Established in 1997, urbanorder architectecture is devoted to reviving, reusing, and rethinking architecture. Focusing on innovative design ideas that reuse the character and uniqueness of what a home already possesses, Steve Hurtt and Dean Berlon (founders, architects) take your home’s layout and reimagine it to become something you never expected it could be. (Allowing the client to rethink their home). While maintaining each client’s wishes and reflecting their personality, every single detail in your design is important and a priority.
NJW Renovations Unlimited has collaborated with urbanorder countless times over the years. Recently, they worked closely with us and our client to completely rethink their home and make it more functional, livable, and increase the flow of the space. They love showing clients ways to use their space better, and this project highlighted that in an amazing way. We spoke with Steve about this project, his organization, and his relationship with NJW Renovations Unlimited and gained insight into the magnificent work that urbanorder architecture does for their clients.
Steve Hurtt, Q&A- Rethink Your Home:
What has been the most fun, challenging, or interesting project you’ve worked on recently?
Really all our residential projects. We like to show people there are other ways to use their space better, so we often move kitchens, living areas, etc. to help them use all their space in a productive way. Reconfiguring what is already there and then also expanding space is always challenging, rewarding, and interesting.
Can you tell us a little more about this specific project we are highlighting today?
Sure. There were three formal rooms in the front of the house that weren’t being used. The kitchen was located in the back room. We met with the homeowners who were moving to Columbus and wanted to make this house more livable. They specifically wanted to add a primary bedroom closet and re-do the kitchen. We took that information and showed them how to reconfigure the existing kitchen OR we offered them an option where they could move the kitchen to the middle of the home. This option created a formal living room in the front, a kitchen in the middle, and then an informal living room that led out to the backyard. They decided to move the kitchen to the middle and the result was much better flow and function on the first floor.
The second floor had 4-bedroom spaces, however, you had to go through one of the bedrooms to access the stairs to the third floor, which was an odd design and made that room not useful. There was another living space on the 3rd floor, that was hard to use with the location of the bedroom and stairway. We created a hallway to connect to the stairs and then made a laundry space and primary bedroom closet in the hall and a bathroom out of the reconfigured bedroom. We did have to sacrifice one bedroom but created a private space and a lot more function as a result.
As an architect, what is the best part about working with a trusted contractor?
Having confidence that they are going to follow through with the intended design. We like working with contractors that like to work with architects. There are a lot of design firms out there and that is fine, but in this case the client came to us at urbanorder and we recommended them to NJW Renovations Unlimited because they are great communicators, we work well with them, and we trust them.
This was the first project we had after the shutdown for Covid and as such, I wasn’t able to be on-site as much as I typically like to. It was a little challenging and we had to find different ways of communicating. I had a lot of visual needs so the crew would send pictures and we would have to do this often to make sure everything was on track and per the design.
What is something new you’ve learned recently—either for your job or personally?
That people need to be patient. It’s not like it is on HGTV, there are supply chain issues, labor issues, contractors are overloaded right now. People are in their houses more, so they are remodeling. It is important to plan your renovation, your budget, and get on someone’s schedule.
What’s the best comment you heard or received from a client?
The best comment I get is that people love their space. Appreciation of what you’ve designed and that you’ve really thought it through. I love hearing “It’s better than we expected.”
What’s a favorite project that you’ve worked on with NJW Renovations Unlimited?
We have done so many projects with them for over 30 years, but one that stands out is a client we did several renovations for. It was a stone house on the river and the client wanted to add a greenhouse structure with a pool in it. It was another level of trust because it was a repeat client, and it had some challenges but turned out great. I am sure there are a lot that I could site for this answer.
Talking with Steve, it is apparent that he has the ability to look at something and create a design that the average person wouldn’t think of doing. The ability to reimagine a space is critical to this work, and urbanorder architecture does that for every client. Want to rethink your home? If you are feeling lost in your space and not sure how it can ever become what you imagine in your head—you may be surprised at the possibilities. NJW Renovations Unlimited can help bring it to life with the help of talented and inventive architects. See how we can help, by contacting us for a consultation!