Design Freedom, inc.


Services Provided
Full-service architectural design for homes, additions, and remodels. Conceptual design, consultations, and construction review. Licenses: Florida #AA26001283, Virginia #0407-005832.

Areas Served
Tampa Bay & Central Florida, Northern Virginia

Typical Job Cost
$1000 - $600000
Architectural fees based on size, scope and location of project, level of detail, and optional services or consultants used. Typically we are involved from the beginning of design to the end of construction (Design + Construction Documents + Construction Administration).


Business Description
Love your forever home more! Together we'll design a home or remodel so you save money, save space, and stay in place: save money long-term, become energy efficient, add the things you want without adding square footage, use easy to clean quality materials, and assure that you can stay in your home no matter what life brings you! Cathy Svercl, Owner/Architect

Certification and Awards
Our project Lakefront Green Home Remodel has won Silver in the Energy-efficiency Retrofit category of Qualified Remodeler's Master Design Awards for 2012. This project is an Energy Star certified home and a Gold Certified Florida Green Home with the Florida Green Building Coalition, Inc.
Location:
Clearwater, FL US 
Contact:
Cathy Svercl 
Type:
 
Address:
2160 Victoria Drive
Clearwater, FL 33763 
License #:
AA26001283 
Design Freedom, inc. likes an ideabook

What Monarch Butterflies Taught Me About Garden Design

Thinking like a butterfly leads to fresh perspectives in the garden and in life Full Story
     Comment   22 hours ago
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roxieks
If you add about 7 copper pennies dated before 1982 in birdbath it will help keep the algae from growing. Before that date the pennies contained copper a natural algicide or you could use a copper pipe. It will work good unless the temperature rises 90* or higher for extended periods of time.
9 hours ago   
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roxieks
Also use a terracotta base for pots and place a few flat rocks and 1/2" water the butterflies and bees will gather there to drink. Since the terracotta also absorbs water, using another base fill with about an 1" of water, the birds will gather too. Place them in the shade so the small amount of water does not get too hot before it evaporates. A few colorful objects will also attract the butterflies, bees and birds.
9 hours ago   
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Design Freedom, inc.
any tile larger than 6x6 is too slippery for a bathroom floor. and for inside the shower, i would recommend 2x2 or smaller. your feet grip the grout when the tile is wet.
August 18, 2014 at 7:58PM   
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Carol
Diagonal lay tile is a more traditional look, does that fit your home &/or design? Straight lay of offset lay will be more contemporary look. 12x24, 16x16, 18x18, 12x12 all work depending on the space & tile.
August 18, 2014 at 8:05PM   
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Design Freedom, inc.
can you turn the electrical outlets sideways so they fit above the hearth? and paint them to match the wall color.

it looks like the best solution to the gap might be adding a small piece of wood trim, and carrying it across the top, too, since there will be a gap between the slate and the new sheetrock above. you can paint or stain it dark to blend with the slate.
August 18, 2014 at 7:51PM     
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remibaxter
I like the idea of turning outlets sideways. How wide would you go with the wood trim? Thanks so much!
August 18, 2014 at 8:15PM   
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lefty47
HI -- This fireplace has a very rich color , so I think it would be better to add some nice medium dark stained mahogany side panels and on the top . Have an electrician reposition the sockets . This will also be a good back drop for the TV .
August 18, 2014 at 9:04PM     
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Design Freedom, inc.
since your house is mainly a Ranch style home, i think you could continue the roof overhang over to the front door as your porch. or, a better idea, add a gable over the front door with the same roof slope as the main house. extend the roof overhang over the picture window until it meets the gable. you can't go too high on the gable without having the power line raised or moved ($$$). but the gable will draw your eye away from the garage door (with it's prominent position and white paint), towards the front door (which you can help by painting the porch columns white and the door/screen door a lighter color). since the house has simple, clean lines (except for the touch of Colonial via the shutters, light fixtures, and paneled garage door), i would stay with simple gable detailing and straight, square post columns.
August 18, 2014 at 7:28PM   
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lskaggs
I thought about extending the roof from the garage but it would be a really narrow porch. Only about 4 feet.
August 19, 2014 at 7:37PM   
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ppf.
There is no clean way to add a porch without changing the roof line.

