A Delightful Discovery on Shades Crest Road

A little closer view of the Perch

The Yancey Residence construction by Ruff Reams Building Company is progressing well. What started as a fun sketch session is blooming into a source of real joy. Bart & Danielle Yancey have always been the type of client an architect hopes to find. They are open minded , honest, interested in great design and have great taste to boot. The architect is always challenged with listening well and interpreting a client’s needs, wants and understanding of the process. It is natural to have to illuminate what the architect does as well as the what it is that is placed in front of them to visualize about their building project. Not everyone understands or visualizes as well as the architect by the very nature of the art and science of design but every once in a while the architect and client find this common ground and can make something unique happen together. As the forms, surfaces, volume and light come together in the construction of this home, I’m delighted to discover that we’ve found that common ground together.

The exterior finishes are nearing completion and the interior spaces are getting full attention. Roofing, stucco over brick, windows and chimney pots are in place as are the wood bracket supports at the Garage overhang and the iron supported copper awning at the front entrance is under fabrication. The “Perch” is visible in final form as you travel along Shades Crest from 31 and it peeps out between the trees. Loving how that has turned out. I’m looking forward to the interior finishes as they begin the completion of this journey.

The Perch

View from Shades Crest of the front of the house

View from the rear yard

From the rear yard the main chimney pots are visible beyond

Interior view from the Perch. This is looking down Shades Crest Rd towards Hwy 31

View of new Dining Room

View of entry to front porch

The Dining Room and Garage are visible beyond from the front

In the next phase I will begin to upload some interior shots as they unfold.

The Yancey Residence (under construction)

Bart & Danielle Yancey are two very special and unique people and they have many passions. They are people of faith, dog lovers, long distance runners! I’ve had the joy of walking this path with them for a few years now and I must say I’m thrilled at their hard work and patience finally paying off. We began designing this house together in early 2009. Their house, at the corner of Shades Crest Road and Bridge Street in Vestavia Hills, was a single story cozy home and we set out to add more bedrooms and baths. The question, with a home such as this, often is whether to raze the building to the foundation or merge new with some of the existing walls. In the initial design, the strategy was the latter. When the decision was made to move into construction the former was chosen. Alan Simpson and Paul Davis of Ruff Reams Building Company are not only the source of referral for me on this project they are also the craftsmen building this unique home. Like the Yanceys, these fellas are top notch people and builders and are doing a great job bringing these drawings to life. It is so important, as an architect, to have builders that can interpret well, follow the drawings well and actually have a desire to ask the right questions in order to get the details right. Love them – call them for your next building project!

Bart & Danielle were drawn to the architecture of Tuscany: something with an Italian feel that had mass, not ornate, with simple forms and textured walls. I began to research the architecture of the area and my goal was really to provide those things in an interpretive way; to offer thickened arches that set up views

beyond and dramatic yet simple gable forms; to anchor the corner of the lot with the edge of the structure and to allow the house to set the stage in the rear yard as a private court. I loved the idea of a perch upstairs for Danielle’s use as a creative studio and the view towards Hwy 31 down Shades Crest was a perfect place for this to happen.

Shades Crest Road elevation

Bridge Street elevation

Left side elevation

Rear elevation

Design plans

The following are some of the before photos made with a phone camera – so quality is poor.

Shades Crest Road elevation – “Before”

Back yard elevation – “Before”

Side elevation view – “Before”
This is the location of the new Dining Room

Bridge Street elevation – “Before”

Bridge Street elevation – “Before”
This shows the garage and location of new Dining Room

View of the approach to the front porch – “Before”

The fun really starts!!

View of “The Perch” approaching along Shades Crest from Hwy 31

View from Bridge Street

View of new Dining Room location. This room has exterior windows on 3 sides and is open to the Kitchen and Keeping rooms

Brick work begins

View out from Foyer to front porch

View from rear yard

I will be following up with more pictures of construction progress in the next post.

EAL Showcase Home Comes to Life

Construction began on the Showcase Home in the Summer/Fall of 2010 and was completed in June of 2011. It’s finally available on the blog! In this series of photos you can see the landscaping and building form take shape. Early framing photos begins to create some excitement for the design team. The design process took a while but the form brings promise of something good to come. It’s awesome to see the roofing and masonry begin and to see the spaces begin to take life.

2011 East Alabama Living Showcase Home

Featured Project : 2011 East Alabama Living Showcase Home

East Alabama Living Magazine annually selects a builder and architect for its Showcase home and for the 2010-2011 year, studiosmith Architecture, LLC and Dilworth Development, Inc were selected as the featured team. The full spread feature included articles and photographs of the design and construction process across its Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer issues.

The project is a new community in Auburn, Alabama called Belcastel. It is actually a single street at the end of Fairway Drive, a prominent and high profile street in the Moores Mill Golf Club community. The street is built out on one side only as the homes face a utility easement. Working with the builder/developer, studiosmith Architecture, LLC conceived of the theme, developed the property layout and designed the branding and marketing for the community. Design elements included the master plan, logo, marketing material and imagery as well as street lighting, entry monument, onsite marketing sign during construction and landscaping ideas.

Community Logo

The easement was allowed to maintain its natural foliage and landscape, while the edge of the street was bordered with a paved sidewalk and large stones are sprinkled along the street. This creates a very nice natural feature that is an amenity to the community rather than an a typical easement. The landscape makes for a picturesque view from within each home.

The feature design project was the Showcase Home designed as a custom speculative residence. The idea was to showcase the design process where a team works closely together to marry a custom approach to residential design with the common aspects buyers look for in a home. Architect, builder, interior designer, marketing and realtor each played a significant role in determining how best to provide a high end custom residence, while also paying close attention to the buyer market. Naturally, the design experienced modifications along the way based on the input from the research and experience of each team member and the result was quite good. Although a few truly custom aspects of the design were changed, a buyer came aboard before the conceptual design was complete. In this way, the project was a successful venture.

Conceptual Elevation

The design concept was to, first, create a structure with a timeless feel and old world charm. The basic request from the builder was a French inspired theme for the community and this home. It was very important to establish a sense of place and a home that had mass and presence. Brick, stone and heavy timber are the primary materials used to give the home a feeling of longevity. Of primary import to the design were natural light deep into the home, privacy for the master suite, an open kitchen with adjacent keeping room, outdoor living space and entertainment areas.

Main Floor Plan

Upper Floor Plan

The end result is beautiful and really captures the essence of what the team was looking to achieve, which was an elegant and timeless home that creates a sense of place. See future posts for construction photos. Enjoy!