The mayor of Orinda, CA, has awarded New Avenue’s Spring’s Cottage project with the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Architecture in 2012! This honor recognizes “excellence in residential design and downtown property improvements which make an extraordinary contribution to the character and livability of Orinda neighborhoods and the vitality of downtown.”
Spring sparked the idea of buying a home together and then searched with her daughter and son-in-law until they found and purchased a property in Orinda with a main home and a small cottage in the backyard. Spring, lived in Southern California and liked the idea of moving closer to her children and grandchildren while also helping her daughter move to a bigger home for her growing family. Spring wanted to share a home, but also wanted make sure she could maintain her personal space, independence and most importantly, a proper kitchen.
Spring interviewed several architects and found Ron Klemmedson. Ron started working in Orinda with his father, who is also an architect, over 50 years ago. As they started discussing an addition to the cottage, the found that while it looked nice enough at first glance, there were quite a few hidden problems including asbestos in the floor, ceilings, and walls; leaking plumbing; no insulation; rotting wood; rodents; and an unsafe foundation. It was time to start anew.
After working with Ron to create a new design, Spring contacted New Avenue and hired us to manage the entire project so that the architecture, engineering, permitting and contracting all flowed smoothly (or, considering the hurdles Orinda and Contra Costa Country have, we should say “as smoothly as possible”)
The new Spanish style cottage, is 674 square feet and has one bedroom. It has many sustainable features:
- Small footprint and on a multi-use single lot
- High energy efficiency double glazed windows by Marvin Integrity.
- Solid wood doors
- Cork floors
- Located under mature, native oaks for summer shading
- Truss roof system uses minimal material and allows for extra Insulation
- Efficient on demand tankless hot water heater
- Energy efficient gas fireplace with double sided glass for heating the bedroom and main living area.
- LED lighting
- Sustainable lumber for butcher-block kitchen counters
- Reused 100 year old clay roof tiles
- Reclaimed solid wood doors
- Repurposed oak flooring into the fireplace surround and mantle
- Repurposed old redwood siding
- Furnished fully with reused and antique furniture
- Non-Toxic – no vinyl, glue, solvents, carpeting, or laminate flooring
- Rodent exclusion-design (rats are one little secret of all nice homes in the California hills) – avoids the need for rodent trapping or poisoning
- Adjacent garden cared for with exclusively non-toxic and/or organic products
- Landscaping is water-wise and has only native plants
The cottage has brought three generations closer together. Spring sees her daughter, Rebecca, and grandchildren every day. Rebecca and her husband benefits from extra help and childcare as hardly a day goes by when Spring isn’t picking up or dropping off the grandchildren at their endless activities. The grandchildren can grow up in a tightly knit family setting and attend some of the best schools in the region.
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