Nearing Completion: Pleasant Street Home by Keren Kabo

We’ve been watching this new single family residence take shape for two of our repeat clients.  Now that it is nearly complete, we want to share some of the special features that were included in the design process to make this a LEED Platinum targeted project. 

The decision of where to build is the first step in green building.  The project is situated on a vacant double lot in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.  The density of Over-the-Rhine and the density of the house itself on its site were critical!  Ten of the required 89 LEED points came from the qualities of the site; a previously-developed infill site with access to existing infrastructure, community resources, transit, and open space. (Who wouldn’t want to be within steps of Findlay Market, the streetcar, and Washington Park?)  Walkability reduces the reliance on automobiles, and the re-use of land in an urban core reduces sprawl.

 Site before construction.

Site before construction.

 The design of the house is compact on the site, with 2800 sf of space divided into three stories on a tenth of an acre.  Inside the house, the number of bedrooms - including possible future bedrooms - contributes to the flexibility of the house.  The home is intended to be used with three bedrooms, but the layout and orientation of the home office, first floor living room, and third floor study could allow these spaces to be converted to or used as bedrooms in the future.  LEED incentivizes this inherent flexibility, as it means this house can last for generations, accommodating a variety of family sizes without the addition of more common space.  LEED’s Home Size Adjustment takes this into account.

Selections of very high efficiency plumbing fixtures contributed several points to the LEED goal.  The home’s two full-baths and two powder rooms utilize flow rates of 1.2 gpm for lavatories, 1.75 gpm for showers, and 0.96 gpf for toilets.  

 
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The exceptional energy performance of this house is two-fold.  Outboard insulation on the walls and spray foam at the roofs, along with good U-factor windows, and efficient HVAC equipment contribute to a robust envelope.  The building ultimately obtained a HERS index of 58. 

 
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Points for efficient hot water distribution were obtained with carefully located hot water heaters.  By limiting the run of pipe from the water heater to the source, less water is wasted while waiting for hot water, and less heat is wasted from the pipes.  One water heater is mounted high on the wall on the first floor, and one is mounted low on the wall on the 3rd floor, with carefully coordinated pipe runs that were measured in the field.

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Certain design decisions in the house help improve the quality of the indoor air.  Foregoing a fireplace prevents combustion particles in the air.  Detaching the garage prevents fumes and other pollutants from making their way into the house.  Even a design move as simple as providing an area for taking off and storing shoes near the entryway reduces dirt and pollutants being tracked through the home.

 
 

 

Material selections featured in this home include locally produced goods (white shingle roof, poplar trim), sustainably sourced products (solid core doors with sustainable core-filling material and bamboo composite decking), and otherwise better-for-your-health products (low VOC paints and finishes). 

In the end, building a house requires thousands (millions?) of questions to be answered.  Using LEED as a guide, some of those choices can lead to a healthy, durable, more sustainable home.

Stay tuned for a full project highlight when all the final details are in place! 

HGTV Urban Oasis 2018 in Cincinnati by Keren Kabo

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HGTV Urban Oasis® 2018. has spent the last year quietly working in Cincinnati, and we are lucky to have been a part of this top-secret project.

Partnering with HGTV and The English Contractor, has been an exciting and enriching experience. We can’t wait to share more with you after the big reveal.

Keep posted on all the work that has happened to this home and sign up for daily reminders so you don't forget to enter HERE!

 

HGTV, HGTV Urban Oasis, HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway and their associated logos are trademarks of Scripps Networks, LLC.  Videos © 2018 Scripps Networks, LLC.  Used with permission; all rights reserved.

UPDATES: INDIAN HILL HOME by Keren Kabo

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Very proud to have helped bring this beautiful home to life. Huge windows bringing in lots of natural light, along with rich woods and stucco finishes should bring lots of warmth. Can't wait to see it completed. 

Cincinnati Design Awards by Keren Kabo

Our winner of the night: The Hi-Mark Bar

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Once again we are honored to have been a part of the Cincinnati Design Awards evening – and flattered that it won a Merit Award for its unique design and preservation qualities.  We think it serves as a great example of how we work with our obstacles rather than fight it. 

Congratulations to the project team:  Matthew Stoll, Courtney Zunis & Kurt Platte.  You guys rock!

 

Check out the full design awards submission and more photos here:

CDA 2017

Meeting the Mark (Hi-Mark) by Keren Kabo

 Photos from  The Hi-Mark

Photos from The Hi-Mark

Hi-Mark is one of those projects that feels like it just went on forever, yet the final product was oh-so worth it!  The planning for this project goes back to late 2014 when Nick Motz approached us with an interesting challenge: a dilapidated, historic home in an economically depressed area of the East End that was also part of the restricted flood zone.  We thought it was exactly the sort of crazy, impossible project that we regularly stake our reputation on. The end result is a bar that evokes history, neighborhood vibes, and grit in a one-of-a-kind space. 

