One Year Later

Our old house – TOAD Hall – cause it looked like the book
Called the Wind In The Willows – was no little nook.
It was 90 feet long, and had bedrooms galore,
We just didn’t need all that space any more.

Then our neighbors the Ames pulled up stakes and moved out,
We grabbed at the chance to down size yet stay put.
It’s a gorgeous location, there’s no doubt about that
But the house was so boring – so low and so flat.

God sent us a genius named Walter Aurell
He looked at the Ames’s and said “What the Hell?”
Right here in the center we’ll have this erection
And send other rooms out in every direction.

The original plans were inspected by Gary
Who announced Walter’s budget would sure have to vary.
Our hearts sank. But in a six hour convolution
We arrived at a plan that worked out a solution.

Then down with the old house, and up with the new
The wrecking began and apart the place flew.
That old-fashioned winter with wind, cold and snow
Meant a mass of blue tarpaulins – oh how those things blow!

We met every Friday to work out the details
While the building site thundered with hammer and nails
And up from the basement the mystery rose
Soon the whole structure was duly enclosed.

The neighbors all think the rotunda’s exotic
And some find the master bath sort of erotic.
The view of the river from each window is great
And everyone envies the African Slate.

People first were all saying “You’re building? Poor you!”
But despite all predictions, we’ve enjoyed it all through.
We’ve been living here now for a year and 8 days
And loved every minute in so many ways.

So to you Walter, your plans are so nice
From those strange little windows, to the pass-through for mice.
And to Gary for his transmogrification
From flat, dull and boring to this domestic sensation!

Tom and Beth Winship

When we purchased our bucolic riverfront property with its quaint 19th century fisherman’s cottage, we knew that the renovation and expansion would present significant architectural and construction impediments. Walter Aurell and his associates were up to the challenge and provided a phenomenal architecture plan that not only preserved the historic ambiance of the original cottage, but provided a significant modernized expansion that complemented the riverfront setting and integrated in an environmentally sound way. Their expertise created not only the beauty and aesthetics that we desired, but expertly placed it in a fully functional and comfortable setting.

Their attention to detail was valuable as they worked with the builders to ensure not only the aesthetics, but the durability and structural soundness. Walter has an amazing sense of style and beauty that strongly influenced the design of the interior of the house, providing color, beauty and visual appeal. Our relationship with the Walter and his associates was always relaxed and collaborative. They took a great effort to understand our personal desires, and implement them in a creative and functional manner. Aurell Garcia Architects has our highest recommendation, and we would not hesitate to use their services again or to recommend them to family or close friends. Our finished product greatly exceeded our expectations.

Jeff and Becky Bruce

The visionary architects and their partners (in construction, landscape architecture, and more) completely redesigned our sunny downstairs music room and octagonal dining room with looks out into the woods around our house. Our home was originally built in 1765, and the “modern” edition reflects the poetry of the original house but opens the space up in ways we could never have imagined. Walter Aurell worked closely with us to understand how we wished to live, and came back with stunning ideas. Ultimately the spaces he created in harmony with our original ancient abode were featured in three high end interior design magazines – and those images continue to inspire people, as we continued to be inspired by the beautiful rooms that only become more comfortable and calm with every passing year. The firm collaborated with us so warmly, and built the reality that for us is a home we will never leave!

Cynthia and Tom Artin

Searching the Great Western Catskills for the house that met our needs, we came up empty.
As beautiful as Greek Revival farmhouses are, stairs – and major renovations – are not in our future.

While at an artist residency in Wyoming, working in a long spacious studio, it occurred to me that by adding a living space my wife and I would have everything we need.

So we decided to purchase land and build on a Catskills hillside meadow with valley views.
Having sketched out a rough floor plan I called Walter Aurell to turn two dimensions into three.
I couldn’t have imagined what striking design and spatial ideas he would produce.

After site visits, Walter flipped my sketch and re-oriented the house placement for maximum solar gain and better valley views. Three equal size modules of living/dining, studio and an open interior bed/bath/storage space emerged surrouded by two hallways whose sense of flow suggest – I’m no expert – a fourth dimension.

The roof design has become a local icon, allowing the north hall the soaring height of a chapel while the south hall tapers, its roof line extending well beyond the walls to shelter a deck/walkway. A curtain of sliders wraps around two sides, offset by corrugated metal sheathing, metal roof, a sturdy nod to the ag buildings dotting the landscape.

Collaborative, smart and experienced, Walter was a pleasure to work with. Our house/studio is a constant joy to live and work in. Visual pleasure, looking out and within.

Richard Mills

I write from my aerie on the second floor of the eloquently designed addition you created for our house at 31 Coolidge Point over 25 years ago! Not a day goes by that I do not experience a surge of appreciation for your elegant and thoroughly usable design, which has so shaped our family life.

Every decision you made, the horizontal slabs of wood carried out both upstairs and down, the pillars included, the brilliant design of the kitchen with the wall of glass looking over the deck to the ocean, the deck itself, much used for meals and conversation, the glass enclosed living room, with its views on two sides, the lovely curve of the rock hearth, all these designs are deeply imbedded in our life as a family. Some have chosen the yellow of the kitchen wall for their own kitchens in an effort to duplicate the experience we so love here. The paint on my bedroom walls speaks to the ocean and sky above.

At age 94, my chair lift moves slowly down the winding stair giving me plenty of time to admire the views over the tennis court and distant beach. Four exposures up here!

This a perfect example of how architecture affects the inhabitants of structures. I am sheltering here with a sequence of family members in this time of rigorous precautions. The old house has rooms for more transient grandchildren, and the new house, in addition to myself upstairs, houses a more long term family couple on the ground floor. Perfect! The kitchen easily divides in half when necessary, handily adapting to today’s requirements. But these will pass.

Please know that we all remember you most fondly.

Ruth Cross

After having sustained extensive damage to my century old home following a fire in February 2020, I chose AurellGarcia Architects to assist me with the renovation. From the outset, Walter and Margaret demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism and knowledge, and helped guide me with detailed plans and excellent suggestions from start to finish. What was obviously a harrowing experience was made significantly less traumatic with their help. They were extremely easy to work with, and always available. I recommend them without reservation if you are in need of highly experienced architects to help bring warmth and character to the remodeling of your dream home.