Prospect Heights solar is a late 19th century rowhouse that was given a modern overhaul by CWB Architects, located in the Prospect Heights Historic District of Brooklyn, New York. To convert the aging four-story building into a modern, single-family home, the architects completed a gut renovation that included a 1,226 square foot garden-level rental unit. Although mostly new materials and finishes, many details original to the house were salvaged, restored and then integrated into the home’s contemporary aesthetic.
Sunlight finds its way into almost every corner of the 3,362 square foot home through strategically placed skylights and an interior light well. The wood floor in the stair hall, typically the darkest space in a rowhouse, was replaced with walkable glass panels, transforming the space into a tower that diffuses light rather than absorbing it. The effect is replicated from the parlor floor up, terminating in a ceiling punched with two skylights specifically designed to bounce light down into the spaces below.
A sunroom extension benefits from direct southern exposure through a restored bay window and new skylight.
The master bathroom is illuminated by the interior light well which spans 2 stories up to the roof.
In addition to their taste for modern architecture, the owners are inclined toward architecture that is also environmentally friendly. To help reduce the carbon footprint, a new green roof was installed at the extension in addition to a 4.5 kW solar PV array at the main roof. This system reduces the electrical load by up to 80% over the course of the year.
Photos: Francis Dzikowski
Thistle Hill Farm is a single family sustainable home designed by Northworks Architects, located upon a 200-acre farm of rolling terrain in Western Wisconsin. This contemporary 4,500 square foot home (418 square meters) with 3 bedrooms plus bunk room and 3½ bathrooms is a second residence for a Chicago-area family. The property implements today’s advanced technology within a historic farm setting. The farm had been in the family for more than 25 years, and they had forged a strong connection to the property. The old barn, near the top of one of the rolling hills, was in a bad state of disrepair; they had it carefully disassembled in a way that they could reuse the materials in the future. The architects sited the new house just above where the old barn had stood, incorporating the remains of its limestone foundation walls around the pool. Meanwhile, the family made plans to use as much of the old structure as possible for future projects and in some of their furniture.
The arrangement of volumes, detailing of forms and selection of materials provide a weekend retreat that reflects the agrarian styles of the surrounding area. The materials emulate those of barns in the surrounding countryside, with red cedar siding and a tin-coated copper roof that will develop a patina over time. The site has a natural slope, however the architects cleverly designed the lower level to be above-grade on all sides. The lower level contains two guest suites and a large bunk room; guests who come out to the farm usually stay overnight. The bridge leads to a recessed ground-level entryway that in turn leads into the dining area.
Open floor plans and expansive views allow a free-flowing living experience connected to the natural environment. The large hearth is crafted from local limestone, as was the original barn’s foundation. The hearth is two-sided; the other side serves the large front porch. Doors on either side slide into pockets hidden by the fireplace surround, inviting in the summer breezes. The rhythm of the trusses is the same from indoors to out, but they change from Douglas fir inside to steel outside.
The homeowners found the large sign at a salvage place (look closely at the upper-right corner of this photograph and you’ll see the other half). The sign halves silde along barn door tracks and serve not only as art but also as doors between the bridge and the master suite.
Two large ceiling fans provide plenty of cool air. The home is powered by a field of solar panels just southwest of the house. The panels generate energy to power the home and pool equipment and send leftover power back to the grid. The construction is timber frame with structural integrated panels (SIPs) at the roof. The original barn’s rustic purlin and rafter roof construction inspired the structural system, but the new trusses have a cleaner, contemporary look. The wood for the ceilings, soffits and trim is Douglas fir with a clear coat.
The doors on the right lead to the bridge. The barn structure lends itself to a wide-open floor plan, perfect for large gatherings and enjoying the views. The floors throughout are heart pine, salvaged from river-bottom trees. The homeowners saved what they could from the original barn for furniture projects, including the dining table, which a friend made for them. The homeowner made the light fixture himself from metal pipes.
Simple Tolix stools provide perches for plenty of folks to gather around the large island. The large island’s top is butcher block; both the owners are big cooks and enjoy spending time in the kitchen. The rest of the countertops are highly compressed recycled paper.
One of the home’s most contemporary elements is the staircase, but it still nods to the agricultural architectural vocabulary. The stairs are laminated wood and cantilever off a bracket bolted through to a timber stringer beam. The metal railing brings back the traditional farm feeling; its grids were inspired by the kind of fencing one might see around a pig pen.
The top level contains the master suite and this office loft. A patchwork cowhide rug is modern yet references a dairy farm, and plays off the grids on the railings.
The doors lead to a garage built into the hillside and with a garden on top. The outbuildings in the distance are original to the property; you can see some of the crops growing in the distance.