Starting with the empty shell of the building, we made the decision to remove the existing floors and shift the first floor up 3 feet. This move solved the problem of being 2' into the flood plain, yet created all sorts of new challenges and interesting conditions.  We cut away portions of of the first floor and a huge section of the 2nd floor to make an upper mezzanine.  By pulling the floors away from the walls, you get little surprises like sunken window sills, peak-throughs, and a floating fire place.  The steel work itself is an impressive feat, executed superbly by our friend Kyle Freeman of Steel-It.  Out back is a new addition that houses the kitchen, cold storage, and the restrooms, as well as a quiet, sunny deck.

It was a very deliberate decision to leave the space as raw as possible, with the original brick, wood joists, mechanical systems, and new steel structure exposed and on full display. This really cements the history of the space, and provided a blank, gritty backdrop for Pho Lang Thang and Eli's to create their concept. This was elemental to their final branding, which references the 1937 flood that came 79.9' above the shores of the Ohio. The name Hi-Mark refers to this historic flood, which is marked on the side of the building, over 10' above the original doorstep.  The space feels almost like it had been wiped away in this flood, only to be rebuilt into the space it is today.

If you ever want to get nerdy with us, this project was a Rubik's Cube of code difficulties.  From the flood zone requirements established by FEMA, to the conversion of an existing residential building into a bar and restaurant, to ADA access and everything in-between.  We learned a lot along the way, and came out the other side knowing way too much about flood-proofing, hydrostatic vs. hydrodynamic forces, and what the B.F.E. is.. (Base Flood Elevation)

It's almost 3 years since it all began, but it's finally open! So go visit, get some chicken wings, play some games, and hang out with a drink on the patio. We promise that when you're there, you won't notice all of those technical issues (we can never escape it though.)  All you'll notice is a neighborhood bar that feels strangely new and old, is both gritty yet smart, and that stands out by feeling like it was always there.

Micro-Condos in OTR by Keren Kabo

EXISTING PHOTOS

Construction at the Stafford project is nearing completion – the project is a mixed-use development combining 3 buildings into a single development, including 11 residential units and several white-boxed commercial spaces. 


EARLY PROCESS PHOTOS

 

At 1233 Walnut, careful removal of several unusable attic spaces allowed us to open up the space and create dramatic lofts units full of light. At 33 East 13th street, existing historic bay windows and brick light-wells allowed for gracious, open kitchen-living-dining rooms, as well as spacious bedrooms with full-height storage and rolling glass doors. 


NEAR COMPLETION PHOTOS

The project also incorporates several micro-units with rolling library ladder storage and built-in millwork. These micros, along with several other loft spaces will be coming online shortly – stay tuned!

 

Fresh Faced! by Keren Kabo

We are so excited to announce that our website is ready to go! We've made a few updates to showcase some of our newer projects better and have also provided a platform to showcase CRASH our drone! Take a look and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date on what else we are working on!

Enjoy!

Findlay Project by Black Rock Construction by Keren Kabo

We have been waiting in eager anticipation for one of our prized Findlay projects to wrap up and it looks like our wait is nearly over!

This projects is a residential addition and heavy renovation of a historic 1880’s building in Over-the-Rhine. Though the residence is in the heart of an dense urban neighborhood, it was designed with plenty of outdoor living space as well as ample natural light. The building features modern aesthetics while preserving the building’s historic features. This project will achieve a LEED Platinum rating, the highest rating on the LEED green building rating system. This custom home was designed by us and is being built by our sister company, Blackrock Construction.

We are so impressed with what they have done! Well done BRC.

 Two of the three roof patios open up onto a park and a 12 foot glass wall provides further connection from the dining room to the park.

Two of the three roof patios open up onto a park and a 12 foot glass wall provides further connection from the dining room to the park.

 The roof patio provides a covered kitchenette for barbequing, entertaining, and dining. Sleek, low profile glass and steel handrails maintain an unobstructed connection to the park and neighborhood. The catwalk leads to a spiral stair down to the dining room terrace on the second floor.

The roof patio provides a covered kitchenette for barbequing, entertaining, and dining. Sleek, low profile glass and steel handrails maintain an unobstructed connection to the park and neighborhood. The catwalk leads to a spiral stair down to the dining room terrace on the second floor.

 The original wood joists were removed in the basement to open up the space. The original fieldstone foundation walls were stabilized and sealed to make a basement theater space.

The original wood joists were removed in the basement to open up the space. The original fieldstone foundation walls were stabilized and sealed to make a basement theater space.

 The main living space, which includes the living room, kitchen, and dining room, was kept as open as possible. A steel and glass lightwell brings in natural light and fresh air in the summertime

The main living space, which includes the living room, kitchen, and dining room, was kept as open as possible. A steel and glass lightwell brings in natural light and fresh air in the summertime