Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our Latest Project: "The Overlook at Knox Hill"

Called the "Overlook at Knox Hill" This restyle home will result in higher end housing coming to the east end of the neighborhood.
The Western Hills Viaduct is the 'gateway' to the west side and thousands travel it everyday. As you cross it you can see the lower end of the Knox Hill neighborhood, however there isn't much to see. Thanks to misguided city policies much of the eastern end of Knox is empty as dozens of homes were demoed. As you look out towards the hill, you may have said to yourself  "I bet those houses have great view of the city". The fact is , they do. In fact that area has "million dollar views" of the viaduct and the city beyond.

Most of this area is highly endangered. In fact the large home on the upper left has been bulldozed since this photo was taken. Without intervention this entire area could be lost.
The area has unfortunately suffered due to "land hoarding" by individuals who have no real plan,  the ability, or the money, to develop, as well as ownership of  several homes and no desire to repair them. This has been a great source of frustration to the Knox Hill Neighborhood Association as the eastern end of Knox could be a "positive billboard" for the neighborhood. The intersection of Knox and Waveland has the ONLY concentration of housing. in the area and almost all of it is endangered without some intervention. there are almost 25 buildable lots, all with stellar views in the immediate area.

That 'lock' on the lower end of the neighborhood has now been broken and we are pleased to announce we have acquired a  house on the lower end of Knox. The home is a remuddled structure with little historic fabric. With the two car garage  that was added in front it has little if any character. What it does have is a commanding view of the viaduct and the city. At night especially when the city is a glow it truly is a million dollar view. However when it was built 'views' were not important and the house does not take advantage of those million dollar views. This is one case where restoration would mean essentially 'recreation' and the fiscal viability is not there nor would the restoration of this particular house greatly enhance values or spur new construction.

So the plan is to 'go big' ! To do something that will have an ultimate 'wow factor' and demonstrate the viability of those one-of-a-kind views. It also represents a break from our normal Victorian restoration work. We often collaborate on infill projects, often in architectural concept and interaction with historic structures as to mass, scale and materials. In this case the historic components are gone and this is a 'clean slate' project. While this is urbanist project, it will be a quality project  that will integrate the best of contemporary space with  a counter balance of fit and finish normally missing from the normal 'cold' contemporary  voluminous spaces normally seen. This will be a very upscale interior that will be warm and inviting and make best advantage of the view and exterior spaces.
The east elevation will be opened up to take in the views and a new top floor will open up the view to its greatest potential with a rooftop deck
We are still in the preliminary design stages but some features will include new carriage door for the two car attached garage. The lower level  will include family room/bar and a home theater. The main floor will include a living room , and dining room with open space  gourmet kitchen. The second floor will house two master suites with their own master baths. The new third level will feature a space that may be configured as a master bedroom or a gathering room (that decision has not been finalized) off it will be a downtown facing balcony and above that level will be a rooftop deck with what may be the best view from the west side. In addition to a new staircase, the home will feature a home elevator that will take one effortlessly to any of the four levels. Perfect for  baby boomer who may not want to deal with stairs as they get older.

The exterior of the home will have the old vinyl removed and be re-sided in Hardi siding for low maintenance. The rear yard will be extensively decked and landscaped. There will be a new rooftop deck over the garage as well. The project is expected to begin later this summer,once plans are approved and permits pulled. The  target date for completion will be late Spring/Summer 2013. Final price has not yet been determined and could be subject to change if a buyer comes along who would want additional custom work. The home will feature slightly over 2700 square feet of finished interior space and over 950 square feet of decks balconies and outdoor entertainment areas

At the same time Knox Hill Neighborhood Association is planning a general cleanup of the lower end of the neighborhood and will be advocating for greater code enforcement and police presence . KHNA will use a variety of tools , including receivership, to shake loose more properties and be sure historic assets are preserved. As part of the homes elaborate security system, exterior static IP cameras will scan the neighborhood, will go to a special passworded site and allow law enforcement to regularly scan the neighborhood which should reduce illegal activities This project will represent real change for the lower end of the neighborhood. AND there is more to come, stay tuned!


Karen Anne said...

Maybe I spend too much time looking at Victorians, but my reaction when looking at the rooftop deck was, someone has lopped off the top of the house.

Is an exposed rooftop deck comfortable? I would think the exposure to the wind and sun would be a problem.

Paul Wilham said...

Well the flat part is a new addition. Basically you use a light reflective EPDM material and that is then covered by the decking material. The hilltops have a nice breeze, The real great thing about these are in the evening sitting out and seeing the city lights.