House looks good as is, just needs that new roof and some paint. Darken the garage door so it's not the first thing you see. Charcoal roof, remove shutters, paint front door a brighter color.
August 19, 2014 at 8:49PM   
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Design Freedom, inc. updated their profile
August 12, 2014
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Design Freedom, inc.
everything's possible. take a reading on the other homes on your street and in your neighborhood. does everyone else have brick?
August 10, 2014 at 10:23AM      Thanked by wcutiew
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wcutiew
Hi Ptman123, most houses in the neighborhood have brick. Is stone more expensive than brick?
August 15, 2014 at 4:04PM   
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ptman123
It maybe A little more . Get a couple of estimates and see
You only need to go up 4 feet or just do the 2 dormers
August 15, 2014 at 4:40PM   
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Design Freedom, inc.
black would be handsome, or Charleston green (a green that's almost black), too. i would even recommend the same white as the trim, to make the windows upstairs look a little bigger. i hope the shutters are the solid panelled types, rather than the louvered, to keep with your home's style.
August 10, 2014 at 10:21AM   
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newhomelevine
Here is another photo.
August 10, 2014 at 10:27AM   
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Design Freedom, inc.
you have a lot of stylistic elements fighting each other on your house! the roof is a Mansard (but with a Rustic wood shake roof), the window shapes/styles/sizes are modern, the garage door is Craftsman and your front door is Colonial. another photo showing the entire house might help with the overall scale and proportions of what you can do to help the curb appeal here.

since the roof is so prominent, i would start by blending everything else to match it in color. so consider gray paints, from white smoke all the way to black (you can do black in Colorado, if you like that look). the huge garage door near the front door is not "inviting", so the garage door gets painted to match the walls.

the focal point should be the front door and the window next to it. i would go so far as to recommend painting the 1st floor part of that wall a different color from the rest of the house. include the adjacent wall up to but not including the garage door. this "Corner" is your welcoming target spot. when this stands out, the rest of the house will fade into the background.

consider this image a very rough schematic showing the entry "Corner".
August 10, 2014 at 10:13AM   
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Design Freedom, inc.
instead of planting bushes or flowers right up against the basement window, it might be nice to have a little stone patio right there was a couple of chairs. then plant your flowers around that! it will give you a little visual privacy while having coffee, and give the basement privacy while letting in the sunlight.
August 10, 2014 at 9:44AM     
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w8_4_it
I agree with setting up a seating space in front of the basement windows, this will "extend" your porch area; perhaps you could add an awning or freestanding shade- this will help to draw the eye away from the large driveway/garage door when looking at the house from the street.
August 10, 2014 at 11:00AM     
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joangirl
Extend your walk tile or just a similar concrete pad like you steps under the wiindow to the edge of the house and out 5 or 6 feet. Add a bistro set with an umbrella to match you trim color, enjoy your coffee.
August 10, 2014 at 11:04AM     
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Design Freedom, inc.
i think your mahogany (whether natural or painted that reddish brown shade) is the right way to go. the reddish will contrast nicely with the dark green (red and green are opposite sides of the colorwheel). keeping both in the darker muted colors works, too.

another choice might be a medium tone of taupe, darker than the trim to stand out. the white, despite being on your windows, just seems to stark for your front door.
August 10, 2014 at 9:41AM        Thanked by janicegjanice
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I agree that the mahogany door would be an excellent choice. In 10 years if you want, you could paint it a color.
August 10, 2014 at 9:46AM        Thanked by janicegjanice
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PRO
LineBox Studio
Nice red.....on on the warm side
August 10, 2014 at 10:29AM      Thanked by janicegjanice
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Design Freedom, inc.
with a limited budget, you might want to try making lemonade out of lemons. consider yourself lucky to have recessed lighting with white baffles, so they don't stand out too much during the day. then use some type of paint or applied circular pattern on the ceiling. modern architecture views walls, floors, and ceilings as separate geometric planes, on which you can apply color and/or patterns separately to each plane.

if you can afford it later on, you could removed the pockets of lighting and go with a linear lighting along the edge of the wall/ceiling in the hallways for a wallwashing effect. uplighting the hallways from recessed floor fixtures could also work. you have the modernity to explore newer options (consider commercial and/or landscaping lighting techniques).

image #1 wallwashing with linear skylight. Lake Washington
image #2 concealed lighting for the yellow wall. Uplands Bath
image #3 most of the lighting is concealed in a ceiling reveal along the walls. Contemporary Living Room
image #4 lighting in reveals, wallwashing and across the ceiling plane. master bedroom
image #5 subtle geometric raised ceiling pattern in Traditional style. Regina Sturrock Design Classicism With a Twist
image #6 geometric pattern on ceiling disguises lights, speaker, smoke alarm. Contemporary Kids
August 10, 2014 at 9:35AM   
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Chris Treadwell
Thank you both. I don't mind the look of canned lights on the ceiling; I just mind that they aren't in a neater grid. I redrew the pattern to be a little cleaner looking. Do you see anything wrong with this plan?
August 10, 2014 at 11:05AM   
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apple_pie_order
They can either be in perfect grids or they can spotlight particular areas such as sofas. You probably have both.
August 10, 2014 at 2:20PM   
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hayleydaniels
Go to the Find a Pro tab at the top of the page, and go through it.
August 8, 2014 at 11:51AM   
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Design Freedom, inc.
some of us can be found listed on The Not So Big House website.
August 10, 2014 at 9:14AM   
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Design Freedom, inc.
I hope you are using under-the-cabinet lighting for all your countertops. Otherwise you will be working in your own shadow using just the school house lights.
Lighting is calculated based on individual light bulbs, not just light fixtures. Here's a very simplified calculation for your lighting:
22 x 12 = 264 SF square feet, General lighting at 15 footcandles requires 264 x 15 = 3,960 total fc footcandles. Each 75w incandescent bulb is about 1100 fc. 3,960 divided by 1100 equals 3.6 light bulbs needed.
August 7, 2014 at 6:40PM   
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Fred S
Footcandles do not translate to bulb output that well. It is not a 1 to 1 ratio.

