Archive for May 2013

Bone Collector: I see dead things   1 comment

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Bone Collector: I see dead things

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The restoration of the 1777 Atchley Farmstead by DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS yielded an abundance of buried artifacts including some old bones.

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It is likely the construction materials for the center section (and oldest part of the Hendrickson/ Atchely Farmhouse) were hand made on site.  A Flemish bond brick was used for the center core and the uneven sizes and shapes indicate a hand-made brick.   Excavations at the site during construction revealed some oyster shells; often used in the making of lime for mortar in the 18th and 19th century.  Also, discovered were a variety of medicine, shoe polish, spice and other bottles as well as an old shoe from the early 1900’s.

Helping DKA with the archaeological dig was veteran bone collector, Victor Garcia, of Cuautitian Izcalli Edo De Mexico (literally a town so small it is named “the house between the trees”).  Although there are two actual graves on the site of this farm, the bone fragments discovered were identified by Victor as animal bones which were probably dressed on site for soup and then discarded.  Victor discovered many human bones while digging in Mexico.  Sometimes the bones were the remains of bodies (buried  in the fetal position) in clay vessels.

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Over 70 artifacts were recovered from the ground during the historic restoration of this house which was once part of a 134 acre working farmstead.   Some of these items can be seen on the table in front of the fireplace.  The preservation of this exterior of the house followed the Secretary of the Interior Preservation Guidelines for Restoration to a period.  Therefore, all twentieth century additions to the house were removed to restore the house to its appearance in the late 1800’s.

The condition of the property was poor when Dennis Kowal Architects began.   Many structural members were replaced, the toppling brick chimneys were replaced with the original brick, missing windows were fabricated to the exact profiles of the original, and a new metal roof, copper gutters and wood eaves were crafted.

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The restoration was provided by Lewis-Graham Inc. under the supervision of and Dennis Kowal Architects for the Opus Development Corporation.  All of the artifacts and a detailed field report will be presented by pre-arrangement to the Archaeological Department of the New Jersey State Museum.

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DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS preserves the past with dignity and passion.

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Right down to the details   1 comment

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Right down to the details

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Not only did Dennis Kowal Architects design this new children’s room, they designed the furniture too!

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What do you do when you need a child-sized chair that is fun and durable but nobody sells it?  Dennis Kowal Architects decided to design the chair and have it manufactured.    Because of the unique design, the chair can be flipped down for sitting close to the floor or used upright as a conventional seat.  Bright colors were added in an assortment of pastels to compliment the new children’s room.  A wood prototype was built by Dennis Kowal Architects to study the right height for a child and to understand ergonomics of the shape.  Once a comfortable profile was developed,  the design was modified for image and ease of manufacture.  Construction drawings were sent to Scotti Powers of Workplace Technology Furniture who manufactured the chairs in Vietnam for Dennis Kowal Architects.

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The children’s Story Room contains another type of Dennis Kowal Architects designed furniture.  Wall murals of bedposts, refrigerators, and comfortable chairs adorn the Craft and Story Room.   Children’s favorite characters hide behind every corner ready to pop out and play.  Exposed wood trusses and a small-scaled covered porch entrance provide a cottage-like location for adventure and make-believe.

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And when you can’t build the furniture, you can specify some very interesting stuff.  While the desk and bookcases were milled to Dennis Kowal Architects specifications including a special  grapevine inlay, this Young Adult area got some basket chairs and finger chairs to add the fun.

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These chairs were manufactured for Dennis Kowal Architects to complete the children’s room and are enjoyed by a variety of young people including Bob the Builder.
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Dennis Kowal Architects designs interiors right down to the fine details!

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