Memphis, TN


Tobias Residence

The attic of a home on the Historic Register was never planned as inhabitable space. The owner required an office with multiple large computer monitors and storage for books and files, a multi-functioned living/bedroom/bathroom space and a private outdoor cigar/wine respite. 

The vision translated into a kinetic wood sleeve inserted into to the existing 1920's framing, amplifying the contrast between old and new. An ebony box of skateboard ramp material contains the functional elements of office and bathroom. The original structure was neither plumb nor level. A prefabricated system of oak panel of varying panel widths and depths was developed to interface between historic and modern elements and expedite the construction process. This established a rigor to the random window shapes and sizes. The entry begins the journey of a new material palette—limited to three materials and textures to establish a contrast of dynamic tactile quality. The addition of a skylight and absence of window treatments enhances visual interest as the natural light changes the overall experience as the day unfolds to night. Indirect LED ribbon lighting above and below the oak panel skin, and a recessed linear light running the extent of the box creates a surreal environment for overnight guests. The entry stair is lit with a ribbon light inserted into a perforated blackened steel handrail and begins the journey of materials, textures and light. The "Nest,” or cigar/wine balcony lightly touches the plaster of yesteryear. It provides fresh air and a bird’s eye view of the surrounding historic neighborhood.

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Status: Built
Location: Memphis, TN, US