If the average person cut out a branch, turned it into a light fixture, and hung it over the dining room table, it would look like the work of a stereoscopic Boy Scout. But in Constantin Boym’s weekend home in the Hudson Valley, the branch is perfection. Not too crispy, not too slit, not artistic to the point of being almost invisible.
Mr. Boym, director of industrial design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and co-principal with his wife, Laurene Leon Boym, of the design firm Boym’s Partnervery good at doing things and have had a lot of opportunities lately.
Isolated from his family for 18 months in their 1955 chalet in Esopus, NY, he began a long vacation as a bus driver. Inside, he designed a second bedroom for the couple’s 24-year-old son, Rob, and a mud bath, which has a refrigerator and laundry facilities.
Outside, he introduced to the eight-acre site a fireplace, a “village” of birdhouses acquired in various architectural styles, a tomato garden, a pavilion, and a garden. line with a fake deer trophy he assembled from found wood (part of a series Mr. Boym called “Upstate Safari”) and a metal sculpture on the site of a pile of scrap metal and recently cleared glass, made from debris found there (“I think something from a stroller,” he says).
The couple renamed their incremental property Boym Park.
For those fortunate enough to own a country home during a pandemic, the relief of having a refuge is often stifled by the stresses of making it work. Cramming a weekend house full of family members is more stressful than a septic system. And with the shortage of available contractors and the scarcity and cost of construction supplies, it’s not easy to renovate one’s problems.
This gives designers like Boyms an advantage: Under the same pandemic conditions as ours, they are equipped to innovate small homes that help maintain their sanity. They can act as their own general contractor, driving the results they want from builders, electricians and plumbers, or they can do the work themselves without having to make them look like they’re on their own. do.
It pays to be practiced and is not available (or out of the woods). Mr. Boym estimated the cost of the art studio, which was built with the help of rent, at around $20,000. However, choosing modest materials like $27 pressure-treated lumber for an outdoor bench that will last for half a century isn’t just a matter of savings, he says, but also a commentary on consumption. He quotes Russian Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin as advocating “not old, not new, but necessary”.
Mr. Boym found it necessary that the bench hung around long enough to merge with a tree trunk, fitting into a carved groove in the seat. There should also be another bench built from logs with oyster mushroom spores that will erupt on most of the piece. A third bench, on the slope, has a bar serving cocktails or beer.
If his way, Mr. Boym, who was born in Russia, would also have Soviet-style statues – a worker or “a girl with an oars” – but they are not so easy to find, he said. .
25 miles northeast of Esopus, in the hamlet of Elizaville, NY, District of Columbia, Peter Matthiessen Wheelwright felt the need to finish his second novel. As an emeritus professor of architecture at Parsons School of Design in New York, he worked on the book for six years and crashed during the pandemic. Mr. Wheelwright joined hands with his wife, Eliza, for their little gambrel cottage on 200 acres. They bought the property, a former cannabis farm, in 1986, after it was seized by authorities.
“I wanted a place to really go out and howl at the moon,” he said. But with children and grandchildren crowded into a space less than 2,000 square meters, there is no quiet place to write.
“As an architect, I never really got the chance to do something simple for myself,” he says, making it incredibly rewarding to design a small studio with a sleeping loft. Construction started with the first Covid-19 agitators, so he was able to secure most of the materials and labor before they were swamped by demand. The building is heated by a Danish wood-burning stove and has hot and cold water supplied by an office water cooler mounted on a sink that drains into a downspout. There’s also a composting toilet and an upper deck with a fire cherry tree pierced through.
Work encapsulated for six months, a work of love but not economical. “It’s the famous trio that good architects will explain to their clients,” he said. “You want it fast, you want it cheap, you want it done well. Pick two.”
Mr. Wheelwright wanted it to be quick and with high-quality windows and doors, angled ceilings and particleboard paneling instead of Sheetrock. He estimates the cost to be somewhere between $150,000 and $160,000.
Eight months later, his book was done. “GatekeeperA multi-generational story revolving around the fossil discoveries of real-life 20th-century paleontologist Winifred Goldring, will be released February 1 from Fomite Press.
