Wednesday, December 31, 2008

window locations - XHouse1

I mentioned this week on the Twitter feed that I was working on the window locations for this new house design. Without an actual site putting pressures on the house from the outside, or an owner's desire for furnishing of the inside to work from the only thing leading the window placement is composition. The windows in question are for the rear corner of the house where the master bathroom resides above the home office/studio space.

This is an image from the very early sketch model shown on the earliest posting of this design. At this point I had not located any windows for the studio, and had anticipated one high horizontal window in the master bathroom. As the planning of the interior progressed we ended up with the sinks on the rear wall where the high window was shown. I would rather not place a window above the sinks and mirror so that became a strike against this high window. Also I was coming to the conclusion that the massing of the house should reflect the large open space of the living/dining/kitchen that runs front to back, and the more cellular division of the bedrooms, bathrooms and smaller spaces. I think that the two end facades consisting of a contrast of big windows and solid walls worked to reinforce that. But that would mean that the high window in the bathroom worked against this. Strike two for the original bathroom window. Continues after the link below.

Now this is where it is right now. The master bedroom window wants to be on the side of the house, and it spans over the tub and into the toilet room. Now below in the home office/studio there are two things going on. Number one the space is tall, a story and half because it is under the master bedroom, the highest level of the house. To emphasize the height I really wanted to have a window high on the wall of this room. I also want a window in this room down at eye height, and I want it to conform to the code requirements for a sleeping room so that this can be used as a guest room if desired. In the sketch above I've taken a first shot at placing these windows, the high one corresponding to the master bathroom above and a smaller one below. My problem is that I don't think these are keeping with the DOT-DASH-DOT rhythm of the other windows on this side of the house. The horizontal window at the master bedroom I think is fine, but the two in the studio are making too much "noise".

So there are a few options. I can replace the two windows with a single larger window similar to the two upstairs bedrooms. This will forgo the high window for this space. Or alternatively I can move the high window for the studio around the corner to the back wall to get it off the side facade, but this will violate the solid/void relationship of the end walls that I want to maintain, similar to the earlier sketch. That's what I'm working with right now.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

working on new design - XHouse1

I want to show the arrangement of this house now that I'm working on it a little bit more. It will be the first design in our new XHouse collection, so for now its just XHouse1, until a better naming rationale emerges. I have this feeling that the house is hard to understand from a floor plan, so lets look at the floor plan in a 3d view instead. I think it will be easier to understand how the levels change and the spaces are interconnected.

The entry of the house is the small square space at the center top of this birds eye view sketch. At the right is the garage which holds two cars. The back of the garage tucks under the floor above so the garage looks a bit short in this view. Between the garage and the entry is a passage with a few steps which take you up to the entry. There is also a powder room off the entry here that is also in this space between the entry and garage. To the left of the entry is the home office space. This could also be a guest room, or an art studio. I like this location because for business use you can have visitors and meetings without taking somebody all the way through your house to reach the office.

Proceeding into the house from the entry you come up a short run of steps to the living room. This is a high space that shares the high ceiling with the kitchen and dining area on the level above. A portion of the living room to the left is under a lower ceiling which makes two distinct places within the living room, one more intimate. One can be focused on the fireplace, the other on media. The living room opens to a terrace/deck at the far left. Up another short run of steps is the kitchen and dining area. The kitchen cabinets are not in the model yet, but there will be a work surface the width of the room at the right side, and a large island dividing the work space from the dining area in the middle. There is a walk in pantry at the top right of the kitchen space, and just to the left of that is the steps up to the bedroom level.

At the bedroom level there is a small alcove with the doors to the two bedrooms and the bathroom. There are a few linen closets here but I've not yet modeled the closets in the bedrooms, but they will indeed have closets. From here there are a few more steps up to the master bedroom level. Upon entering the master bathroom is to the top. It has a large space with two sinks and a tub. Then to left is a small alcove with a shower, and just above the shower is a small toilet room. Below the shower is a laundry room. First design where I've located laundry in the master bath. I've encountered this in my custom work occasionally, but its no by no means the most popular. My thinking was that it could become more closet space if an owner wished the laundry elsewhere. The extra linen storage space at the bathroom could become a stack laundry, or someplace elsewhere in the house found. The master bedroom is to the lower left, and will have closets at either side of the bed.

The house is multi leveled and the space really wraps around the central living core. If you deplore stairs you will not enjoy this as going from one room to another involves one or more short stair runs. But if you don't mind steps, and you like interesting spaces then this house will please. Its at once intimate and circuitous. Each room feels far away, yet is close by.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3030 House - site visit

I visited the construction site of the EcoSteel 3030 House in Cabin John Maryland this weekend.

There had not been a tremendous amount of progress since the last photos received from the owner, so instead I concentrated on taking some pictures inside the house since we have not seen much of that to date. The Owner is also the Builder, and other project commitments have been keeping him from beginning the wall panel installation. The house looks good and the owner is being exceedingly careful with their work, very nice to see. Click through to the extended post for more photos, and a short video from the site.

It was a windy day, and I'm afraid the mic on my camera is not really cut out for adverse conditions. The audio clears up into the video.

As always be sure to visit the 3030 House flickr group to see the entire construction process to date.

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