Photo by Al Lous
Photo by Al Lous
Photo by Al Lous
Photo by Al Lous
Photo by Al Lous

Shelf Life

Urban Order Architecture has an extensive resume when it comes to modernizing old homes. Often the reimagining and transformation of old or eccentric designs creates fun and unintended yields for new homeowners. Principal Steve A. Hurtt helps (614) Home navigate the obstacles designers run into when the functionality of a house changes wholesale over time.
In this Italian Village home, originally built as a duplex, it meant covering up old, awkwardly placed doorways with modern shelving units, tearing down walls that separated the units, and installing new ceilings in certain sections to differentiate space from one room to the next. One benefit of updating an old home is that it gives designers the flexibility to keep antiquated styles, while seamlessly blending in fresh and innovative aesthetics.

Juxtaposed Ceiling:
The original house was built as a two-family residence and we removed the walls between the two units. We also removed a poorly constructed addition that was the original kitchens and bathrooms. The original house had exposed floor joists that we cleaned and painted; we decided to create a flat ceiling over the kitchen to differentiate that space a little more from the open living room and dining room. The painted wood ceiling ties the two together and creates more of a cottage feel.

Cupboard Luminosity:
The lighting inside the kitchen cabinets is a low voltage LED tape that is a relatively new application.  It is very low profile so it can be installed almost anywhere.  Our client loved the idea of being able to showcase her glass collection and also to use the lighting as accent lighting in the kitchen.

Lofty Living:
The loft area is part of the original structure and we decided to keep it.  We felt it added to the cottage idea and makes the relatively small bedroom feel much bigger. We added the painted board ceilings and added more structure to the existing roof to allow us to remove the ceiling joists and also install more insulation.

Hidden On Purpose:
Storage was very intentional. This is a very old house in Italian Village and does not have a basement. We included a vaulted second floor so there isn’t much of an attic. We looked at every available space to include additional storage. We converted a small laundry room on the first floor to a combination pantry and home office; we used spaces under the new stairs and created a lot of built in storage and added shelves above the stairs in the new laundry room. We also added a metal trap door in the garage floor to access storage in part of the original crawl space.