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Remodel in Nob Hill Creates Something Unique

By Rebecca Langton
For the Journal
    Traditionally, houses are made of boxes and straight lines; spirals and half-circles are seen more often in playgrounds.
    But in the case of a house in the historic Nob Hill neighborhood, spirals, slopes and circles create a home far from ordinary— a remodeling of an old home pushed to the brink of reconstruction.
    "The remodel and addition mixed the old with the new to make it flow," said Martin Grummer, the architect. "We were trying to get away from the box."
    Grummer worked with world-renowned architect Bart Prince for 15 years and has been designing similar residential and commercial structures in Albuquerque for the past 26 years.
    His recent remodel of what is now referred to as the "art house in Nob Hill" was a project where the homeowner gave him complete freedom.
    The homeowner's only request was for a new master bedroom and bath and a new kitchen. Other than that, she provided absolutely no guidelines.
    "It's one thing to come up with a great design, but the drawing has to actually become the end result," said Grummer.
    His ideas are brought to life through the contractors he works with. "Eric Merryman and Aaron May are builders I know that can build my designs," Grummer said. "We get much better results with a person on site who is an advocate of the style and art."
    The owner of the home needed additional space but wanted it to be interesting. So Grummer designed a home of shapes, textures and a different point of view.
    The kitchen is crescent-shaped. Corrugated metal forms the walls of the kitchen and flows upward into the raised ceiling. The stained-concrete countertop wraps around the room, encircling the space and emphasizing the shape.
    Copper-faced cabinets also wrap around the room, reflecting light. Overhead and accessed by a metal spiral staircase is the new loft space nestled into the conical shape of the home, providing a quiet, private space.
    The new master bedroom is a half-circle room, with a curved, metal, vault door that shuts securely to create a very quiet, womblike space.
    A series of tall, narrow windows creates the eastern wall of the room, providing daylight and a perfect view of the moon and stars.
    The master bath is an open and simple space. The ceiling is lined with copper shingles, providing a reflective surface and rich color. The tub is a refinished European antique and the curtain rods are recycled copper piping. "The fun is coming up with creative solutions," said Grummer.
    The elements represented in the house are metal, stone, concrete and light. The homeowner said the home is made from many abundant and lasting elements, giving it an organic and "connected" feeling.
    The exterior is just as interesting as the inside. Shiny steel, stucco and recycled, rusty metal twist and turn to finish the design of the spirals and circles.
    Grummer wasn't afraid to use the material in its true form. The materials were pushed to their performance limits with curved walls and spirals.
    The original portion of the house remains true to its earliest function: a living room, two bedrooms and a full bath.
    When asked to describe his style of architecture, Grummer repeated a quote that's attributed to Picasso, "If I could explain it, then I wouldn't have to paint it."
    The reconstruction of the house took an entire year. Since its completion, the homeowner has decided to put the house on the market.
    (includes estimated taxes and insurance)
    For $499,000 house (1,550 square feet): $2,783
    Assumptions: 20 percent down, 5.75 percent, 30-year conventional mortgage
    Source: Mace Kochenderfer, Anchor Mortgage Group
    Stained-concrete countertops
    Copper and maple cabinets
    Tile backsplash
    Hardwood floors
    Tongue-and-groove ceiling
    Copper ceiling in master bath
    Built-in oak shelves in master closet
    Metal baseboards
    Metal spiral staircase
    Tin accents
    Metal roof
    Gas forced-air heat; refrigerated air
    R-30 in the roof, R-19 in the walls