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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
     Monthly Newsletter
October 2010
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: From Bungalow to Beach House

Architectural Firm of the Month: Louise A. Agnes

Helpful Links for Architects

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Devonian Stone stairsWelcome to the October issue of our newsletter! We do our best to present you with informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is anything you would like to read about here that we have not yet covered, or if you have a project you would like to share with us, please contact us and tell us about it. If chosen, we will feature your project in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter, which goes out to architects and building industry professionals across the country. Click here to find out more about us, or visit us on our Facebook Fan Page.

Architectural Firm of the Month: Louise A. Agnes

Louise Agnes Mariners InnLocated in Northport, NY, Louise A. Agnes started her firm in 1982 and has been responsible for providing outstanding design services ever since. She graduated Cum Laude from Syracuse University and is licensed in New York, New Jersey and Florida and was the first female professional hired by Grumman Aerospace. Today, the practice encompasses many building types, ranging from residential homes to commercial, with expertise in renovations.

The firm's philosophy is, "Here at Louise Agnes architect's office, we believe in a collaborative process. We greatly value our relationships with our clients and take pride in the journey we take part in to create the home of their dreams. The journey is always a satisfying one and doesn't end until the desired result is achieved and ready to be realized."

"Beyond this simple philosophy, is an overview of the process taken to realize each project. Its intentions are clear, to help you gain a better understanding of who we are, what we do, and assist you in determining if you want us to be the ones to help you build the home of your dreams."

For more information visit:

Topic of the Month: From Bungalow to Beach House

Louise Agnes Beach House renovation
Fort Hill Landscape 2
To be able to visualize the transformation of a small beach bungalow into a lavish beach house is a rare skill. But then to be able to take that concept and make it a reality is a gift that architect Louise Agnes brought to her client when she redesigned a modest one-story home in Nissequogue, NY by removing the roof, bringing it upward with graceful peaks and filling the interior space with light, soothing colors and harmonious design.

When the design process began, the homeowner had his own idea about the redesign of his house because it was familiar territory as he worked in commercial construction, but when Agnes used her expertise to demonstrate all the possibilities, her plan became the obvious choice. Agnes explains, "The owner of this house actually owned a construction company and built a lot of medical offices. He was experienced and knew pretty much what he wanted. He had the garage detached, it didn't work on the site and it was really tight. I didn't like his idea, so I drew up what he wanted out of respect to show him exactly what it would look like. He actually liked it, but then I showed him my own scheme with an attached garage on the left, he loved it. So even though he's very experienced in construction, I was able to give him another idea that he liked and we ended up going with it."

Agnes's plan involved removing the roof of the house and replacing it with a much higher one, allowing for a second story and larger windows allowing for a more light-filled space. She explains, "This is really mostly a one-story house. Right below the cupola is a large great room, a family room, and a dining area where you can look up and see the light coming in from the cupola. In fact, at night it lights up and looks like a lighthouse. The high ceilings are for effect and make the room feel big, plus you get great views of the ocean through the large windows."

"The roof was totally removed. In half the house we took the roof off and the ceiling off, and in the other half of the house just took the roof off to add on top of it. The basic footprint of the house is still there and the foundation is still there, so it's all there. The roof was ripped off on the vaulted area, on the two-story area, because we put the master suite upstairs, so on the two-story portion of the house with the second floor, we left the ceiling joists. We did what's called 'jumping the box' which means to build over the ceiling joists so that none of the nails get pushed out and you actually have a 1-1/2" space between the top of the ceiling joist and the underside of the new floor joist. That's good because this is a beach house. There are three guest bedrooms, one is used as a den, and then the master suite is upstairs. All the guest bedrooms are on the first floor with the master suite over, so this 'jumping the box' enables extra insulation to buffer any noise coming from below or above."

"Before the renovation, it was a typical beach bungalow. There were four small bedrooms downstairs and we rearranged them into three. We kept the bathroom, the existing master suite in the bathroom, and divided the other three rooms into two to get a better size. The construction took maybe six or seven months and it took a little extra time to get permits because it is an incorporated village."

After the house was built, Agnes worked on some of the interiors. "We did the kitchen layout and the coffered ceiling. The stairwell going up to the balcony is the balcony into the master suite. There was a stairwell to the basement but we moved it underneath the stairs that go up to the second floor. The owner liked niches, so we put niches in by the entry area, which is again two-story if you're looking at the front door."

One of the main issues to building a house on the water, according to Agnes, is having to make sure that it will stand up to bad weather, in this case hurricanes. "It's complicated on the water with all the new hurricane uplift codes and tie-downs, so houses have to be engineered well. We do all the engineering in-house and we want to make sure that nothing flies away. There are a lot of tie downs and interesting details. We created a truss-like structure to get the ceilings up as high as possible, so the ceilings are very interesting."

With the hurricanes that can be expected on Long Island, inspectors made building codes stricter so that homes could withstand the worst possible weather conditions.  Agnes explains, "The codes were changed to require big bolting of the foundation to the structure because one of the things that would destroy a home is if it would actually be lifted up and pulled off of off the foundation. Being on the water we're dealing with 120 mile per hour wind gusts with the hurricanes they expect to get in this area, so it's just a matter of calculating the uplift every 16 inches on center and you have to tie every single rafter down to the top of the plate. With certain types of homes, one story, two story, houses that have long walls versus jogs in and out, you can calculate how you can actually connect the house to the foundation. You also want to tie one rafter to the other. The whole idea is to tie the whole house together so that everything acts as one and is not going to be pulled up."

"Then besides the ties that take the stick building and keep it as one so it doesn't blow away, we have to worry about the windows. There are special windows that you can order or you can prescribe plywood covers that have to get on there before the hurricane arrives because we do have warning and they're required to be on the site and stored. That's one thing the inspectors look for."

When asked what her favorite part of this project was, Agnes replied, "The evolution of it, and the fact that the owner was so happy with the result. I was so relieved when he let me develop my plan and trusted in me to do the best plan for him. That was great. Right now we're designing a house for their son. The biggest compliment I can get is that they recommend me, especially to family."

Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community
The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit:

Architect Online's Continuing Education Center

Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit:

Architectural Record Continuing Education Center
Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums

The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture
CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit:

The Green Meeting Industry Council

The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit:

The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.

Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

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