Nearly every house will go through a renovation at some point, especially the historic ones. Houses that have stood for years often lack the amenities that a modern homeowner desires, but they have wonderful bones that can be designed around with ease.
How, then, can you best incorporate modern features into an antique edifice and create a practical, beautiful home? Hiring an architect, such as the husband-wife team at Open Door Architecture in Knoxville, Tennessee, should be step one in the process.
That’s what HGTV had in mind when they hired Open Door to renovate a historic Knoxville home for their HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway 2017®. The firm was founded in 2013 by Sara Martin, AIA, and her husband Sean, to specialize in redoing historic homes for modern lifestyles.
“We have a long history in the community of being involved with older homes,” Sara Martin says. “We’re in the old house culture in Knoxville.” As such, they were the perfect choice when HGTV came calling for a dedicated local firm to serve as architects for the HGTV Urban Oasis 2017.
Planning a home renovation? Visit AIA’s Architecture Firm Directory to find an architect near you.
When deciding on an architect, it’s key to find someone who specializes in what you need. A historic house, for example, can come with unique windows, woodwork, and exposed beams that need preservation. A good architect will know how to maintain those elements while creating a new master suite or a large modern kitchen that give the house a new feel.
“Master suites and kitchens are the most used rooms in the house, and the biggest friction point before they get renovated,” Sara says. “A lot of time and money are spent on them, and how they end up working really matters.”
With the HGTV Urban Oasis 2017, Sara and Sean were handed a tree-filled backyard that allowed them to convert an old apartment at the back of the house into a screened-in porch that resembles a treehouse. Rather than the freeway and highway walls that loom over many nearby backyards, happenstance and design prowess have made both the front and the back of the HGTV Urban Oasis 2017 into something special.
But renovations like these aren’t limited to “special” homes. While the HGTV Urban Oasis 2017 is indeed unique, Open Door Architecture’s operating principle is that an architect—or architects—can work wonders on any residential project.
“No house is too humble for an architect,” Sara says. “It’s a big undertaking to renovate your house, but that’s where the benefits of hiring an architect can really show. You’ll know you’re being responsible with your investment, and that you didn’t miss an opportunity to make the right changes.”
For more on the HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway 2017, visit HGTV.com/UrbanOasis.