Renovations/­Adaptive Reuse – Under 5,000 Sq Ft Archives | AIA Atlanta

Lapitz Residence

Built in 1885 by iron foundry owner William Kehoe, the townhouse at 130 Habersham Street, a contributing structure within the Savannah National Historic Landmark District and the Savannah Local Historic District, has experienced a transformation worthy of attention. Arguably one of the most photographed homes in downtown Savannah, with its infamous vines twining lavishly up the sides of its facades, quite literally bursting life from its structure onto the street, the Kehoe home has become seemingly unrecognizable at first glance through its metamorphosis back to its Italianate roots. It is because of the modern infamy of this historic structure that one might fail to understand decisions made in undertaking a drastic renovation to this iconic downtown home.

However, by acknowledging the greater value of this historic structure, and recognizing that the predominant focus of this home should not be centered on modern public sentiment, the owner was able to come to terms with a genuine restorative plan. Through vine removal, masonry, stucco, railing, and structural repairs, new decking at all balconies, replacement of damaged solid mahogany shutters, a new roof, a complete HVAC overhaul, and an all-encompassing painting to unify architectural elements, the client was able to evaluate the real needs of this building in order for it to be restored to structural integrity while preserving its historic character.

Mid-century Remix

The current owners do not know how a vaguely Eichler mid-century home came to be constructed in Virginia Highland. However, having lived in California, they recognized the form immediately and purchased the house.

Our assignment: on a tight $220,000 budget reorganize the chopped plan, expand the kitchen and dining area into the unusable carport, enhance the interior and exterior and renovate the basement.

In respect to the origins of the existing house we emphasized horizontality, added bands of glass, removed odd brackets, added a 5’-wide pivot door at the entry, replaced the siding and constructed a low horizontal wall to establish a public/private boundary. Parking for the house shifts from the inaccessible carport to an apron linked to the entry with concrete pavers.

The house as described by Residential Design magazine: “Nestled in the Virginia Highlands, one of Atlanta’s toniest neighborhoods, is a diminutive Mid-Century house recently resuscitated with a very light hand. The modesty of the intervention is the first thing one notices upon touring the house. The second notable aspect is that it exists at all amid the pseudo-Tudors, period bungalows, and new builder-spec foursquares that characterize the pricey in-town location.

Heritage House

The design concept of this project was to place the public functions of the home on the upper levels to maximize the views of the forest. The house converts into a dance studio for Argentinean Milongas (Tango dancing). The private functions of the house; bedrooms and bathrooms were placed on the lower level with access to a private courtyard and reusing an existing retaining stone retaining wall.

Harrison House

At only 1,800 square feet, the existing house would not accommodate the needs of its new owners. With two small children, they wanted more bedrooms & bathrooms, as well as additional casual family space. These additional desires required another 1,800 square feet. An existing eyesore of a carport tacked onto the front façade of the existing house begged for removal.

While doubling the size of the house, the architect’s goal was to resurrect the original mid-century box – then minimize the impact to it. The design solution involved separating the addition so that new & old could be distinctly read. New vs. Old can be decoded where the original yellow brick is exposed and seen in contrast to new cypress siding and white stucco surfaces. The black color of the original wood post & beam structure is extended to the new, exposed black steel. New space was elevated on a podium some distance away, connected by an elevated bridge at roof level. An offending carport was removed from the front of the house, replaced by a more discreet detached garage in a different location, allowing a new front façade to be composed.

These light touches do not engage the original house’s exterior walls at any place, keeping those exterior walls as free from intrusion as possible. Original interior partitions were edited and reconfigured to provide purer open space (previously, various closets protruded into the living area’s rectangle). As needed, components were restored or replaced, and new interior space was organized along the exterior window in relation to newly created outdoor areas.

More Mid Century

A young, energetic couple purchased a classic 1963 house originally designed by a prominent Atlanta architect. Two additions over the years had eroded the original design intent. 50 years of wear and tear had taken their toll. The owner’s intent was to revive and transform the house while maintaining its original design integrity and room layout. It is a great example of starting with the good “bones” of the original house and using surgically precise changes to create a dramatic difference in livability and aesthetic delight.

Exterior renovations are minimal. Shuttered windows at the entry were re-opened and a crisper, two-tone paint palette brings out the linear nature of the house. The existing creamy, ivory paint colors muted the house’s presence. Layered grays bring out the richness of the original ochre brick color.

The central “pavilion” includes the foyer, dining and living areas within a 12’ ceiling. A visually heavy and opaque center element that divided the three spaces is replaced with a sculpturally crisp white “pylon” and oak/granite serving counter. Living, dining, and foyer now flow together while retaining their distinct identities. Layered views from space to space and into the landscape visually expand the house. The existing masonry corners flanking each side of the fireplace are replaced with mullionless corner glass for the full height. This seemingly small change creates a fluid indoor/outdoor connection between the living area and pool/landscape beyond.

Urban Forest Mod

Amongst our clients, we see the recurrent trend of looking for a house to renovate or build new in the neighborhood they already live in. They love their neighborhoods, and they want to stay. Properties with the right potential seem to reveal themselves. The discovery of the perfect place could be on a daily walk, drive to work, or in this case, a private sale opportunity from a relocating friend. Our clients loved that this property backed up to an urban forest, had an east-facing flat front yard for a food-producing landscape, and a pool for intown grandkids.

Jones Pierce was engaged to reimagine the 60’s mid-century ranch, complemental to the lifestyle of the era it was built, into a space that would reflect how our modern, open-minded, stylish downsizers wanted to live. The 1962 house is in the National Register Historic District, one of the most restrictive character areas in the City, on an isolated mid-century infill street subjected to historic commission approval.

The subjective drama began when the client’s desire to evolve a home that appeared to provide the perfect framework for their vision of modern living, clashed with the Historic Preservation Commission’s desire to preserve consistent characteristics of architecture and site development within the district.