Jul
15

Dressing RoomsIn recent years, we have seen the generously sized walk-in-closet, which was the standard in many high-end residential master bedrooms, morph into an entirely new kind of space. A simple 8×10 foot room equipped with shelves and double-tiered rods was previously sufficient for a couples’ clothing storage needs; those times have changed.

The closet of the new millennia is not just intended for the storage of clothing, it is used for so much more. It is a space for women to entertain their guests while artfully displaying their couture gowns, shoes and bags. Spaces generous enough to be a bedroom are outfitted with custom specie hardwood cabinetry and decorated to reflect the style of its occupant.

As the glamorous lives of Hollywood starlets are documented and beamed into our living rooms; their elevated standards of living have become the envy of many women; those not just for your clothes and shoes any longer.

Several of our current projects feature elaborate dressing rooms that perform an array of different functions; while all provide ample storage for clothing, shoes and accessories; some embody unique features custom-tailored to their users. Whether it is a wet bar for cocktail service, a built in espresso machine, a hair blow-out station, an elevated platform with a three-way mirror for dress fittings or a sitting area to entertain guests while preparing for an event; these spaces have become a hub of social activity.

Depending on personal style, these spaces can serve as an art gallery to showcase vintage Chanel or a signed pair of Louboutin’s, or a tranquil Zen-like escape from the hectic life of the modern woman. Either way, the Dressing Room has become the woman’s answer to the man-cave, only the 70” LED television with surround sound and automated chairs has been replaced with Recamier lounges, custom wardrobes and couture.

Looking for a modern day fem den?  Contact us at Slocum Hall Design Group

May
28

Gym[1]Many of us find it difficult to muster up the motivation to go to the gym before or after a busy day of working.  The weather’s too cold or too hot; there’s traffic; the gym’s too crowded. Whether these obstacles are real or imagined, there is a perfect solution: create a space in your house where you can work up a sweat without having to endure the elements or deal with the general population.  Showing up to the gym is so much easier when it’s only steps away.

In recent years, many of the new homes and additions we have designed for our clients include home gyms programmed into the scope.  These spaces range in size from a designated corner of a basement to a 600 square foot room, clad in mirror with every possible piece of equipment.

Planning for a home gym in the early phases of construction is key, as many pieces of equipment require significant in-wall blocking.  TRX systems, pull-up bars, ballet barres, along with other bodyweight apparatus need to be affixed to the structure of the building to provide the necessary stability.  Retrofitting an existing space to accommodate such items is possible, though addressing it while the studs are exposed is ideal.  Additionally, many pieces of equipment require above average ceiling heights.  It is important to make sure that you have ample head room for an elliptical machine or a treadmill – especially if you plan on incline running; these pieces can add well over a foot to your normal height.

Beyond the structural requirements, home gyms also demand a significant amount of electrical power.  It is important to know what pieces of automated equipment you are going to include so the proper loads can be worked into the electrical program.  Designing an equipment layout for your gym space is something that should be done in the planning phase as well.  Floor outlets can be placed adjacent to equipment so that power cords do not become a tripping hazard.

If you are interested in installing a home gym space, there are many factors that need to be considered. Be sure to hire an experienced architect.  Call or email us if you’d like more information.

Apr
03

Residential Elevator

A residential elevator, combining function and style.

Providing functional layouts for today’s lifestyles often includes planning for parties, special events, general home maintenance and aging in place. You may be wondering how all of these varied topics are connected in the context of home design. Residential elevators is the commonality. While dumbwaiters have been common for many generations, more and more often houses are being planned with an elevator.

The inclusion of a residential lift is easier than it seems. Required pit depth at the lowest level can be as shallow as just one foot and models are made specifically to be retrofitted into older homes. While a small machine room closet is needed at the lowest stop, this can be accommodated into an entry area. Planning guides are available on most manufacturer websites and manufacturer representatives are available, but the best way to know if your lifestyle and an elevator are a good match is to consult an Architect.

A residential lift looks nothing like its commercial relative. The door is a regular swinging door that opens to the cab and divided by the gate. Many finish options are available to match existing interiors or to coordinate with newly designed homes. Also many manufacturers’ offer blank cabs that can then be clad in panels; the options for these panels can be modern, traditional or transitional to meet your desired aesthetic.

Including a residential lift will assist you and your family with everyday tasks, contribute to easier party and event planning and allow you to remain in your home as you enjoy all of life has to offer. With proper planning, installing this modern living mechanism will add value and functionality to your home.

Call or email us today if you’re considering a elevator for your home.

Mar
08

There is a significant inventory of Tudor style homes in the outlying western suburbs of Boston, many of which were constructed in the early 1920’s.  Needless to say, some of these homes are quite outdated.  In addition to the finishes in these homes being out of style, their layouts are not ideally suited to the way we live today.  Tudor style homes tend to be a bit dark and very compartmentalized; small kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms tend to be the norm, which is the antithesis of what today’s homeowner is looking for.

Forest St. Tudor --  Before

Forest St. Tudor — Before

The challenge with our current project is one that we have faced before. Like our project on Kenrick Street the property owner wanted the exterior revisions to the home to feel organic and the new and the old to meld seamlessly. On our Kenrick project, like the one on Forest, we harvested brick from the portions of the house we demolished and utilized it on the public elevations; the line of new and old is blurred. Additionally, using copper gutters and ridge caps further helps the home feel more original.

