A Fallout Shelter Makes For an Interesting Basement Remodel
During the Cold War era, America was constantly reminded of the effects of nuclear fallout. Television, radio, newspapers, and even our schools conveyed the frightful details. As a result, the masses sought protection by building shelters able to withstand the radiation and often stocked them with supplies like food and water. The December 1961 Popular Science article is a perfect example. The first sentence of the article describes the atmosphere of paranoia perfectly: “People who built fallout shelters for their families used to keep it secret for fear they’d be considered crazy.” It also became so accepted to build a shelter that the article describes it as admirably prudent.
During construction of a large addition to a 1955 era home the owner’s decided that they wanted to update an existing basement bathroom. We were a little surprised to find a do-it-yourself fallout shelter made of hand stacked bricks. The original owner of the home was completely unaware that her husband (who had passed 10 years earlier) had built this. This was not a shelter planned before construction of the home, this was remodeled in place, meaning that several hundred red bricks had been inserted into the overhead floor joists and walls one by one. Where there was plumbing or duct work, each brick was meticulously notched to accommodate the pipe or duct run. Makes you wonder if he read page 59 from that same Popular Science magazine.
The pictures tell the story the best:
By its nature, an addition remodel is about creating something that wasn’t there before. This in turn means incorporating something new into something that already existed. A well executed addition should do this in a way that not only respects the integrity of a home’s design, but enhances it as well. It’s all about balance.
Our clients wanted an exercise space over their garage, and a hallway that would connect this room with the rest of their home.
More often than not, when you add an addition you are faced with balancing out the home as well as adding to it.
In the case of this addition, we not only added the space the clients were looking for, but filled out the home in a balanced way.
Looking at the “After” photos reveals a simple but effective design trick for creating balance with a new addition: we replicated the shape of one design element (in this case the vent above the section of the home on one side of the garage) and incorporated it into the shape of a design element on the other side (in this case, a window). We also picked up on the column elements that appear in other sections of the home and incorporated this design into the facade of the addition.
Click on photos to enlarge