Deja View: The Before & After

Deja View: The Before & After

Renovations always amaze people including myself especially when looking back and asking, “How did we get this amazing result?” Here are some insights of our before and after from my perspective as the designer.

When designing a renovation and remodel it is clear to see the existing pattern of use and where the current design functions and doesn’t function based on the client’s needs. Those issues are very easy to address. Like the laundry is too small so we make it bigger. But there is a different set of issues that are often harder to read. They have to do with the feeling of a space, it’s scale and quality of experience.

More often than not, my first idea or big move is the most impactful and relevant as it addresses and looks to improve the feeling, scale and experience. My career and experience have taught me to listen to my design instincts and focus on the impact that it will have.

Déjà view is a perfect example of such a project. When I first saw the space, I initially said, if they left things as they were for another decade perhaps it would be considered suburban historic design or who knows it could be all the rage again.

But all fun and jokes aside, two things stuck out in my mind, 1) why do we have all this celling space (two-stories) at the entrance, and 2) there is a tremendously underutilized view at the rear.

Those two lines just kept insisting upon me and I finely yielded at the temptation to make a significant, but necessary layout modification. So, like ripping a Band-Aid off, I suggested they close the opening over the dynasty stairs. At the front will allow us to use the smallest bedroom up trains as the new stairwell and to open the floor at the rear over the eating area will bring a family focus taking advantage of the view. These three simple moves reinvented this home without touching the building envelop or building size.

Blackburn designed by FrankFranco Architects

Yes that is the same house and yes we still need to update the outside…

It is fortunate to have clients that can see the same visions you have and trust you to follow your instinct and experience. It is always fun to look in the rear-view mirror and reflect on what we did and how well it came together, but it is important to remember that journey and observe while you are in the thick of it. The final result will be that much sweeter once you get there.

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