Showcase to feature bungalows, historic homes in Chelsea, Ann Arbor and beyond

October 14th, 2021

By Jordyn Pair | [email protected]

Source: MLive


This home, located at 617 Northside Avenue in Ann Arbor, will be available for an in-person tour during the showcase event.
This home, located at 617 Northside Avenue in Ann Arbor, will be available for an in-person tour during the showcase event.Provided by Siobhan Findlay

WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI — From bungalows to historic designs, Washtenaw County residents have no shortage in the variety of homes they can tour this weekend.

The BRAG Showcase of New & Remodeled Homes., from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 15-17, allows participants to explore 10 homes in-person with one $10 ticket.

Homes available to tour include a Summit Street Folk Victorian home crafted by Riemco Design + Build. The house, an updated 140-year-old home, features hand-crafted cabinetry, built-in bookshelves and Brazilian Cherry flooring.

Other featured design companies include Alpha Design + Build, Pulte Homes and Forward Design Build Remodel.

Tickets are available at any of the homes open for in-person tours and are valid for all 10 homes throughout the three days of the event. COVID-19 mitigation policies differ for each home, but can include social distancing, temperature checks and capacity limits.

In addition to the 10 homes available for in-person visits, participants are also invited to join five virtual tours from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 16. The tours, which take place on Zoom, include designer presentations and the opportunity to ask questions. Participants are encouraged to pre-register.

Some remodelers are also offering private showings to discuss remodeling plans. The showings, which will are on Oct. 17, can be booked online.

The homes available for in-person tours are:

  • 124 West Summit Street, Chelsea: remodel by Riemco Design + Build
  • 411 Chandler Street, Chelsea: new home built by Riemco Design + Build
  • 4800 Chestnut Springs Drive, Genoa Township: new home built by Chestnut Home Builders
  • 1025 Spring Trail Court, Brighton: new home built by Pulte Homes
  • 617 Northside Avenue, Ann Arbor: remodel by Forward Design Build Remodel
  • 6445 Ford Road, Superior Township: remodel by Alpha Design + Build
  • 49420 Mapleton, Canton: new home built by Pulte Homes
  • 2952 Timber Glen Drive, Ann Arbor: new home built by Pulte Homes
  • 3229 Roslyn Drive, Pittsfield Township: new home built by Pulte Homes
  • 4244 Rolling Meadow Lane, Pittsfield Township: new home built by Arbor Farms Development LLC

The five homes available for virtual tours are:

  • A remodel and addition by Dexter Builders
  • A renovation in Ann Arbor by Giraffe Design Build
  • A renovation by MBK Constructors
  • A two-story addition and renovation by MBK Constructors

A virtual tour, without a live component, of an Ann Arbor home remodeled by D. A. Haig Construction also is available online.

Job Details: Acheson Builders’ Re-Remodeling of a Victorian Treasure

September 30th, 2021
Oval ornate mirror bracketed by fancy tulip-style lamp fixtures.

Introduction

The goal for this project was to fully update the home and add features for aesthetics and livability.  Twenty years earlier we had added to this home on two floors, and remodeled some of the rooms.  At that time, this couple was young and, with limited resources, needed to reduce the scope of work to meet their budget.  Now more established, they wanted to do some of the things they had set aside and upgrade other parts of the house that had been on the “hoped for” list for a long time.

The homeowners had ideas and inspiration photos. They employed an architect, Susan Haifleigh, of Diamonte Design, to help plan the functionality of the Kitchen and other areas. Interior designer Leah Raitt, of Leah Raitt Design, was consulted on style, materials, colors, and more. 

Jim Acheson of Acheson Builders Inc. was tasked with synthesizing the ideas into concrete buildable drawings with all the details and proportions, and then getting the work done.  Acheson Builders repaired, replaced, reconfigured, redecorated parts of every room and the house as a whole — from lowering a large section of the basement floor, to adding decorative cresting on the peaks of the roof.  Some rooms and parts of the home had a total makeover, including a completely gutted and remodeled kitchen.

