NARI CotY 2009 Regional Winner
Home Theater & Media Rooms – $150,000 and Over
PROJECT GOALS & HOW THEY WERE ACHIEVED
The client had four main needs. 1) To have a wet bar in the media room. 2) To be able to access the new media room above the garage from the kitchen area below (adjacent to the laundry room). 3) To maintain a workbench in the garage if the new staircase displaced the existing workbench and, 4) To reconfigure the laundry room to be more efficient and to include a pool bathroom. The clients also did not want the room to feel like a media room, but more like a family room.
We started by designing a straight staircase starting from the laundry room, up over the existing workbench to the media room. This required that we relocate and add space in the garage for the new workbench. This had an added benefit of giving us the foundation for the wet bar directly above the new workbench, saving money and floor space for the media room.
By adding the bar over the workbench and keeping the staircase in the location of the old workbench, we were able to provide the shortest path from the kitchen up to the media room while maintaining the maximum amount of functional space.
ENHANCING THE EXISTING STRUCTURE’S FUNCTIONALITY
The home had an existing door from the 2nd floor office to the new media room, but the owners did not want that to be the primary means of access. They also wanted a built-in bookcase, so the solution was to install a swinging bookcase that functioned as a door. This allowed for egress at both sides of the room.
The homeowners chose oak flooring to match the remainder of the house and provide a level of durability against the two small children, as well as providing a healthy and clean environment. An area rug and sound insulation provided acoustical control.
We achieved even-illumination by installing ceiling can lights, wall sconces and a continuous strip of zenon lights in the raised coffered ceiling hidden behind a strip of alder trim to match the cabinetry, doors and trim. We located spot halogen cans in all barrel vaults to provide more light in areas where people would congregate. Outlets were provided in the speaker niches so the owner could install some decorative lamps.
ENHANCING THE EXISTING STRUCTURE’S AESTHETICS
Although limited by the structure of the existing space above the garage, we wanted to provide a high level of detailing throughout the space. The owner chose a Southwest style with rough pine columns flanking both sides of the room and an adobe wall texture and color. The columns are functional as they support the roof in both locations. Barrel vaults are adjacent to the columns to emphasize the repetition and symmetry. The ceiling in the staircase also repeats the alder/zenon light cove with a barrel vault, although the owner opted to faux-finish the ceiling in the stairs for contrast.
Evidence of Superior Craftmanship
The focal point in the media room (when the TV is not in use) is the wet bar. We used tumbled travertine for the field tile and accented with a travertine mirror molding with red accents to also keep with the Southwest theme. A hand-hammered copper sink finished off the look.
On the exterior, our research enabled us to find the original manufacturer for the existing brick, so the new brick was an exact match.
INNOVATIVE USES OF MATERIAL AND METHODS OF CONSTRUCTION
USED IN THIS PROJECT
To address the owners wish to have the room feel more like a family room, we had the projector and screen synchronize and retract up into the ceiling, out of sight. Since we were required to maintain a preset distance between the projector and the screen, this made it challenging to achieve symmetry between the projector and adjacent ceiling beams. After numerous designs we achieved our goal by modifying the number of beams to achieve symmetrical spacing.
We designed and constructed a housing for the drop-down screen that hid it when not in use and kept with the Southwest theme by trimming in rustic alder.
OVERCOMING DIFFICULT OBSTACLES
The owners had the blueprints from when the house was built and our staircase was designed according to the dimensions on those drawings. The height differential between the floors was not known until the floor was removed for the staircase itself. It was then discovered that there was an additional 10” between floors. This required adding two more stair steps, but due to the constraints, the originally planned straight staircase would not fit. The owner just told us to “work it out” so we decided that the least expensive fix was to have the stairs take a ninety-degree turn at the bottom and we’d reconfigure the laundry room to work accordingly. The owner saw what we had done and said they still wanted the straight staircase, no matter what it took.
