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One House, Two Transformations




BEFORE.

WHEN IT COMES TO REMODELING, There are two types of people, according to Kelton Osborn and Joseph Montalbano of Studiotrope, a Denver-based architecture and graphic design firm. “There are people who go by the school of thought that additions should look like the old house; others think you should take a radical departure,”

BEFORE.

WHEN IT COMES TO REMODELING, There are two types of people, according to Kelton Osborn and Joseph Montalbano of Studiotrope, a Denver-based architecture and graphic design firm. “There are people who go by the school of thought that additions should look like the old house; others think you should take a radical departure,” Osborn says.

Shown here is a dramatic take on a proposed remodel: the architects popped the top of the original home and created a facade that is dynamic and dramatically different. In order to avoid what they call the “wedding cake effect”—stacking one form on top of another shaped just like it—Osborn and Montalbano broke up the repetitive geometry of the original architecture. “We're not trying to replicate, but instead to create something that works in a more synergistic fashion,” Montalbano says. By using a palette of materials with variety in color and texture, by defining the entryway, and by introducing an upstairs, outdoor deck that redefines the rooftop—this mission is accomplished. “And why not let people stand up on the roof?” Montalbano adds.

AFTER.

The rooftop deck may be fun, but it's also functional: “We really wanted to emphasize the indoor/outdoor connection,” Osborn says. To this end, the top-story, front window pivots open like an awning window—“there's something exciting about having moving mechanisms in architecture,” he says. On the ground level, a site wall stands (and camouflages) where a garage used to be, providing the perfect space for an outdoor patio or courtyard. In the front yard, plantings and walkways draw house and landscape together, thanks to shared geometric patterns.

For the architects' "take two," a transformation that sticks more closely to the footprint and feel of the original architecture, pick up a copy of the August 2009 issue of CH&L.

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