Brooklyn Kitchen Bath Revival

This project has been under discussion since early 2011 and we are thrilled to see it realized. The owner of this Victorian row house had prioritized tenant and infrastructure improvement over design dreams for many years. But 2014 was the year to honor a dream deferred with a Kitchen to celebrate cooking and entertaining and a Bathroom for soothing soaks to restore a dancer’s tired muscles. Rich color and unique materials were selected to demonstrate the owner’s strong style sense while keeping with the period of the home. The result is spaces which support modern living with historically resonant detail.

Build-out by Magnit Construction; tile and kitchen counter from Bella Tile NYC; cabinets and lighting from Home Depot; plumbing fixtures from Kitchen and Bath Gallery of Brooklyn.

 

Ebi Sushi facade fundraiser: for the sake of design or a taste of Sake: everybody wins.

A favorite lunch spot is fundraising on indiegogo to support a facade redesign. We are always glad for the opportunity to support another entrepreneur and the thank you “kudos” are pretty motivational too. Contributors can receive origami cranes, miso punch cards, sake tastings, or a private sushi class with the owner chef. 

The campaign ends this Thursday, September 12, at 11:59pm so hurry! Is it lunch time yet? Ebi Sushi is in Somerville’s Union Square at 290 Somerville Avenue. 

Re-vision the accessibility symbol and re-view a whole population

What begin as a casual scan of The Noun Project’s post about the International Symbol of Accessibility quickly led to unexpected and inspiring new territory.

In the case of accessibility not everyone is in a wheelchair and not everyone in a wheelchair has the same level of mobility or ability. In the Boston area we have the privilege of watching people in wheelchairs set world records in the marathon. That icon should perhaps show flames coming off the wheels. 

An Icon is a Verb reminds us of the challenges of distilling any group to a symbol. 

 

In fact, the word wheelchair doesn’t really begin to cover the variety of options available. Whether someone is a competitive cyclist, avid golfer, black diamond skier, landmine victim in an unpaved village, or anything in between, there seems to be a “chair” available.

And then there is this lady who simply leaves us speechless.

Not photoshop, for real.

Creating The Spectacle! indeed.

 

Additional Sources:  Hand Crank Bicycle / Nearly a Nerd – P.E.T. / Trend Huner – Velo / Wheelblades / Ride Designs / RatRodBikes – PreWar / Paragolfer

 

Carbon Sequestration Tree Study at Bunker Hill Community College

A unique opportunity presented itself to work outside the (building) box and study landscape impacts on energy efficiency. aMortonDesign is collaborating with Gilmore Landscape Architecture on a study of existing campus trees at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC). Drawing our inspiration from BHCC’s recently completed LEED Gold Health & Wellness Center and the GreenPACT Climate Action Plan, we proposed to quanitfy the carbon sequestration benefits of existing campus trees.

Working with Paul Wolff, Director of The Office of Sustainability Management, we identified trees as a rich subject to demonstrate how landscape benefits building energy usage, air quality, stormwater runoff, and carbon footprint. Using field study and entering data into i-Tree, a USDA Forest Service tool, we will be able to show real climate and economic benefits from the existing “urban forest”. We will also be able to show future benefits as these trees grow and advise on additional plantings and maintenance strategies toward the College’s goal of climate neutrality.

We presented our proposal at a recent Climate Action Committee Meeting along with students groups who are studying improving recycling / composting and bicycle-friendly infrastructure. Another guest presenter was Rob Gogan, “Recycling Czar” for Harvard University who spoke about what they have learned in implementing single-stream recycling.

Our presentation focused on the study of Carbon Sequestration with the goal of quantifying what existing trees are already contributing. This was in direct response to the carbon mitigation goals outlined in the GreenPACT Climate Action Plan which has the goal of climate neutrality. As part of this process we see opportunities for further greening the campus for aesthetic, climate, and economic benefits. 

There are myriad opportunities for student involvement and curriculum development as well. Presently the college has a Building Dashboard which tracks building energy usage and offsets; a Carbon Emission Project and Calculator from the Developmental Math department; an Urban Organic Garden Project; and a Student Sustainability Club which studies and advocates for policy and behavior change.

We look forward to reconvening and working with students during Earth Week festivities April 23-25.

Cotswold Tudor Cottage update respects historic style and materials

This lovely house was built in 1936 in the Cotswold style of Tudor Revival. The current owners are only the fourth since construction and the house is rich in original detail and features that they value. While their growing family presents some challenges, they are determine to stay and engaged aMortonDesign to help maximize living space and maintain the charming character of their home.

