Custom Homes Archive

Custom Home in the West End Historic district

Designing a custom home is always a challenge. Add in the fact that the lot is in a Historic District and it becomes an exercise in patience.

This home, located on Atwood Street in the West End Historic District of Atlanta took about 6 months from the time we started the design until a permit was obtained.

The investors provided us with some preliminary sketches, a survey of the lot and what their vision for the home was. We spent some time drafting a floor plan based on the requirements of the property and made sure what we were doing conformed to the setbacks, impervious limits and floor/area ratio outlined in the zoning ordinances for that property.

We also visited the neighborhood and documented the homes around this site that the Urban Design Commission (UDC, Historic Commission), considered comparable properties. In order for the Commission to adequately review and ensure the house conformed to the neighborhood, we provided and documented on the drawings for each comparable property, everything from how far the porch and main house was set from the street to the height of the roof and porch from the ground and the percentage of windows on each of the 4 sides. We then produced a 3D model of what we felt best fit in with the surrounding area.

Hillmont Avenue

We recently had the chance to stop by a newly completed custom home designed by WJM Designs.  This project had several challenges including using the existing foundation layout and a 600 square foot first floor addition that had to conform to strict zoning ordinances and a second floor addition.

This project was completed by a team including WJM Designs, Hollow Bone Designs, who did the interiors and staging and also the contractor, Core Group.  It is important to find a team who is able to put egos in check and bounce ideas off each other to provide the owner, an investor in this case, with a cost productive and sell-able product.

The finished home is beautifully appointed and fits in well with the old craftsman neighborhood.

Hillmont Avenue

Our Proposed Rendering and the Final Product

Hillmont Avenue Residence

This new 2600 square foot home posed a unique design challenge.

The existing single story house was in bad disrepair and is set to be demolished.  Inspection of the foundation showed it to be in unbelievably good shape and usable.  The client wanted to add a second story with 3 bedrooms upstairs and the master bedroom on the main floor.  The site conditions were very tight as we were close to the maximum allowable impervious area of 35% which allowed us to add about 150 square feet to the existing footprint.

Designing the home using the predetermined shape required trial and error.  In the end, a smooth flowing plan with large open areas and an over-sized kitchen was produced with an attractive craftsman style elevation that will be visible from both streets.

Proposed Exterior

Proposed Exterior

 

Inside The Man Made Movie House

I recently found some additional pictures of the Man Made Movie House. The utmost fun about working on this projecvt was my phone ringing from the producers who always had questions like “Can we make a pool table disappear into the floor?”  My answers were always, “Of course”.  Now when I said these things could be done, I really did not know how it was going to be accomplished.  These situations made this project not only challenging, but backing up my mantra of anything can be built, it just takes money and knowledge.  The money part was not usually an issue.  Companies provided their products free or at a highly reduced rate to be featured on television.

The disappearing pool table was actually an easy solution and was part of the original design criteria and allowed us to design a “basement” area for the lift.  It looked much more high tech on television but due to costs it was actually simple but not very functional.  An industrial lift was placed in the basement with a rectangular section of flooring attached to its top.  When one wanted to play pool, the floor was lowered, several large men put the table on the lift and back up it went.

Middle Level of the Fire Pole

Middle Level of the Fire Pole

Another call requested the feasibility of fire poles going from the upper deck to the bottom floor.  This became much more difficult of a request than it seemed.  Fire poles generally are not put in fire houses anymore so there was no design data I could find.  Luckily I recalled the City of Marietta, Georgia’s main fire station still had functioning poles.  Several phone calls and we were able to measure the poles and the diameter of the holes needed.  The next issue was dealing with the Cherokee County code officials including the Fire Marshal’s office.  Fire poles are not covered in the building codes so we had to negotiate and come to a mutual agreement to provide as much safety as reasonably.  Technically being a “movie set” we were given some latitude.

Hillmont Avenue – Decatur, Georgia

This Custom Home was designed specifically for a very complicated site for a local builder.  Along with the builders criteria, the footprint had to fit in a very tight area while also adhering to the local zoning for maximum lot coverage and a heated floor ratio.  It took a considerable amount of time to adhere to all these parameters.

The house sold before construction began.

Front Elevation

Front Elevation

 

First Floor Plan

First Floor Plan

 

Second Floor Plan

Second Floor Plan

 

 

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