The old barn’s original limestone foundation walls form a terrace between the pool and the house. The pool surround is ipe, a durable and low-maintenance wood.
Photos: Courtesy of Northworks Architects and Planners
This striking farmhouse renovation project was designed for the 2012 Southern Living Idea House by Historical Concepts, located in the tiny town of Senoia, Georgia. The project was Southern Living Magazines first ever historical renovation project. Over a period of seven months, a tired 19th century home located in this historic town south of Atlanta was transformed into a charming and up-to-date farmhouse. Multiple renovations had masked much of the historic character, so the restoration began by peeling back generations of changes to uncover the essence of the 1830s home. The design team then set out to salvage what remained of the home’s original materials, retaining heart pine floors and hand planed wall boards. Additions sympathetic to the style and massing provided room for porches, a laundry room, mud room, office and carriage house, accommodating modern living while staying true to the home’s architectural heritage and rural roots.
Photos: Laurey W. Glenn (Courtesy of Southern Living)
This sensational property was a former industrial building transformed into a beautiful loft in TriBeca, New York by Threshold Interiors. The designers used many re-claimed and salvaged items to complement the architecture and original purpose of the building.
The designers used reclaimed industrial windows used to provide light to an interior room. The dining table is custom from Olde Good Things in NYC.
The countertop is a reclaimed marble.
The living room is reclaimed barn wood nailed to drywall. The column is original to the home.
The bathroom tile can be found at Casale Tile in Ocean Township, New Jersey.
The master bathroom features custom-made shower doors and a reclaimed sink. The flooring is silver travertine from Casale Tile in Ocean, New Jersey.
The wall paneling are poplar boards the designers bought from their local lumber yard, they are inexpensive and they fit together by using a tongue and groove process. The poplar was stained using Minwax MWB 37. The sink is reclaimed from the Tastycake factory in Philadelphia.
Photos: Courtesy of Threshold Interiors
This incredible two storey industrial style loft apartment is situated in New York’s NoHo district, designed by Wettling Architects. The owner is Bradley Darryl Wong, who is best known for his role as Dr. George Huang in the TV series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. His 12-year-old son lives with him on weekends. The bedroom with en-suite and dressing room and a laundry room are at basement level. On the ground floor, there is a large living space, kitchen, guest bedroom/office, and another bedroom and bathroom. It was important for the homeowner to show the history of the former commercial building, so plaster was removed to reveal brick walls and the air-conditioning pipes were exposed.
The architect added a wall of windows and a massive steel skylight to replace the original wooden one and brighten the back of the buildings. Layers of plaster were chipped away to reveal vaulted brick ceilings. Then reclaimed wooden flooring and salvaged pieces were brought in, including a pair of century-old bronze doors for the entrance. Complementing the polished wood and warm brick are walls painted in rich green and purple, with furnishings in acid yellow and fuchsia. The downstairs space is oxblood red to match a lacquered box that belonged to the homeowner’s grandfather.
The stainless-steel kitchen is a mix of existing units and new cabinetry. Bright-shaped tiles echo the original exposed brick in the rest of the apartment and contrast with the cool steel units.
The view down the wide hallway showcases the theatrical elements of the homeowner’s apartment, with stage lights spotlighting the kitchen and living room ‘sets.’ The layout is adaptable, so the space can be divided into intimate areas or opened up when friends come to visit.
The glazed doors were sourced from the basement of the historic Puck Building. They conceal shallow cupboards where the homeowner hangs his favorite hats.
Photos: Courtesy of Wettling Architects
Caruth Home is a beautiful rustic family home situated in the University Park area of Dallas, Texas, designed by general contractor Kevin Key of Key Residential. The homeowners asked the contractor to re-create a century old design aesthetic to a 1980s spacious 4,500 square foot, five bedroom, four bathroom home. The homeowner’s wished to have a collected look, wanting a comfortable home to enjoy with their extended family, three adult children and two grandchildren. After searching everywhere for the perfect antique accents, salvaged materials and unique color treatments, the contractor managed to create a harmonious environment full of warmth and luxury. The home’s interiors appear to have been put together over decades. Many of the decorative items were found by the homeowner who worked with Becci Meier Design to achieve the desired design aesthetic.
The entire landscape, including the custom fountain, made with a Louisiana sugar kettle (used in traditional sugar production), revolves around the existing red oak tree in front of the house. The tree also marks the start of a dry creek bed, which Key turned into a walkway from the street to the home’s front door.
Key lightened up the home with plaster walls in warm creams and beiges. A blue pine ceiling in the living room draws the eyes up. The faux beams are made of wood; they’re hollow, which made them easier to install. Most of the furnishings is from the clients’ previous home.
