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Idea Garden

Arkin Tilt Archtects; Earthtone Construction

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Project Description

The owners of this 100-year-old farmhouse are a doctor and businessman who use it as a retreat, bringing people of all ages together to brainstorm solutions for a variety of social causes. Accordingly, the home has been dubbed Idea Garden.

The Victorian-style house was lackluster and thermally challenged. “The couple only spent time there in perfect weather,” says architect Anni Tilt, who runs Arkin Tilt with her husband, David Arkin. Still, there were charming aspects: high ceilings, double-hung windows, and decorative moldings. “Our challenge was to make it livable, but not mess with it too much,” Tilt says.

The home had undergone unfortunate renovations, so Arkin and Tilt stripped away the bad and built back. The new kitchen is airy and bright, thanks to clerestory windows. The architects left a sense of the original structure by reusing old roof rafters and leaving them exposed over ceiling sheathing that was salvaged from vintage high school bleachers.

The dining room opens to a wraparound porch that connects the plan to the garden and restores character to the façade. Awnings help deflect the summer rays but let the low winter sun in. There’s radiant heating in the floors of the addition. New aluminum clad wood windows throughout the house were installed from the outside, preserving the original Victorian interior trim.

The older portion is covered by fiber cement cladding painted white. The standing seam zincalume roof is ventilated slightly, allowing hot air to escape. For earthy contrast, the addition uses materials such as stained, pressurized cedar and cedar board and batten. The clients now spend time all year round in their renovated farmhouse. And the design? They call it “Zen Fabulous.”
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