced together, curvature errors became clear. These were not major errors, but over a long span, even minor errors become more pronounced. Walker’s solution was to lay out a huge piece of Masonite across a flat grassy area and fit together one of the beams perfectly. From there he scribed the shape of the beam onto the Masonite so that its exact shape could be transferred to the other beams as they were pieced together.

A similar approach was taken with each of the windows that needed to follow the curvature of the beam. Using measurements from the scribed arch, new drawings were created and sent to Marvin Corp. for a custom fit. This was crucial because these windows were built within the coastal impact zone and according to Florida building codes, windows installed in this zone cannot be shimmed more than ¼ in., notes Walker.

“Every piece of this house was built to fit within an eighth of an inch tolerance,” says Walker. “I give our framing crew a lot of credit for pulling this off.”

The solution for the foundation of the home was to use a system where short 6-in.-wide, hollow pipes could be hammered into the soil, then welded together on-site to create uniform piers to the desired length. Reinforced steel rebar was banded together in bundles, then dropped into the long empty piers and that were filled with concrete, which had to be carted through the trees that form the oak hammock.

The interior

Once married together the construction ingenuity and design vision merged to create a truly unique and beautiful living space. It is meant to feel like a single room, and in essence it is. There is a two-story core that houses all of the mechanicals, including the plumbing and the HVAC systems. Not meant to serve as a primary residence, the loft bedroom was left in the open to the room below. The plate that supports the main living space and the beams is a flat-plate slab directly connected to the foundation pilings. In the event of a hurricane, the storm surge can pass right through the lower level without damaging the main living space. The first floor of the building is meant for storage only.

“We built all of this in the middle of a mature, native, coastal hammock environment,” says Walker. “There was no tree removal involved in putting this building up. The main assignment from the owner was to protect this entire coastal grove. And we accomplished that goal. We had to duck under all of these trees to get back in there, but we did it.”

2009 CHRYSALIS AWARD WINNERS

KITCHEN REMODEL UNDER $50,000
National Winner: P&P Construction, LLC Washington, D.C.
Midwest Region: Otogawa-Anschel LLC Minneapolis, MN
Southern Region: Key Renovations N. Richland Hills, TX
Western Region: Good Home Construction Anaheim, CA

KITCHEN REMODEL $50,000-$75,000
National Winner: Jackson Design & Remodeling San Diego, CA
Midwest Region: Silent Rivers Des Moines, IA
Northeast Region: Kitchens Direct, Inc. Hillsborough, NJ
Southern Region: CG&S Design-Build Austin, TX

KITCHEN REMODEL $75,000-$100,000
National Winner: Alward Construction Berkeley, CA
Southern Region: Renewal Design Build Decatur, GA
Midwest Region: Architectural Resource Ann Arbor, MI
Northeast Region: Amos Construction Inc. Nantucket, MA

KITCHEN REMODEL OVER $100,000
National Winner: Mosaic Indoor Living Atlanta, GA
Northeast Region: The Levine Group Silver Spring, MD
Western Region: Dream Design Builders San Diego, CA
Midwest Region: Paul Davis Restoration Milwaukee, WI

BATH REMODEL UNDER $40,000
National Winner: P&P Construction, LLC Washington, DC
Midwest Region: Morris Builders Inc. Rockford, MI
Southern Region: Quality Home Improvements Kingwood, TX
Western Region: Good Home Construction Anaheim, CA

BATH REMODEL $40,000-$60,000
National Winner: Strobel Design Build St. Petersburg, FL
Midwest Region: New Spaces Burnsville, MN
Northeast Region: Mark Of Excellence Remodeling West Long Branch, NJ
Western Region: Dream Design Builders San Diego, CA

BATH REMODEL OVER $60,000
National Winner: Stephen Cohen Builders Cambridge, MA
Western Region: Podesta Construction San Francisco, CA
Midwest Region: Silent Rivers Des Moines, IA
Southern Region: CG&S Design-Build Austin, TX

ADDITION UNDER $100,000
National Winner: Star Construction Co. West Newbury, MA
Southern Region: The Bainbridge Crew Charlotte, NC
Midwest Region: Knight Construction Design Chanhassen, MN

ADDITION $100,000-$250,000
National Winner: Schulte Restorations, Inc. Hopewell, NJ
Southern Region: Michael Nash Custom Kitchens & Homes Fairfax, VA
Western Region: Sockeye Homes Auburn, WA
Midwest Region: Otogawa-Anschel LLC Minneapolis, MN

ADDITION OVER $250,000
National Winner: CG/a Architecture Arlington, VA (Team)
National Winner: Merrill Contracting & Remodeling Arlington, VA (Team)
Midwest Region: TreHus Builders Minneapolis, MN
Northeast Region: Anthony Wilder Design/Build Cabin John, MD

RESIDENTIAL INTERIOR
National Winner: Anthony Wilder Design/Build Cabin John, MD
Western Region: Marrokal Construction Company San Diego, CA
Southern Region: Case Handyman & Remodeling Birmingham, AL
Southern Region: Hubert Whitlock Builders Charlotte, NC (Team)
Southern Region: Ruard Veltman Architecture Charlotte, NC (Team)
Midwest Region: Sylvestre Construction Minneapolis, MN

RESIDENTIAL EXTERIOR
National Winner: Harth Builders Spring House, PA
Southern Region: Winn Design Fairfax, VA
Midwest Region: Neal’s Design Remodel Cincinnati, OH
Western Region: A.B.W. Construction Los Altos, CA

