FIREHOUSE CONVERSION | Adaptive Reuse, Remodel, Addition, Energy Retrofit
Located outside Nevada City at 4000 feet in elevation, our client bought a decommissioned firehouse with the intent of turning the building into his residence. When one envisions an old fire station – the image of aging bricks, bell towers, and fire poles might be called forth. This fire station, however, lacked the charm the name suggests and was essentially a large garage for fire engines. We decided to subtly evoke the typology of the firehouse in the conversion as a nod to the building's previous life, while re-imagining the interior as a loft-style residence with a spacious, open floor plan.
The retrofit design uses minimal partitions and two small, strategically placed additions to provide a versatile, three-bedroom residence. To create the upstairs bedroom and flex space, the back half of the original ventilated attic was removed and re-framed as a vaulted ceiling. The two large roll up garage door openings were converted into expansive south facing windows with steel surrounds for shading and as a playful memory of the original garage doors. A new chimney between the two south windows recalls the bell towers seen on older, classic firehouses. This feature is repeated at the north end of the building as an elongated clerestory to bring much-needed daylight into the attic bedroom.
The remodeled structure also underwent an energy retrofit to create a comfortable, low energy use building. All the walls and roof were re-insulated and the existing slab was built over with a vapor barrier and rigid insulation. Detailed air sealing was undertaken and new windows were outfitted throughout the home. A 5.5 kW roof-mounted photovoltaic system offsets nearly all of the home's electrical consumption. Salvaged wide plank, Southern yellow pine flooring stretches out throughout the house — milled from old bleachers (caked in gum on one side), which the owner scored on Craig's List.
TYPE: Adaptive Reuse: Conversion of Fire Station to Residence, Addition, Energy Retrofit
SIZE: 2508 SF
LOCATION: Nevada City Area, Northern California
ARCHITECT: Atmosphere Design Build
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Mark Jokerst, SE
MECHANICAL: Balance Point Home Performance