A little south, in the Dutchess County town of Rhinebeck, NY, Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown are also galloping to complete a small construction work on a large parcel of rural land. The New York-based architects, along with their inbound partner and chief financial officer, David Poma, have occupied a renovated gatehouse on 82 acres of protected land as their weekend home, but 800 feet Its square leaves no room for hobbies, much less work. Limited by a 600 square foot contract for the new structure, they arranged three small studios side by side, connected by a pair of bathrooms, one with a toilet, the other with a shower.
“We wanted to use every bit of space,” said Mr. Tsao. “I always thought the corridors were pointless.” This trio of rooms can also be accessed from a common covered porch.
The building overlooks apple orchards and is painted based on bark samples collected by the architects and mixed by Benjamin Moore. “Six hundred square feet for a studio is by no means a razzmatazz design statement,” says Mr. Tsao. It is meant to blend in with the flora.
However, the building costs a fortune – $350,000 – despite using engineered flooring, sourcing from local lumber shops and hardware stores, and just a little love of Heath tiles for the bathroom. Mr. Tsao said: “Construction costs are skyrocketing.
A bit of the budget was cut when they needed a column for convenience. “We just bought a trunk for $12,” he said.
Groundbreaking before the pandemic, the house was completed in May 2020, becoming a remote office where partners work on projects such as rebuilding National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan.
The rural setting affected them in profound ways; they are reclaiming custody of the apple orchard, which has been outsourced to a local farmer, and turning it organic. “We want to spend more time here to really understand what farming life and culture is like,” said Mr. Tsao.
Architecture is one of those professions that never stops, with long-distance client meetings and site visits. For an architect, being locked in a well-equipped studio can feel unnatural. Being locked in one’s home could easily be seen as torture.
Ryan Mullenix, a partner at architecture firm Seattle NBBJ, recalling the time when he shared the same roof with his wife and three children studying far away. What emerged from desperation (plus the architect’s urge to build it) was a 70-square-foot stand-alone office in his backyard in suburban Bellevue, Wash.
Mr. Mullenix, who co-leads NBBJ’s corporate design practice, is like a scientist using his own serum. His advice to clients trying to adapt to the workplace of the future, he says, is to “test it – don’t try to make it perfect the first time around.” His small office is a model of minimalism just waiting to be refined.
Beginning in June 2020, the project took a year to complete, with a material cost of approximately $10,000. Mr. Mullenix does the work himself in his spare hours, sometimes with the help of friends and a professional electrician. He made dozens of trips to the Home Depot and sanctioned just two custom timings in the form of a pair of sliding glass doors for viewing and cross ventilation. And, OK, the floor has radiant heat.
Two hours west of Seattle, at the tip of the Toandos Peninsula, Kristen Becker spent weekends learning how to use a chainsaw, drive a tractor, and demolish a parking lot. This knowledge all served to renovate an old house she and her husband, Saul Becker, bought three years ago after learning it once belonged to Becker’s grandfather, who gambled on it in a game. drunk post. The couple, partners with Seattle-based architecture and design firm Mutuus Studio, paid $139,000 for the dilapidated three-story building, which had been abandoned for a decade. Gradually, they converted it into a weekend getaway and design lab.
Aiming to create a sense of vibration in the cabin, the couple created a sleeping loft for their two children, which “opens up to the kitchen, with voices and evening conversations, with acoustics of fire,” said Miss Becker. On a lower level, they outfitted a games room with a free pool table, which they were given as a surprise one night, then dismantled and shipped home. (Miss Becker went on her heels.)
As for the experiment, “I hung metal lampshades in the canal and planted mother of pearl trees on them as part of the furniture making for the house,” said Becker, who trained as an artist. and lighting design for the company, said. His layered linens and canvases, reminiscent of fine art paintings and proletarian stockings (he has experience with both), are used on lamps and kitchen cabinet fronts. Crushed oyster shells are pulled out of the nearby bay to become the cooking material.
Ms. Becker calls antiques that she enjoys collecting and restoring “puppy puppies”. She describes the house as “a very large puppy.”
“It will be timeless, a lifelong project,” she said. “Let’s check again next year.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/realestate/architect-designer-pandemic-diy.html What designers did at home during the pandemic