Light is the theme of this minimal and modern intervention. The renovated apartment is located on the third floor of the oldest building on the downtown pedestrian mall in Charlottesville. The existing structure built in 1843 was in sorry shape — framing, roof, insulation, windows, mechanical systems, electrical and plumbing were all completely renewed to serve for another century or more. What used to be a dark commercial space with claustrophobic offices on the third floor and a completely separate attic was transformed into one spacious open floor apartment with a sleeping loft. Transparency through from front to back is a key intention, giving visual access to the street trees in front, the play of sunlight in the back and allowing multiple modes of direct and indirect natural lighting. A single cabinet “box” with hidden hardware and secret doors runs the length of the building, containing kitchen, bathroom, services and storage. All kitchen appliances are hidden when not in use. Doors to the left and right of the work surface open fully for access to wall oven and refrigerator. Functional and durable stainless-steel accessories for the kitchen and bath are custom designs and fabricated locally. The sleeping loft stair is both foreground and background, heavy and light: the white guardrail is a single 3/8” steel plate, the treads and risers are folded perforated steel.
Credits: - Bushman Dreyfus Architects - project designer - Aga Saulle - Dunbar, Milby, Williams, Pittman & Vaughn - structural engineer - Steve Barber - Bushman Dreyfus Architects - partner in charge - Jeff Bushman - Virginia Hamrick Photography - photographer - Virginia Hamrick