Saratoga Renovation Case Study
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PROJECT
Redbud was invited to this single-family residence in an older district of Saratoga Springs. The house is relatively small and is in need of repairs and/ or upgrades both inside and out. The property dimensions are approximately 25’ x 130’ and the house sits virtually on the property lines. The client purchased the house as an investment opportunity but also to have a place where they could work from home or commute to New York City. The initial meeting with the client revealed the following objectives for the property:
Design Intents – create a relaxing and inviting backyard with enhanced privacy, screen out or soften the façade of the neighboring barn and take advantage of the urban setting of the property.
- Patio space to entertain 6 or 8 adults
- Develop a rustic patio space potentially using reclaimed brick or similar surfacing material
- Outdoor kitchen with associated seating
- Possible water feature
- Low voltage lighting system
- Carriage house – integrate a carriage house into the scheme and consider an alternate use in the event the house is not constructed
- Off street parking at the rear of the property
- Rear wrap around porch – incorporate a porch with stairs off of the house
- Overhead structure(s) – possibly incorporate one or more overhead structures
- Consider a space for a hammock
- Southern property line is made up of a multifamily, two-story house as well as a two story red barn both of which loomed over the clients’ backyard. The residents of the multifamily unit have direct views into the property
- Single family house to the north side with direct views into the backyard
- Property line setbacks that restricted locations for structures, patios, fencing and other uses
- Public streets fronting both the front and rear of the property
- Footprint development requirements limit the amount of allowable impervious space
- Potential maintenance issues with the 30 year old plus sewer line that runs underground in the backyard
Upon understanding the client desires we proposed a collaborative design approach whereby an architect would be introduced to the project team. This method allowed for the complete integration of all the desired components and guaranteed that the clients would be able to understand and achieve their desired goals. The focus was to develop a comprehensive conceptual design incorporating all of the elements desired and to ferret out possible additional improvements. The completed design would be broken down into independent stages that would allow for staged construction over time.
The Clients’ original plan was to build the project in individual segments, meaning build the patio first, carriage house second, deck third, etc…This approach would have required minimal approvals from the planning and building office but the final result would have been disastrous. Due to the site conditions and restrictions, the client would have constructed the patio in what seemed to be the most logical space. But then, when they attempted to build either the deck or carriage house projects they would have been informed by the city that they would either not be able to construct either component without applying for a variance to meet the current site restrictions or they would have to remove the recently constructed patio. The variance process, at a minimum, can be 3 to 4 months long, can be expensive, adds emotional stress to what should be a simple process and, in the end, there is no guarantee of success. The client quickly appreciated the fact that spending approximately $3,000 to $6,000 up front for conceptual design services would provide them not only creative and distinctive solutions to their design dilemma but would also save them approximately $30,000 to $50,000 in unnecessary expenses down the line.