Light Commercial

1st Place Winner
Chuck Brasher Construction, Grass Valley, Calif.

Second Place:
PDB Fine Cabinetry (Entry 1), Vero Beach, Fla.

Third Place:
PDB Fine Cabinetry (Entry 2), Vero Beach, Fla.

The subject property sits squarely in the center of one of California’s quintessential Gold Rush towns in the foot hills of the Sierra Mountains. The client, Greg Spotts, owns a retail shop called The Hat Store and sought a historic preservation of the front elevation and its interior first-floor spaces. At the same time he wanted to upgrade a one-room apartment on the upper level, making it a more hospitable home for his own personal residence.

Remodeler Chuck Brasher of Brasher Construction successfully met each challenge posed by the 1860s building, located on a lot with a gentle side-to-side slope. First, the entire structure was 10 in. out of level and at some point the old floor had been made level, so Brasher was required by the historical authorities in town to work with the structure “as is.” Second, the same historical authority required a painstaking restoration of the façade as well as the use of the existing inadequate roof structure, while saving all old, rusty corrugated roofing to put back on.

Brasher’s solution was a combination of perspiration and inspiration. He shored up the building and dug footings by hand while lying down and dragging out dirt and rocks in 5-gal. buckets. To reinforce the floor and the roof, Brasher sistered new joists to existing ones in part to meet new snow load requirements. Old corrugated roofing was put back onto the roof over a layer of bituthene.

“The interior of the first floor had seen minor remodeling and the front elevation had been reworked several times,” says Brasher. “The loft apartment, however, had never been worked on since it was built.”

The inspiration came in creating a new space for the store’s owner. An addition was put on the back of the structure replacing a lean-to shed. The expanded upstairs space was designed to feel like a loft. A living room with built-in bookshelves and a fireplace overlooked the street below. A kitchen with eating bar was added in the center, with an expanded bedroom, sitting room, bathroom closet and rear deck rounding out the rear portion of the new second floor.

Said one judge, “The combination of challenge, design and execution is really noteworthy!”