Most of the oak cabinetry has the same scraped, hand-painted finish. The painters used several layers of paint, scraped off each layer for just the right effect and added umber pigment for an aged look.
One wooden door hides the refrigerator; the other hides a freezer. The custom table and wired antique chandelier reinforce the home’s style.
The pitched ceiling’s beams in this room are authentic and part of the roof’s construction. Key had them distressed and a thickening agent applied after painting to intensify the rough, worn look.
Salvaged flea market doors lead from the bedroom into the en-suite bathroom.
The same scraped painting effect was applied to the custom vanity, this time in periwinkle and white. A custom soapstone vanity top complements the farmhouse sink’s rustic feel.
One of the homeowners found the refinished antique tub at a local reclaimed-fixture shop. A salvaged stained glass window next to the tub was distressed, framed and mounted for one-of-a-kind art.
Key enclosed the previous patio in big sliding windows and added a multi-fold door, the same wavy cedar from the cabana and a custom dining table.
The designer turned a third of the home’s attached garage into a poolside cabana out back. Wavy cedar siding gave the cabana the lived-in look the homeowner wanted.
A new outdoor kitchen has sturdy concrete counters and a gas grill. Scraped cabinetry, a retro refrigerator and a freestanding sink basin with vintage metal legs make the space feel warm and worn.
Just past the grill, shutters made from flea market doors hide a flat-screen television. Wall planters next to the garden gate hold herbs.
This former auto garage has been converted into an industrial chic pad for first time homeowner’s Spencer Steed and his fiancé, Alex Toveyin in Salt Lake City, Utah. The couple wanted to make this gritty-cool space into a comfortable home. Comprised of 2,000 square feet of living space, the one bedroom, one bathroom home is in keeping with the existing raw style, where mechanic shop-inspired décor, rustic salvaged pieces and unfinished surfaces create an industrial vibe that still feels like home. In the picture above, two school bus seats were welded together to form a bench in the mudroom, given to Steed from his grandfather. Steed and Tovey give the previous owner credit for a big portion of the space’s incredibly unique design aesthetic.
The shoe rack is a re-purposed set of utility shelves the previous owner left behind.
A large dining table given to the couple dominates the former garage area. Slide-up doors open to a patio. Steed works on his motorcycles in this space, a great distraction from college homework.
Most of the design elements and furnishings have been salvaged, refinished and re-purposed from military surplus stores and scrap yards.
Steed made the coffee table from reclaimed wood, which he then painted.
This metal Tanker desk came from an online local classifieds site for only $17.
The bedroom maintains a gritty appeal, with gray cinderblock walls, concrete floors and exposed fixtures. The American Oil sign had been left outside the apartment when the couple moved in.
Corrugated fiberglass panels attached to plywood on steel framing make up the bedroom walls. The closet door is weathered steel and slides on a track attached to the ceiling.
The couple sanded old military boxes found at Smith and Edwards, coated them with polyurethane, stacked them up and added simple baskets to create a dresser.
The commercial sink and prep counter came from a restaurant supply store next door.
The previous owner installed the dentist’s lights above the kitchen island.
Raw and unfinished surface’s define the style of this apartment, walls were patched and primed and left exposed.
A steel surgical sink is the main focal point in the bathroom.
Photos: Lucy Call
This contemporary penthouse apartment mixes cool, clean interiors and reclaimed pieces in this city work space located in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. The space was too bare and the detailing boring, so the homeowner’s called on the designers at Groundswell Design Group to add character to the home. The designer’s specialize in reclaiming and re-purposing, which came into play on the walls and through the furnishings. To meet the needs of the client, one of the two bedrooms was opened up and turned into an office and lounge. The contemporary style of the home was mixed with rustic and salvaged pieces. The main living area features galvanized metal from a chicken coop roof which adds horizontal bands, rusty patina and an industrial edge to one end of the apartment. The furnishings throughout the apartment function as art.
Interesting facts about the project: The cost of the reclaimed barnwood call, 12 by 20 feet: $13 per square foot; $3,120 total. The cost of the galvanized tin wall, 11 by 18 feet: $7.50 per square foot; $1,485 total.
The team designed the mural and had it executed by graffiti expert Sean Gallagher.
The horizontal lines of the painting on the window wall inspired the design throughout the house, as did the horizontal movement of the Delaware river outside.
The computer desk was made by the design team of reclaimed metal and has a glass top. The construction of the Eiffel Tower was inspiration for the desk.
The high-top desk serves as a unique conference table for client meetings.
Groundswell designed the shelves, which are made of metal and reclaimed joists.
The bar and the live-edge shelves above it are reclaimed poplar wood. The bars between the shelves are supports from old school locker room benches.
