2017 Year in Review

Intern Dylan with 5/8ths partners Grant and Bradley outside of Voyager restaurant in Ferndale, MI

Intern Dylan with 5/8ths partners Grant and Bradley outside of Voyager restaurant in Ferndale, MI

In March 2017, Voyager opened its door to the public. The last time we posted, it wasn't much more than a storage shed. Now, it is enjoying great success, recently the recipient of Eater Detroit's Reader's Choice Restaurant of the Year award. If you haven't been there yet, stop by during happy hour from 4:00-6:00 for $1 oysters. 

1DX10022.jpg
1DX10075.jpg
1DX10318.jpg
1DX10008.jpg

These gorgeous photos were taken by our clients at Zara Creative who we just finished building an office/studio for right across the street from Voyager on E. 9 Mile. The best part about doing a design/build project for a photo/video studio is the documentation they put together. Throughout the course of construction, Zara took time-lapse photography. Here is one of their videos:

Zara Creative is moving into 5500 square feet of custom office and studio space in fabulous Ferndale. Here’s our second sneak peek of the new digs. Cinematographers: Eric Kuzma, Chris Peralta, Ricky Orbain & Mark Hurrish Editor: Eric Kuzma Music: PremiumBeat.com Design + Construction: five/eighths architecture www.zaracreative.com

More photos of the finished Zara offices will be coming soon , so be sure to check back to the projects portion of our website. Their team moved in this week, and while they get acclimated, a few final details will be completed.  

The other big construction project for 2017 is the next restaurant venture from Eli Boyer (of Voyager). It will be located in the newly constructed 28 Grand Loft Building in Detroit's Capitol Park. The fast-casual restaurant will be called Lovers Only and primarily feature burgers and sandwiches, among other items (including boozy milkshakes). The construction is well underway and should be completed by mid-February. Below are some preview shots of some of the fun details:

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 3.12.34 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 3.13.06 PM.png

If the burgers are half as good as the wallpaper, I am sold.

Other notable design projects from 2017 include Weiss Distilling Co., Drifter Coffee, Rebel Boxing Gym, Iron Ridge Event Space, an Attic Renovation in Woodbridge, and a Pre-Fab Housing project. Be sure to check out the project pages to see them develop.

In order to keep up with all of the new projects this year, we hired one full-time employee, Isabelle Leysens, and a handful of part-time employees including Dylan Masko, Jarrett Fishman, Kayla Jeffries (Grant's wife) and Leah Siewert (Bradley's partner). 

This summer, Bradley and Leah welcomed their daughter Luna into the world. 

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 3.51.33 PM.png

In other news, our Instagram page reached 1,000 followers. Bradley posts daily construction updates which is an awesome way to follow along with all of our projects. Instagram alone has accounted for many new client opportunities, and recently a sponsorship by Truewerk clothing.

What's Ahead for 2018

We have 3 exciting construction projects on the horizon, including Color | Ink Studio in Hazel Park, K West Spa in Ann Arbor, and an addition to our subcontractor Paradigm Plumbing's building (which will be the future home of 5/8ths Architecture)

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 4.03.01 PM.png

Thank you for your continued interest and support! 

With love,

Kayla, and the 5/8ths team

 

Seafood Restaurant: Construction Begins

As many of you loyal blog followers probably already know, we have been designing a seafood restaurant in Ferndale (the name hasn't quite been etched in stone yet). We've also been selected as the general contractor for the project, and last month we started work on site.

The first step was to cut out portions of the concrete floor so that we could run underground plumbing:

 

Then the guys at Paradigm Plumbing did their thing:

 

And then it was time to patch up the floor. First we got rid of some more of the existing slab, which was cracked and settling in some areas:

Then we had had to get the dirt level and compact and drill rebar dowels into the perimeter of our new pour:

We also prepped a spot outside for a new dumpster pad:

...and then it was time for the concrete. This was my first time pouring concrete (at this scale), but I think it went well (thanks in large part to an old friend of 5/8ths, Chris Ritchie, and his crew):

After letting that dry for a few weeks, it was time to grind it all down to expose the aggregate and make it nice and shiny (and cleanable):

We also ground out a section of the floor at the bar so that we can inlay tile and have it be flush with the concrete:

And then it was time to start interior framing:

We even got some help from Chef Marc Bogoff:

He's practicing standing behind the bar

He's practicing standing behind the bar

That's all for now, MUCH more to come!

five/eighths architecture: year in review

It's been a long time since we wrote a blog; we figured now would be a good time to update everyone on what we've been up to lately as July 23rd marked the official one year anniversary of the firm.

