Sunday, July 12, 2009

Storage and Mechanicals


In the recent post regarding in-floor radiant heat I mentioned a number of challenges we needed to deal with once the basement was removed from the plan. Two of the biggest were where to incorporate space for storage, and where to put the mechanical systems that service the house. Both of these items were previously accommodated by having a basement, and without the basement it was going to require some re-design of the first-floor to create new spaces. Even though both spaces are needed, chief among my personal concerns was making sure the exterior architectural aesthetic of the home was not compromised. In short, I liked the home design the way it was, and after months and months of visualizing the design it was going to be difficult to make some changes.

Here was the home exterior and first floor layout as it was, assuming there would be a basement (click either to enlarge):

First lets go over the storage. Since the basement was no longer in the picture, my brother, Molly, and I all agreed that the space formerly devoted to the stairway to the basement would be a good place to start in designing storage space.

The only problem is that the space is smaller than what we'd like to have for storage. Since the space is adjacent to the kitchen, we would locate our secondary refrigerator (an old clunker that we use for milk and pop) and our chest freezer in there. That doesn't leave much extra room for storing things.

I had tried to work out in my own mind where we could possibly put extra storage space, and decided to brainstorm and draw up some ideas on top of an old drawing of the exterior of the home. Here were options that I came up with (click any to enlarge):

Both of these ideas essentially added square footage to the North of the garage, either of which would kind of be a "crawl space" in function. The essential difference between the two ideas is that the first one maintains the double doors on the North of the garage and the second gets rid of these doors. Both of these ideas weren't meant to be "the" solution, but rather to stimulate conversation with my brother on our options.

Luckily, I think my brother ended at a much better idea than either of the two above: pull the garage 3 feet to the West, rotate the orientation of the mudroom 90 degrees (maintaining the same size of the room), leaving a good-sized storage room without having to alter the exterior form of the home in this area.

It will be great to have easily accessible, heated, indoor storage space, something we don't have in our current home.

Okay, on to the mechanicals. Our general contractor had clearly told us that the best place for the mechanical systems was underneath the stairs to the second level, as it was a central location for efficient air circulation to both "wings" of the home. For example, trying to place the mechanicals near the garage in the proposed storage space would not work well. However, clearly there was not enough space underneath the stairs for all the mechanical systems; the old plan was to have this be a small closet for home school supplies. There was going to have to be some addition of square footage in this area.

Below are the ideas I could think of for additional space. Again, these are overlaid on top of an old exterior drawing of the home, so some of the windows and things are not correct (click any to enlarge).

The contractors stated that the space would actually need to be up against the adjacent brick wall so that the airflow tubes could go upward and directly access the floor of the second level. Again, it's good to have an architect maintaining the vision for the project. My brother came up with the best option for satisfying the contractors' needs and the aesthetic of the home. In fact, he actually likes this better than the original design. The idea is to extend the brick from the facade of the home outward, making it appear as if the brick is really a wall that extends past the home instead of an artificial facade that sits on the outside of the building (click any to enlarge).

You can see from the third image that the roof of the mechanicals room drains water toward the diagonal line and then out through the scupper that comes through the brick.

So there you have it. The foundation and floor plan is now set, and now we can get the survey and staking of the home started on our lot.


John Curran said...

I like this design better too, for the reason you state: extension of a brick wall, rather than false facade, in effect.

Your little sheds were freaking me out... Good to know an architect!

An elegant solution, Brendan.

Brendan Koop said...

I think my "sheds" were scaring my brother as well ;-)

Erin Snyder said...

Your house-building completely overwhelms me. You must be one special (and holy and patient) family in order to survive this process! I can tell that it is right up your alley though. Great work. Everything looks wonderful.

Molly Koop said...

Erin! We'll be living out your way starting next week! We must have you over for a visit. You'll have to decide if we get to see you before or after baby is born! Well, we'd better see you after baby so that I can get a baby fix. But both before and after would be a bonus! :)