Footcandles : A measure of the total light falling on a surface. One foot candle (fc) is equal to one lumen per square foot, originally based on the illumination of one candle held one foot from a surface.

Lumens : A measure of the light output of a lamp (light bulb) or other light source. A candle provides about 12 lumens (1 X 4π, or the surface area of a sphere with a 1' radius)

The first reason this doesn't work is that bulbs are rated in lumens, not footcandles. A 60-watt bulb produces about 850 lumens. A reflector type bulb (R, BR, or PAR) shines up to twice the light in footcandles on a surface to be illuminated as a standard (A) type bulb of the same lumens because all the light is reflected back in one direction. Furthermore, the opacity of the lens or shade around the bulb makes a big difference. As does whether a bulb is clear or frosted.

The second reason using footcandles to translate to lumens is that the farther away a surface is from a light source, the less bright it is. Doubling the distance to a lamp reduces the lighting level by a factor of four. This makes the distance the work surface is away from a light source very important, whether it is a kitchen counter or your favorite reading chair.

An often overlooked factor is the age of the occupants. At 60 years old, we need two to three times the light we needed at age 20, and also more shielding and diffusers since older eyes are more sensitive to glare.
August 7, 2014 at 8:45PM      Thanked by ddlwc61
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ddlwc61
We will have under cabinet lighting so that will help with work light but this question is more a design concern as well. Does 2 light fixtures look too few or 3 fixtures look too much for the length of this room. I will choose a fixture with appropriate watts based on if I end up with 2 or 3 fixtures in this space.
August 8, 2014 at 5:21AM   
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kranno
I can only comment on the only time we have had white marble 12inch tile installed at an angle in our very small Mr. Bath. The inexperienced tile guy asked me how big a grout line I wanted between the tiles. Since I had no idea, the grout line got to be wider than it should have been. The grout is white but has not been a problem yet. The tiles are probably a honed marble so it is not slippery. We did not install a heated floor, but the marble doesn't seem to be very cold in the winter. I now wish we had installed smaller tiles and with a design.
August 7, 2014 at 6:23PM      Thanked by lwilcox1
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Design Freedom, inc.
True marble is softer than tile, porous (soaks up water and stains), and is slippery when wet. You can get tile that looks like marble. For the price, you may want to keep real marble on smaller surfaces or up where it doesn't get a lot of use and/or water.
August 7, 2014 at 6:25PM      Thanked by lwilcox1
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Design Freedom, inc.
makes me think of the 1960s and honeycomb designs. you could go very organic, or you could go very geometric. retro with the 1960s colors, or bring them up to the modern era.
August 7, 2014 at 6:19PM     
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Design Freedom, inc.
Are you using a round bowl rather than an elongated bowl toilet? That would give you a little more knee space, too.
Most contractors know a good cabinet maker who will make something custom for better quality and less cost than you could buy. You might check around with other contractors or nearby wood/cabinet shops. If time is a factor, have your contractor install a small cheap sink to close out the permit. Then you can take your time to find something you really like. Don't let him pressure you into something you're not sure about. Maybe you'll find an old piece of furniture that could be fitted with a vessel sink (sits on top).
August 7, 2014 at 6:10PM   
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   Comment   August 7, 2014
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Design Freedom, inc.
I think you should consider painting the entire front porch wall a lighter color - the entrance is kinda lost. Use a buff color that matches the trimwork or stones over the windows, and then you can paint the door to stand out. Consider a glossy green a few shades darker than the plants in the foreground. Charleston green or a glossy black might be nice, too, especially if you are using black colored light fixtures.
August 7, 2014 at 5:43PM     
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Design Freedom, inc.
If the pendants are bright enough for food prep or whatever you will do in the center of the island, they can go there. But be careful if you also have recessed lighting, that the pendants don't cast shadows when the recessed are "on".
August 7, 2014 at 5:37PM   
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wndywmn
That's a great point. I hadn't thought of that but will check it out and see. Thank you.
August 7, 2014 at 10:47PM     
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Design Freedom, inc.
Depends on the look or feel you want. Narrow might lend itself to a Victorian or more elegant look. Wide might feel more country and relaxed. Try to keep the design simple by aligning the top of the bead board to a window sill, or the top of the doorway, or similar.
August 7, 2014 at 5:32PM      Thanked by bicknase
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Design Freedom, inc.
First, i wouldn't be surprised if you found the original wood floor waiting for you in the bedrooms you are gutting. however, in this house (see photos), we removed the old kitchen (which was just tile over subfloor) and had to lay new oak strip flooring to match. they refinished both old & new floor, and you cannot tell where the old kitchen was!!!

