Town Hall Meeting Report: Retreat House Renovations
More than 60 people gathered on Sunday, November 8, 2009 to hear architect Lisa Dall’Olio present her design for improvements to our Retreat House. After several years of imagining and gathering input from the staff and congregation by the Retreat House Visioning Committee, the Executive Council-appointed Retreat House Task Force hired Lisa in the Spring of 2009 to bring our hopes to reality on paper. The attached drawing shows her solutions on the first and second floors, with the heavier lines representing the existing house. The present front porch is at the top of the page, facing north to the view of the mountains.
Retaining the brick structure, porch, and room spaces in the existing house was high on the wish list of nearly everyone who commented during the process. Lisa achieved this by re-purposing some spaces, removing an unsafe staircase, and carving additional kitchen work and storage areas out of adjacent spaces. The current dining room becomes multi-functional, serving as an arts and crafts space or a more intimate dining area. The old living room returns as a small gathering space.
Setting a large addition back from the front porch allows the old house to retain its prominence and protects the views of the mountains. Into the new first floor area there is a dining/multipurpose room large enough to feed 30 people or to host a variety of activities. Beyond that space, isolated by new bathrooms, are two accessible, family-style bedrooms. Through the use of new ground level entrances and a circular drive, the entire first floor of the house will now be accessible to those with physical challenges.
Upstairs, two old bedrooms return to use but with improved emergency exiting. Having learned from our current experience that a second floor room is another way to enjoy the spectacular view, the third bedroom becomes a reading room. Walking through and into the new addition we find a gallery space that can be use for games, gatherings, and activities; at the rear, facing the warm southern sun, is another large screened porch. Completing the addition is The Big Bunkroom. The house can now easily sleep more than 30 people, and would contain 5-1/2 baths.
It is an ambitious plan with an estimated construction cost of $400,000. But it meets – with energy and grace – every goal of our vision, while retaining the intimacy and historic memories of the old house. The design was warmly received at the Town Meeting, elicited many questions and much excitement, and now challenges us to consider the next steps.
To read the full report from Lisa Dall’Olio, please go to the CCC website at cccsilverspring.org. The Task Force welcomes your comments on design, prioritization of the project, and fundraising ideas. Please send your thoughts via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will compile and share your ideas anonymously with others. Or feel free to call the Task Force Chairman, Rick Sniffin.
- Rick Sniffin
Task Force Members:
- John Enagonio
- Trish Esposito
- Cory Gray
- Larry Hanes
- Susan Hill
- Barry Johnson
- Barbara & Doug Redmond
- Chair Rick Sniffin
- Jackie Walters
- Ex Officio Tim White
- Cynthia Wright-Johnson