SUNROOM/CONSERVATORY
National Winner: Gonyea Homes & Remodeling Golden Valley, MN
Northeast Region: Schulte Restorations Hopewell, NJ
Southern Region: The Bainbridge Crew Charlotte, NC

DECK/PORCH
National Winner: Hubert Whitlock Builders Charlotte, NC (Team)
National Winner: Pursley Architecture Charlotte, NC (Team)
Midwest Region: James Barton Design-Build Apple Valley, MN
Northeast Region: D G Liu Contractor, Inc. Dickerson, MD
Western Region: Marrokal Construction Company San Diego, CA

DETACHED OUTBUILDING
National Winner: Michael K. Walker & Associates Sarasota, FL (Team)
National Winner: TOTeMS Architecture Inc. Sarasota, FL (Team)
Western Region: Teevan Restoration San Francisco, CA
Midwest Region: Kuhn Construction Inc. Oakland, MO
Northeast Region: Lundberg Builders Stevensville, MD

RESIDENTIAL SPECIALTY
National Winner: Alward Construction Berkeley, CA
Midwest Region: TreHus Builders, Inc Minneapolis, MN
Southern Region: Graf Developments Grand Prairie, TX
Northeast Region: The Levine Group Silver Spring, MD

WHOLE HOUSE REMODEL UNDER $250,000
National Winner: GC/a Architecture Arlington, VA (Team)
National Winner: Emerson Contractors Falls Church, VA (Team)
Midwest Region: JG Development Blue Mounds, WI
Northeast Region: Hudson Valley Preservation Sherman, CT
Western Region: AFS Building Group Phoenix, AZ

WHOLE HOUSE REMODEL $250,000-$500,000
National Winner: Phil Kean Designs Winter Park, FL
Western Region: Creative Remodeling Aurora, CO
Northeast Region: Windsor Construction Group Rockville, MD
Midwest Region: Architectural Resource Ann Arbor, MI (Team)
Midwest Region: Meadowlark Builders Ann Arbor, MI (Team)

WHOLE HOUSE REMODEL $500,000-$1 MILLION
National Winner: Hubert Whitlock Builders Charlotte, NC (Team)
National Winner: Pursley Architecture Charlotte, NC (Team)
Western Region: Allen Associates Santa Barbara, CA
Midwest Region: M.K. Brummel, Inc. Oswego, IL
Northeast Region: The Office Of Carol J.W. Kurth Bedford, NY

WHOLE HOUSE REMODEL OVER $1 MILLION
National Winner: Podesta Construction San Francisco, CA
Southern Region: TriplePoint Construction St. Petersburg, FL
Northeast Region: Superior Home Services, Inc. Washington, D.C.
Midwest Region: New Spaces Burnsville, MN

RESIDENTIAL HISTORIC RENOVATION
National Winner: Smiley Renovations Silver Spring, MD
Western Region: Allen Associates Santa Barbara, CA
Midwest Region: TreHus Builders, Inc. Minneapolis, MN
Southern Region: Winn Design Fairfax, VA

RESIDENTIAL UNIVERSAL DESIGN
National Winner: Harrell Remodeling, Inc. Mountain View, CA
Midwest Region: Mackmiller Design & Build Eden Prairie, MN

FINISHED BASEMENT
National Winner: Wentworth Studio Chevy Chase, MD
Southern Region: Small Carpenters At Large Atlanta, GA
Midwest Region: Otogawa-Anschel LLC Minneapolis, MN

BEST GREEN REMODELING PROJECT $100,000-$250,000
National Winner: Marrokal Construction Company San Diego, CA

BEST GREEN REMODELING PROJECT OVER $250,000
National Winner: Architectural Resource Ann Arbor, MI (Team)
National Winner: Meadowlark Builders Ann Arbor, MI (Team)
Northeast Region: Tabor Design Build Rockville, MD
Southern Region: Mosaic Indoor Living Atlanta, GA
Western Region: Marrokal Construction Company San Diego, CA

HOME THEATER & MEDIA ROOM
National Winner: Magleby Companies, Inc. Pleasant Grove, UT
Southern Region: Graf Developments Grand Prairie, TX
Northeast Region: Baud Builders Wakefield, RI

RESIDENTIAL INSURANCE RESTORATION
National Winner: McMillan Remodels Edmund, OK
Northeast Region: Blansfield Builders Danbury, CT (Team)
Northeast Region: Cole Harris Associates Westport, CT (Team)
Midwest Region: Carl Krueger Construction Inc. Milwaukee, WI

COMMERCIAL INSURANCE RESTORATION
National Winner: First Atlantic Restoration Virginia Beach, VA
Midwest Region: Apex Restoration Cincinnati, OH
Western Region: Kowalski Construction, Inc. Phoenix, AZ

COMMERCIAL REMODEL
National Winner: Christopher V. Ward Architects Los Angeles, CA (Team)
National Winner: Ed Grush Construction Signal Hill, CA (Team)
Northeast Region: J.P. Perron Construction Manheim, PA
Regional Winner Green Ridge Builders LLC Doylestown, OH
Southern Region: Shelton Construction, Inc. Decatur, AL

REMODELER OF THE YEAR
National Winner: Artistic Renovations LLC Seven Hills, OH
Northeast Region: Mark of Excellence Remodeling West Long Branch, NJ
Southern Region: Quality Design & Construction Raleigh, NC
Western Region: C.R. Whitney & Sons Marina, CA

Loading