Friday, October 20, 2017

Building up at the Blue House Next to the School

West (Back) of Family Room (left)
Like many homes the Old Blue House Next to the School has been added to over time. The origonal structure is heavy timbers and stone foundations from the mid 1800s, but the newest section was built in the 70s or 80s. It is a one story space that acts as a family room and has a bathroom and some storage. (all things an older home tends to be lacking, and therefore logical for someone to add on at some point.) It is over a small crawlspace and the space within it's roof was accessible from the second floor of the home as low-height, unfinished attic storage.
Former Attic Storage Space -Roof to be Raised
 and Windows added for new Master Bathroom and Walk-in-Closet
With our kitchen addition on the first floor (see previous post) with the enlarged master bedroom above it, we decided to convert that low-ceiling attic space into the new master bathroom and dressing/closet area. To do this, the contractors removed the ceiling and roof off the family room and are constructing a strong floor in place of the ceiling. Next they will raise the roof height and change the roof pitch for more headroom and larger windows, adding space, light and views in what was the low, dark, attic space.

From the street, the house really won't look much different. (no pictures here, all this is the back) That roof ridge-line will be slightly higher - that's it. From the back yard, which is private and faces west toward the mountains and the sunset, we are adding a (almost) full-height wall above the FR back wall with a window in the shower and a window in the dressing area. In addition, the FR picture window will be replaced with glass doors and a new screened porch will be built there to provide insect-free outdoor living/dining space. Above is some of the drawings showing the west elevation before (small, lower left) and after (center, larger image)

Stay tuned for next steps and progress photos and cross your fingers for no rain when that roof is torn off!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Blue House Next Door to the School - Massing of New Additions

In architecture school one of our first projects was creating an abstract design of "solid and void" cubes and we built the models by gluing together sugar cubes. Imagine a toy Rubik's Cube, but with some of the 27 cubes that make it up (if it were solid cubes all the way through) being pushed in or out in some spaces, so the whole was not a smooth-sided 9 x 9 cube, but was instead deconstructed, added to, or changed in some way. 

The point of this project (I think!) was to learn about what architects call "massing". Massing is the three dimensional shape of things. When I first start to think about how to add to an existing house, the massing of walls and roof shapes and how/where it makes sense to add new enclosed space from the exterior is the first item on my agenda. 

A big part of figuring out what will work is by planning the roof. Here in the northeast (with traditionally-styled residential architecture, anyway) we usually have pitched roofs to allow for drainage, and we often have gutters along the eaves to collect rainwater or snow melt and carry it away from the building. That is the probably the most pragmatic aspect of what I think about when laying out a new addition. 

For the Blue House Next to the School, the kitchen addition has a small footprint and extends an existing reverse gable roof line just six more feet into the back yard. (or "garden" as my clients, who lived in England for years, charmingly refer to it.) 

Click here  to see the before photos in the previous blog post about the addition design for this house.

The other way the massing is going to change on this home is that the roof on the single-story Family Room area (left side in pic above) will be raised and reconfigured with an un-even pitch so that additional spaces (Master Bathroom and Dressing/Closet) can be located up there in what is currently a short, unfinished attic storage space. Adding on by "going up" can be economical since you don't need to put in a foundation. More on that next time...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Blue House Next to the School Gets Added to

A new construction project to blog about! This is an older village home that I designed a small (tiny really) two story addition off the back to increase the size of the kitchen and enlarge a bedroom. That new larger bedroom will be the master bedroom and we are adding a new master bathroom and dressing room above the existing single floor family room section of the house. I've decided to call this one "Blue House Next to the School". It is located within village limits, but the large lot size and sprawling footprint help it feel like it's out in the town.

Here are some before pictures from the back yard:

Back of the Existing BHND to the School

Back Side - Existing
 So when you look at the back of the home, a newer single-story family room was added to the left side (with the triple/picture window). This is the roof that will be removed and a second floor added above that room to house the new master bathroom and dressing room.

The gable you see to the right of that section is the small kitchen with an unfinished bedroom above. That 13' wide section will be extended 6' toward the back so each of those rooms can grow larger. (that's our tiny addition)

Compare the "existing" and "proposed" floor plans below to see what a better/larger kitchen they will have with the addition of just six feet!

New Kitchen Floorplan w/ 6' addition
Existing too-small Kitchen Floorplan
 The new longer kitchen can have an island, a 'U' shaped counter centered on the new window, and will be opened up to the Office room with a breakfast bar seating area. The additional 200 SF allows much more space for cabinetry and upscale appliances, while maintaining the 3 different passageways leading to other areas of the home.

You can see the actual fixture and appliance locations stay just about the same. The new farmhouse sink will still be facing the backyard window- just 6' back more. With more space, cooking appliances multiplied to include both wall ovens and a six burner range. The large sized refrigerator stays along the shared Dining Room wall and gets cabinetry and pantry aside it.

Reusing Note: The appliances, sink, and cabinets have been sourced from high end kitchen renovations, which requires some flexibility - the layout shown here may not actually match the final product! Stay tuned!