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We feel like the luckiest couple in Philadelphia. We were searching unsuccessfully for a home with one level living in the West Mount Airy neighborhood, and saw a sign on Wissahickon Avenue announcing a house by Dovetail Design. (Evergreen House description) We hadn’t thought of building, but we called the number, met with Reinhart to see the property and the plans, fell in love with the inspired design, and began the journey of building our new home.
Reinhart had designed a home with incredible style and uniqueness. It was a home that had everything we were looking for: one floor living with comfortably sized light-filled rooms, guest bedrooms on the smaller second floor, and a basement with “possibilities.” His plan for geothermal heating and cooling, radiant heat, and extensive insulation have significantly reduced our carbon footprint, while adding to the efficiency and comfort of our home. He designed a cantilevered open staircase which is wonderfully functional and incredibly beautiful, and when we said that we needed less second floor space and an “endless pool”, he redesigned the plan to meet our needs without sacrificing any of the charm and balance of the original design.
His flexibility was apparent throughout the project, as was his attention to detail. We spent time with him looking at roofing materials on homes in the area and finding just the right color combinations. He discovered a new and denser renewable wood to use on the outside of the house and substituted it for the original one he’d planned to use. When we discovered that we needed a support bracket for the granite counter in the kitchen, he designed one to be in keeping with the other wood in the room and had it custom made. He designed and had made decorative ridge end-caps for the main roof of the house, and special outdoor brackets to support the overhang on the sun-room. These are just a few examples of his attention to the small details that result in an incredible final product.
We had many discussions about ideas we had for the house, and he was always forthright about his thinking, often giving us insight into aspects of the design we had previously not thought about. Whether we ultimately agreed, disagreed, or arrived at a compromise, his accessibility and willingness to share insights surely resulted in an end product that played to the best of our hopes and dreams as well as Reinhart’s vision.
He’s a talented, knowledgeable, flexible, imaginative architect, capable of translating tastes, needs, wants, and desires, into a well-integrated workable design. We couldn’t be happier with the end result.
Tony Cooper and Carla Walters