A Sampling of Projects
Here is a brief sampling of Door County projects spanning the last 20 years. I’ve included both new buildings and additions, commercial and residential. But regardless of the building size or type, what you’ll probably notice if you bother to read the brief descriptions is that every project begins with the same 3 things:
- a functional need, such as a place to live, a place to work, or maybe just a place to sit
- an inspired vision of what that place might look and feel like
- a unique set of problems to be solved in order to bring that vision to life
Which is why good design, more than anything, is the result of effective problem-solving. In order to develop the most appropriate solution–the one that responds best to your needs, vision, and site–we must first understand the full nature of the problem. And so the process begins with listening. Because even in the very beginning, every building has a story to tell…
For many years the island ferry operation had been squeezed into a tiny shack at the end of the dock. In 1995 Arni and Dick decided they needed a more suitable year-round facility to accommodate the constant flow of visitors, islanders, and deliveries crossing paths at the island’s only entrance. They also needed a functional, comfortable work environment for crew and staff, and a place to store, process, and distribute all those parcels. Plus, if possible (it was) an entrance design that would allow them to zone off the summer lobby during the winter months. The resulting facility provides all that–along with a sunny back porch for crew and a shady front porch for visitors–in an energy-efficient, sun-lit building featuring native white pine timbers and beach stone.
Just around the bend, the Town of Washington wanted a place to welcome island visitors, along with modern, accessible restrooms. The Island Chamber of Commerce needed a home for its growing organization and a place to inform visitors about the islands activities and facitlities. A symbiotic relationship emerged, facilitated by this low-maintenance, sun-lit facility, also featuring native timber and beach stone.
When a tragic gas explosion destroyed Carol’s historic landmark grocery store and home in Ellison Bay, we helped her build it back with all of its historic grandeur, down to the wooden storefront and decorative cornice brackets. Working from old photographs and a couple of salvaged pieces, we recreated all of the original charm in a modern-built building, proving that such a thing is possible. Now Carol has the best of both worlds in a building with much lower heating and cooling costs, greater fire resistance, and a much stronger, steel-reinforced structural frame. (Hats off to Carl, Art, Tom and their dedicated construction crew for a terrific job on a challenging project that required, amongst other things, working in front of an ever-present audience of curious villagers, just like when the original store was built.)
Jeannie had quite a list of things she wanted to accomplish when she remodeled her family’s historic farmhouse: adding a second floor bathroom, building a new dormer in the main bedroom to allow access to a new second floor balcony and take advantage of the southern lake view, another second floor balcony at the top of the stairs, a first floor sunroom addition to expand the eat-in kitchen, a remodeled first floor bathroom and laundry, a new back porch, and a wrap-around front porch—all while preserving the country charm of the original farmhouse. Can you tell which part is new?
Kurt and Melissa wanted to build a wheelchair-accessible vacation retreat for their family that would be easy to heat and easy to maintain. And of course they wanted to maximize the stunning views to Rock Island from the living room, screen porch, two bedrooms, and the sleeping loft. We managed to provide all those eastern views along with plenty of south-facing windows to allow in the natural light and warmth from the sun. Featuring a custom-designed, traditionally-built timber frame wrapped in structural insulated roof and wall panels.
When they remodeled their lake cottage, Bob and Yanique wanted to add a bedroom wing that would connect the cottage to the nearby two-story garage without interrupting the ground level flow and views across their narrow peninsula site. The solution: A three-bedroom bridge over an outdoor patio. Each bedroom has views in both directions and is separated from the sunny hallway by sliding barn doors.
After moving to Washington Island, Ken and Janet wanted to expand the small shorefront ranch house they purchased into an energy-efficient, two-story home large enough to accommodate their family, homeschooling, and frequent musical guests, while taking advantage of the wonderful view of Rock Island out their back door.
Carefully tucked onto a wooded, terraced bluff site overlooking Green Bay, Paul and Letha’s “super-insulated” home features 12-inch-thick walls with roof and wall insulation values more than twice the present code standard, triple-glazed windows, and a heat recovery system. With careful planning and efficient material use, total construction costs for this cedar-sided home were no higher than a traditionally-built home–though their heating costs will be considerably less.
John and Christine wanted to add an attached garage that would look detached, include a private, second-floor living quarter for guests, and be architecturally compatible with their existing custom home. We connected the new two-story garage to the existing two-story house with a sunny one-story link that includes a laundry/sewing room, a small library, and a private outdoor deck. We even managed to sneak in a small greenhouse in the corner of the new garage for John’s exotic collection of house and garden plants.
When Bill and Kathy reunited a previously split-up beach property into one parcel, we had to find a way to connect the small cottage on one side to the small garage/apartment on the other (since shoreline zoning won’t allow two living quarters on the same property.) We remodeled the cottage into a master suite and office, built a new great room and kitchen addition in-between, and placed the two-bedroom guest suite on the other side, connected to the new game room in the converted garage. The plan maximizes privacy between the sleeping areas, keeps the main living space at the core of the house, and provides a terrific southeastern lake view from every room. Both of the original buildings received a complete energy retrofit, creating a unified, energy-efficient home. Bill claims they can heat the whole place with a couple of candles and a fire in the fireplace, but he may be exaggerating.
Dave and Barb needed to figure out a way to add a first-floor master suite, home office, and second floor bathroom onto their historic, gambrel-roofed home overlooking Peninsula State Park. It was a bit of a challenge to fit the connection between the existing roof lines on the north and the existing living room window on the south, but with careful measurements of the existing home and on-site coordination with the contractors to insure proper alignment of the floors and facia, this warm and cozy addition with its cascading roofs now sits nestled at the edge of Barb’s enchanting garden as if it had always been there.
Our buildings are a reflection of us: who we are, how we live, what we think is important.
Which is why the best design is the one that works best for you: the creation of that special place that truly responds to your functional needs, enhances the way you live and work and play, and reflects your vision, while giving you the best long-term value for your building investment.
Where does your story begin?
Better buildings for people. Better buildings for the planet.