These clients liked the idea that this house would have almost all the spaces be on the main level, with only the kid's spaces being upstairs, and a (future) recreation/guest room facing the pond in the basement level where the hill drops away. A very large garage was included to store two cars and the myriad of outdoor recreation equipment the family owns. With all this ground-floor space, this was starting to look like a really big footprint on the site! Aside: When I asked them to show me photos of architectural styles they liked, a two-story farmhouse "box" was among their picks, but I had to explain that that was not at all the massing we were ending up with because of the master bedroom, office, etc all being on the main level. They also showed me lots of bungalows, capes, and craftsmen styles, and stylistically that's what we strove toward with our design, as those building shapes tend toward prominent roofs with minimal upper floor spaces being located within the roof/attic. That is another aspect of pre-design: looking at precedents- a picture really does tell a thousand words, so I always ask clients to show me photos of things they like and explain what they like about them.
|One of the precedents my clients showed me- by Locati Architects in Montana|
One of the best ways to "be green" when designing a building is to keep the building as small as you can. Early on, my clients decided they didn't need a formal dining room and that one eating area and one living/family area was all they needed- and this helped a lot. They wanted an open and informal kitchen/living/eating space and liked the idea of incorporating a built-in bench for the eating area. Built-ins are great space savers! (think of a Tiny House on wheels and how everything is built-in) A built-in bench seat can be right against the wall/window, whereas with chairs around a table, you need 2.5 feet minimum behind each chair to slide it back or walk around, ending up with a much larger required space. I proposed a few more built-ins (storage cubbies and a bench in the mud room entry from the garage, a window seat & shelves to display art and store books in the master bedroom, book shelves on the stair landing) and all these features added to the functionality of the space and allowed each of those rooms to be a bit smaller, while also adding interest and detail. (but I'm getting ahead of myself again)
These bubble diagrams become squared-off spaces with walls, doors, windows, ceilings, materials... you start to figure out how a roof might be shaped to cover it all... and the house design goes on from there, getting more and more refined, stretched, re-organized, detailed, etc. - that's the design process!