(in photo, old kitchen was at left bottom of photo.)
August 7, 2014 at 5:29PM     
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Cancork Floor Inc.
Red oak is pretty common. The width will be the challenge. But any wood flooring shop (locally owned with a reputation...not a 'big box' outlet) worth its salt will be able to source it for you.
August 8, 2014 at 1:38PM   
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Scott Design, Inc.
I also vote for continuing the oak. Right now strip oak flooring has a standard dimension of 2 1/4". You can use a transition piece the width of the door jamb...flush 1x6 cut to size or you can take small pieces of strip oak laid flush in a herringbone pattern between the door jambs...labor intense but a great looking change up to the standard. Just remain consistent with whatever approach you take.
August 8, 2014 at 2:27PM   
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Design Freedom, inc.
we used GAF Timberline Cool Series (Energy Star rated) on a roof in Marion County (see photos). i would never recommend a dark color roof here, unless it is specifically Energy-Star Rated. with the white/light roof, you could still manage a more modern look to your Mediterranean inspired home with a brighter more intense paint color on your walls, instead of the typical muted whites or butter yellows. even if it's just in one area. like your garage door.
also, look into using a continuous peel-and-stick underlayment instead of roof felt/tarpaper. despite the installation price upgrade, you will like the lower home insurance premiums, since this falls under the hurricane mitigation category.

August 7, 2014 at 5:21PM   
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Design Freedom, inc.
The metal awnings are not out-of-character for this home which has been added on and loved thru the years. however, the front door with 3 horizontal windows is definitely out of place (1960s ranch home). it would be nice to keep the white trim but paint the "rock face block" body of the house a warm color, perhaps a beige-tan. (they would have originally been a buff, gray, or tan - you probably have neighbors with same)
the 1960s front porch columns could be replaced with standard 4x4 posts, and the gable on the porch dressed up a bit. you could easily extend the front porch across the front side of the house. it would be awkward to connect that to the side porch, but just place a new set of steps at the corner to make it easier to use both.
the front walk is awkward, since it leads directly to the secondary entrance. if you prefer guests to come and go on the side, it's not a big problem. otherwise, perhaps move the sidewalk to walk around the front of the tree, rather than between the tree and the house wing. also, a simple pathway or series of stepping stones/rock steps down to the street might give a little curb appeal, too.
August 7, 2014 at 4:48PM     
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cher6615
I've owned the house for 10 years. The house was built in 1911 and was where the farm help lived. I have a pretty limited budget right now with two kids headed to college. Definitely am looking into changing front porch and front door.
August 8, 2014 at 6:30PM   
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apple_pie_order
Thanks for additional info. With a limited budget, I would replace the front door, lace out or remove the tree next to it that blocks a window, add additional gutter downspout extenders to clear the water away from the foundation, and do some pruning. I'd buy a sack of 100 flower bulbs this fall and have the two kids plant them in the beds near the door. In the longer run, I'd look at what function the front door and porch have, then consider building a sidewalk. College bills may cause some postponement of a new sidewalk and new porch.
August 8, 2014 at 7:08PM   
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Design Freedom, inc.
Typically Arts & Crafts would use earthy muted colors, so your white siding isn't very helpful. What color is your roof? Use that to guide you towards grays or towards tans for the details. It could be a nice handsome muted A&C house, instead of the deeper colored ones. Without a photo of your house, I don't know if you have any special features, dormers, shutters, or different siding somewhere else. The new stonework can be an even darker shade of the grays or tans.
August 7, 2014 at 4:27PM     
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boburso
Roof is black
August 10, 2014 at 8:11PM   
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I have worked with Cathy on a very large residential project. This project was very complex and required a large amount of integration between the Architect and...
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We engaged Cathy Svercl as our architect because we wanted someone who was fully committed to the "Not So Big House" concept as well as "green" innovations and ...
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Jerry was very easy to work with as he appreciated the skill the architects brought to the table. I appreciated his attention to detail during the very large, m...
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With a long history of high end residential projects, Adolf Construction had the experience and insight we needed on the whole house remodel project we designed...
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Beautiful, high quality cabinets that came with outstanding customer service! Our clients were very happy with the high level of quality that was maintained fr...
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