Adaptive Re-Use Project by Tonic Design Receives AIA NC Award

For transforming an old masonry building into a light-filled space for both working and living

Oct 27, 2014 -- “Live Work,” the transformation of a derelict building into a 650-square-foot combination home and design studio by   Tonic Design+ Tonic Construction in Raleigh, NC, received a Merit Award during the American Institute of Architects North Carolina Chapter’s 2014 Design and Chapter Awards Gala held in Charlotte this year.

Located on the edge of a mixed-use neighborhood (industrial and residential) near downtown Raleigh, the one-story masonry building was in dire disrepair. Rather than raze it, however, Tonic’s team decided to “recycle” it into studio space up front for the young firm and living quarters in back for the principals/married couple Vinny Petrarca and Katherine Hogan, AIA, and their one young daughter initially.

Petrarca and Hogan describe the design-build project as “an exercise in balance, reduction and efficiency...[linking] architectural practice, financial stability, and local community.” In just 13 weeks, including time to purchase the property and get all necessary permits, the firm and three summer interns from NC State University’s College of Design planned and renovated the living/working space, which includes a small walled garden that, in effect, doubles the living space and connects the indoors to the outdoors. To allow natural light to penetrate the interior, the designers raised the roof by 12 inches and installed a band of clerestory windows.

The living quarters originally combined bedroom/living room, dining room, and kitchen in one space. When a second daughter came along, the partners “borrowed” some space from the studio to create a separate bedroom. An abundance of built-in cabinets keeps the diminutive space organized and uncluttered. 

“Live Work” was submitted to AIA NC’s new Residential Design category, which is intended to “recognize architects whose designs answer the unique requests of the clients and the diverse landscape of North Carolina,” according to the website.

The AIA NC honor marks the 26th design award this young firm has received. For more information on Tonic Design + Tonic Construction, visit

For more information on the 2014 AIA NC Design Awards, go to

About Tonic Design + Tonic Construction:
As two separate but interacting companies, Tonic Design and Tonic Construction create sensitive, modern design solutions that make a difference in their clients’ lives and contribute to the architectural fabric of their buildings’ communities. Tonic has the flexibility to take on the role of architect or general contractor, or to collaborate together as an award-winning design-build firm. The firm’s projects have won many awards and has been featured in many national publications, including Architectural RecordResidential Architect, DwellCustom Homes, Inform magazine, and Metal Architecture. For more information visit


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