Tucked into the folds of the icehouse rehab scope of work some accomplishments stand out more than others. The garapa paneling in the bathroom, for example, has been a long, slooow labor of love many months in the making. Many stages and many hands have shaped this initiative, so anticipation has been building for many months. The column flanked vestibule (and the bookmatched ash threshold upon which they rest) is different. I’ll try to explain why this installation is momentous for me.
[Let’s start with the] architectural salvage [of]… Greek Revival columns that we salvaged from Rosslyn’s future dining room back in 2006 in the early days or our renovation project. (Source: Architectural Salvage: Repurposed Columns)
Icehouses didn’t historically rely upon columns for structural support, of course. They were utilitarian buildings purpose built to preserve ice cut from lakes, ponds, and rivers during winter to ensure access to ice (and cold storage) during more temperate seasons. Icehouse design was practical. Embellishments like Greek Revival columns would have been impractical, perhaps even frivolous.
But, needless to say, Rosslyn‘s icehouse rehabilitation is not an historic preservation project. It is an adaptive reuse project. It’s heart and soul is relevance to us today. Think dynamic, multipurpose, vibrant. Think simple and minimalist, but beautiful. Think inviting. Think whimsical. Straddling an unlikely divide — home office (though I prefer the connotations of study/studio) and recreation/entertaining space — the icehouse we’re conjuring into existence will blend productivity, creativity, wellness, and the largely outdoor lifestyle that we favor.
Why, you might well ask, would we need two imposing columns inside the diminutive icehouse? While the question is reasonable, perhaps *need* is not the most appropriate evaluation. After all, adaptive reuse of a utility building originally constructed to fulfill a highly specific (and outdated) function obviously doesn’t *need* handsome embellishments for structural support. And yet the opportunity to re-integrate these historic Rosslyn elements into an otherwise utilitarian barn has presented a whimsical challenge that at some level echoes the unlikely marriage of work space and recreation hub we’re imagining into existence with this newest rehab project. (Source: Re-tuning Columns)
Just as fusing work and play in a single space might initially seem incompatible, designing a column flanked vestibule inside an icehouse might evoke concerns of incongruity. Fair concern. And final judgment will be for you to make once we reach completion.
And so as we stride toward completions of the icehouse rehabilitation I draw your attention not only to the finally repurposed columns that once supported a beam in Rosslyn’s dining room. Now let your eyes drift down to the floor, to the bookmatched ash threshold crafted byPeter from some of our homegrown stump-to-lumber hardwood. Yes, it’s breathtaking. And, yes, the charactered grain forms a large stylized heart (and an enormous grin!)
Columns, threshold, and header are finally coalescing in a long envisioned “spatial transition from the more intimate entrance and coffee bar into the loftier main room”. Witnessing this accomplishment after so many months of planning and anticipation filled me with joy. It affirmed hopes and plans, it rewarded a risky design decision, defining and framing two functionally distinct spaces without losing the transparency and porosity. It instills a playful unlikelihood in an otherwise mostly predictable environment. It filters light dramatically, adding sensuous silhouettes to an otherwise geometric linearity. It delineates without restricting. It is a suggestion. It is poetry.
And, although there’s more work to be completed before a final assessment is justified, I am immensely pleased with the column flanked vestibule. Thank you, Peter. Thank you, Justin.
What do you think?