ITEMS OF NOTE:

Contributors

  • Architect: Susan Haifleigh of Diamonte Design
  • Interior Design: Leah Raitt of Leah Raitt Design
  • Metal work: SmithShop of Detroit
  • Curtains: Karen Rea of Karen Rea Designs
  • Front walk: Michigan Hardscapes

Unique Hardware

  • Unlacquered Brass
  • special Forbes & Lomax switches from England
  • Classic Brass Chautaqua Collection
  • Merit Metal (92815) Forged cupboard turn 1 5/8″ X 2 5/16″
  • polished brass unlacquered box latches on sink base cabinet and refrigerator cabinet doors

Home Office, Laundry, Powder Room, and Mud Room Flooring

  • Rusticated Marble

Paint

  • Farrow and Ball paint (having unique colors) from England
  • Kitchen cabinets are Inchyra Blue
  • Grass cloth on Master Bedroom walls

Yoga Ladder

  • Built from clear black walnut

Roof

  • CertainTeed Grand Manor, and CertainTeed Carriage House shingles in Black Pearl color in pattern shown on drawing

Heating

  • Hot water heating in mudset tile floors (Office area, mudroom, powder room, laundry room)

Electrical

  • Forbes and Lomax unlacquered brass single pole dimmer switch

Victorian Treasure: How to Tour

September 30th, 2021

Here some of the details that you may need to take advantage of any of the five tours by Acheson Builders of the Victorian home that it has remodeled — twice!

CASE STUDY: Addition with Kitchen and Bath Remodeling and Exterior Improvements

October 13th, 2020

exterior of house after remodeling

SPECIAL NOTE: Take the (Virtual) Tour:

Team Acheson will Zoom you through this property in a live virtual tour, where you will be able to ask questions and participate — as part of the BRAG Ann Arbor Builders Association “Showcase of Homes 2020”. Check this space for details.

 

Smart Remodeling

See what a difference a small addition can make for a modest ranch home that was just too cramped for a growing family – especially in the public spaces such as the front entrance, the kitchen, and the dining area. A four-foot-wide addition along one side of the home made a world of difference! exterior of house before remodeling

More Room, Please

Now there’s room for larger family gatherings in the dining room, multiple cooks in the expanded kitchen, and via a small bump-out at the front doorway along with the side addition, the foyer has room for receiving (or sending off) a whole family-full of excited children and grandchildren, instead of the one-at- a-time space by the front door as in the past.

 

 

What About That Porch?

exterior of house after remodeling

After remodeling: slender columns, sidelights, stonework, rails, and four-foot home extension on right side.

We dressed up the front porch with columns, sidelights at the front door, and beautiful stonework for the stoop and front steps. We also made it safer for coming and going with gentler steps, and an added custom hand rail all around. The new sidelights by the front door add interest as well as more light in the foyer.

 

 

 

Acheson Builders can remodel any home

AFTER: Kitchen remodeled, open to dining area.

 

Remodeling can transform your home, even on a modest budget

AFTER: Dining area leading to kitchen.

 

What About the Cost?

The entire project was done on a carefully controlled budget. We encouraged the client to carefully focus on keeping her selections for cabinets, counters, tile work etc. within budget, while still maintaining an upgraded style. She did that very successfully!

In Sum:

We maintained the original lines and architectural features such that the addition is indistinguishable from the original home. The changes look like there have been no changes — as if the house was always as it is now!

Acheson Builders’ ZOOM Virtual Tour of 2861 Dalton, Ann Arbor – 16, 17, 18 Oct 2020

October 13th, 2020

Details of Tours

This year’s “Showcase of Homes” Virtual Tours was organized and sponsored by BRAG Ann Arbor Builders Association

Schedule: 
1pm Friday, October 16, 2020
1pm Saturday, October 17, 2020
3pm Sunday, October 18, 2020

If you missed the live Virtual Tours, see YouTube replay below:

Schedule, Please

Here is a souvenir downloadable schedule of all home tours in the 2020 Showcase:

Schedule of live virtual guided home tours for 2020 Showcase of Homes

What if I Missed The Live Virtual Tours?

