Category Archives: Residential

Dealing With The Urban Design Committee – Kendrick Avenue, Atlanta

The City of Atlanta has many special Historic Districts, each having it’s own set of rules.  This partiular district required the house to fit in with the neighbor hood with out “altering” the look from the street.

Original Home
Original Home

The first issue we found was the aluminum awnings and brick were not original, so we submitted the design below.

First Submission
First Submission

This was quickly rejected as we proposed to redesign the roof to match other simple craftsman homes on the street.  We were also informed that the brick had to stay even though it wan not part of the original design.

Second Submission
Second Submission

Leaving the existing roofs that were visible from the street and the brick, we submitted this second version.  This was again rejected because we wanted to paint the existing brick that absolutely did not fit in anywhere in the neighborhood.

Final Approved Design
Final Approved Design

The above final design was approved.  Of the three that were submitted, this design absolutely does not fit in with the neighbor hood.  This was and aggravating process for both us and the owners as the ordinances required a design that was the exact opposite of the intention.  We have run into similar issues in different historic districts and it always seems to be more of a challenge tan it should be.

Locust Street

It is very satisfying working with a team to renovate dilapidated homes that are also located in a Historic District.  This home is located near The Square in downtown Marietta, Georgia.

Front of House Before Renovation
Front of House Before Renovation
Proposed Rendering
Proposed Rendering
Finished Home
Finished Home

The goal was to keep the original charm of this early 1900’s home and make it functional for modern day life.

We are currently designing a carport for this residence to fit in with the home and surrounding neighborhood.

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

Sylvan Ramble Road Renovation

As the owner of WJM Designs, I personally enjoy working as a team, bringing together people with different expertise to produce incredible results.  This team  included the investor, an interior designer, the builder and WJM  Designs as the overall designer.   The team worked together passing ideas back and forth to give this 1300 square foot, 1950’s ranch home quite the makeover.

Existing Residence
Existing Residence – 1300 Square Feet

The original home was not in bad shape, but it was visually dated with rooms in tightly fit small rectangles that gave it a very closed-in feeling. Continue reading Sylvan Ramble Road Renovation

Garage Designs

Over the years we have provided designs for various types of accessory structures including garages.  A design of a new garage depends on it’s use, intended location and site conditions.

This first garage was unique in its design requirements.  The owners property backed up to an alley resulting in the garage door facing the back of the property.  The homeowner had incredible landscaping and gardens and wanted a garage that did not look like a garage from her kitchen window.

Unique Detached Garage
Unique Detached Garage

 

This particular owners existing 4 car garage was not large enough for all his toys.  There was not enough space adjacent to the home for a garage so this wall built about 40 yards away.  It was designed with 12 foot ceilings so he could install car lifts and the exterior matched the house details.

Detached Garage that matches House Design
Detached Garage that matches House Design

 

The key to designing any addition on an existing home is to ensure it looks as though it was part of the original construction.  This is especially hard with brick which is almost impossible to match.  By using corners or a different material at the point where old meets new, the addition can blend in and  look as it was always meant to be.

Attached Garage
Attached Garage

 

This is a small, quick, functional and economical design for a client who was starting an auto body shop.  With concrete block walls and pre-manufactured roof trusses, construction time was a minimum and resulted in a sturdy, weather resistant building.

Proposed Commercial Garage with Offices
Proposed Commercial Garage with Offices

Charles Allen Drive – Second Story Addition

Second story additions have become rather popular in the last few years especially in the City of Atlanta.  Home owners living in older neighborhoods want to stay but are running out of room for their growing families.  The only option is to go up.

Existing  One Story Home
Existing One Story Home

This existing, 1800 square foot, single story home on Charles Allen Drive is in excellent shape and has a newly remodeled kitchen.  It is currently a 2 bedroom, 2 bath home.

Adding approximately 1500 square feet upstairs, the home will be a 4 bedroom, 4 bath home with a new space for either a nursery or office.  The exterior is unique with prairie style windows and cantilevered decks.  The railings are constructed of aircraft wire.

Adding a new story to a home requires the services of a structural engineer to evaluate the existing foundation and offer design of any new footings.

The exterior of the remodeled home is a dramatic change from the original design.

Proposed Elevation with Second Story Addition
Proposed Elevation with Second Story Addition

CONTRACTOR: Danny Thomas Company

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

 

Outdoor Kitchen Pavilion

This heavy timber-framed pavilion is located in Woodstock, Georgia, at a private residence.   Design started in the fall of 2011 with the owner providing me with minimum design criteria consisting of a 30’X24′ rectangle, a list of kitchen equipment and a photograph of a timber-framed pavilion photo he had found on-line.

Foundation Walls (Spring 2014)
Foundation Walls (Spring 2014)

We settled on a plan with an added cantilever off the back so they could watch their children on the basketball court and enjoy the view.  The structure was to be located on a steep slope at the edge of the pool so the services of both a soils and structural engineer were procured.  Large helical piers were drilled through the slope to support the structure near the pool and a large “H” shape foundation was built to prevent the pool from pushing the new pavilion down hill.

3D Timber Frame Design
3D Timber Frame Design

Originally the heavy timber frame was to be pre-engineered, manufactured in North Carolina and then delivered and assembled on site.  This required designing each member to get the look we were after and involved several iterations of three-dimensional design layouts.  After the contract was awarded, it was determined that a craftsman would build the frame on-site using mortise and tenon connections.

Original Design 2012
Original Design 2012

The owner put the project on hold for a year and a half and construction began last spring and took approximately 8 months.  It includes a large gas grill, side burners, several warming trays, dishwasher, wine cooler, refrigerators and more.

Below are photographs of the finished project.  This is one of those projects that I am very proud of being involved with….

(Click on photos to enlarge)

CONTRACTOR: Heck and Company
(Photography by WJM Photography)

Frank Lloyd Wright

“My prescription for a modern house: first, a good site. Pick one that has features making for character….Then build your house so that you may still look from where you stood upon all that charmed you and lose nothing of what you saw before the house was built, but see more.

Architectural association accentuates the character of the landscape if the architecture is right.”

-Frank Lloyd Wright

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. Continue reading Inside The Man Made Movie House