We sold the Mapleleaf Residence back in April, and even though it took a little longer than we expected, we couldn't be happier with the results. Final photos can be seen on the Mapleleaf project page.

 

Grant quit his job at G.H. Forbes at the end of January and began working full-time at 5/8ths on Feb 1st. From then until mid-June, we were operating 5/8ths out of Grant's dining room (much to the chagrin of Kayla). However, in April we found an industrial office/shop space less than a half mile from Grant's house and begin working on it to make it more suitable to our needs.

The first thing we did was paint everything white. We needed it to be bright inside as there aren't many windows currently. As you can see, the space has a very industrial look with masonry walls, exposed ceiling structure, and a concrete floor. We hung new fluorescent lights at angles to break up the rectilinear nature of the structure.

temporary desk situation.

temporary desk situation.

It's still a work in progress, we are going to build a conference table and a more permanent set of desks, but our other projects are keeping us pretty busy at the moment so we only have time to do a little at a time.

framing out the new entry door.

framing out the new entry door.

building a pin-up wall / storage unit. 

building a pin-up wall / storage unit. 

We'll post more photos once we get closer to completion. We started working from the office about a month ago. 

 

Earlier in the year, we were hired by a local digital advertising firm to produce some drawings for their new office in Dublin, Ireland. Unfortunately, there were no site visits in the scope, but they did send us some nice photos of the new, modern glass demising walls we laid out in the ancient building:

More photos can be seen at the project page.

 

We've been designing an addition/renovation to a brick colonial house in Grosse Pointe, and construction started this month. They started by removing the brick from the back of the house and excavating for the new foundations:

And have already poured the new footings and are getting ready to build the new foundation walls:

Again, we'll keep you updated as construction progresses.

 

Perhaps our most exciting project right now is a new seafood restaurant we are designing in Ferndale. We'll begin construction soon, but in the meantime, check out the links to the articles written about the restaurant on our homepage

 

We've got a couple of other project going on as well, but more on those later. Now that we've got several projects moving to the construction phase, expect more frequent blog posts. A big thank you to our friends and family that have supported us throughout Year One of five/eighths architecture! We're excited for Year Two.

Mapleleaf Residence: Week Eleven

Apparently the man who used to own the Mapleleaf Residence made birdhouses. There are a couple in the yard and a lot of the neighbors have them too. We painted this one with our 'Margarita' color.

The mailbox also got a facelift. Actually, there was no mailbox until recently.

Every detail matters!

Every detail matters!

 

Speaking of facelifts, we've been working on making the front entry more inviting. We built this privacy fence to block view of the neighbors house. There will be one more section of fence when it's all said and done.

We wanted it to seem like the fence boards just continued into the house, hence the cedar walls in the foyer. 

We also built another section of deck that connects the front 'patio' area to the front entry.

We have one more section to build to get us all the way to the front door. It will step down again to get there.

 

Also in the foyer, we built a barn door for the front hall closet. The first step was biscuit joining a bunch of cedar together..

And then add some steel hardware...

And voila! Got yourself a mighty fine barn door:

IMG_6320.JPG
 

We'd like to thank new volunteer Katie Hogan for braving the ladder on the stairs to finish painting the blue accent wall:

Also, the carpet got installed on the second floor. We're pretty happy we decided to not do the hardwood up there.

As you can see, we're getting close to being done with the upstairs entirely. Just some trim, paint touchups, and shower glass to add. We've even got the door hardware installed:

In a previous blog post, I mentioned the cabinet above the fridge. Here's Brad holding it in place:

For a second there we thought we hadn't left enough room beneath it. Apparently we nailed the math the first time around though, because it fits perfectly:

We wanted it the have a 'built-in' look.

