Ann Arbor Old West Side Whole-House Remodel Succeeds with Style – Part One

September 29th, 2017

Remodeling for a New Era

(Part One of a Two-Part series —go to Part Two here)

photo of 1840 house in Ann Arbor Michigan after complete remodeling by Acheson BuildersThis most fascinating older home on Ann Arbor’s “Old West Side” embodied several eras of style:

A Greek Revival settlement-era original from the 1840s, combined with a mid 19th century (1860s or 1870s) practical-but-poorly-built addition, a showy 1890s Victorian era addition, and a 1970’s update on the cheap.

While possessing lots of charm in the details, and a lovely front elevation, the home was awkward and limiting to live in.

CREATIVE, THOUGHTFUL DESIGN SOLUTIONS BY THE ACHESON BUILDERS TEAM

photo of Kimble Wright, Lauren Schaefers, and Jim Acheson

Acheson Builders’ design team (l-r): Kimble Wright, Lauren Schaefers, Jim Acheson

Renovation ideas from two different designers hadn’t met the owner’s goals, before the Acheson design team was called in. Creative problem solving, attentive listening, and abundant experience enabled the Acheson team to meet both the homeowner’s goals and local Historic District requirements, as well as Acheson Builders’ high standards of functionality, refinement, and classical esthetics. Relocating and improving the main stairs (see below) turned out to be one of the keys in re-configuring this home to meet a growing family’s needs, and this stairway became an elegant focal point for the newly created foyer area by the front door. 

RENOVATIONS INCLUDED:

Graceful and sophisticated custom staircase

  • Gorgeous walnut flooring throughout main floor, tying in to original
  • Addition (partially two story) encompassing new Kitchen, Dining and Family Rooms
  • New Azek Deck with wide stairway to yard
  • Newly created bedroom space on second floor, with enlarged 2nd floor bath
  • Loads of classy custom cabinetry and custom built-ins and unique storage in Kitchen, Family Room, and bedrooms
  • Interesting ceiling lines and custom mouldings add great charm
  • Circular stairway to lower level; wall displays some original 1840’s stonework
  • Fully finished bright Basement with bedroom

MAIN STAIRWAY: DRAMATIC BEFORE AND AFTER!

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

The original stairs from the 1840s Greek Revival part of the home went up to a second floor which was formerly a large sleeping loft, with no original partitions and no bathroom (they used outhouses back then).

photo of steep very narrow straight staircase leading to second floor prior to replacement with new open staircase by Acheson BuildersThe stairs were incredibly steep and unsafe — with tall risers, narrow treads. and barely 24” of width so that a broad shouldered man would have to go up the stairs at an angle.

The home’s living room was located right inside the front door. It had no coat closet nor enclosed vestibule to block the winter cold. It was also a major pass‐through room to get to all other points in the home. As you can imagine, it was a very awkward location for a living room. By placing the new stairway in this area, these main stairs became part of a newly created foyer space, and the back three‐quarters of the home was then freed up on both levels to reconfigure for more functionally pleasing living spaces on both floors.photo of sweeping wooden staircase curving past window

 

 

Continued . . . go to part two about this amazing project.

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Acheson Builders in the News

September 29th, 2015

Michigan House Envy: Ann Arbor-area homes transformed

Judy Rose, Special to the Detroit Free Press
10:19 p.m. EDT September 26, 2015

(excerpt – click here to read entire Detroit Free Press article)

Download this: Case Study of the Parkridge Residence described in this article (PDF, 2.4MB), and see Case Study: Update Kitchen – Maintain Simple Elegance for more photos and description of the project.

Mid-Century Modern

This single-story, glass-walled house in Ann Arbor is a celebration of Mid-Century Modern architecture, so when the worn-out kitchen had to be restored, the pressure was on to not mess it up.

The original kitchen had been built on-site with fine cabinet-making details. Now, 50 years later, “The cabinets were basically falling apart and delaminating,” said owner Bonnie Greenspoon.

Greenspoon and her husband, Martin Schwartz, are architects, each with connections to the esteemed late architect David Osler, who designed this house in 1962. The couple has owned the home for 17 years.

Standard cabinets could not re-create Osler’s work. So Greenspan designed new cabinets and counters almost exactly like the originals, and a fine-furniture cabinet maker built them.

Their kitchen is one of 12 stops on the Ann Arbor Remodelers’ Home Tour.

What visitors will see is the classic Modernist kitchen, with clean lines and fine details. Pull-closed doors or drawers and the edges display a dense 13-ply plywood — furniture grade — faced with alder veneer.

They’ll see a wall of cabinets where the grain in the alder lines up from floor to ceiling, making the doors nearly undetectable.

The counter tops remain white, their beat-up laminate replaced with white quartz. As Osler specified, the counters do not jut out in typical fashion, but line up straight with the cabinets’ face. Between each counter top and the cabinet below, there’s a slight indent or “reveal” — all picky details, but important to the architects.

Acheson Builders, which put the project together, used its custom resources to create the special materials. For example, that 13-ply wood with its alder veneer did not exist, Jim Acheson said. “It was custom laid up for us on the West Coast.”

The context is a beautifully closed house where glass doors let you walk outside from almost every room.

“The house is wonderful because it’s so simple,” Greenspoon said. “You’re not bogged down with frivolous details. You just appreciate the space.”

Ann Arbor Remodelers’ Home Tour

The 2015 tour runs two days next weekend. On the schedule are 11 remodeled houses in Ann Arbor and South Lyon, including these two. They include a whole-house remodel with a finished walkout lower level, two first-floor remodels, several kitchen projects, several master suite projects, a basement renovation and a second-story addition.

The annual tour is sponsored by the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor.

When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 3 and noon-6 p.m. Oct. 4.

Where: Start and pick up a map at any of the houses. For addresses, a photo and a thumbnail description of each project, go to bragannarbor.com

Cost: $10; free for children 16 and younger

Full article: http://www.freep.com/story/money/real-estate/michigan-house-envy/2015/09/26/house-envy-ann-arbor-remodelers-tour-realtors-metro-detroit-for-sale-judy-rose-university-of-michigan/72672794/

Home, Garden and Lifestyle Show 2015

February 22nd, 2015

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 20-22, 2015. The show is sponsored by Builders & Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor (BRAG)(click for more info).

This event typically draws over 5,000 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.

To encourage you to come, Acheson Builders is pleased to offer you gratis admission coupons — tickets to 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 closed a printable image for tickets OR download this PDF for printing — and we’ll be seeing you at the event!

photo of triangular wooden plant stand built by Acheson Builders

Acheson Builders custom craftmanship example: triangular plant stand

montage of photos of Acheson Builders home show booth showing visitors, Jim Acheson, staff and examples of custom cabinetry

Come to the Home Show and bring your questions for Acheson Builders. We’re eager to meet you!

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!