Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Scheme A: Likes and Dislikes


After we had our initial meeting with my brother-in-law, Brendan and I sat down to discuss what we considered to be the pros and cons of each scheme. There were elements of each scheme that we liked and others that we knew right away wouldn’t work for our family. Overall, though, we were overwhelmed by the possibilities because neither of us had been able to really picture anything concrete in our minds.

We love the position of the chapel in this scheme. Its location on the property (jutting out from the trees), that it is facing the east (Brendan will comment on this specifically later), and the fact that it was somewhat “set apart” from the hub of the home were all attractive to us.

One of our favorite aspects of Scheme A is the way the building and grounds uses the natural flow of the land. The landscaping is designed with a kind of courtyard area in the front and a small, natural stairway towards the wetland area. We also loved the way that the patio was accessible from many areas of the home.

We were certain that we would want the kitchen and school room within immediate reach of one another as I naturally spend a large amount of time in the kitchen and that to prevent the kids from doing their schoolwork and sprawling out on the kitchen table, it would need to be nearby. Scheme A made this a reality.

Although we at first liked the idea of the Master Bedroom being sort of “set apart” from the children’s bedroom (aka: peace and quiet) we also realized it wouldn’t be conducive to the way we see our family interacting at night and in the early morning. Often we are up in the night, even with the older children, and we want the kids to feel like they could easily approach our room when they needed us. Also, having accessibility to their bedrooms makes morning and evening preparation much easier. So, the thought of a few moments of rest in the evening, with our own private entrance to the patio, were left behind in the dust….

On a more practical side, it was clear that the laundry room should be an upper-level room (rather than a sort of walk-way in the entrance by the garage) to make all aspects of laundry (a monumental task with only four children -- and we see that number growing) much easier! Also, in all of the schemes the garage was too far away from the kitchen area. Since we knew that the garage would be our main entrance to the house and that our kitchen is the place that we dump a lot of our things (namely, groceries) it would be important to not have to trudge through the home with loads of bags.

As I tried to imagine the family moving about the home as it was laid out in this scheme, it wasn’t difficult to see the following situation occurring on a regular basis: I would be in one area of the home attempting to quickly complete a task (near the current laundry area, perhaps) and suddenly I would hear (as I often do these days) a shrill screaming sound from one of the children who is located in the family room. Upon the noise I would waddle (I’m hugely pregnant in this story) as quickly as I could—to the right, then a left, still waddling, tripping over a toy, to the right, still going….until I finally reached the family room where the action was (and likely too out-of-time and out-of-breath) to deal with the situation at hand. It might be okay every once in a while because Clara often takes charge in my absence, but generally this could be an obstacle. When I imagined this situation (and several others) it became difficult for me to see Scheme A as a practical layout (even though at first glance it was our favorite scheme, but more on that later).

These are just a few thoughts on our discussion of Scheme A. We welcome our readers’ comments as well!

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