Santa Fe


The owners of the building on Santa Fe Ave in Albany purchased it in 2008 as an investment opportunity. They rented it out for about a decade while they collaborated with the City of Albany on the design and scope of work for renovating and expanding the existing structure. They presented two proposals to the Planning department: one for a mixed-use commercial building with a large retail space on the ground floor and two residential units above, as well as a spacious basement for parking and storage; and another for a residential development with a major remodel of the current building and a large addition that would maximize the floor area ratio allowed by the planning department.

The owners and the City of Albany agreed on the second proposal and we submitted the construction drawings for the building permit. The construction work started in 2016.

The first step in design was to update the building to meet the current building codes and modern living standards. The original building had a footprint of about 1300 sq. ft. with two bedrooms, one bathroom, one kitchen and a living/dining room. The layout was very cramped and divided into small rooms with little or no natural light and ventilation. We started by dividing the building into private and public zones. The private zone included the family/TV room, bedrooms and private bathrooms, while the public zone consisted of the living room, dining room and kitchen. We also designed a separate office space in the backyard that could serve as a home office for business meetings or a relaxing retreat from the busy family life.

The design of the house was based on the principle of separating the public and private spaces. The public spaces, such as the living room, dining room and kitchen, were located near the entrance and the street, forming a unified open area with a distinct architectural identity. A bathroom was conveniently located next to the kitchen for guests and visitors. The private spaces, such as the bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry room, were situated away from the street and the entry, facing the backyard and the open space. The master suite was on the upper floor, with a sliding glass door that opened to a sunny deck. The TV/family room and another bedroom were on the lower floor, connected to the rest of the house by a stunning open staircase with skylights and LED lights.

A special feature of the house was the vaulted ceilings, which enhanced the beauty and spaciousness of the rooms. The windows had exposed wood-headers that contrasted with the sheetrock walls, creating a sense of solidity and strength. The office space was detached from the house, at the end of the lot, with a patio that linked it to the main building.

The renovation and expansion project incorporated a lot of natural light sources, such as big (energy-saving) windows and sliding glass doors. Moreover, the clever design of long LED strips and recessed lights in the high ceilings created a smooth shift of light from daytime to nighttime activities.

You may also be interested in

Scroll to Top