After extensive redesigning, we needed to raise the entire staircase ceiling four feet to achieve proper clearances. Note the location of the existing top of brick before raising the stair ceiling. The silver lining was we were able to add a window at the top of the stairs to allow more natural light to enter.
Even though the expense was greater to raise the ceiling, the straight stairs enabled a more open layout in the laundry room, keeping with the initial design requirement.
BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOGRAPHS
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“I am likely to recommend Blackline Renovations to a friend because my client is very responsive, innovative, and they're terrific at doing large jobs as well as small jobs.”
— Customer in Dallas, TX
from Guild Quality
“I used Blackline Renovations for a long overdue remodel of my kitchen, laundry, and living room areas. I had talked to a few companies over the years prior to meeting with Blackline. Having had a bad experience 3 years before, I was reluctant to start the process again. Chris and his team seemed different. They were knowledgeable, organized, and seemed excited about the prospects of turning my 1961 kitchen into something I could enjoy and be proud of. This would turn out to be a down to the studs renovation for approx. 50% of my house. Projects of this scope and duration are never without inconvenience, but it went smoother than anticipated. From design (I only had a general idea of what I wanted; few details), to project management, to execution, I can’t think of anything I would change. The end result is beautiful. The people were great to work with, and the results exceeded my expectations. Chris, Taff, and Jennifer listen and clearly care about the work they do.”
— Glen L.
“Blackline delivered a fabulous renovation of our kitchen and den. From design to plan to execution to cleanup, the whole team went above and beyond. The 8-month project was completed on-time and within budget. The quality of the craftsmanship is excellent. We are extremely pleased with the beautiful new space and would highly recommend Blackline.”
— Stacy C.
“We highly recommend Blackline Renovations. Chris, Taff and Jennifer are true professionals. They are responsive, organized, creative and made our bathroom renovation a seamless process. They went above and beyond. If you are looking to do some renovations look no further. We’re looking forward to working with Blackline again.”
— Elizabeth L.
— Darlene & Bill S.
“Chris and his team were always very professional. The scheduling, design and craftsmanship was exactly what I hoped for. I would not hesitate to use Blackline Renovations again and recommend them to friends and family.”
— Joel B.
“We used Blackline for two separate projects over the span of one year, and are thrilled with the results from both projects! Blackline did a kitchen/bath/laundry room remodel, as well as a back deck construction and we couldn’t be happier with the results. The Blackline team was very communicative, knowledgeable and overall great to work with. Would use and recommend them again.”
— Jaime G.
“Blackline Renovations did an outstanding job on my kitchen and master bed/bath remodel. What set them apart was their attention to detail on every aspect of the project. We would meet at my house on a weekly basis to review what we completed the previous week and what was on the to-do list for the upcoming week. It was very helpful to be consistently informed on the work of the project which kept any surprises to a minimum. The team was extremely professional, knowledgable, and courteous. They went above and beyond to make sure I was satisfied with the project all along the way. The quality of work was fantastic. They did not cut corners and kept to the scheduled timeline. I would highly recommend Blackline Renovations.”
“Chris Black and his team took it down to the studs to renovate the kitchen, master closet and new laundry. We also enclosed a porch, refinished the floors throughout, added attic insulation and poured a new driveway for our 1929 cottage. He was great to work with and had excellent weekly communication. We appreciated that he was very well organized and stayed on budget. I highly recommend him and I will use his company again.”
“Blackline Renovations renovated a guest bathroom for our home two years ago. We were and have been very satisfied with their work. Chris Black was professional every step of the way. We were satisfied with keeping to the timeline and budget. I was especially impressed with Blackline’s subcontractors. Everyone did a great job. We would definitely use Chris for future projects and have recommended him to many in our neighborhood.”
— T. S.
“The team has been fantastic and easy to work with. They bring all decisions to me and communicate clearly. The team is always available for concerns and questions. I am constantly updated on the project and workers. Best experience ever!”
