Friday, July 29, 2016

1192 Lagom House 2 Story upstairs hall



When you reach the top of the stairs in the Lagom House you are greeted by this wonderful window seat and a great view of your neighborhood. The bedrooms in the 2 story version all face the bak yard, so they are all to your right in this view. Beyond the linen cabinet is the kids homework desk and hobby area and the kids bathroom at the end of the hall. Not a square inch is wasted in this design. Continue reading "1192 Lagom House 2 Story upstairs hall"

Thursday, July 28, 2016

0967 XHouse3 on the stair and still climbing



We explained in an earlier post how the XHouse3 has this unique split level second floor, where the two bedrooms are at the top of the stair, and the master suite another few steps up. This raised master bedroom provide for a couple of feet bump in the height of the ceiling in the living room and kitchen setting it off as the center of life in the house. From that juncture of the few steps up to the master we can take it all in - master bedroom door to the left, peering down to the living room at the center, and the stair landing at the bedrooms on the right. Can you see it? Continue reading "0967 XHouse3 on the stair and still climbing"

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

0357 Steel Case House bedroom loft



In a nod to the Case Study House #8 which inspired the Steel Case House design, the master bedroom is configured like a loft overlooking the living room. Although the rendering shows this as an open loft its possible to configure this for rolling shutter that would provide privacy when desired. Continue reading "0357 Steel Case House bedroom loft"

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

0965 XHouse2 at the top of the stair



At the top of the stair in the XHouse2 you come to the master bedroom. It has its own deck / balcony and a pair of big doors that let a lot of light in, but well shaded under the porch roof. A modest but ample master bathroom and walk-in dressing closet completes the master suite. So much in such little space - that is the real beauty of this house. Continue reading "0965 XHouse2 at the top of the stair"

Monday, July 25, 2016

Stacked Townhomes - a new prototype design study

Longtime readers of my blog will know I often take part in an open development process here, sharing the development of new designs as they happen via this blog. The last time I did this was the development of our 1204 RoHouse family of townhouse designs. Now I am looking for my developer / builder readers to give me feedback on the question of developing plan sets for Stacked Townhouses. 



For those not familiar with the term, stacked townhouses are a form of duplex dwellings where instead of being side by side like Twin Houses, or one above the other like Flats, stack townhouses fit two dwelling units into a single 3 story row house unit. Because each unit occupies a floor and a half, and often is made to have each unit connect to a ground level garage, the internal arrangements can be quite entangled and contorted. Here however is not where the problem lies. The problem with these units is they typically result in a poor urban plan with no private outdoor space and awkward entries.

Yet units in this configuration have become tremendously popular with mid and large size developers. Why, why would a home configuration that produces poor and awkward urban spaces be so popular? Yield. Two units combined into a single 3story building takes up less ground area than a pair of twins, or a pair of flats. The lack of yards also increases the yield and ambiguous pedestrian “streets” reduces road infrastructure - all increasing the profit potential of a development.

But why do home owners like them? Well, not everybody who aspires to be a home owner wishes to have a big yard to take care of,  walks to shovel in winter, leaves to rake in fall. Yet many do not want to live in a large apartment building, or a large and complex condominium. These stacked townhomes fill a small gap in the marketplace of housing and I see them in the mix of most large suburban townhouse developments.

But this popularity does not mean that the stack townhome designs on the market are ideal. In fact they are weak on many fronts. I believe I can satisfy the developers desire for yield, and improve the quality of life for occupants. I intend to conduct an open design study through our blog, and if I can come up with improved prototypes I will develop them into houseplans and offer them through our site.

So please stay tuned and follow the series. We are going to start with examining some existing precedents, and typical arrangements. This process will be similar to the townhouse study I published while developing the RoHouse family of townhouse designs. I need you my readers to contribute observations of existing prototypes so that we can gain as much insight as possible.

