A Convergence of Opportunity

At Childress and Cunningham we have been presented with many intriguing challenges over the years, and this home renovation proved to be a unique opportunity.

Our client looked to us for guidance as they embarked on this journey of adaptive reuse, converting a former laundromat into a comfortable residence.  The building was upgraded for a change of use per building code requirements, including for energy efficiency with structurally insulated panels added above the existing roof. This made possible a vaulted ceiling, with the original timber truss structure to be left open to the living space below.

Our experience with residential design helps to make design decisions that maximize the livability within the existing home’s volume.

At first glance, this site is simple, small, and flat.  It’s no bigger than the building itself, so horizontal expansion is impossible, and views must be controlled for privacy and access to daylight. The street elevation has access to the largest view outward and the most fresh air and daylight. The rear and one side elevation are windowless as they meet adjoining lot lines. The final side of the structure faces an alley, allowing for daylight access and a “back door” alcove, but little else.

Using the constraints to our client’s advantage, Childress and Cunningham created an efficient and cozy home. The open main living space logically indulges in the best views this site offers, taking up most of the front elevation. A large kitchen is at the home’s core, with uninterrupted views across this living area to the street.  The open plan takes advantage of good weather with a retractable overhead rolling window at the Great Room. The home’s two bedrooms and mud room/laundry are arranged along the alley side allowing natural light for the master bedroom, a street facing window for the secondary bedroom and a service door for the mud room.

No new openings were cut into the remaining two facades as they back up against neighboring structures. One of these sides became the hearth wall for the main living area and the location for an entry closet. The other side is given over to the en-suite for the master bedroom, providing a large bathroom and walk-in closet.

A lack of insulation in the original commercial building envelope was addressed by adding furring inside the masonry walls, as well as by topping the roof with new Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s).  The SIP’s also solved structural challenges without a need to replace the existing site-built timber trusses.

This project is a case study in how much can be accomplished in a constrained and unusual context. If you have an unique situation for your project, let Childress and Cunningham show you what’s possible!