Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011 NARI CotY Regional Winner!


I'm a little late on this post but wanted to let everyone know that we were humbled to win the South Central Regional award for "Exterior Specialty" for our entry on Bell Mountain Drive. We came up short at the National Awards but will try again this winter.  Thanks again to all who were involved and a great client who let us carry out their dream outdoor retreat.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 NARI Contractor of the Year "Exterior Specialty"



Thursday night was the annual Austin chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry's CoTY Awards. Realty Restoration was fortunate to win Contractor of the Year for Exterior Specialty for the second year in a row for our backyard transformation on Bell Mountain. Congratulations to all involved on another great project and a special thank you to a great client. 

Carmen and Steve, thank you for your patience through the bad weather and material delays.  I hope you enjoy your beautiful new backyard as much as we did creating it.

Below are a few before and after photos of the completed project and a description from the award submittal.  Video slide show to come.  



9100 Bell Mountain
When the clients of this backyard project on Bell Mountain Drive came to us to complete a third phase of remodeling work in their home, we took it as a challenge to ourselves to make this their favorite room of the house.  I know, you think I misspoke calling the backyard a room, but that is just what we set out to do.  The clients’ two complaints with their existing pool and back patio were it was so hot, you were either in the pool or baking in the sun, and the featureless nature of the previous owners’ finish out of the pool, patio, and backyard was unattractive.  We wanted to change that, making their backyard an oasis and retreat from the inside of the house.

The existing “cool deck” pool surround, besides being bland and stark white, was anything but cool on your feet, and the rotten wood trellis and composite decking were unsightly and provided little relief from the hot Texas sun.  Our first obstacle was to tackle the clients’ desire to cover and extend the existing patio in a manner that would blend with the existing house, while enhancing the appearance.  With exposed stained double Douglas fir rafters, custom scissor trusses at every third interval, and stained v-groove cypress soffit decking, the once featureless exterior of the home now had a focal point to base the rest of the design around.  Tiger wood decking, limestone columns, and custom steel round bar handrail with tiger wood cap turned their rotting deck in to a color rich environment.  Specialty lighting fixtures included a fluorescent light trough to up-light the decorative rafters and trusses, Bevolo gas copper lanterns on the columns, and Cooper Lumiere accent lights over the doorway and stairs to the backyard. 

The existing pool surround was topped with 2” thick, 4’x4’ salt finished stained concrete pads with synthetic turf grass borders to break up the large expanse of concrete.  Special channels left below the turf grass with stone pebbles help drain run off water to its existing natural paths.  At one end of the pool, a shallow wading pool was cut out of the concrete deck to give guests a place to sit in the shade with their feet in the water, directly off of the covered patio.  At the other end, a small distasteful rock fountain was
replaced with a large cut stone fountain wall and retaining pool with custom copper overflow scuppers that feed in to the pool.  

The clients’ second desire on the much needed update list, the backyard, was once just an undeveloped slippery slope, traveled only to access the pool equipment.  Now a destination full of greenery and opportunity to relax in tranquility, the once inaccessible space was made level by adding and filling in multiple retaining walls that allow a smooth transition from the patio to the backyard.  As for the pool equipment, updated technology and convenient on-off switches located on the patio columns for the fountain and pool pumps leave the homeowner making fewer trips down the stairs, though when he has to it will be a much safer trip.

Many difficult obstacles were encountered and overcome in this successful backyard transformation.  Some of the most challenging included building a ramp and retaining walls over rocky terrain stout enough to give the bobcat access to the backyard, supporting the existing above ground concrete pool deck when an 8’ square opening was cut out for the wading pool, working off of scaffolding 40’ in the air supported on an uneven 30 degree slope to build the patio, columns, trusses and roof covering.

What was once just an aboveground pool surrounded by an expanse of concrete that didn’t do this scenic site justice, now is a colorful destination for parties and outdoor living that will leave the inside of the house feeling lonely.      


Pool towards fountain before


Pool towards fountain after


New fountain


Pool towards new swim up wading pool & covered patio


Covered patio before


Covered tiger wood patio after


Backyard towards house before


Backyard towards house after




Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Realty Restoration's 2010 Tour of Remodeled Homes Entry Video





