Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Light and Shadow

Roof Overhangs Added & New Windows Installed
In the interior spaces of a building, natural light is very important. Sometimes when a house is erected by a builder or developer without an architect or designer to help make the design site responsive, you can end up without windows where you wish you had them.

That was the case here. The south (read: "where the sunshine is") of this home had only one window upstairs. We took the opportunity while renovating and re-siding to install another second floor bedroom window and a first floor dining room window. A room is *always* nicer when it has windows on at least 2 sides (and on that note, a room can feel really special when it has windows on 3 sides... more on that in a future post). So now these room have better natural light- yay!

The other reason/bonus for the new first floor window was giving the resident's a view into their own driveway to see who might be arriving- very helpful.

How the shape (architect's call it "massing") of a house looks can be influenced by shadows. Roof overhangs are one way shadows are created on the elevation. This isn't only for appearances; correctly sized overhangs provide multiple functions in the "mechanics" of how the house performs. If correctly sized, they provide shading to help keep a house cool in the summer, while allowing light inside in the winter. They also help drain water (rain and melting snow) away from the wall.

This 1970s suburban house did not have the benefit of many roof overhangs. See the before pic - no rake (the triangle side) overhangs at all.  See the other pic, how the framers added one on to both look better and help keep the wall dry.

The scale of this south elevation is quite tall, because of the basement garage. We added another new roof overhang to help mitigate that. It breaks up that 3 story tall elevation while also helping with snow piling up in front of the garage doors. It will provide a nice shadow line to help make the garage more discrete. (us architects always want to hide the garage! And a garage under - or basement garage, like this house has- is one way to do that- it's completely invisible from the street.) Click here to see a previous post about designing the place for a garage: the-new-garage-next-door

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Front - before

Back - before
I have a project under construction that is quite amazing in scope and scale. What was a pretty mundane suburban "colonial" (realtor term for two story box - not a historic colonial)- vinyl siding, bow window, on-the-cheap sort of construction methods from the 1970s... is being transformed into a super-well insulated "Farmhouse" beauty with large, high ceiling-ed spaces for entertaining and a modern aesthetic.

Here are some photos now that construction and demolition has begun:

All new Windows & Cantilevered window seat built in place of former bow window

Small bump out on the back for expanded eating area and covered grilling area on new deck