I just posted an article about how renovation can be used to reflect the individualism of the client, and I wanted to share some insight into one of the renovation projects I was a part of.
This project is located within the Franklin Building in the Lower Downtown neighborhood of Denver, which was originally a warehouse which had been converted to residential units a few decades ago.
Our client owned one of the penthouse level units and had recently purchased the adjacent corner unit. The scope included combining the two lofts into one larger loft and renovate the entire interior since originally the two lofts had very different styles with respect to color and finishes.
The primary goal of the design was to open up the main living spaces within the loft to take advantage of the abundance of light and the views of downtown. We used glass guards along the stair and the loft to create a greater sense of openness. For two of the bedrooms upstairs we used a privacy glass (glass that can be transparent or translucent with a flip of a switch) that acted as interior partitions, thus allowing more light into the rooms as well as providing privacy when required. For the foyer we used a custom art glass to also allow more light into the loft.
Another aspect of renovation that some architects don’t appreciate is that there are quite a few limitations to what you’re allowed to do with the space. I like to believe that the more limitations placed on a project the more inventive the architect must be. Because each loft unit had its own front door, existing restrooms and kitchens, and existing stairs combining these two lofts made us rethink how spaces should flow together. The clients’ original loft became the side consisting mainly of the living spaces. We kept the existing kitchen in the adjacent loft, so the front door leading into that unit was now designed as a backdoor leading into the kitchen and a butler’s pantry.
The part of renovation that can be frustrating is the fact that you really don’t know what’s inside the existing walls until you tear them down. When we removed the party wall between the two units we discovered a nice roof drain pipe. We were fortunate that this pipe was within 18″ of where we were proposing a new wall to be built, so it just required us to extend the new wall in order to enclose the pipe. I’ve worked on some projects where existing elements could not be relocated and required us to redesign a decent amount of the project.
I managed many aspects of this project while I was still employed with Architectural Workshop. The interior design was done by Helen Gorman, and the engineers for the project were MEP Engineers. The Contractor managing the construction was Paul Seigel, who was with Beaver Builders at the time (he has since begun his own general contracting business). The art glass at the foyer was created by Ann Wolff Glass Design.