A glass box?

... I often describe to clients that I could live in a glass and concrete box.

When a new residential client contacts me - whether it be for a modest home renovation or a large new construction project - keywords like modern and contemporary are thrown around.  As a designer with roots in mid-century modern architecture my interpretation of modern is not necessarily new - so I'm typically referring to the modern architectural movement from the 1940's and 1950's.  These structures are often quite small, with a minimal material palette, very clear functions and massing, expansive window walls and with practically zero ornamentation.  They are truly works of art.

In reality though they tend to forget - or dismiss - a key element.... comfort.  I'm exaggerating when I refer to the glass box.  I want to come home to a warm and welcoming house.  A place with an emphasis on family, comfort, efficiency and always a direct connection to the surrounding environment.  Expansive glass, warm (but crisply detailed) wood finishes, open floor systems and seamless, efficient mechanics are all important.

The fun part about contemporary design is taking cues from the styles we admire and adapting them to work with the environment around us.  I live in a city with a rich residential architectural history - Richmond, VA.  Richmond is fortunate to have a massive stock of quality old homes - many of which are turning 100 this decade.  For those of you out there who own a piece of history that is in need or repair keep in mind some of the most dynamic homes are created by marrying multiples styles and periods of architecture together.  This requires a great sensitivity.  Maintaining similar shapes and forms, preserving elements that simply need a good scrub, and adding elements that take advantage of today's amazing technologies can create structures designed to provide vibrant places to live for generations to come.

...more to come!  J.