815 Ivy Street: It has been an honor to work on a house that is literally right down the street from our Fisher ARCHitecture home/office! As always, our inclination when we first visited the home was to to
“Let old be old and new be new.”
“We should certainly restore worthy old buildings because our shared history is worth preserving. It is what binds our culture together. And these buildings are often beautiful, with spatial configurations and decorations that cannot easily be duplicated.”
This was an excerpt from a speech that Bea and I gave in 2019 at the American Institute of Architects National Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas. The existing 815 Ivy Street exterior facade WAS beautiful in its way so preserving it was a worthy goal:
We installed a new awning and front door outdoors. That was it. Our thought was that the project would be like an old car with a new engine: You wouldn’t know about the improvements from looking at the home from the outside. In fact, you wouldn’t even know we had worked on the building!
However, we had no such respect for the home interior, which was was in very poor shape. The old trim was falling to pieces and the floors were beyond repair. We agreed with the owners’ opinion that a total renovation was the way to go.
On projects like this we always like to work with a negotiated bid process, one in which the contractor is brought to the table up front before the architect creates a complete set of drawings. The contractor, the owner, and the architect all team together to determine the project scope and price based on the owner’s budget. We were fortunate to work with skilled contractor, Bruce Corna, and his team from Bruce Construction, who did a great job implementing the owners’ vision.
Below is an example of how we most often communicate our ideas to clients with our drawings: First we sketch freehand to present the basic design intent of a project element. The sketch on the left depicts our preliminary ideas for the 815 Ivy Street Master Bathroom. Next, the sketch in the middle shows how we hone the details with our 3D computer software. Then we draw the project construction details using our CAD or Revit software. And finally the ideas get built. The photograph on the right shows the ultimate result.