Watch it right here, right now!

Prefer to Lead Your Own Tour?

Explore the remodeled home with this self-guided walk through:

Out of the Embers: Home Rebuild Complete!

September 5th, 2018

UPDATE: See the rebuild/remodeled home here.

 

photo of fire engines and fire fighters standing together at scene of house fire that was later rebuilt by Acheson Builders

Fire engines and fire fighters on scene at this home in Dexter, Michigan prior to second outbreak.

 

Fire!

Fire is supposed to confine itself to the fireplace, but in this home in Dexter, only one year old, flames reached out of a defective fireplace to engulf the middle section of this home. The owners escaped unharmed, and the fire was extinguished, only to reignite less than 24 hours later (again without injuries).

photo of severely fire-damaged living room wall with fireplace open to adjoining sun room showing large burned and broken windows on either side

Where it started: the burned out fireplace after fire spread to entire center portion of house.

photo of fireplace open to adjoining sun room showing glassed view through fireplace and large windows on either side

Rebuilt fireplace and living room.

Acheson Builders came to the rescue (after the Fire Department of course) and planned out and conducted a campaign of removal, clean-up, and reconstruction of only the damaged portion, carefully following insurance company-provided inspectors’ professional Structural Engineering Report. 

Beyond replacing damaged structural elements such as roof joists and rebuilding the whole middle section — with a new fireplace — the entire house required new interior finishes. 

 

Work Completed

The new trusses are in, the walls put back together, paint and custom finish work throughout completed so now the owners can once again, shuck off their outdoor duds in the new four-cubby mudroom and gather around the indoor-outdoor fireplace to once again enjoy their beautiful home. 

Come See It – 2018 Remodelers Tour (Sept 29 & 30)

See for yourself the quality of Acheson Builders’ work by touring the home at Remodelers Home Tour 2018, one of nine homes being shown by Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor (BRAG Ann Arbor). 

Don’t forget to check out the newly remodeled basement, which became a secondary portion of this project.

Here is a preview of the Tour:

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Come to Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show 2018 – Free

February 24th, 2018

montage of photos of Acheson Builders home show booth showing visitors, Jim Acheson, staff and examples of custom cabinetryFree Tickets to the Home Show

Come visit us at the upcoming Home, Garden and Lifestyle Show March 17-18, 2018. The show is sponsored by Builders & Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor (BRAG)(click for more info).

This event typically draws over 7,000 visitors from Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, Manchester, Milan, Saline, Ypsilanti and beyond. It features many examples of local remodeling and home & garden resources.

As in years past, Acheson Builders is pleased to offer you gratis admission coupons — get into the show free! All we ask is that you stop by the Acheson Builders booth and introduce yourself. (You’ll find us in the main building, right side. We’ll be the ones with the custom cabinetry and wall panel of featured projects! )  Just CLICK HERE to open a printable image for tickets OR download this PDF for printing — and we’ll be seeing you at the event!

photo of custom cabinets with alder veneer

Custom Cabinets with Alder Veneer —
photo: Detroit Free Press

photo of custom kitchen cabinets and Island by Acheson Builders

Custom Kitchen Cabinets and Island by Acheson Builders — photo: Detroit Free Press

 

photo of Jim Acheson with Guest at Acheson Builders booth of the Home, Garden, and Lifestyle Show in Ann Arbor 2015

Jim offers a homeowner remodeling ideas.

photo of custom-made blonde wood credenza with large end cabinet doors and three central drawers plus marble top

Custom cabinetry on display at Acheson Builders’ Home Show booth.

photo of custom wood four-sided kiosk showing use cases and step-by-step methods of Acheson Builders

Whether building a new home or considering remodeling your existing abode, Acheson Builders has a time-tested design & build process for you to take advantage of. Come to the Home Show to see case study examples from the many homeowners we have helped!

