Italian Contryside Villa – REMY Gold Medal Winner

Every year, we submit several of our best projects to REMY to be evaluated, and we wanted to share with you one of our big winners. This project, a beautiful, Italian inspired outdoor living space, won the Gold Medal for Exterior Remodel of the Year in the Under $100,000 category.  Before we get into the details of the project, we want to extend our congratulations to designer Donna Kirsopp and the team of craftsmen who put together this award-winning project!

The Dream

Rita shared with us her inspiration photo of an exposed timber-framed structure reminiscent of an Italian countryside. The ultimate goal was to  host grandpa’s 90th birthday bash in the newly renovated home. The current home had a large screened in porch under the main roofline. A portion of this screened porch was previously enclosed into a sunroom. On the patio beyond was an existing arbor. With a desire to convert the remainder of the screened porch to interior living space, a new covered entertainment area needed to be created. Additionally, they wanted to have as much glass as possible on the exterior wall of the home to gain light into the center portion of the home, and a view of the new pergola and beyond to the beautiful garden space.

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Before: On the patio was a large existing arbor.

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After: Interior and exterior lighting was designed for a seamless glow combining these two entertaining areas.

 

The existing arbor structure was 25’ x 13’ and 9’ high with a traditional slatted roof. The lower columns and perimeter beams would remain and a new timber framed roof structure was designed from the inspiration photo. As planning and design began, we determined that piers would need to be installed under the current posts to accommodate the increased weight of the new roof. To accomplish this, a temporary support was built to remove the legs and dig and pour the piers. The concrete slab was precision cut to be infilled upon completion, with a brick pattern that would be flush with the existing slab.

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Before: The existing arbor had a traditional slatted roof.

The lumber selected for the project was all smooth, cedar beams which were pre-stained prior to installation and touched up upon completion. The 8” x 10” ridge beam is set into place and a mid-span 8” x 10” cross beam was installed to tie the perimeter structure together. The end and middle horizontal beams have a vertical member and angled members creating three trusses to support the ridge beam. Additional 8” x 10” rafters were set and the remaining rafters are 4” x 4” and blocked up from the perimeter beam. Cross members between the raters, called purlins, tie the structure together and are equal to the depth of the rafters, thus creating interest.

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During: A temporary support was built to remove the legs, and dig and pour new piers to support the increased weight of the new roof.

The 8”x10” ridge beam was set into place and a mid span 8”x10” cross beam was installed to tie the perimeter structure together.

The final layer in preparation for the roofing was the sheathing. We installed 2” x 4” cedar for skip sheathing used to allow the shingles to breathe while providing strips for the shingles to be nailed to. The secret to keeping shake shingle from leaking was the tar paper that is applied between the sheathing and the shingles. Seeing the tar paper was not going to work for the aesthetics of this project, but the customer still wanted to be able to sit under the roofing without rain or snow leaking through.

 

 

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During: A temporary support was built to remove the legs, and dig and pour new piers to support the increased weight of the new roof.

We proposed the use of a machine shake shingle which can be installed in a tighter manner eliminating the leaking potential. These shingles do have a different look though and the Home Owners Association in the area, still requiring hand-split shake shingle, rejected this option. The final outcome was a two layer roof; the machine shake under course, still cedar and visible topped with hand split cedar to match the home. The underside of the shingle will gray out in contrast to the stained members enhancing the look of the woven timber.

After: The entire back wall of the house is filled with stationary glass, 9’ tall windows and a French door to the patio area. Hanging chandeliers and osculating fans provide ambiance and comfort.

After: The entire back wall of the house is filled with stationary glass, 9’ tall windows and a French door to the patio area.
Hanging chandeliers and osculating fans provide ambiance and comfort.

 

During: The end and middle horizontal beams are supported with a vertical member and angled members creating trusses to support the ridge beam. Additional 8”x10” rafters are set and the remaining rafters are 4” x 4” and blocked up from the perimeter.

During: The end and middle horizontal beams are supported with a vertical member and angled members creating trusses to support the ridge beam. Additional 8”x10” rafters are set and the remaining rafters are 4” x 4” and blocked up from the perimeter.

The entire back wall of both the existing sunroom and the screened porch were removed and filled with stationary glass, 9’ tall windows and a French door to the patio area. This wall of glass brings more light into the interior living room space and creates a view to the pergola and gardens beyond. Cedar trim boards on the exterior and wide trim interior accentuate the breadth of the windows.

The space flows seamlessly as you move from interior to exterior.

With this wall of custom-designed windows, although the highest quality, conditioning the space needed to be considered. The concern was not so much heating but cooling the space. The existing system was adequate to handle the square footage, but not when you calculated this amount of glass on a western exposure. A separate system with a separate thermostat was installed in the attic and commercial linear diffusers run continuously along the windows to control the space more comfortably.

A great space is only great if it’s comfortable.

 

After: A two layer roof of cedar is visible from the underside and will ultimately gray in contrast to the stained members, enhancing the look of the woven timber.

After: A two layer roof of cedar is visible from the underside and will ultimately gray in contrast to the stained members, enhancing the look of the woven timber.

Interior and exterior lighting was designed for a seamless glow combining the spaces. The interior finishes were completed, including extending the hardwood flooring and seamlessly matching wall trim and paint. Two hanging chandelier fixtures and two osculating wall mount fan units were installed for ambiance and comfort on a summer evening. Brick was installed in a decorative pattern to infill the cut patio slab at the existing arbor legs. A new brick stoop was built to the height of the French doors adjoining the existing sidewalk and patio area. Half round copper gutters were strapped to the roofing to maintain the open look of the beam structure and will ultimately patina to a warm.

 

After: The wall of glass brings more light into the interior living space and offers a view of the pergola and gardens beyond.

After: The wall of glass brings more light into the interior living space and offers a view of the pergola and gardens beyond.

Rita wanted the project completed for Grandpa’s 90th birthday party which would include a large extended family. Daily communication with our lead carpenter and weekly meetings between the project manager, the designer and the clients answered all questions, determined the best course of action for proceeding and addressed the upcoming schedule. A long relationship with vendors and sub-contractors establishes the respect and team approach to starting and completing the project as promised, resulting in happy clients and a beautiful home. The space flowed seamlessly for all guests moving from interior to exterior, celebrating the big event.

You may remember we covered this project earlier on our blog with our week-by-week series, click here to see just how this amazing, award-winning project came together.

Donna Kirsopp, CKBA  has been with the SDR team since 1999 and in the industry since 1982. Donna has been recognized by NARI and KCH&G as an award winning designer for 15 consecutive years. “ I am so fortunate to get up every morning loving  what I do.” Donna, a native of Pittsburgh PA, has one grown daughter. “ In my spare time you can find me in my garden or on the golf course.”