PIEDMONT -- The Piedmont Planning Commission presented seven homeowners and the dozens of contractors, landscapers and architects that worked on their homes with Design Awards at a special commission meeting Monday night.
The awards honored best fence and landscaping; best garage; best integrated design for garage and accessory structures; best comprehensive remodel and addition; best seamless expansion within the building envelope; best outdoor living space; and best green remodel and overall renovation.
Steve Zovickian has lived in his house on Wildwood Avenue for more than 20 years. The front yard was always dominated by one pine tree and ivy. When the pine fell last year, Zovickian called landscaper Paul Sundstrom to rework the space, netting Sundstrom and the Zovickians the best fence and landscaping award.
"The writing was on the wall for the clients to do the front landscape when that tree fell down," Sundstrom said. "We created four stone terraces that are all accessible with intermingling pathways."
Sundstrom also added a fence enclosure to give the Zovickians more privacy near their French doors. Today, Zovickian said, dog walkers and neighborhood strollers compliment the work he had done to his property.
"No one has ever complimented us before," he said. "It's fun to hear people as they walk by."
No one enters their upgrades into the design awards program, and it's not a competition. Planning department staff flag particularly good design submissions to the planning commission for their review. Commissioners look at the plans then go to the property to check the work out and come up with honors for the homeowners and builders.
"We look for projects that illustrate our architectural guidelines," Commissioner Melanie Robertson said.
Alex Hodgkinson, of McCutcheon Construction, remodeled a home on Blair Avenue, making it airtight to save heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. The company created a gray water system and a rainfall catch system. It installed solar and solar thermal elements. All this work led to a LEED Breen Buildings Rating Platinum award, the highest award for environmentally friendly construction and made this property the only home certified LEED Platinum in Piedmont. For that, the company and the homeowners won the best green remodel and overall renovation award.
Hodgkinson said the remodel was more difficult than building a new structure from the ground up because he had to work with existing materials and outdated construction methods to create a an airtight home.
"Just making an older home into an energy efficient home is more hard work," Hodgkinson said. The company is currently working on two other homes in Piedmont and hopes to achieve more LEED Platinum status.
David Rucker, with partners Colin Sherman and Eric Manou, bought a home at 127 Hagar Ave. and won the best comprehensive remodel award for their efforts of totally redoing the home over 22 months.
"It was a pretty old hodgepodge house with a mid-1980s horror show addition," he said. "It had a panoramic view that was not being used and we opened it up and made it modern."
The partners sold the home shortly thereafter.
Allen and Lori Bouch are pretty happy with the work conceived by architect Grier Graff on their garage and accessory structures, which won that award. They converted their one-car garage from 1924 into a two-car garage with storage and remodeled their sun room so it is now a family room.
"It was one of those remodels where it started with a garage and went on to the sun room and on to other things in the house," Allen Bouch said. "Now it looks like the garage and the room have been there forever."