In the rolling foothills of Virginia sits a beautiful estate called Fidelio. My partner actually built this estate about 10 years ago for another client. The house is built in the Tuscan style and has several outbuildings as well. The current owner asked us to install an elevator in the house as he was having trouble climbing the stairs. He wanted it to blend in with the home so you would think it always existed. After much discussion between the owner and the elevator contractor, a design was settled on and we went to work.
As you might imagine working on a house of this caliber takes a lot of extra precautions. Everything must be protected from start to finish. Temporary flooring was installed from the driveway all the way to the house. Inside the house temporary walls where built and covered in plastic to keep out the construction debris and dust.
There was art work everywhere and you had to be very careful how you went about you business. After all the temporary measures were in place the construction started. We had to cut a hole in the marble flooring in the courtyard to make room for the elevator pit and the foundation for the elevator shaft. After we hand excavated the elevator pit we poured the foundation and pit floor.
Now it was time to cut a hole thru the porch roof so we could extend the elevator shaft to the second floor. We carefully removed the copper roofing and built temporary walls to support the porch roof while we cut the hole and reframed the roof to go around the new opening. Now it was time to build the elevator shaft. I special ordered 2×6 man made studs that where 20′ long so we could build the wall in one piece. Nice thing about these studs is they are straight as an arrow and would never twist or bow, this was important since the elevator shaft had to be as straight as possible from bottom to top.
Now that we had the shaft built it was time to cut out the doorway to the elevator on both floors. On the first floor we removed the existing court yard door and reframed the opening to accommodate the elevator. On the second floor we removed an existing window then we cut the wall out to accommodate the door. Since everything in this house was custom made originally, we had to have 2 elevator doors made to match the existing doors in the house. We photographed the existing doors then took careful measurement of all the different details on the door and sent this to the custom cabinet maker to fabricate for us. Now we turned our attention back to the exterior of the house. Since this elevator had to blend in with the house perfectly we had the exterior done in stucco to match the rest of the house, this included adding several arch way details to the design to match the house. Finally we installed the roof using clay roofing tiles to blend into the existing roof seamlessly. When you look at this project you would never know that the elevator was added.