Architect Patricia Emmons seamlessly adds an internationally inspired, four-level elevator tower to a couple’s stately brick home.
THE FOURTH FLOOR of Herb and Isabel’s gracious 1901 home feels like the top of the world. Poised above most of Queen Anne, this beautifully elevated altitude presents dizzying views from its cozy central den and symmetrical his-and-hers offices.
How lovely then that, no matter what, Herb and Isabel can get to it.
Today, these two robust octogenarians have more energy than a motivated millennial. But now they also have a new four-level elevator, housed in a brilliantly integrated and internationally inspired brick tower — and a reassuring sense of mobility security.
“We added the top floor to the house when we moved in,” says Herb. “It’s a nice place to sit and look out or watch TV. We were concerned about difficulties going up and down stairs if we had a disability or hip or knee injury.”
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For a minute there, the couple considered moving from their home of 18 years, and even looked at one-level condominiums. “We ruled out everything,” says Isabel. “We would have had to do considerable remodeling.”
Instead, they looked to Patricia Emmons (Patricia K. Emmons Architecture & Fine Art), a friend, an architect and a persistent persuader.
“I had suggested an elevator for their existing house on other occasions, and was always met with, ‘It’s impossible,’ ” Emmons says. “Once again, I asked for a chance to take a look at the idea. They said, ‘OK. Try.’ ”
Everyone immediately agreed there wasn’t really room for an interior elevator, so Emmons looked outside, and across an ocean.
Emmons and her late husband, Bill Curtis, had worked with Herb and Isabel on a previous home and had become friends. They all met up in Rome, twice, and discovered a mutual love of Italy.
What if, Emmons proposed, Herb and…