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You ar at: Home / Testimonials / Lazar Stucco in media / Time for a Change:

Time for a Change

By Kim Catanzarite | Photography by Holger Obenaus

It's hard enough to complete a remodeling job for one homeowner-and keep the residing family happy-let alone a condominium with 115 units and many more homeowners, all who have their own opinions and preferences.

So it's not surprising that the plans for the residential lobby at the Dockside Condominium had been up in the air for more than 10 years before the building committee made the necessary decisions to get started. After all, the job would take months to complete and affect every resident.

"The condominium was constructed in the late '70s," says Christopher Rose, architect on the project and also a Dockside resident for the past six years. The lobby had good bones but was very dated and needed a facelift. We wanted to bring the whole space into the 21st century."

Long before any work started, Rose solicited the homeowners to contribute opinions and comments on the pending project. The majority agreed the lobby should be treated as the foyer of their homes. The original design had some Georgian detail, such as crown molding, so the group decided to follow that stylistic direction.

First, however, there were many functional issues to address. Four infrequently used seating areas occupied the bulk of the lobby. The manager's office was tiny, and the secretary's office lacked storage space. The handicap entrance was a treacherous brick walkway while the library was little more than a storage closet. In addition, the security guard sat at a desk at the end of the hall. The floor was covered with Oriental rugs (which were trip hazards), and the carts that residents used to wheel in groceries and other items were strewn about the lobby haphazardly.

Another major concern was that the ground floor was mostly glassed in. While the glass allowed great views of the water, it was not impact-resistant. "If it were breached during a storm," says Rose, "it could wreak havoc on the entire building."

Rose knew that such a complex job, with so many people to keep happy throughout the often messy, noisy, chaotic months ahead, would require a special kind of builder with great organizational skills and a calm, friendly temperament. He'd worked with
Bruce Canton of Canton Construction Co. on many residential jobs on Kiawah Island and trusted Canton's expertise and skills.

The project would incorporate slip-resistant bluestone walkways, impact-resistant glass
windows, a re-graded handicap ramp, granite flooring and Venetian plaster walls
highlighted with molding, wainscoting and pilasters.

Canton and others bid on the job, then waited for months. After sorting through many bids, the building committee finally awarded him the job.

"The tough part of the project was that we had many residents coming and going every day, and they needed to access the elevator corridor, which was a major part of the remodeling project," says Canton. "The trickiest part of the job was keeping the homeowners happy and able to come and go."

The project would incorporate slip-resistant bluestone walkways, impact-resistant glass windows, a re-graded handicap ramp, granite flooring and Venetian plaster walls highlighted with molding, wainscoting and pilasters.

Rather than four seating areas, Rose made a plan for a sizeable library with built-in shelving of knotty heart pine, a concierge station for the security guard and a cart room with carpeted walls to keep the carts corralled. The plan also added space to the manager's office and created a boardroom for committee meetings.

"We demolished the original lobby in stages," says Canton. "It was a long and tedious tear-out process. My project manager did more public relations and cleanup, to keep the site neat and orderly, than anything else. It was an exercise in communications and coordination."

All the materials that make up the lobby had to hold up to heavy use. For example, the floors would need to support weighty items moving in and out of the building. They also needed to be slip-resistant, even when wet. The ceilings (formerly an office-style drop ceiling) had to be able to withstand leaks from above, so Rose chose fiberglass for that. The walls had to resist bumps and scratches."The Venetian plaster we used has been around for millennia, gets harder with age, and absorbs toxins from the air," says Rose.

Picasso granite, so-called because it has been used in several museums over the years, created a luxurious ambience. "Instead of putting in a sea of granite, we put in a 'stone rug' to dress up the area," Rose says. The 'stone rug' from the front entrance to the elevators is a pathway of glossy granite set within surrounding textured granite. A circular design in the granite and a dome in the ceiling mark the place where the elevator and the access meet. The access hall ends with a curved wall that is the backdrop for an elegant curved sofa.

It was Canton's goal to keep the work moving forward at all times. He posted weekly updates in the elevator to let residents know what was being done and how long it would take.

When the building phase ended, Beverly Bohan of Haute Design came on board to upgrade the various spaces with furnishings, rugs and a unique artistic flair. Her goal was to create a timeless design that appealed to all homeowners.

"Design is architecturally based," says Bohan, "so, in a way, the building told me what to do. When I looked out the windows and saw the view of the water, I felt we needed to bring the outside in." Accordingly, she created a soothing sea-inspired color scheme.

Working with a tight budget, Bohan turned to area artists and craftspeople to incorporate local flavor. For example, a table was built by a local craftsman and a painting was custom-made for the space. All fabrics were chosen for color, texture, and durability.

The final result was a soothing, classic setting—a timeless design that appropriately updated the lobby, improved the building's curb appeal and enhanced everyone's market values.

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