Monday, October 27, 2008

Design Updates: Volume 6


I thought it was time to collate some design updates that have actually impacted the physical structure of the home. Some of these have been completed in the construction documents for some time now, and others are hot off the presses. Work on this stuff has been a flurry lately as my brother is finishing updates to the construction documents (they are 99% complete) and I'm trying to get things together so that the bid package will be sent out to our prospective general contractors on Thursday, October 30th. We'll then be getting the bids back the week of Thanksgiving. Anyway, so here's some updates that have physically impacted the home.

Cricket between garage peaks

No, this is not referring to actually placing a live cricket on the roof of the garage, this is referring to a method of addressing drainage between the garage roof peaks. For those who remember, those peaks above the garage got the attention of every contractor who looked at them, all concerned about water drainage. And, despite me defending these peaks "as is" for months to all contractors, and even displaying how they have been done before in Minnesota (snow included), my brother decided to finally change them after discussing with another architect who is helping on the construction documents. Needless to say, I'm relieved to not have to talk to contractors about this anymore, as they should be well satisfied.

The picture below, from the latest construction documents, shows the new forwards/backwards slope in the roof between the peaks, defined as a "cricket" (click to enlarge).

Alteration of first-floor ceiling in south wing

The first floor of the "south wing", for lack of a better term, contains the family room and library. This area has been planned to have a 10' ceiling all along, while the ceiling in the "north wing" has a 9' height. My brother thought that rather than transitioning from 9' to 10' abruptly at the intersection of the north and south wings, it would be better to continue the 9' ceiling for a few feet into the south wing and then transition to 10' in the center of the room. This then creates a soffit in the ceiling where rope lighting can be placed. I know, it's hard to visualize, so first let's look a a cross-section view of the family room, looking toward the fireplace (click to enlarge).

Hopefully you can see the two areas of lowered ceiling height on either side of the room (my brother lowered the ceiling on the opposite side of the entrance to the room as well for symmetry). The picture above shows the transition from 9' to 10' height in the center of the room as being a "step" on both sides, but in actuality there will be a little lip at the edge which will be able to hold rope lighting. Here's a top view, where the soffits on either side are denoted by a dashed line (there is a call-out note that says "line of soffit above"). Click to enlarge.

There are two dashed lines because of the small lip that will hold the rope lighting. The rope lights in the family room and library will be controlled on separate switches so that you can turn them on and off independently, and will be on dimmers.

I loved this whole concept, as it really brings extra character to the room. There are also so many things that make it fantastic design. Now there will be a lower height ceiling area that will visually lead straight to the chapel door, and the lower ceiling height as one enters the chapel will enhance the drama of the very high ceilings inside the chapel. There is also extra space in these areas to run ducts to the upper floor, which was previously not available.

Rearrangement of the laundry room and boys' bathroom

Upstairs, the laundry room has always bothered me a little because I know how much Molly wanted a larger laundry room (given the amount of laundry that she does) and due to space comprimises we ended up at a room that was only big enough to fit a washer and dryer and some organizational stuff. Molly also wanted a sink in there for soaking any clothes when needed, but there wasn't a good way to fit a sink in the room. We were just going to move on and deal with it, but my brother had to make some changes to the room shape in order to run ducts in the proper places, and this created a whole conversation about how to best design the laundry room and boys' bathroom. Here's the original iteration of the laundry and boys' bathroom:

In order to properly align ducts coming from the first floor, my brother had to rotate the laundry and boys' bathroom 90-degrees, taking a couple feet of space from the boys' bedroom (on the top side of the image). In doing this, he still kept the rooms the original size, and then used the extra space created along the hallway to put in a closet.

At this point, still resigned to a small laundry room, Molly brilliantly saw what my brother and I could not (you know when you spend so much time looking at something you can't see the forest for the trees?). Molly, knowing the new closet wouldn't get used effectively, wondered aloud why we couldn't just get rid of the closet, flip the location of the laundry and boys' bathroom, and use all of the previous closet space for the laundry room? Voila!

I feel so much better about this, as I now know Molly will get one of her primary wishes, some space to move and work in the laundry room without piling tons of clothes in the hallway. And there's now plenty of space for the sink.

"Floor-to- ceiling" windows in family room and library

I wrote some time ago about dividing up the floor-to-ceiling windows on the north side of the family room and library in order to contain cost by using smaller, standard-size windows. Well, here's the result of my brother's changes:

The windows with the dashed triangles are operable casement windows (the side with the "point" of the triangle opens outward, with the opposite side being the hinge) and the blank windows are fixed. The bottom windows will be tempered glass, and all of these are standard-size Andersen windows. Again, we loved this result. The facade will look very cool with all of the windows open at an angle, and the design is certainly nothing crazy while still being distinctive and non-ordinary.


Jenny Clarke said...

Yeah for the laundry room revision. I for one have a laundry with no sink and not a lot of room. It is a real challenge. We may eventually add on to the house to address the lack of working room. I think its really wise to have that room of all rooms the way you want it. Good job Molly!

Molly Koop said...

It tells you something about a woman when the size of her laundry room is "of concern". :) We had a really small laundry room in our first home and I ended up with piles of laundry up and down the hallway--and that's when we only had one kid! Now we're cloth diapering and we have (nearly!) seven people who create laundry (which is about 40-50 loads per month assuming the stomach flu isn't running it's course through our home!). Brendan was teasing, though, that now he'll have room to set up his next art project. ;)