Around the Town 2016: an Interview with Jim Acheson

October 5th, 2017
photo of Pete Nowakowski and Jim Acheson in radio studio for Lucy Ann Lance interview 23 September 2013

(l-r) Pete Nowakowski, Jim Acheson

In this in-depth interview with Jim Acheson, founder and president of Acheson Builders, Lucy Ann Lance discusses the 2016 Remodelers Home Tour, the Acheson Builders design style, and a particularly challenging older-home remodeling job at 2037 Winstead in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This traditional 1970s home harbored a claustrophobic dinette and u-shaped kitchen until Acheson Builders gave it a new life. 

Joining the interview is Pete Nowakowski, Marketing and Communications Director of Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor (BRAG).

The Remodelers Home Tour was co-founded in 1989 by Jim Acheson and is organized by the BRAG Ann Arbor.

Running time: 12 minutes, 45 seconds. Courtesy of Lance & Erskine Communications
logo for BRAG - Builders & Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor


 

2017 Remodelers Home Tour

Don’t miss Acheson Builders’ entry in the 2017 Remodelers Home Tour442 2nd Street, Ann Arbor — A whole-house remodel of an historical home, Old West Side, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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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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Out of the Embers – Remodeling After Fire

July 17th, 2017

UPDATE: See the rebuild/remodeled home here.

photo of fire trucks at scene of daytime house fire in Dexter, Michigan 2017 - post fire rebuilding to be undertaken by Acheson Builders

Dexter Fire Department at scene of house fire. Damage was mainly confined to the home’s interior.

Fire-Damaged New Home to be Made New Again

Tragedy struck the owner of a new 3000 sq ft home in Dexter, Michigan earlier this year: a chimney fire forced him and his family to flee and damaged much of the house interior before being brought under control by local firefighters.

architectural line drawing of floor plan of home dagaged by fire in Dexter, Michigan 2017

Fire began in chimney of fireplace.

After the smoke cleared and insurance company assessments were completed, the homeowner chose Acheson Builders to come to the rescue. Work has already begun to completely renovate the great room and other parts of the house.

photo of fire-damaged Interior fireplace of Dexter Michigan house - fire began in fireplace chimney

Fire, smoke, and water-damaged walls and floor around fireplace chimney where fire began

 

Laborious Prep Work

Acheson Builders’ skilled carpenters and workers don’t often don hazmat jumpsuits but are doing so now in order to prepare the site for new construction. Among the first tasks has been to deal with fire- and water-damaged walls. A fire-damage specialist company had stripped out drywall material that had become waterlogged by firefighting efforts. This left wall studs exposed. Ordinarily this would provide a clean slate for installing new drywall, but thousands of drywall fasteners remained, jutting out from every stud where they had held the original drywall in place. Acheson Builders team members are having to remove all of these fasteners by hand, one by one.

Better Than New

After months of traumatic waiting following the fire, the beleaguered homeowner has told Acheson Builders how grateful he is to have his rebuild/remodel job in such good hands and that Acheson Builders had been singularly recommended as “the best remodeler in town.”

photo of new multi-level home prior to 2017 fire

How it should look — and will again after Achesons Builders’ post-fire remodeling.

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!