This project started with a World War II surplus Quonset Hut that was erected in the 1940’s. Over the years it became rental property. The Q-Hut was considered a “tear down” when we bought the house. A contractor’s office located on the street side of the property and was turned into our architectural office.
The structure was stripped down to the steel frame and a misplaced fireplace removed and structural reinforcements made to resist high winds. A small bedroom building was built and a new garage with a second story guest room enclosed a courtyard that surround an old oak tree.
The entrance sequence begins with a reclaimed cedar and corrugated glass door that opens into the courtyard. Corrugated fiberglass panels roof the loggia that connects the bedrooms and the garage/guesthouse. A screened stair hall connects the bedrooms to the Quonset hut, which contains the living dining, and kitchen spaces. Cantilevered concrete spiral steps, bolted together with dock bolts and a steel rail lead to the children’s rooms upstairs. The three steps from the foyer, down to the living, are our redneck version of Carlos Scarpa's very ethereal melodic steps in the Brion-Vega Cemetery. Ours sound like someone running up a sliding board but they make us laugh.
The challenge with the asymmetry of a 3/4 Quonset hut was remedied with a crown molding that wraps the living/dining and kitchen. The spaces on the side that goes to the ground are used for a small reading area, powder room, and closets. The fireplace chimney is a stuccoed round concrete drainpipe. We held it back from the wall installed a vertical window showing the sunlight/ shadow of the pipe with glimpse of the trees and sky beyond.
The dining and living rooms open to a large terrace with a granite dining table for 20 designed by us. The kitchen opens to the courtyard on one side and a corrugated fiberglass roofed screen porch addition on the other. The translucent roof minimizes the loss of light in the kitchen. The steel corrugated cabinets in the kitchen were very economical to build and are very functional.
This sixty year old Quonset Hut now provides the best in contemporary living and won Southern Living's Renovation of the Yearin 2009.