Residential Design

VOL.4. 2018

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 75

"David and his wife are very nice, but I was definitely nervous about the project," says Wyatt. "But I've been fortunate to work with some prominent architects, and I just get along with them. It must be my personality." The cherubic 39-year-old jokes, but he does have an affable, easygoing attitude that inspires comfort. He also has the expe- rience to back it up. He comes from a family of builders, and he has a master's degree in building construction from Georgia Tech. Wyatt pursued the degree during the housing downturn in Atlanta in 2008, after already working for several years in leadership for production builder John Wieland Homes. When the market be- gan to rebound, he signed on with local high-end design/builder Cablik Enter- prises as vice president of construction. He met business partner Ryan Howard at Georgia Tech and later worked with him at Cablik. Ryan has a degree in architecture from Lehigh University and the same master's in construction that Wyatt has. He was a project development manager at Cablik, which builds speculative houses in addi- tion to its custom commissions. At present, the company builds only one or two houses at a time, Wyatt work- ing full time and Ryan part time, while he keeps his day job for a construction materials supplier. "We are certainly not the biggest builders," says Wyatt. "We only take on what we can han- dle, because—especially with modern houses—you have to be there and be completely focused on the job." CA Equals QA "Most of Atlanta's new modern houses are very weak. I'd say 7 out of 10 are not successful," Ryan comments. Wyatt has a theory about why: "I feel strongly that for a modern house to come out well, it needs a healthy budget, a committed client, and access to the architect through the entire construction process. The majority of these houses have none of those elements." David's accessibility and willingness to improvise on site were key to the success of Split Box House. "He was always willing to meet with me when I had a question," says Wyatt. For example, Wyatt had never installed a full rainscreen system before, and he certainly hadn't done one with the precise reveals and detailing that David asked for. "The rainscreen was what most impressed people on the tour," says Wyatt. "I had done a smaller one previ- ously, but nothing like this one. It was a learning experience to figure out which materials to use and then how to apply them. Those panels were the toughest part. Every reveal lines up with a window or door. But the panels are all prefabricat- ed and you can't cut them." Still, nothing was as challenging as the site itself. Atlanta is in the high Piedmont of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so there are few level lots. The footprint for David's house was some 15 feet down from the street, and continued to drop even farther toward the back of the nearly acre-sized lot. "David's house is basically sitting in a hole. And we had a ton of rain during construction," Wyatt recalls. "We built a temporary driveway at one point, but it didn't last. And then there was the traffic on the street. It was jammed in the morning and jammed in the evening. We had to hire police to hold traffic for truck deliveries. It is the most difficult site I've had to deal with." You'd never know it by looking at the result. And, when you're running a young company, every difficult project is a lesson that can be applied to the next job. Ryan recently learned his own major lessons about executing demanding details—ones he designed himself. He's just completed a new house for his own family. It's in a hot, close-in area full of speculative teardown projects and whole-house renovations. His is a new build behind a teardown, which his family lived in during the construction. Ryan not only designed the new traditional-style house himself, he also installed most of the trim work on the 4,800-square-foot house. "It nearly killed me," he says. "We've gotten a lot of compliments from experienced subs. But it was the scariest thing I've done in my life." Says Wyatt, "Ryan is an excellent carpenter, but we've worked on so many modern houses lately, you forget how much effort goes into millwork on a traditional home." Whew. What doesn't kill you makes you a better, smarter builder. Right? Now, it's time for a breather. Ryan gets to kick back and enjoy his new house with his family, and Wyatt is taking his wife on a long vacation abroad. "We've been working so hard for so long, it's time to take a little break," says Wyatt. "Things are so busy now, we're confident the work will still be there when we get back. There's another wave coming." —S. Claire Conroy Above: Post + Beam got its big break building for West Architecture Studio. Randolph House occupies a tight urban site. Photo: Fredrik Brauer 22 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM VOL. 4, 2018 PRO-FILE BUILD

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Residential Design - VOL.4. 2018