Santa Fe


Owners bought the building in Santa Fe Ave in Albany 2008 as an investment property. For about 10 years they rented the building while they were working with the City of Albany for developing scope of work for remodeling and addition to the existing building. They submitted two design proposals to the Planning department at City of Albany. The first was a mixed-Use commercial with a large retail space at the ground floor and two residential units above, plus a large basement for parking and storage. The second design scheme was a residential development with major remodel of existing structure and large addition to the maximum allowable floor area ratio, set by the planning department.

Eventually, the second design scheme was approved by both the owners and the City of Albany and we submitted the construction drawings to the City for the building permit. The project construction work began in 2016.

The first step in design was to bring the building to the level of current building codes and modern living standards. The existing building layout had approximately 1300 sq. ft. footprint with two bedrooms, one bath, one kitchen and living/dining room. The existing layout was extremely compartmentalized into small rooms with little or no lights and ventilation. Our design began first by zoning the building into private and non-privet zones. In the private zone we situated the family/TV room, bedrooms and private baths, and in the non-private zone we placed the living room, dining room and kitchen. In addition, we designed a detached office space which could accommodate both business meetings at home and also serves as a Place of Calm away from a busy day of family life.

The non-private spaces such as the living room and dining room were placed immediately after entrance to the house and adjacent to the street. While the more private spaces were clustered away from the entry and street and were placed next to open space in the backyard.

In order to maximize the use and sense of space, the living room, dining room, and kitchen were all blended into one connected open area with an architecturally identified independent entity/space. A bathroom was placed next to the kitchen for more public use to control the flow of traffic to the more private part of the home. Then the guest bedroom and laundry room were placed between the living room and the master bedroom to create separation and thus privacy.

The master bedroom, master bath and master closet were elevated to the upper floor with a large south-facing sliding glass door opening to the outdoor deck with plenty of light and ventilations. Below the master bedroom we placed a TV/family room with its own bathroom and next to an additional 2nd bedroom. All these areas were connected to the living room and kitchen with a beautiful open staircase, gorgeously illuminated from the above with skylights and long strings of LED lights.

A unique design feather in the Santa Fe project was the use of vaulted ceilings, which revolutionized the enhancement of the architectural forms and spaces. Juxtaposition of exposed wood-headers above the windows with sheetrock accentuate the sense of strength and solidness in the surrounding walls of the living room and bedrooms.

Finally, the detached office space was created in the far-end of the lot with access to the house via a continuous outdoor patio.

The new remodeling and addition made significant use of natural light with large windows and sliding glass doors. In addition, the elaborate use of long strings of LED and recessed lights in the vaulted ceilings provided a creative transition of light from day life to the nightlife.

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