 

We are fortunate to have archival blueprints, sketches, and construction photographs to reference in our efforts to make changes that are architecturally sensitive. The original home had an open porch on the west side which was eventually enclosed with screens. In the ’80’s this area was further renovated to enlarge living space and add a separate entrance for a home office. This entire addition will be reconstructed to provide a more appropriate roofline, the steepness of which will accomodate living space connected to the Second Floor. The exterior materials will be stucco with half-timber framing detail and wavy edge siding at the gable peaks in keeping with the Cotswold Tudor style.

The primary program objectives are to add a second child’s bedroom and utilize the space at the addition for a parents’ bedroom with attached walk-in closet and full bath. Ceiling heights are low so we hope to raise them in line with the rafters wherever possible. The existing dormer at the rear will wrap around the corner to engage the new roof of the addition.

The complicated roof connections were studied in a SketchUp model. This tool was also helpful to convey the massing and form relationships of new to existing.

Elegant Winchester home gets an updated interior

The new owners of this Dutch Colonial home relocated from western suburbs to reduce their commutes and find a community where their kids could walk to school and friends’ houses. With this long-term view they decided to embark upon a comprehensive renovation immediately upon closing. This ambitious undertaking required precise organization, rapid decisions, and a construction team capable of mobilizing skilled and responsive subcontractors to meet the schedule. Landmark Services was retained by the client due to the quality of their work and demonstrated ability to deliver a fast-track project.

The existing Kitchen layout had been modernized in a previous renovation and opened to a Family Room addition. A few small layout tweaks and a total replacement of cabinetry, counters, appliance, and fixtures brightened the space and maximized storage.

For the Master Bath the new owners prioritized a large shower over a soaking tub and sought the addition of a bidet and storage in the room. By removing a door directly into the Bedroom we gained space for a wall of cabinetry and improved the flow within the Bathroom. The single window which was previously tucked away in a toilet room is incorporated to bring in natural light and ventilation. The existing walk-in closet across the hall was reconfigured and outfitted with custom cabinetry for a variety of storage options.

 

The Family Bath off the main hall received new fixtures and finishes to enliven the space for young children while remaining functional and elegant for guests.

The attic was transformed into a home office insulated from the hubbub of the living spaces below. Carpet was removed to reveal well-worn wood planks that would have required significant repair and replacement to be aesthetically pleasing. We chose to resurface the floor with a high recycled content vinyl system which simulates the look and feel of wide-plank hardwood in a fraction of the dimension. New paint and lighting completed the upgrade.

All photos by Patrick A. Rogers Photography.

 

Natick Kitchen renovation nearing construction

These clients love everything about their Victorian home except their antiquated Kitchen. During the week this Kitchen is a crossroads for the operations of a busy and growing garden and landscape maintenance company. The small table hosts lunch breaks, staff meetings, and scheduling sessions. Evenings and weekends are a time to celebrate cooking fresh garden produce and entertain friends indoors and outdoors on the recently expanded deck (see New Deck will be Outdoor Room…). For a couple that loves to works hard and play hard, the existing space is short on both workspace and a place for guests to get comfortable or pitch in and help.

We sought to remedy the situation by removing the formal enclosed pantry and opening up the space to increase counter space without sacrificing storage. The wife (jokingly?) requested a comfy seating area where she could relax with a libation and admire her husband as he whips up delicious and healthy feasts. The husband is an audiophile with an impressive music collection which he would like to access from any room in the house as well as on the new deck. There is a formal Dining  Room which works well for formal meals and holidays, but having a spot within the Kitchen to grab a quick bite while checking email and messages was a priority. Another program consideration was wall space for display of the clients art collection, much of which was created by one of their sons. 

Several options were explored before choosing the angled peninsula to develop. The clients were taken with the way angling the counter created a sense of flow and openess within the Kitchen and to the Dining Room. We explored the possibility of upper cabinets at the cooktop but chose to maintain the clear view to the wall beyond for art display. High-efficiency pantry storage will be provided around the desk.

Nix’s Mate recognized for innovative use of Eco-Tech flooring

Congratulations to Michael Nedeau Designs for a shout-out in Materialista NYC for use of ASI’s Eco-Tech Floating Floor. The Eco-Tech product is part of ASI’s Sustainable Products line with 75% recycled content material.

 

A recent visit to Nix’s Mate shows the floor looking like it was installed yesterday after more than 7 months of use in this high traffic setting. We look forward to the next opportunity to collaborate with Michael and his team of designers and fabricators.