Archive for the 'Green Bottle Projects' Category

1133 therapy

Zee end…

Yep, they do houses too… and we’re thrilled to be the Top Tour on Apartment Therapy! Go on, take the tour. (Hopefully, the ample slideshow will more than compensate for our severe dereliction of blog duty.)

Many thanks to Will and Matthew at Green Bottle Workshop and Beth Lundell Garver at Apartment Therapy.

Also, be sure to check out Matthew & Mikel’s DIY Water+Works Remodel (aka. Green Bottle HQ) which was featured on Apartment Therapy in January… and the recently updated Green Bottle Workshop site.

[Update—March 22: Also in the spotlight, 1133’s colorful kitchen on Apartment Therapy sister site The Kitchn. Have a butchers after the jump.]


Extra! Extra!

Metropolis - Jul/Aug 09 | Thicket - Sept/Oct 09 | Dwell - Oct 09

Metropolis - Jul/Aug 09 | Thicket - Sept/Oct 09 | Dwell - Oct 09

Too quiet here… on the blog. In real life, not so much. It’s been insanely busy at 1133 since our move-in last May. Rest assured, more content to come.

In the meantime, some late summer reading…

Auburn’s Rural Studio graces the cover of the July/August issue of Metropolis (take that Tavern on the Green!) with a feature by Suzanne LaBarre on the program eight years post-Sambo (that is, after the death of co-founder Samuel Mockbee in 2001). Be sure to pick up a hard copy to learn more about this important program… and to marvel at 1133 design-builders Will Brothers and Matthew Finley’s magnificent thesis project—the Newbern Firehouse—which gets a full spread (with photos by Timothy Hursley). Kudos Green Bottle gang!

And our own 1133 gets some ink in the September/October issue of Thicket as part of the “Homes We Love” section in the Home Idea Guide (with photos by Jason Wallis). Read all about it (and watch a little video starring Liane, Will & Matthew) after the jump.

[Update—September 15: See also the latest issue of Dwell (October 2009) for a story on Rural Studio’s $20,000 House… thanks Messr. Lambert!]

Rural Studio Tour: fire!

Newbern Volunteer Fire Department Station and City Hall.

Newbern Volunteer Fire Department Station and City Hall.

The Newbern Volunteer Fire Department Station and Town Hall holds the distinction of being the first new public building to be erected in Newbern since 1895. It’s also notable for being the Rural Studio thesis project of Will Brothers and Matthew Finley (in collaboration with with Elizabeth Ellington and Leia Price), co-founders of Green Bottle Workshop and architect/builders of our 1133.

Located directly across the street (AL-61) from the Red Barn, Newbern Post Office, and G.B.’s Mercantile, the 4,000 square foot structure houses three fire trucks and serves Newbernians as a town hall—a place to hold elections, council meetings, fire-fighting classes, and other community gatherings.

The sign.

The sign.

The station is supported by a wood and metal truss structure, and, on one side of the building, enclosed by translucent polycarbonate panels that are protected from the sun by cedar slats.

Polycarbonate panels.

Polycarbonate panels.

Cedar, polycarbonate and galv-alum.

Cedar, polycarbonate and galv-alum.

Cedar slats (detail).

Cedar slats (detail).

Can't fight the cedar!

Can't fight the cedar!

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to access the inside of the station during our visit (we shall return!), but we’ve been assured by Will and Matthew that there’s a mezzanine level for fire fighting classes, and, at the ground floor a bathroom and kitchen.

SSteps to the interior mezzanine level.

Steps to the interior mezzanine level.

On the side of the station opposite the cedar and polycarbonate, a long wall of galv-alum extends up and wraps over to form the roof of the station, resulting in an old-southern-barn-cum-shed aesthetic with a decidedly modernist bent.

Galv-alum wall.

Galv-alum wall.

Front overhang and wall (the flip-side of the galv-alum wall).

Front overhang and wall (the flip-side of the galv-alum).

For more on the Newbern Volunteer Fire Station, and to get a glimpse of the Rural Studio students in action during it’s design and construction, you can go here.

1133 | Rural Studio
Outside the Red Barn

Water Works

Diamond in the rough. ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Diamond in the rough. ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Earlier this year, back when Liane and I were in the midst of our seemingly endless search for land or house, our dear friend (and RealtySouth realtor) Jonathan Thompson showed us a property in Vestavia that he was positively sure we’d find to be the end-all, be-all.

The building—an old, disused water filtration station for Birmingham Water Works—was certainly intriguing… no doubt about it. With a long, flat front elevation, and sturdy bones (mighty, mighty brick), it offered ample amounts of space, tall ceilings, and the prospect of living in one of our choice areas. In short, just about everything we were looking for.

But… we were, well, daunted.

I mean, who wouldn’t be just a tad intimidated by a building where one of the largest open spaces was home to two massively ginourmous, not-going-anywhere-without-a-fight steel filtration tanks?