— Paige M.
“The completed project looks amazing and could not be any better. Each person we dealt with was very professional, courteous, and they worked with us to make everything as easy as possible. Working with them was super easy and the final product was impeccable.”
“The entire process from initial meeting, design, bid out of costs and actual construction was flawless. We were looking for a turn key contractor and we found it with Chris Black — with the added bonus of very high quality workmanship. We valued Chris’ input on design and construction, his experience gave us confidence. Once we got started, the communication of each phase of the process was detailed, timely. Our quality standards are high — and Chris met each one of them. AND came to the table of with solutions to each problem. We loved that he personally got involved and connected to our project.”
“I’d never lived through a remodeling project, but I’d been warned about it. And in our initial meeting, Chris Black didn’t sugar coat it. He said life would be tough at first, but that I’d love the final product. He was right. We communicated well and often from the initial planning stages, through demolition and construction, and during the final details. Chris gave sound advice, but didn’t flinch when I made unexpected changes. He stayed within his initial cost estimate. The project took longer than expected—but for good reason, and Chris kept me well-informed daily. I love my new kitchen and bath. And while I can’t yet afford my next project, I’ve already talked with Chris about it and look forward to the day it becomes reality. I’ll be a return customer.”
“Chris Black did an excellent job on our garage project. Chris was very professional, attentive to our requests—including the changes we made during the project—and kept us informed on a daily basis of what had happened and what was to come next. Overall, the project went very well, was completed in a timely manner and to our satisfaction. I would recommend him to anyone looking to do new construction or a remodel.”
“Chris Black did an excellent job of keeping me informed of my project at all times. The paperwork was clear and easy to understand. My needs were understood clearly and the end result was exactly what I wanted. I would definitely recommend Chris Black to any of my friends. I love my kitchen… it looks great!”
“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Chris. I felt informed at all stages of the process, and felt as if he truly cared about my satisfaction with the job. Chris was always available to discuss any questions or concerns I had. The process was as painless as I can imagine it could be, and I’m thrilled with the result.”
“I like [Chris Black] a lot, and found his approach quite refreshing. Even more, he followed up consistently and made me feel he wanted the job. I would recommend Chris Black to anyone who would ask. I definitely appreciated all of the efforts that made this a pleasant experience. I hope we will have another opportunity to work together in the future.”
“Chris Black and his team fit the bill for my bathroom remodel. Chris Black was very hands on and kept me informed regularly. He managed his subs accordingly and was very flexible with my decision process and change requests. The project took longer than anticipated, but you can’t rush perfection. I would recommend Chris Black to others seeking professional rebuild/remodel projects.”
“From day one, Chris Black was courteous, fair and professional. They went out of their way to understand what I wanted, then delivered the project early and under budget. I would recommend them to any of my friends or family that are looking for an honest, straightforward and professional contractor.”
“Chris Black was very knowledgeable and professional in all areas of our remodeling. He was open to our ideas, questions, and suggestions and worked very hard to find ways to accommodate any of our special requests. He had a good relationship with all his subcontractors, and I feel that helped make the job go more smoothly and keep us on our timeline. We love our new kitchen, half-bath, and updated ceilings and floors in all downstairs rooms! I will definitely call Chris when I ever need more remodeling work done.”
“Chris Black was thoroughly professional. The project was completed on time, on budget, and with the highest possible quality of professionalism. The few minor problems that were encountered were handled quickly and completely. If I do any building or projects in the future, I’m calling them.”
— A.S. & H.S.
“Strangers coming into your home to rip out walls and fixtures and then to rebuild a large portion of your house is unsettling. But Chris made the process smooth and user friendly. We will have them back for more projects. The quality of the work was excellent and the outcome pleased us no end. They know what they are doing…and they let you in on all the decisions and the step-by-step process. You never feel out of control with them. It was most comfortable working with these guys.”
— J.C. & M.S.
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