RIVER ROAD

"The clients of this 1963 West Austin home wanted a more modern, open living space between the kitchen, breakfast room and den to create a comfortable, contiguous area for family time. In a short span of 12 weeks, a living space and kitchen that were once divided into two separate rooms with a small pass through, was transformed and now seamlessly blend together.
One of the major obstacles to overcome in this project was reworking the HVAC, plumbing and electrical infrastructure to allow the dropped ceiling in the kitchen to be raised flush with the living room. The original design provided by the Kitchen Consultant kept the dropped ceiling intact with an HVAC fur down chase dividing the kitchen from the family room. However, we believed that a key to the overall success of this remodel would be to join the two rooms with a seamless ceiling elevation. Providing this feature meant modification of the mechanical chases and second floor framing to allow for a continuous ceiling plane, which we were granted the leeway to execute. The extensive planning and development of special steel framing components and unconventional framing was achieved by close coordination of all disciplines. Many of the original framing members were utilized by re-milling them to an appropriate size to co-ordinate with current dimensions found in new building materials. Replacement of the existing windows, sliding glass door and rear entry door with Low E units required extensive research of reclaimed material sources to find the original Austin Common brick. 
The homeowner's new floor plan provides a huge center island with multiple work areas, each providing an integral work triangle with-in NKBA guidelines. Integrated under cabinet lighting and receptacle strips provide for clean and uncluttered backsplashes of iridescent green Glass tile which enhance the look of the entire space. The use of subtle colors in finish selections for Cabinets, Glass tile and D'hannis floor tile, blend with the original vintage materials. Upgrades to appliances included A Sub Zero refrigerator/freezer, Viking wall ovens and professional range top, Sharp microwave drawer, True beverage center, Hoshizaki ice maker, warming drawer, and LG front loading steam washer and dryer which provide for lower Energy consumption bring this kitchen well in to the 21st century. 
Specialty construction features include a large walk-in pantry with custom cabinets lined in Pacific Cloth for storing the family's silver serving pieces & flatware, a custom stainless steel backsplash and spice shelf were installed behind the range top, all new custom cabinetry, and a dining table made with a face grain cherry top by Devos Woodworking of Dripping Springs was custom designed and attached to the center island to complete the families dream kitchen. 
Another successful project and lifelong friendships forged with a fulfilled client's dreams turned into reality on River Road."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Check out the new Realty Restoration YouTube Channel




This was our 2007 NARI Tour of Remodeled Homes "Best in Show" winner.  Check here for more videos coming soon and see below for a description of this complete restoration.


SMALL DRIVE 


"From the very moment you enter the cobblestone circular driveway and gaze upon this home’s plaster, fieldstone and tinted mortar fa├žade, you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into the “old world”. And speaking of old, remember when homes were constructed of closed-off kitchens and boxy living rooms connected by long halls and low-slung ceilings? That was this vintage 1959 ranch style home before Realty Restoration went to work. The homeowner’s son, an architecture student at Texas Tech, collaborated with Cross-Recek, AIA, and Kitchens for Cooks to design this remodel. 
The end result is stunning. Antique beams and massive trusses made from reclaimed heart pine add rustic sophistication to the Great Room with its massive stone fireplace straight out of an Appalachian lodge. Mesquite hardwood frames oversized Mexican travertine tiles. Cabinetry, trim, doors, and built-ins are constructed of knotty alder, and around every corner is something new and exciting to see in this very big transformation on Small Drive."



Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Few Pics of our Tour of Remodeled Homes Entry









Realty Restoration is on the 2010 NARI Tour of Remodeled Homes







Realty Restoration will have a home on the 2010 NARI Tour of Remodeled Homes. Be sure to stop by on Saturday or Sunday of the tour, October 16th and 17th. Hope to see you there. See below for a description of the transformation.


"The kitchen, utility, and family rooms of this 1963 West Austin home were in need of a complete renovation when Realty Restoration took on the task of updating this once closed off kitchen in the short time frame of 12 weeks. Designed by Keni Neff, of Kitchens for Cooks, a living space and kitchen that were once divided into two separate rooms with a small pass through connecting them, now stands undivided as the kitchen seamlessly blends into the family room. 
One of the major obstacles to overcome in this project was reworking the HVAC, plumbing and electrical lines to allow for the dropped ceiling in the kitchen to be raised flush with the living room. The original kitchen design kept the dropped ceiling intact with an HVAC fur down chase dividing the kitchen from the family room because of budget considerations. However, Realty Restoration believed that a key aspect that would impact the success of this remodel would be to join the two rooms, which meant modifying the mechanical chases and second floor framing to allow for a continuous ceiling plane, which we were granted the leeway to do. 
A Sub Zero refrigerator/freezer, Viking wall ovens and professional range top, Sharp microwave drawer, True beverage center, Hoshizaki ice maker, warming drawer, and LG front loading steam washer and dryer bring this kitchen well in to the 21st century. 
Specialty construction features include a large walk-in pantry with custom cabinets lined with pacific cloth for storing silver, a custom stainless steel backsplash and spice shelf behind the range top, all new custom cabinetry, and a custom dining table attached to the center island featuring a face grain cherry table top made by Devos Woodworking of Dripping Springs. 
A successful project by Realty Restoration and lifelong friendships forged with another fulfilled client’s dreams turned into reality on River Road."


Monday, August 23, 2010

Realty Restoration on the cover of Urban Home Magazine "Discovering 'The Wow Factor' "

Check us out on the cover of the 2010 Reclaim, Restore, Renovate issue of Urban Home Magazine
"Discovering 'The Wow Factor' ".pdf

One of Realty Restoration's largest projects to date, this million dollar plus remodel, finished in 2006, took every bit of creativity and know how we posses to overcome difficult structural framing obstacles and site modifications.  The result was breathtaking.

The large custom Ipe rolling doors provide privacy from the neighbors to turn the barn-like carport in to an outdoor covered entertainment area for parties spilling over from the nearby pool.