Another challenge that the team had to face was respecting the structural limitations of the existing walls and footings while they added a new second floor. For this GC/a Architecture turned to innovative structural design. By dispersing the new loads, the side walls were set up to support the new second floor weight while the front and rear walls were designed to assist the roof loads. By utilizing long span capabilities of wood I-joists GC/a Architecture was able to avoid overloading the existing interior bearing walls.
“We really wanted to open up the space from the front door to the kitchen,” says Guenther. “But that idea doesn’t fit so well with the design of the house. So we used the bulkheads that drop down and different floor options to break it all up and differentiate the space, but still allowed it to be open.” This design allowed GC/a Architecture to take several interlinked smaller spaces to create the idea of a larger much more spacious area.
The homeowners helped with tying things together in this regard. Since one of the clients was originally from Argentina, she wanted to incorporate Artisan metal work, popular in Argentina, into the home. This was done primarily through many of the lighting fixtures and balusters used in the central main staircase.
The last challenge that had to be managed was getting the whole project done within the project budget. To accomplish this included strategic decision-making and deleting some aspects of the remodel from this phase of the project. One of the things that Guenther did to keep within his budget was to carefully pick the contractor.
GC/a Architecture worked with several different contractors over the years, but the team needed someone they could trust to give them the information they needed fast and accurately. Guenther settled on Emerson Contractors of Falls Church, Va.
The architecture team tried limiting changes to the existing rooms and structure to avoid major cost increases and was careful in the selection of materials and detailing to the project. Emerson Contractors was able to help them out with the process by giving input on possible structural problems and quick quotes on cost. This allowed the team to add and delete things according to price.
Unfortunately everything doesn’t always make the cut. To go along with stone detailing work on the new front porch and at the base of the house, GC/a Architecture’s original plans called for the same stone detailing to be done around the support posts on the new larger deck.
“Emerson Contractors told us we weren’t going to be able to use stone there and keep within the budget,” says Guenther. “But the Grabmans liked the detail and are having it done in Phase II of their project.”
The finished look
With every project there is the potential for problems with clients. With the Grabman’s it was especially difficult for them because as they were starting their family they also had to uproot themselves out of their home. Luckily for Guenther and his team the Grabmans understood the process and did what they could to keep things moving.
“Good clients make good projects,” says Guenther. “They did their homework and brought stuff to the table. There was synergy between the architects, builder and clients.”
In the end, the Grabmans got the openness they were seeking on the first floor, a new larger deck and the living quarters they needed for the family on their new second floor. With their remodel they can now park the car in a garage and don’t have to worry when extended family come to see their newest family members.
“They’re quite pleased with the finished project,” says Guenther. “They’ve included the house in a home tour and we’ve received several neighbor referrals.”
- Cabinets: Kraftmaid
- Front porch: Tendura
- Deck: LP Weatherbest
- Doors: Andersen and Simpson
- Flooring tile/stone: Daltile
- HVAC: Carrier
- Insulation: Owens Corning
- Roofing: CertainTeed
- Siding: James Hardie
- Windows: Andersen
- Trim work: MiraTEC
- Structural: Trus Joist