Go With the Flow

The benefits of designing a “see-through” living space

You’ve heard the phrase “On a clear day you can see forever?”
Well, the owners of Urban Order Architecture’s German Village project—on any given day can see from their kitchen sink through their garage.
A once poorly maintained house that had been split into two units, this home now has a whole new skin hanging on its sturdy bones. Urban Order knocked off a two-story addition on the rear of the house and replaced it with this stunning, flowing space, where each room seamlessly transitions to the other—including the covered outdoor patio—all while still maintaining a specific personality for each room.
“One of our objectives was to be able to see through the house and connect the rooms visually. At the same time there is a distinct difference from the original, more formal rooms at the front of the house,” said Principal Steve A. Hurtt. “It was still important to define the original portion and the addition, so we created a very large cased opening in the original rear wall of the house to distinguish the two. That opening is again repeated at the new folding glass door to connect the family room to the new porch , and in turn, the back yard. The result is that the kitchen, family room, porch, and backyard are all physically and visually connected but feel like independent spaces.”

The biggest challenge was removing all of the ‘improvements’ that were made to the structure over the years when it was converted to rental units. Another was to make sure the new space was an appropriate addition and did not overwhelm the original house. Our original clients were renovating this project to sell once it was complete. The current owner went into contract to purchase the property just after the drywall was finished. We then started working with him to make some slight alterations that were specific to how he wanted to live in the house. We were also able to work with Todd Schmidt of Renovations Unlimited on some of the alterations to the original plan. This included a new two-story rear porch, the French doors off the master bedroom and the folding glass doors on the first floor. We also expanded some entry ways to make the house feel more open, and modified the master closet and bathroom to expand the master bathroom.

Modern + Rustic:
This goes back to starting with the original brick house and maintaining the existing interior details like the fireplaces and mantels. It was also important that the original character be maintained in the new woodwork, doors, and hardwood floors. Once the core of the space was established, the rest of the finishes can be more modern and still work well together.