Rejuvenation means “To make young again”– a difficult if not impossible task in architecture. However, if we take it to mean to imbue an existing building with new life, to give it new vitality, that task was eminently well-accomplished in a building on the north side of Evanston, on Eastwood Street.
It was done so well, in fact, that the project received a Rehabilitation/Addition award from Design Evanston. The young architects Bill Massey and Dave Hoffman, both AIA, have designed mostly residential projects, not because they would not love to do institutional or education buildings, but because to small firms starting out, residential work is often all that is available in today’s depressed market.
The task in this project was to improve the exterior of this modest, two-story, white-painted-brick residence within affordable price range while adding to and revamping its entire interior. Bill (M. Arch. Yale) and Dave (M. Arch. UIC) added to the original house and rejuvenated the exterior with the result that is a flawlessly functional floor plan and a modern, harmonious exterior.
The second floor contains four bedrooms, two on either side of a bathroom that opens from the hall. The other two bedrooms, considerably larger, have their own compartmentalized bathrooms. All bedrooms have ample walk-in closets.
On the first floor, immediately adjacent to the generous entry hall, are the powder room and the guest closet. On the street side of the living room is a fireplace with seating. The formal dining room is located off the living room next to the generous kitchen-breakfast room that faces the garden currently being designed to include a terrace and a garage.
All the interior walls are painted a pure white to contrast with the dark walnut cabinetry and dark-coated “Prodema” wood flooring. The viewer notices throughout the interior the strong opposition of white and dark. This contrast is a continuation of the exterior, with its whitewashed brick in opposition to its muted red-painted siding.
All the detailing is meticulous both in the exterior and in the interior of the building. For example, the joints of the exterior red panels are precisely lined up with the windows. The dark floor from the kitchen fits accurately between the joints of the exterior siding. I could go on and on. The interior is detailed with the same love and care: The kitchen storage wall, the freestanding separating partition, and the stair to the second floor are all exemplary in their simplicity.
The exterior of the building was completely modernized but fits harmoniously into the neighborhood. In the hands of excellent architects a magic act of transformation took place. I hope this is a work that will be recognized by many future clients.