Tanks, a lot! ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Tanks, a lot! ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Much to the chagrin of Mr. Thompson (sorry Jonathan!)—we decided to pass. Of course, we could see the potential. We just weren’t quite sure we had the where-with-all, grit, endurance, or fortitude to make it happen. But the Green Bottle gang? That, along with mucho talent and vision, they got in spades.

And so it was, just after we’d learned of the fortuitous price drop on the lot at 1133, that we received a call from Will at Green Bottle. He and co-captain Matthew had found something “potentially interesting”: an old utility building used for water filtration.

So there we were, reconsidering the possibility that maybe, just maybe this was the place. Or was it 1133 that we wanted?

We discussed with Green Bottle the pros and cons of new construction at 1133 versus a renovation of the Water Works, considering factors such as budget, the stipulations involved in our financing (we might have to live at the Water Works for a time during construction!), and, of course, the end aesthetic.

The Water Works re-do would lend itself more to an open floor plan with lots of exposed brick and industrial touches. We imagined a space not unlike some of the old warehouse loft conversions we had come to know (and enjoy) while living and working in Boston. What 1133 would look like, though, was completely up for grabs—limited only by our budget and the collective imagination of the Green Bottle gang.

We went with 1133… or haven’t you been paying attention? And the Water Works? Well, Green Bottle would still have their day with it. For while we were hemming and hawing and weighing and pondering (sorry Lou!), Matthew, and his lovely wife Mikel, came to fall in love with the diamond in the rough in Vestavia that scared us away.

It’s now the newest Green Bottle masterwork-in-progress… and well on its way to being M+Ms own first/last/dream home.

They’ve started a blog about it (like to hear it, here it go)… and here’s where the Water Works story continues…

Turning on the water works. ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

Turning on the water works. ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

We Heart Manhattan

I'll take Manhattan…

I'll take Manhattan… Photo ©2008 Green Bottle Workshop LLC

The house that got the ball rolling on 1133 Shades Crest is back on the market: Green Bottle Workshop’s Manhattan House (MLS #402489).

Will and Matthew’s first project at 1629 Manhattan Street in the heart of Homewood, is a renovated 1930s bungalow, reconfigured with an open floor plan to make the most of its limited square footage (common to houses of the period). It features large sliding panels and floor to ceiling openings—maximizing transparency without sacrificing privacy—and exterior spaces located on the North, South, East and West facing facades that allow for multiple experiences, while encouraging cross-ventilation.

Striking a perfect balance of contemporary and traditional, the Manhattan House has already been featured in the August 2008 issue of Birmingham Magazine; and, is due for more props in the February 2009 issue of Southern Living.

Oh, and the Green Bottle Workshop site has been revamped and relaunched. Have a look!

[Update: November 4, 2008. Manhattan SOLD! Help Will and Gia find a new place… in less than 3 weeks!]

Up to speed

Will Brothers and Matthew Finley of Green Bottle Workshop.

Will Brothers and Matthew Finley of Green Bottle Workshop.

Ladies and gentlemen, heeeeeeeeere’s the timeline! Or should we say, the T.M.I.-line. If you can get through it, you just may feel you’ve lived through it too. Enjoy!

July – Roy first learns of the Rural Studio—Auburn University’s Design/Build program founded by D.K. Ruth and Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee) while at Lewis Communications in Birmingham during an “off-the-beaten-path” tour of Alabama for the Bureau of Tourism; Roy moves to New York to work for Razorfish

October – Roy moves to Boston to work for Stoltze Design

October – Roy attends lecture by Eames Demetrios (grandson of Charles and Ray Eames) at the AIGA Conference in Vancouver; Demetrios shows part of his 2002 film on the Rural Studio: Lucy’s House

October 31 – Liane joins Roy in Boston (finally!) and works at Selbert Perkins Design in Arlington, MA

October 1 – Roy and Liane are married

February – Move back to Birmingham, AL

May 14 – Begin house-hunting (for kicks), primarily in Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Cahaba Heights, Hoover, Bluff Park, Crestwood, Forest Park

mid-July – See “Form and Function” episode of Dwell on Fine Living channel featuring KRDB’s “affordable modern” Cedar Avenue Houses in Austin, Texas

July 22 – Roy begins a series of emails with Chris Krager at KRDB to inquire about purchasing plans for the 1406 Cedar Avenue house

September 6 – Find 900-square foot house on 1.25 acre lot on Holly Road in Hoover; look into purchasing/demolishing for building Cedar Avenue house

September 11 – Begin house-hunting (in earnest) begins with RealtySouth agent (and dear friend) Jonathan Thompson; among the listings are Pullman Flats on 1st Avenue designed by Krumdieck A+1 Design Inc.