We wanted it the have a 'built-in' look.

We also started to tile the full height backsplash in the kitchen:

We're doing a stacked bond with white subway tiles.

We've been installing cabinet lighting as well:

IMG_6195.JPG

We painted the exposed plumbing under the LSL vanity in the first floor bathroom to blend into the wall:

One thing I've learned: renovating is hard on your clothes.

My new favorite toy is our router. I don't recommend routing upside down like I'm doing here though:

Kids, don't try this at home.

Kids, don't try this at home.

We're getting down to the wire! The house should be on the market within the next couple of weeks.

Mapleleaf Residence: Weeks Nine and Ten

Happy Thanksgiving from Five/Eighths! We would like to take this opportunity to thank the following people who have graciously volunteered labor/advice/tools, etc. on the Mapleleaf Residence project:

  • Andre Dubel
  • Ben Stout
  • Blake Jeffries
  • Bob Jeffries
  • Chelsea Ams
  • Jessica Grines
  • Kayla Kopke
  • Les Key
  • Lori Gerich
  • Maureen O'Brien
  • Melissa Rider
  • Michele Jeffries
  • Nate Friedman
  • Nikki Jeffries
  • Steve Wells

The project would have taken three times as long and not been nearly as fun without your help and support. Of course, there's one person we literally could not have done this without, and that's Joyce DeVries.

Joyce? More like Thor-yce, amirirte

Joyce? More like Thor-yce, amirirte

Not only is she there helping practically every day, her experience as a house-flipper and her input as an interior decorator have been invaluable. We have something special planned for all of our volunteers once we sell the house, so stay tuned.

So, here's what we've been working on lately.

Week 9 saw the first snow of the season, and the house managed to keep 100% of the snow out. That's the whole point, right? Architects: Sheltering the World Since Ancient History™

As you can see above, the cedar siding is done on the house, and we are pretty happy with the results. Here's a few more shots:

 

In other Exterior News, we have built a sizable portion of the deck that goes out front. When I saw 'we', I mean Brad and a team of volunteers while I was galavanting about northern Michigan. A special thanks to Steve, Ben, Nate, Blake, and of course Joyce for their help last weekend.

Deck Team. Not pictured: Blake. Pictured: our neighbor Wayne in the extreme background.

Deck Team. Not pictured: Blake. Pictured: our neighbor Wayne in the extreme background.


Deck boards are cedar (what else?)

Deck boards are cedar (what else?)

You may be saying to yourself "That's a low deck", and you'd be right, you observant blog reader you! We had to make it low to get beneath the level of the floor.  We like to think of this deck as an extension of the interior living space, since the inside is relatively small. 

We got is sealed up just in time for it to be buried in snow. Michigan Weather everyone!

That's some nice beading right there.

That's some nice beading right there.

So we've had a large hole in the front of the house that's been covered in plywood for weeks now. Today we finally had the door wall installed:

Last remnants of the red barn color...

Last remnants of the red barn color...

It really opens of the space and makes it feel much larger. We also replaced the front door with a mostly glass one, so you can see the interior cedar wall as you walk up:

We're going to paint that door the same green color as the garage doors. Meanwhile, on the interior, we've been focusing on the kitchen and the bathrooms.

Super minimal pulls on the island drawers

Super minimal pulls on the island drawers

Cedar on the back of the island

Cedar on the back of the island

Base cabinets with brushed stainless pulls

Base cabinets with brushed stainless pulls

That cabinet on the floor will be above the refrigerator

That cabinet on the floor will be above the refrigerator

Which means we FINALLY have plumbing fixtures:

You've probably noticed the sheer amount of tile that is in these bathrooms. I don't know the exact number, but a rough estimate is 11 million individual tiles laid in just the two bathrooms.

First floor bath

First floor bath

Second floor bath

Second floor bath

Storage in the first floor bath, which will also be the laundry room.

Storage in the first floor bath, which will also be the laundry room.

That's all for now...

