In 1930, artist Edgar Miller and real estate developer Sol Kogen transformed a 19th century mansion into a masterpiece. Although quirky, with its small passageways, irregular shaped rooms, and narrow staircases, the building was abundant with ornate tile installations, carved woodwork, painted frescoes and enormous stained-glass windows. The building exchanged hands to a businessman who spent 12 years restoring the place, converting the building into condominiums. He sold all the units but his own, until in 2006, when the condo was bought by a family who had discovered the hidden gem.
KQA was hired to renovate the condo as the oddly shaped rooms and spaces needed to be reconfigured to suit family life. The layout of the floor plan and walls had made the interior feel broken and seamless. The main challenges faced were the necessity of being sympathetic to the nature of the home and to preserve the complex’s fragile embellished surfaces. When completed, the result was a series of intimate, jewel like spaces cohesively strung together.
The home was originally built in 1959 and needed renovations to bring it into the new millennium. Some of the design changes included renovating the master bedroom and bath, using the same four elements that repeat throughout the rest of the house - wood, stone, glass, and chrome.
The design intent was to transform a stone-clad house built in the late 1950's, with its watered-down traditional detailing, into one that examined the bones and reframed the architectural conversation. Stripping off the weak veils of pretense of two, 2-story front and rear porticos and odd vertical ganging of windows, we revealed a classical building within the existing form. Removing two small additions and adding two new ones reinforced the central country house form with its supporting secondary functions of greenhouse and carriage structure.
In the early sixties, William Dunlap, an architect who worked for Ludwig Mies van der Rohe before becoming a partner at SOM, bought and renovated the space. Originally as an Arts and Crafts style apartment, Dunlap redesigned it to embrace the International style.
After being untouched for 40 years, KQA gutted the apartment to create open space for the current owner’s young children. However, during demolition, two steel columns were discovered at opposite ends of the apartment. The awkward column in the living room was resolved by being wrapped with aluminum and surprisingly converted into a functional piece. A low wood shelf attached to the column created an abstract shelf for vases or an end table for drinks.
The minimal vocabulary that had been established by Dunlap was kept as the existing 30 foot-long built in cabinetry was refurbished. The wood was recycled to construct a cabinet that worked as a ceiling high screen between the living and dining rooms. Stainless steel appliances and cabinets with black linoleum fronts and aluminum sides were chosen so as to not compete with the dark oak floors.
The depression-era vacation home received extensive exterior and interior remodeling, along with additions to expand the living space.
The additions didn't drastically change the size of the house, rather, the spaces were redesigned to create more room. The front and back door entries were redesigned to include two mudrooms, providing extra storage areas and a shower in the back of the house for the children. The new setup maximized the home's space, but also limited the amount of sand and water tracked inside.
The kitchen was completely renovated and an exterior wall was bumped out for a breakfast nook. The guest room was converted into a family room with a new screen porch, which provided extra living space and panoramic views of Lake Michigan.
The original low gables of the vacation home created awkward ceiling heights in the bedrooms so new dormers were constructed to prevent the residents from bumping their heads. A spacious sitting room with access to a new roof deck was also included on the second floor of the home.
The house was once known as the Bullock-Folsom Mansion. The residence was designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke, who also designed the gold-domed administration building at Notre Dame University. The house is now listed on The National Register of Historic Places.
Our mission was to preserve and restore the rich architectural history of the house, and at the same time, blend our clients’ program and desires.
The client asked KQA to join her for a pre-purchase viewing of the single-family house that had been gut rehabbed in 2001 but needed further renovations. Two major interior design moves were undertaken to improve the circulation flow from the front to the back of the house.
The front door was originally centered in the middle, where upon entry, the living room was split in half. By relocating the door to the side of the front entrance nook, a foyer area was created, which thus allowed a more elegant arrival sequence.
From the living room into the kitchen, a narrow 3' bridge existed where on one side was the main staircase and on the other was a light well to the lower level. KQA widened the bridge to connect the front and back of the house which resulted in a more open plan and a spacious entry into the kitchen.
In addition to these main moves, KQA also redesigned the facade, kitchen, master bedroom, and limited the number of materials used throughout the home to create a well balanced composition.