Designer’s Notebook: Organic Nature

Gallagher Construction collaborates with clients to blend a Craftsman aesthetic and create their true dream home.

authors Sean Gallagher | December 2, 2020

If you are lucky, there comes a time in the life of a growing design-build remodeling company when you look at a big, challenging job that has a ton of potential square in the face, and you decide that you are done with operating under the pretenses of “fake it until you make it” or “perception is reality.”

You put all of your faith into each other, into your team, and you make the decision that there is no faking; and that this is our reality, and you go for it—or implode and die trying. That was this job for our company (Please do not tell our clients).

When one explores and examines the vast and expansive world of residential remodeling, creations are uncovered that should be considered national monuments of the remodeling realm.

When one takes a closer look at these many different, distinct and well-executed residential projects that belong on the wonder wall of the remodeling world, the unearthed archeology of the projects identifies some consistencies and characteristics, a common thread that pierces right through the center of them all: the right time, the right clients, the right remodeler, a shared vision and passion, and an infallible trust shared by all parties.

Rarely does a design-build remodeling team get to create a true dream home with their clients. Gallagher Construction had the opportunity to embark on this journey in the forested and equestrian neighborhood of Bridle Trails, located peacefully among fir, cedars and ferns in Bellevue, Washington.

The rambler was built in 1969 and had been cosmetically updated in 1996. The design phase of the project was not lacking in challenges to open up the home and give it a natural flow from front to back, as the fireplace and rear of the kitchen were placed awkwardly immediately upon entering the home.

“We went into this project with complete flexibility, and we knew how we wanted it to feel way more than we knew what the mechanics of getting there were going to be,” the clients recall. “Building that trust with the Gallagher Construction team through the early parts of the process made it easy to go for it when we were faced with having to change the scope of the project drastically partway through. I’m not sure how we’d have felt if we’d encountered the same roadblock and hadn’t already developed that trust.”

The initial design phase and ensuing build-out—from inception through completion—was extremely collaborative between the clients and the team from Gallagher. The clients had some semblance of a vision for the overall end-result, and the design-build team at Gallagher had the ability and confidence to pull it through.

Although not a typical practice given our company processes, major decisions were made as the project evolved. The clients wanted to make decisions based on the aesthetics and feeling as the project developed. Although this resulted in many trips to the building department, it spawned an organic process with everyone involved, built on a foundation of trust, vision, talent and collaboration. These ingredients contributed immeasurably to the overall success of the project.

Operations lead Adam Hunnicutt was instrumental in navigating the peaks and valleys of the project with the clients. Together they made decisions that contributed greatly to the success of the end result. One specific key decision was to remove the existing 8-foot-tall 2×4 exterior walls in all of the common areas, which equated to about 70 percent of the home, and rebuilding with 9-foot-tall 2×6 exterior walls in their place.

This allowed the structure to have a continuous, vaulted ceiling through the entire home, with the ridge of the vault starting from the front entry gable, all of the way through the house and continuing to the attached outdoor structure that picture-frames a panoramic view of a classic Pacific Northwest forest.

The entire ceiling of the home in the vaulted areas with exposed ridges and hips are all trimmed out in CVG tongue and groove cedar. The decision to have a 9-foot-tall sidewall in the common areas also created a distinct delineation between the new vaulted 9-foot-tall areas of the home and the existing 8-foot-tall flat-ceiling wing of the home, where there are three bedrooms and an attached, gracious three-car garage.

Another important goal of the project was giving visual balance to the front of the home; this was achieved by reworking the exterior entry and bumping out a small office addition. Windows along the front were raised from their original height to give more privacy from the street given the new floor plan. The unobstructed view from the front door through the entire home to the back deck really brings the project home.

The exterior details and architectural elements throughout reflect a Craftsman aesthetic. The modern garage doors bring a contemporary element to the exterior. “One of the challenges of design was how to achieve the ‘beachy’ vibe,” says Stephanie Lofquist, design manager at Gallagher Construction. “Craftsman is a distinct style, and to meld another look can be risky.”

The Craftsman lintel and millwork details from the outside were continued on the interior. The beachy vibe was incorporated with the hardwood floors, washed-cedar ceilings and tile selections. QR

Sean Gallagher is a second-generation builder who brings decades of experience to his clients in a variety of successful roles within the residential construction industry. He enjoys his role with the team at Gallagher Construction LLC, where he is involved with all aspects of the design-build process. A native of Novato, California, and a graduate of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, Sean resides in the Bridle Trails community of Bellevue, Washington, with his wife and four children.

Adam Hunnicutt is a co-founder and the operations manager at Gallagher Construction. He began his residential construction career as a 17-year-old apprentice being dropped off with a machete in a field to begin clearing lots for new construction homes. Adam’s leadership skills and contagious positive outlook on life, combined with his decades of residential construction experience, enable him to effectively lead the charge of jobs in production. Adam is a native to Washington and resides in Bellevue with his family.

Stephanie Lofquist is the design manager at Gallagher Construction. She pursued residential interior design because of its combination of creativity and order. Stephanie enjoys being able to transform design concepts and ideas into tangible, livable spaces for homeowners. She loves working with all styles of homes and finding creative solutions for unique needs.

 

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