Farmhouse Renovation and New Addition
Architectural and Interior Design and Project Management
Radiant heat and AC
Floors: Limestone, Marble, Granite, Character Oak, and Cali Bamboo
Simpson entry door with stained glass insert
Caesar Stone counters
Custom closet interiors
Standing seam porch roof
s Architectural Designer, I worked for over two years bringing this beautiful home to fruition. It began as a quaint, tired little farmhouse on a double lot on the outskirts of Old Town Lafayette. Although not technically in the historic district, the building had ties to the Waneka family history and was loved for its innate charm.
As the permitting process moved forward, I met with a city planner to discuss the “spirit” of the plan, all parties agreed to restore the existing farmhouse and seamlessly connect it to the desired additions.
View multiple slide shows below.
Restoring the original Farmhouse
Due to foundation issues and structural conditions, we were not able to keep much of the existing building; rather, we kept some of the bones and rebuilt the size and scale to the original dimensions. This involved pouring new concrete, under and against the inadequate original foundation – as well as installing a new level, true, first floor and loft within the shell.
The excavation and framing for the expansions were extensive.
The owners wanted a full basement, so the hole needed to support this was deep and wide. At least ten dump truck loads of fill needed to be removed from the site, and a large pile kept close by for backfill and grading. Luckily, the soils offered good support and percolation with none of the difficult and unstable ground (expansive soils) that is found around the County; luckily, there were no coal mines underneath it either.
On the rear of the addition, we were digging with great care, perilously close to a large 32” diameter Linden tree whose root structure would be cut back to accommodate the foundation.
Spacious and Comfortable
The Living, Dining, and Powder Room are in the renovated original farmhouse, while the Kitchen, Study, and Master Suite are in the new addition. In keeping with our vow to maintain character with the original building, I matched the horizontal siding to the farmhouse profile, specified windows to match (almost), and designed a grand front wraparound porch to integrate the “old” and the “new”.
A second floor provides a combination private office/yoga studio. The warm yellow color and bamboo floor are intimate and inviting.
The full basement contains a second bedroom and full bath plus a large multipurpose space, utility room, and deep storage. There is an outside door to a stairwell and three large scapewell-egress windows providing natural light and fresh air.
It was decided early on that these structures would be heated with a radiant floor system. Radiant heat produces a very comfortable home environment, and it is very efficient as well. Each of the eight zones can be individually set and controlled to create a tailored environment. The gas-fired condensing boiler also supplies on-demand domestic hot water.
The house has conventional ducting for air conditioning and a solar array to offset electrical costs and provide back up emergency power. Almost all of the interior and exterior lighting is LED, also very efficient. The plumbing fixtures, with the exception of the high flow needs of Kitchen faucets and tub fillers, meet the water sense code compliance standards.
All in all, this traditional-looking home is quite contemporary and forward-thinking.
NOTE: In my design modeling, fresh air and good circulation are paramount in a healthy home environment. Oxygen, and subtle energies flow in with the new air, and toxic energies and chemicals flow out. Every window can be opened for abundant cross ventilation throughout.
The Five Elements are the basic patterning system for how natural energies are grounded in balanced design.
Wood: Flooring, trimwork, cabinetry, framing
Fire: Gas hearth, stove, heating system
Metal: Hardware, appliances, bath fixtures
Water: Steam unit, water systems, rain on the roof
Earth: The building sits in the ground
The first piece of the design concept arrived as the exterior window and door cladding color Bascome Blue. I now see this as a shade of Colorado sky, with the standing seam porch roof also blue to support the choice. There is also some blue in the roof shingles and house body color. The whole palette is happy, harmonious, and traditional.
The next pieces to arrive were the rich, dark, warm engineered floor choices which were laid throughout the entire first floor (not including Kitchen and bath). Earthy and textural.
The Kitchen floor and countertops came next – gorgeous tiles of limestone 24×24 tiles. There is no substitute for natural elements to hold and resonate energy.
A project of this size is the product of consistent, ongoing choice of details. This includes the final appearance of all surfaces and fixtures, both interior and exterior. The coordination and timing for the arrival of these choices is often determined by need.
- Final detail and ordering of windows and exterior doors at the commencement of the framing phase. There needs to be a secure and weathertight location for delivery.
- Selection and ordering of the plumbing fixtures to coincide with the rough phase so the plumbing contractor knows how to set drains and water piping.
- The wood flooring needs to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the space for a week or so after the drywall is complete and a clean, dry environment is available. This is a general rule of thumb that varies with the product chosen.
- Design details such as interior doors and molding, tile, hardware and cabinetry are ongoing. These discussions often require the coordination of client, builder, and carpenters, so getting on with these decisions earlier, rather than later, is imperative.
- Exterior details require concept drawings, detail sketches, and material choice. The local climate here in Colorado mandates many man-made products with careful attention to seasonal expansion and contraction. Getting the exterior look right is often a day-to-day process of guiding the carpenter’s skill to the correct result.
- Lighting fixtures (except recessed) are often selected and installed at the end of the project – but they need to be chosen much earlier to insure proper structural support in the framing phase. It is always a good idea to have the electrician “see” the actual fixture to avoid confusion at the point of installation.
Honoring the mindful order of essential steps supports the integrity of the construction, and raises the vibration! Good design and execution are paramount. Thanks to all the people who worked to bring this old house back to life again. Best wishes to the owners.
– Namaste, Nicholas
Photos by Jesse Borrell Visuals and Nicholas Borrell