Forest St. Tudor --Mid construction

Forest St. Tudor –Mid construction

Making the exterior revisions look natural is only half the battle, manipulating the interior spaces to preserve their antiquity while allowing them to function for the way we live today can also be a challenge.  Many Tudor homes in the Newton area were poorly revised in the 80’s and 90’s, and the modifications that were made to them denuded them of their original details and in-turn have made them feel even more dated than the ones that have been left untouched. Fortunately this home was left significantly in-tact, so it provides us the opportunity to preserve (and highlight) the original details like the wrought iron and oak staircase as well as the cast stone mantles.

Our goal for the interior program on this project aligns with our philosophy on many of our renovation projects – for the flow of the house and its amenities to feel current but respect its history and antiquity in the process.  Our revisions to this house include doubling the size of the kitchen, adding a cathedral ceilinged family room, enlarging the master suite to include his and hers walk-in closets and a large bathroom as well as three additional bedrooms all with en-suite bathrooms. In addition, we are adding a three car garage with a dumbwaiter up to the kitchen.  Once completed, the street elevation of this home will look like a refreshed version of this 1920’s gem, but the interior will function like a house built today.

Jan
17

Getting Personal With Your Design Team

Getting Personal With Your Design Team

Before any plans are drawn for your renovation, addition or a new-build,      sharing your dream starts the process. From that point it only gets more personal.  Helping you realize your vision means understanding some of the intimate details of how you live your life day to day, on special occasions, what’s important to you, and what is not. An architect will be in areas of your home not often shared with people outside your immediate family to take detailed measurements, pictures and other documentation.  This full understanding contributes to an architect’s ability to lay out a space or series of spaces for a successful outcome.

Before you communicate your vision for the perfect bath or describe your family’s habit for eating at the coffee table, it’s important to feel comfortable with your design team.  Trust is crucial when selecting and working with an architect.  You want to be confident that your privacy will be respected and your wishes honored.  The best design teams have thoughtfully considered all of your expectations and even your apprehensions of being in the private spaces of your home to make your vision a reality.

Knowing you and your family’s life, spending time to understand your design aesthetic, and working with you to create functional spaces, are all part of what we do at Slocum Hall.  Get to know us better. After all, designing your home is best when we get personal.

Dec
20

Image-1

Honoring the history of a period home while attempting to make it function for modern living can often pose some challenges.  Our current project on Bellevue is a large-scale example of how to respectfully adapt a gilded era mansion for the new millennium.  While preserving its historic merits this home needed to provide its owners, a young family of six, the functionality and convenience of a home built today.

In essence, this project, like our project in Dedham is part restoration, part renovation and part addition.  For the restoration portion, we are painstakingly preserving the formal spaces of the house; the Drawing Room, Double Parlor, Dining Room and Billiards Room will all appear as they did when the house was constructed at the turn of the century.  All the decorative plaster walls, mahogany wainscot and built-in furniture are to remain, while behind the walls the house is being brought up to the current electrical and fire codes, as well as being wired with smart home technology and outfitted with a residential elevator.  Additionally, the house which was not efficiently climate controlled, is being outfitted with a 19-zone heating and cooling system (there is so much more to say about the HVAC in this house, that it is best left to an entirely separate blog post).

The renovation portion of the project happens in the less formal zone of the house; the Kitchen, which was originally intended for staff use, was undersized and detached from the rest of the main floor.  Considering the amount of existing square footage we had to work with, we devised a plan to expand the kitchen zone along the entire rear of the house; eliminating two pantry’s, a back staircase and reclaiming a porch space which had been enclosed in the 1920’s as a Breakfast Room.  Without extending beyond the granite building envelope, we were able to reconfigure the existing space to function for today’s living.  More of the renovation phase is seen in the Basement space, which had been previously unfinished.  This zone is going to feel completely modern and will be the informal entertainment hub of the house; a family room, gym, home theatre and hair salon are going to be carved out of the fully-walk out portion of basement, leaving the subterranean portion for the vast utility services required to run a home of this scale.  Additionally, all the existing bathrooms are going to be fully renovated in a style that references the period of the home.

East ElevationThe addition portion of the project occurs off the back of the house.  The supplementary space will contain an attached three-bay garage with a bonus space above, which will serve as both a play space for the four children and as guest accommodations.  A large mudroom serves as the connection between the garage and the original house on the lower level and a new terrace will connect the kitchen to the bonus space on the main level.  The challenge of adding additional space to a house of this vintage and stature is creating a seamless integration so that the addition does not appear out of place in its scale or material selection.  To address this in our design, we have replicated details and materials that are found on the original house; we have sourced reclaimed Milford Pink granite that matches the stone perfectly and are having casts made of the existing balusters, cornice board and dentil moldings to have them reproduced in a resin product, which will stand the test of time more so than a wood product.

When faced with a project like Bellevue or Dedham, where the owner desires additional space while preserving the historic aesthetic of the home, taking cues from the existing house and respecting its history is often the most effective and aesthetically pleasing path.

A205