About Real Cedar
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Architect: Architect: Bruns Architecture; Stephen Bruns, AIA
Photography: Tricia Shay Photography
You don’t need a Master of Architecture to fully appreciate why Stephen Bruns took home the ALA Gold Design Award for best reno last year. Just one look at the before and after shots of this Midvale Courtyard House, and you can see why the project merits so much recognition. After all, the Milwaukee architect took a lifeless, uninspired half-century old, one-story ranch house and converted it into a beautiful contemporary two-story structure that’s just brimming with curb appeal. But his work here goes beyond a mere facelift and volume expansion.
“Upon closer investigation,” explains Bruns, “one discovers a series of private outdoor rooms, where the interior spaces visually extend beyond their original boundaries. The result is a collection of independent wings each with a heightened focus on their unique programmatic requirements.”
In terms of his color palette, Bruns went with a lot of darker tones on the exterior, especially around courtyard area. To balance out those receding shades, he used rich western red cedar on the exterior entry wall as well as the courtyard screen wall.
“We wanted a powerful and natural material that stands out with an importance commensurate to main entry, while also instilling tradition and a peacefulness that only a natural material can do,” he says, adding that he chose the WRC species specifically for the following reason: “Western Red Cedar has a coloration and depth that glows as if it has a fire within. When paired with more neutral materials such as concrete, stone, or metal, we use cedar to breathe life into the composition.”
Grade: D and better
Size: Nominal 1 x 6 Tongue and Groove, “V” joints, smooth face out
Fastening: Stainless Steel 16 gauge nails concealed (45 degree at base of tongue)
Applied Finnish: Sikkens Log and Siding, 085 Teak