September 17 – Find neighborhood in Vestavia with a number of mid-century houses (on/around Great Rock Road—specifically 2201), none of which are for sale; start letter-writing campaign to owners

September 27 – Contacted by Jonathan about a listing that “he knows we will love;” the newly renovated 1920s cottage at 1629 Manhattan Street in Homewood is well out of our price range, but we decide to go see it anyway… and are smitten; learn that the sellers of 1629 Manhattan are also its renovators—Green Bottle Workshop, a design/build partnership of Auburn University/Rural Studio graduates Will Brothers and Matthew Finley

October – Find 1.25-acre lot (for-sale-by-owner) at 1133 Shades Crest Road in Bluff Park; contact owner David Adderhold to find out lot is exactly 100K outside our budget

November – More trips to the still-listed 1629 Manhattan Street house and subsequent number crunching to determine that house is solidly outside our budget

December 4 – Begin corresponding with Matthew at Green Bottle to offer our praises and to inquire about the feasibility of employing them for a renovation or design/build project within our budget

mid-December – While looking at a foreclosure on Pioneer Lane in Bluff Park, find lot for sale on Linda Avenue

January 1 – Meet with Green Bottle for the first time (over Gia’s Rice Krispies Treats®) at the Manhattan House; determine that budget is not outside the realm of possibility

January 3 – Decide to put in an offer on Linda Avenue lot, only to find it off the market

January 8 – Now focusing search on Bluff Park and Crestwood, ask Green Bottle to offer opinions on Pioneer Circle house, as well as lots on Pine Lane and Ashland Drive

January 15 – Will and Matthew look at lot on 8th Terrace in Crestwood

January 17 – Find 2-acre lot on bluff side of (lesser) Shades Crest Road; Green Bottle evaluates site for building

January 23 – Meet with Will to further discuss building on bluff side lot; review site-specific concept sketches of “our” house and discuss design fees; before making an offer, Will and Matt will do some research to determine the engineering costs

February 7 – Receive good faith estimate from Sammy Noto at New South Federal Savings Bank on financing construction costs and purchase of lot

February 8 – Abandon bluff side lot after it is determined that engineering site preparation costs would be excessive

mid-February – Find for-sale-by-owner listing on cul-de-sac lot on Pioneer Lane; flyer indicates that seller is willing to sub-divide

February 22 – Seller of Pioneer Lane lot property accepts verbal offer; indicates lot cannot be officially subdivided until April 14

early March – Informed by Jonathan that seller of Pioneer Lane lot property has accepted a higher offer; Jonathan shows us a potential renovation property on Rosemary Lane in Vestavia—a former walter filtration station owned by the city of Birmingham

March 15 – Look at listing (a house) on Shades Crest Road (1044); make same-day offer

March 16 – Offer on 1044 Shades Crest Road house graciously declined; during a drive that afternoon to look at 1044, notice that lot at 1133 Shades Crest is still for sale (5 months after our initial inquiry); contact seller, David Adderhold, and find that the asking price is now much closer to our budget

March 17 – Meet with Will and Matthew for lunch at Jackson’s in downtown Homewood to discuss 1133 Shades Crest lot

March 18 – Will and Matthew give their seal of approval on the 1133 Shades Crest lot; contact David Adderhold to accept his offer

March 18 – Meet with David Adderhold at his home near Mt. Laurel to write up a draft contract for the property on 1133 Shades Crest

March 26 – The contract on 1133 is signed!

March 28 – Meet with Will and Matthew to sign contracts/formalize commission/pay first design fee…design begins!

April 14 – Lot is surveyed (111′ x 200′)

April 22 – Meet with Will and Matthew at Manhattan House to look at first round of design—this includes rough models, various floor plan scenarios and 5 elevation drawings (4 single-level options and 1 multi-level option);learn from David Adderhold that adjoining neighbors have a deed to 10′ of lot on the right side (as well, a chain link fence is erected)

April 24 – Meet with Will and Matthew over lunch at Village Tavern; decide to proceed with multi-level plan; pay of second design fee

April 29 – Meet with Will and Matthew at Manhattan House to view second round of design

May 2 – Lot is re-surveyed (101′ x 200′)

May 8 – Sign loan application with New South Federal

May 12 – Meet with Will to view third round of design

May 14 – Signed revised loan application with New South Federal

May 18 – Meet with Will and Matthew to view final round of design; 2 options are presented that vary in the square footage of the main living area and the orientation of the staircase; option B is chosen (2,137 square feet)

May 21 – Receive final plans from Green Bottle/pay final design fee; deliver plans to Sammy at New South for appraisal

May 27 – Receive appraisal from New South—plans appraise for 24K less than project cost (design + construction + land); discuss obtaining a second appraisal with Will at Green Bottle and Sammy at New South

June 2 – Retain the services of Terri Ferguson at Gill Johnson Appraisal for second appraisal (Terri had done the appraisal for the Manhattan Street house); appraisal comes higher, but still 11K less than project cost (we will have to pay the difference to secure financing)

June 20 – Closing day…we’re landowners!

July 9 – Groundbreaking at 1133…construction begins!

week of July 14 – Pine tree comes down, shed demolished (“You’ll be sorry.” – Roy Burns Jr.); footings poured; first blog post

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