Are you ready for this? We are! Continue reading "Stacked Townhomes - a new prototype design study"

0380 Cube House the stair starts right here



This is where the central stair of the Cube House begins - off the dining area next to the kitchen and living room, just down the hall from the entry foyer. In this exposure the stair well is dark but it will actually lead up to several bright spaces which we will see in coming images. Stick with us! Continue reading "0380 Cube House the stair starts right here"

Friday, July 22, 2016

0518 U House



Where the master bedroom hall meets the living room the transparency of the U House reveals itself in interesting ways! Continue reading "0518 U House "

Thursday, July 21, 2016

0237 Pretender upstairs hall



Even from the upstairs hallway of the Pretender you have this connection to the family room. Continue reading "0237 Pretender upstairs hall"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

1299 XHouse4 on the way upstairs



Here we go upstairs in the XHouse4. When you get to the first landing look back towards the living room kitchen dining and and the front study. The powder room is there under the stair. A bench for pulling your shoes off just to the other side. Ok, now we know where we've been, lets go on up! Continue reading "1299 XHouse4 on the way upstairs"

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

0857 L House entry foyer



Here is a look at the front entry hall of the L House. It not unusual for a traditional house to have the stair right there in the front entry hall. This was traditionally a matter of efficiency and practicality. The stair has to go somewhere, so it makes sense for it to share space with an entry hall, a room that otherwise does not get used that much. But its more recently become a way to show off, the bigger and more elaborate the stair the better. But when we make a modern house here we like to leave most of that baggage behind. The stair and the entry foyer do live well together and complement each other. At the same time I don't relish walking through my foyer on the way to my kitchen in the morning. But is possible for the two spaces to be together and benefit from each others space and light, without the awkward parts, like the L House does here! Continue reading "0857 L House entry foyer"

Monday, July 18, 2016

0738 Palo Alto at the kitchen table



We've been touring all around the Palo Alto house, we've been out front, in the back yard, in the living room, so its time to take a break at the kitchen table. The kitchen table, so often the hub of family life, here in the Palo Alto house its also located at the hub of the house. From here you are at once in the font court, the entry foyer, the dining and living room and the back yard beyond. Continue reading "0738 Palo Alto at the kitchen table"

Friday, July 15, 2016

0367 Porch House we're here!



We've poked around downstairs, outside, and on the screened porch long enough, time to go upstairs and see the cool modern home provided by the Porch House. Here at the top of the stairs we turn towards the open kitchen - dining - and living area. Continue reading "0367 Porch House we're here!"

Thursday, July 14, 2016

0970 Lagom House back patio



We spend a lot of time talking about how the Lagom House is really green, and energy efficient, how its Swedish style wall construction is smart and easy to build. But all that talk tends to ignore the more immediate points about this house. That its simply a great place to live. This great patio overlooking the backyard, the bright and comfortable living spaces, the cozy dormer bedrooms. The fact that this design will sip energy is frosting on the cake. Continue reading "0970 Lagom House back patio"

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

0862 XHouse1 from the kitchen to the deck



Here from the kitchen of the XHouse1 we can see clear down through the living room out to the deck. The kitchen and the dining area share this terrace in the large lofty living space. On the next level dow in the main living space sharing the double height ceiling with the kitchen, just beyond is a more intimate portion of the living room with a lower ceiling, but a glass wall to the deck beyond. And if we look up to the right we have a glimpse of the hallway outside the bedrooms and the master bedroom sanctuary at the end of the path at the highest level. Continue reading "0862 XHouse1 from the kitchen to the deck"

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

0242 Plat House at home



Here is the classic view of the Plat House living room, the space everybody falls for, and builds for themselves. The entry way closets flank the wood stove, and a frosted glass panel screens the living room from the entry. The second bedroom and bath is beyond, and the entry from the mud room at the end of the circulation path. The back wall is line with built ins, a place for your record collection, your travel memorabilia, the good dishes, those yard sale finds, the photo album, all a few steps away. Continue reading "0242 Plat House at home"