Of the dozens of renovations that architect Barney Maier has designed for Feinmann over the past ten years, a Newton house stands out. Maier’s design enhanced the beauty and functionality of a stately Victorian, winning several awards and cementing his reputation as a master space planner. The highlight of this particular project was an octagonal gazebo breakfast area off of the kitchen with a soaring cupola ceiling that fit in perfectly with the style of the home. Read more…
A Burlington, MA couple hired Feinmann to expand their cramped, yet iconic, 1960s raised ranch house while keeping within a modest budget. An earlier design created by another firm planned a rear addition to the house, which would have required an extensive kitchen renovation. Modern design lovers, the homeowners ultimately chose Feinmann’s fresh approach to reconfiguring the way they would live in their home. The design team found an alternative solution that would create a connection to the house from the garage with a new entry and ample living area: all while preserving the character of the original, endearing ranch house. Read more…
Favorite products and design elements from the Feinmann Design Build team
Ceilings are often the forgotten element in home renovations but they need not be. “Just as decorative woodwork like molding and wainscoting can enhance a simple room design, so can a tray or coffered ceiling,” says Feinmann Project Manager Chris Tobin. Think of your ceiling as a canvas – an architectural element that shows off your creativity. Here are five architectural ceiling ideas to encourage you to look upward.
1) Coffered: Intersecting beams create the coffered effect. They can be square, rectangular, diamond or oval shaped.
Resident Architect, Barney Maier recently returned from Beijing, Shanghai and Tengzhou City of Shandong Province in China. Barney earned a degree in Chinese Studies from Middlebury College and holds a Masters of Architecture from UCLA. He lives in Arlington where he was instrumental in establishing a Mandarin Chinese program at Arlington High School which will enter its second year in September.
I recently visited China – a long time ambition to walk on the Great Wall of China and see the Forbidden City finally requited! As an Architect I was impressed with many aspects of their traditional buildings, especially the treatment of roof structures. The elaboration of the roof was a primary indicator of the importance of the building and the wealth of the owner. The space below the roof struck me as less impressive and invariably less “comfortable”. Even the royal living quarters were not spaces to be envied. But the courtyards are something else.
Like the dwellings of many cultures the Chinese home typically features a courtyard space surrounded by built structures, similar to the atrium of Greek and Roman houses, where much of daily life’s activities are focused. As long as you are outdoors, the environment is reasonably pleasant. While I was not especially impressed with traditional Chinese interior spaces, I was impressed by one aspect of their building technology. More than a thousand years ago, the Chinese had developed modular buildings. A system of cantilevered beams was developed with a fixed formula for a given span: for span “x” you needed a column with a 2-step cantilevered beam, and for span “y” you needed a column with 3-step cantilevered beam. In this case the oft heard Chinese claim to be the first to have done something was indeed the case.