Mapleleaf Residence: Week Eight

We are entering the home stretch of this renovation. Everything we do now will be visible when the house is complete. That type of work is more satisfying IMO.

Week Eight had us working a lot with cedar. Does anyone NOT like the smell of cedar? If so, this is probably not the house for you. Also, what's wrong with you?

On the exterior, we first put a clear coat on the cedar to protect it from the elements:

Lower left: pile of trash, or scale model of a Gehry building?

Lower left: pile of trash, or scale model of a Gehry building?

And then we hung it in the corner where we removed the Mansard roof:

We still need to turn the corner and we're missing some boards on the front, but you get the idea.

IMG_5789.JPG
 

In the front entry, the walls are now sheathed with raw cedar. This is a much better first impression (aromatically and otherwise) than when we bought the place. Our realtor wouldn't even enter the house the stench was so bad (think dead skunk mixed with raccoon feces).

 

In the kitchen, the upper cabinets are sandwiched between two cedar planks, which become open shelves in the corner:

 

The middle wall cabinet has a range hood hidden inside:

 

Which allowed me to show off my jigsaw skills:

I was pretty proud of that perfect circle.

I promised light fixtures in my last post. Here are some of the more decorative fixtures:

Pendant above the LSL vanity in the lower level bath.

Pendant above the LSL vanity in the lower level bath.

The surface mounted fixture that's going in the three bedrooms.

The surface mounted fixture that's going in the three bedrooms.

Pendant at the front entry. There's more of that raw cedar.

Pendant at the front entry. There's more of that raw cedar.

And the pièce de résistance:

A 30" diameter sphere of white feathers with an orange bulb inside. We got a great deal on this VITA fixture at a local showroom. It hangs in the double-height space by the stairs.

 

We've also been working on the cabinets:

In the lower right, you can see the black doors that all of the base cabinets will have (except the island),

In the lower right, you can see the black doors that all of the base cabinets will have (except the island),

 

Random images of the week:

IMG_5722.PNG

We "heart" Ben for helping us out.

Painting is fun because it leaves one hand open for beer.

Brad had fun for the first ten minutes of this. The other two hours, not so much.

Mapleleaf Residence: Week Two

One of the reasons we saw so much potential in this house is that we could add square footage without expanding the envelope (and therefore eliminating the need for additional foundations, exterior walls, and roofs). The second floor was lofted but only took up about half of the footprint of the first floor. We added joists to infill about 120 additional square feet that will become a third bedroom.

The house wasn't taking advantage of the high ceilings in the first floor living space anyway; if anything it accentuated how small and poorly laid out the first floor was. Check out the time-lapse video of us infilling the floor, it took us most of a Sunday:

And a photo of the finished infill:

IMG_5594.JPG

Our First Project: Mapleleaf Residence

On Thursday, 9/17/2015, we closed on a house in Waterford, MI. This house has been vacant for over three years and has been overrun by vegetation, raccoons, squirrels, and spiders. It also happens to be one of the ugliest, most poorly laid out houses we have ever seen (and we have both seen a lot of houses over the years, due to our experience as house inspectors). We will be completely gutting and remodeling the Mapleleaf Residence over the next 6-8 weeks so that it can hit the market in early-to-mid November.

Gambrel-tastic!

Gambrel-tastic!

Rear of the barn - er... house

Rear of the barn - er... house

There's a house behind there somewhere

There's a house behind there somewhere

As you can see, the exterior of the house (at least the part that isn't completely covered by overgrowth) looks eerily similar to a barn, with its red paint and gambrel roof. The interior looks like a rustic lodge with a lofted 2nd floor, but the layout is so poor that it's completely unusable in its current state. The stairs land right in the middle of the already small living space, chopping it in half. The two upstairs bedrooms do not have doors and are therefore open to each other and the whole first floor; there is absolutely no privacy. The furnace and water heater are in a terribly inconvenient location that creates a bowling shaped area at the rear of the house. Click on the photos below to see the interior:

If you know anyone in the market for a custom designed, modern home with access to Elizabeth Lake, tell them to follow along on the blog to check in on the progress. Time to start demo!