Vassar Drive addition and renovation, Boulder, Colorado

These are photos of a project we recently completed in south Boulder.  The project consisted of a second-story addition and main level renovation, including a completely re-designed kitchen, dining room and entry.

The renovated main level has become a series of open spaces – Living Room, Dining Room, Entry, Kitchen – each delineated by a subtle series of screens, soffits and flooring materials changes.

The new second story addition is a master suite and office and is open, loft-like, to the main level.  The project repositions the relationships of public and private spaces for a family with teenagers about to leave for college and the shifting occupation of the house.

The new kitchen is a stark contrast to the former one and is open both to the kid’s bedroom hall and the Dining Room.  When the house is inhabited by just the soon-to-be empty-nesters, the Kitchen is the end of the continuous space that spans from Master Bedroom to Office down to the main level.

The new stair from the main level to the second story has open risers and steel stringers and rails to accentuate is presence as an encountered object in the space, not a barrier between rooms.

Architecture and interior design by M. Gerwing Architects

Construction by Cottonwood Custom Builders, Jeff Hindman, Owner; Nick Fiore, Project Supervisor.

Cabinetry by Laak Woodworks, steel stair by Quality Metals

split (level) decision

Most architects wisely run far away from the dreaded split-level project. Beyond being incredibly poorly constructed, these houses pose a series of really difficult design challenges, most notably the uncomfortable near-symmetry and the neither up-nor-down entry cutting between the two wedding cake stacks of the house.

My neighborhood is full of these houses. And increasingly full of really poor additions and renovations attempting to avoid or overcome the house’s basic morphology. So, in my first encounter with this kind of a project we have developed the following:

The addition to the south moves the kitchen from the west side of the house to the east and creates an outdoor, covered area in the southwest corner.  Below this addition, a much-needed carport is dug down a few feet to shelter the cars.  Most dramatically, the house’s east face is covered in a series of slightly sloped fixed wood louvers.  As the existing house faces the end of a long street, these louvers create a filtered privacy from views and headlights and provide solar shading for new and existing east-facing windows.

This solution of the split-level problem attempts to take advantage of what may be the largest problem of the existing house – the floating nature of the main volume of the house.  By changing materials and extending this floating box, the house is simplified into a single louvered wood box.  The split-level is then concentrated to become one clean, simple volume instead of its odd, existing appearance of up and down, divided left and right.

Boulder renovation

We have just completed a partial renovation of a 1970’s modernist house in Boulder.  Originally designed by Jeffrey Abrams, the house had suffered from a few ill-conceived renovations and the simple passage of time.

Much of our work concerned demolishing a series of interior walls to create a larger, brighter kitchen that captures views of the Boulder flatirons through a series of new curving glass windows surrounding a built-in breakfast bench.

The kitchen is divided into distinct cooking and cleaning spaces, with the countertop materials, tile and cabinetry colors changing for each area.

Many thanks to very engaged and energetic clients and all the folks at Blue Spruce Construction.

cabinets by Kerf Design and Foothill Joinery,  Silestone and stainless steel counterops, Hakatai glass tile

design by M. Gerwing Architects, Mark Gerwing, AIA, principal

new photos of Hurricane Hill house

I recently took some new photos of a project we finished a few years ago, a major renovation of a house on Hurricane Hill in Nederland, Colorado

designed with my friend Jim Walker

built by Cottonwood Custom Builders

green dyed ash cabinets by Wedgewood, purple/black concrete countertops by Fisher Concrete (including acid-etched grasses motif)

Spruce Court condominium design and architecture, Boulder

Construction is coming along on a interior renovation of a 1970’s condo in west Boulder.  The existing building was a warren of small spaces with little light or order.  By reconfiguring the stair to run along the space of an existing skylight shaft, the new design bring light into the center of the project and defines the spaces as a referent to that stair.  The rhythm of new openings and light patterns along this stair modulates the rooms throughout the day almost like a giant internal sundial.

Walnut Street historic house renovation, Boulder


This is a photo of very interesting 1890s house in Boulder, Colorado. I have been asked to do a redesign and renovation of this house and its property. The wrap-around porch and porte-cochere are really nice and I feel are absolutely essential. The renovation is going to consist of inserting a more modern interior and letting that interior sneak out a bit to begin a historic/modern dialogue in a more explicit way.

Photo by Mark Gerwing, 2007.

Weinstein Residence, pre-war apartment design


This is a composite photo of the recently completed Weinstein Residence on West 81st in New York. We really started from scratch on this design, a complete gut renovation. Located in a historic, pre-war apartment building, the intention here was to allude back to this history while making a new home for a busy professional couple.

As an architect now based in Boulder, Colorado, it is always interesting for me to design projects in New York and Chicago, places that greatly influenced my graduate school eduation (Yale) and early professional experience (Chicago). I am particularly interested in historic renovations where we restore or retain the historic character of a space and introduce a modern idiom to begin a dialogue between new and old.

Photos by Caroline and Drew Weinstein, 2007.