 

Out of the Embers Update: A Truss-Worthy Builder

December 4th, 2017

UPDATE: See the rebuild/remodeled home here.

photo of smoke rising out of suburban house in Dexter, Michigan prior to restoration by Acheson Builders

Fire broke out, was thought extinguished, then returned at this Dexter home.

Progress Restoring Fire-Damaged Home

Good news! The Dexter, Michigan home that suffered a fire earlier in 2017 is nearly rebuilt and restored.

The fire, which began one night in the living room where a new gas fireplace apparently malfunctioned, resulted in no injuries but wreaked significant damage to walls, ceilings, a large portion of the roof, and to floors throughout the two-story structure.

photo of fire engines and fire fighters standing together at scene of house fire that was later rebuilt by Acheson Builders

Fire engines and fire fighters on scene at this home in Dexter, Michigan prior to second outbreak.

The damage that even a small, contained fire can inflict on a house affects more than those portions that actually burn; smoke can permeate all materials and parts of a house, and fire fighters’ water and fire-extinguishing material can cause its own unique form of destruction. This home was no exception.

photo of Acheson Builders crew members up in roof section fastening framing pieces during reconstruction of house in Dexter, Michigan

Crew securing trusses and finishing framing.

For this job, Acheson Builders proposed a plan for both restoring and remodeling the house (see earlier blog report on this project), and began work in July, 2017. Initial work focused on removing damaged materials remaining after a previously hired fire-disaster company had​ removed drywall in affected areas. Acheson Builders unscrewed thousands of projecting drywall fasteners which had been​ left behind​ by the prior drywall removal​, stripped out all smoke or water-damaged insulation in walls and in the attic, and removed wiring and plumbing that was affected by the fire.

That left . . . the odor . . .

Smoke Smell — How to Lose the Burn

Special treatment was undertaken to ensure that all vestiges of smoke damage were eradicated. This required hiring a company that specializes in deep cleaning to be conducted​ in​ multi-step process. First was a patented Hot Thermal Fog™ treatment to open up the pores in the wood (see sidebar “Makeover for Smoke-Damaged House“), followed by thorough cleaning and deodorizing with an ozone and hydroxyl treatment. After this, a sealant was sprayed over everything: all remaining exposed wood, wires and pipes, etc., to prevent any residual smell from escaping. This included the entire attic, where a lot of smell had traveled beyond the burned area.

Yet another company was employed to clear out and certify all of the ductwork, to ensure NADCA standards.

Acheson Builders then re-installed insulation in all areas where it had been removed or where needed.

Roof and Framing

Then we brought in the crane. Crane? No, we did not employ a large, long-necked bird, but brought in a construction crane for removing and replacing seriously large structural trusses for the roof​ in the central part of the house​.

photo of fully deployed crane ready to lift materials onto fire damaged house being restored by Acheson Builders

Construction crane in use during framing and roofing phase of restoration.

(Quite a few remodeling jobs could benefit by a having a crane available but cannot accommodate one, due to site features such as hills and trees; this site was well suited to use of a crane.)

photo of truck-mounted construction crane ready to lift trusses and plywood onto fire damaged house being restored by Acheson Builders

Construction crane in use during framing and roofing phase of restoration.

Now the roofing has been completed, damaged walls re-framed, and new sheet rock fastened on. All exterior work is complete: framing, roofing, siding, paint — all protected and done.
 

New Fireplace

Installation is complete . . . a different brand from the one that malfunctioned and​ burned the house, thank you very much!

Basement Remodel

Extra remodeling, not related to the fire,​ has been undertaken in the basement.​ The owners decided they may as well have the basement finished (a project that they originally had planned to do a few years down the road) while we are already at the home doing other restoration.​ New walls are now framed and drywall will be installed by the time you are reading this. Then comes the fun work of installing all the finishes.​
 

Next Steps

Believe it or not, further smoke odor treatment is needed — to the floors and underlayment. Once done, floor finishes can be completed. After that, tile work will be undertaken. And then there is the exterior: follow-through work includes cleaning up garden beds and re-mulching them. Even these areas were damaged by the fire, firetrucks, and initial demolition processes (before Acheson Builders had been called in).

