“Part of the reason we ended up with the design that we did — they wanted to stay in the house that they had, but the house is on a steep hill and the only direction that we could build was to the left of the house,” says Mark. “It’s set back in a wooded setting and a good chunk of the forest there drained right next to the house. In order to preserve the forest and take more of a green design approach, we thought it might be nice to make the house a bridge and bridge over the swale. We figured that would allow everything to drain through there and we would not have to cut down any more trees than what we needed for the footprint of the addition.”
Kohler Homes envisioned the bridge portion to be sort of light and airy with the addition and the stone tower to act as anchors for the bridge family room. A deck was also added with wire railing so it wouldn’t stand out too much and take away from the bridge portion. This idea for the design was perfect for the Wrights since they want to develop the water features that will run under the bridge portion of the addition and have a series of waterfalls in the future.
In the family room, Kohler Homes took the stone wall, originally the stone exterior of the carriage house, and transformed that into a main focal point in the family room. Being a contractor himself Dave knew specifically the kind of materials he wanted to use, and in other cases both parties would meet and discuss them to look at different options.
“On the inside of the house I wanted it to take on a more timber frame look after the house was framed up so I brought in one of my craftsman to talk about the different options,” explains Mark. “We played with some old rough-sawn white oak and cut it out and created the beams. If you look at it you can’t tell that that’s not conventional timber framing, but it was an economical way to get that look and integrate it into the structure otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to afford real timber framing.”
For the floor, a combination of soapstone and quarter-sawn white oak was used. The Wrights did want radiant floor heat throughout the project. The main floor of the project ended up being steel panned construction with a concrete slab integrated with the radiant floor heat, and so was the slab in the basement. The white oak turned out to be a good look as well as particularly stable with the radiant heating. The soapstone idea came from the kitchen remodel done just previously to this project and the soapstone countertops that were used in there. Dave found some nice soapstone that blended in and defines the space and circulation between the family room and the kitchen.
As part of the exterior, the original house had a cedar shake roof that doesn’t really hold up very well in this area at all. After looking at different types of roofs it was decided to use Ecostar that looks like slate that is low maintenance and has held up very well. In association with that Kohler Homes added the copper roof features over the bump-out off the master bedroom and entry tower. For the other exterior surfaces that included the gables and the other side of the bridge living room Hardie plank board and baton panels were used to complete the look.
A New Home
“One of the problems working on this project was getting things up the gravel driveway which is twisty, narrow and steep,” says Mark. “Just getting the products physically there because there was not a lot of room to store materials or turn around was a logistics problem. And we just couldn’t manage more than three cars up there at a time.” But Mark and his team at Kohler Homes were able to get the job done and walk away with some happy homeowners.
“They were wonderful to work with,” explains Mark. “We started a program a year ago where we identify and vote on who our favorite client is and present them with an award we call Client of the Year award. The Wrights were selected because they were very pleasant, very interested in design and we worked very well together. They were as close as I could say to the perfect client. They had great ideas and we all worked well together to take the project to the next level from the design standpoint.”
The Wrights loved their addition. Mark even keeps the two page letter they wrote to Kohler homes going on and on about how happy they are with the project.
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