The designers composed the half wall and another wall with wood reclaimed from barns in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The silvery gray wood is hemlock, and the brown wood is mushroom wood.
The designers knocked down the wall separating what was the second bedroom from the foyer, opening the whole space up as an office and lounge.
The reclaimed hemlock and mushroom wood combination carries into the bedroom on a large headboard. It’s 8 inches from the wall, allowing room for backlighting.
Photos: Top Kat Photo
The Wheeler Residence was built for a couple in their 30s with three small children in Menlo Park, California. Designed by William Duff Architects this new house makes use of an existing foundation to create dramatic living spaces that flow into the landscape. The original home and an adjacent guest cottage totaled 2,500 square feet but they felt it was not large enough for the five of them. Wheeler planned a similar but larger floor plan of 5,000 square feet with more indoor-outdoor areas, similar to the ones he grew up with in Colorado. It was also a way for the family to have a modernist space with the times, visually warm and eco-friendly with solar radiant heating, cross ventilation and recycled materials. Wheeler’s son built a Lego model of what they wanted and most of it ended up in the final plan.
The basic plan shared a lot of the features with the former house and guest house that were on the lot, but with a central family room that has foldaway corner doors which open to the back garden to connect the two wings. The two houses were demolished, with their foundations saved and additional materials salvaged to incorporate into the new building or used as landscape material. Old chimney bricks were used for the paving pattern around a new pool and guest pavilion. The new foundation and the stained concrete floors use fly-ash, which is a recycled product. Recycled denim in the walls and low-VOC paints were also used. Flat roofs at varying heights, wide overhangs, clerestory windows and interplay of wood and stucco cladding mimic the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
The modular configuration of the rooms and proportions of doors and windows are borrowed from Le Corbusier. All doors and windows are made of mahogany for a warm look and because it is a long-lasting material.
The material palette includes Cor-Ten steel, glossy prefinished Fin-Play panels and integrally colored stucco was used because they can be maintenance free.
The interior is a series of open spaces on each side of the central spine with varied ceiling heights giving the illusion of discrete rooms, and storage cabinets double as short walls to divide dining areas from living spaces, the kitchen and other public rooms.
The higher ceilings in the center also draw warm air upwards, dissipating it through operable clerestory windows.
The flat roofs hide the solar panels; one set is photovoltaic for electricity, another for heating water and the third to heat the 14-by-28-foot pool.
The goal for the design of this 1950’s beach house interior was to create a refuge from the all-too-predictable Northwest coast rainy weather of Seaview, Washington. This is Portland designer Garrison Hullinger’s own playful getaway which is drenched with warmth to forget about the outdoor elements. Taking this home out of the 1950′s meant removing almost every surface in the house, except for the original wood paneling. The wood was painted a soft hue of blue that is a great contrast to the new coffee stained bamboo floors.
Guests are made to feel welcome at this beach house. The designer used the natural hues of the surrounding environment for inspiration in decor: nature-inspired tones infused with splashes of welcome color. This cheerful palette, when combined with unique choices of furnishings that showcase natural materials, helps create a perfect weekend getaway, whether rain or shine. The warmth of the dark bamboo flooring helps ground the space and hides a multitude of dirt, sand and dog hair. The fireplace was previously an old yellow brick with mauve-tinted mortar, but the designer switched all that out for simple and modern porcelain tiles on the bottom half, while the top half is smooth, hand-sanded plaster.
In the master bedroom, 100-year-old tongue-and-groove plank wood wall boards were discovered under the old chipboard of the walls during the remodel of the 1957 Ranch. Previous owners reported that the boards were salvaged from the old Victorian house that originally sat on the property. The designer used a soy based wood conditioner to clean and seal the wood boards, while leaving the paint and stain as they were originally found. Since the wall was a bold statement, the furnishings in this room were kept simple, the bed did not need a headboard, and the red side tables were clean and minimal.
Hullinger chose a soft white trim throughout, knowing it would work perfectly with Seaview’s often-cloudy and muted light.
The upper cabinets have been removed and stainless steel shelves hold the glassware.
The existing cabinetry was sanded down and repainted with a gray paint in a satin finish.
One of the only bright colors in the home is a brilliant turquoise wall that extends from the dining room into the kitchen.
The living room and family room have a very neutral palette, inspired by colors you’d find collecting seashells and driftwood.
A guest bedroom plays off of the beachy turquoise wall in the dining room and kitchen.
Carved basalt tile echoes the look of Seaview’s persistently rainy weather.
The stacked wood back wall in this family room is designed by hand from salvaged materials found on site from the remodel and other projects in the area.
Photos: Blackstone Edge Studio