One well-crafted detail can tell a story of a place and bring character to a project of any scale. Taking inspiration from this small home’s enormous backyard conifer trees, we developed a perforated steel guardrail motif for the new central stair based on the lifecycle of a pinecone. We developed a computer script to set up parameters for the organic growth of the pattern –setting in motion the transition from a tightly closed cone to an open shape– just as a pinecone grows and thrives by hurling its seeds into the wind.
The project is a case study in the challenges families face when remodeling older homes with a long history of ill-conceived partial remodels. In our historical research, we discovered that the city long ago raised the level of the street, leaving many homes partially sunken at the front. Adding to the complexity, years of awkward changes by a tinkerer-owner further compromised the bones of this 1908 structure.
Originally (top diagram) the front door led directly to the private bedroom level, while the public gathering spaces were one level down. The main staircase dropped you directly into the middle of the existing kitchen. Yet, at the rear, potentially spectacular views of the city remained entirely ignored and inaccessible. Our rationalized circulation shown in the lower diagram above.
We first unraveled the knot of the plan with a new split-level entryway and connecting stair. We then opened the rear of the home to the views, using the huge backyard conifer as design inspiration for a perforated steel guardrail that seamlessly connected the new interior and exterior space. Please contact us for more detailed information.