Check this space in​ the near future for more updates!

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Makeover for Smoke-Damaged House 

Hot Thermal Fogging as defined by CleanFax Company

“Thermal fogging most closely approximates the very small size of smoke particles, driving the particles deep inside tiny cracks, crevices and pores of surfaces, just as the original smoke deposits were created.

When properly created and applied, thermal fogging delivers excellent odor control. . . . “

Source: http://www.cleanfax.com/restoration/effective-thermal-fogging/

Gallery: Whole-House Remodel of 1840s Historic Old West Side Home

October 6th, 2017

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Old West Side House Remodel: Bringing Together Four Eras

October 2nd, 2017
Part Two of a Two-Part Series

(see Part One of this series here )

 

photo of 1840 house in Ann Arbor Michigan after complete remodeling by Acheson BuildersDesign Challenges

In undertaking this very large remodeling project, Acheson Builders had many challenges. One good example: we didn’t want to block a feature window that is at the front of the house while adding a new staircase to replace a vintage narrow straight run set of steps (see part one of this series for solution). The homeowners also asked us to create a coat-closet space for that part of the house. 

photo of sweeping wooden staircase curving past window

To accomplish this, we designed the new stairs with a turn midway up, so that the upper section of stairs along the front wall could be above the feature window. We were then able to fit a small coat closet under the upper stairs, while adding a bonus hidden storage area under the lower section of stairs. All done in period detail.

 

When it comes to working on older homes such as this that are considered historic, contractors such as Acheson Builders must hue to the call of the Historic District Commission of Ann Arbor, Michigan. One governing rule of the HDCAA specifies that additions to classic homes in its purview look different than the historic parts of those houses. For this 1840’s home, there were four different styles incorporated, each from a different design era. Although required to have the addition look different, Acheson Builders and the home’s owners didn’t want it to look drastically different — we wanted some continuity, a sense of a unified building after integrating the new with the old. Part of our solution was to use existing ornamentation, seen in the taller front section of the house, as inspiration for the embellishment used on the rear addition.

One somewhat painful decision that the owners had to make involved losing an outdoor sauna. Acheson Builders replaced a badly deteriorating old deck and sauna with a new deck (but no sauna) built on the sunnier side of the house, which also allowed for a larger addition, while at the same time including value-added maintenance-free Azek PVC materials.

One challenge with using Azek materials for the deck and railing, was that Azek does not make a top handrail for stairways that qualifies as “graspable” under the building code. We were able to solve this issue by custom-fabricating, using Azek stock, a top guardrail for the steps that conformed to the code but which also matched the profile of the manufactured top rail used along the level guardrail sections. To fabricate this required handrail, we glued Azek stock pieces together, then milled them for the desired profile. This type of work is quite sophisticated and is only done well by highly skilled carpenters (such as ours)!

Some Design Process Considerations for this job:

  • Deck Height: House sits high relative to the backyard; deck needed to be just a step or two down: this allows for a better view of the yard from inside the house while taking minimal space away from the deck
  • Embellishment: New entryway to deck and backyard from Kitchen and Family Room creates a stunning look as seen from both interior and exterior perspectives; it is a highlight and new rear focal point, with inspiration from other portions of this historic home
  • Addition and deck size: allow for good furniture layout, walkability, storage (both interior spaces, and on deck itself)
  • Width of deck stairway: wide design allows for traffic flow to yard, room to sit on steps
  • Additional features and thoughtful design: one of the skirt panels below the deck opens, so the space is accessible for storage under the deck

. . . and on and on, so forth and etc.; there were a myriad of other issues, both interior and exterior in this the complex design and remodeling process, especially for issues relating to an historic home. Challenging and satisfying — for the homeowners and for Acheson Builders!

— Go back to Part One of this series

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