“Architects Pruchnicki, Durham Live Their Designs”

by Vince Brennan

As far as unique homes go, St. Louis architects have some of the top spots in the area. We asked Sue Pruchnicki of Bond Architects and Phil Durham of Studio|Durham for a look inside their living spaces to see what makes them unique and the challenges they faced in construction.

Sue Pruchnicki
Principal, Bond Designs
We started renovating this13,000-square-foot space, complete with a freight elevator, in 2009. The first and second floors are about 6,500 square feet each and the basement is an additional 4,000 square feet.

Contractors used: Both Tom Peterson (principal at Mackey Mitchell Architects and Pruchnicki’s partner) and I with help from our friends.

Problems faced: We do most of the work ourselves with out-of-pocket funds. We work with found objects that we get from scavenging and salvage. Figuring out an artful way to use the interesting things we find is the fun challenge we face. We are finding that the recycled materials we are using are higher quality than we can afford to purchase new and have a much more interesting history.

Most unique feature: We have many unique features of our living space, but the bathroom project shows several reused objects, from many different sources, brought together in a cohesive design. The bathroom shows the repurposed corrugated glass from a torn down house in Frontenac; the oak door is from the downtown Central Library renovation, the mirror is from a friend (it used to be over his fireplace mantel); the marble shower tile and the solid surface shower trim is from a contractor’s outlet, and the vanity and glass sink were purchased from Hoods Discount Home Centers.

Phil Durham
Owner and Principal, Studio|Durham Architects

Renovation of a 10,000-square-foot warehouse from the 1880s into an office for Studio|Durham Architects and a loft apartment above. The building had been unoccupied since the 1970s.

Contractors used: My wife (Hali) and I were our own general contractors, including all of the labor and finishing work. The framing was done by Pat Lauderback Construction, replacement windows by Raming Distribution and electrical work by Born Electric.

Problems faced: Because it had been abandoned for so long, the building had many problems with water damage and even substantial fire damage in one area. In addition, all work had to comply with the requirements of federal and state historic renovation tax credit programs.

Most unique feature: The 2-story interior entry courtyard on the street side, a second floor deck for the loft apartment was created by removing part of the roof in the back of the building. Lots of natural light, particularly from the east and the north contribute to the uniqueness of the structure. It also has great views of the Arch from the living room.

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