My first experience of a 'master suite' was at a friend's house I visited in high school. As I recall, his parents' bedroom was on the ground floor with access off the living room. The room had its own bathroom which backed up to the main family bath accessed around the corner from the kitchen. This was groundbreaking to me. Absolutely eye-opening.
I grew up in a house much like my own: two story, American Four Square with a single hall bath upstairs. However, my house had been outfitted with what I have to assume is a former closet made to be a 'master bath'...if I may use the term loosely. It is a far cry from what one would expect: tub, sink and toilet squeezed within forty-two square feet (the size of a standard office cubicle). Oh, and no electrical outlets, so don't go washing your hair or anything! It goes without saying, there is great opportunity to make something great. Make something coveted. Make the Carrie Bradshaw closet.
By removing the closet in the Study, we can regain a window now boarded over, not to mention extra space within the room. Furthermore, by closing off the opening between the study and the vestibule, floor space is gained back. Now, the only way into the Study is via the Master Bedroom. This change frees up the vestibule to become practical space. By simply closing off the entry into the vestibule from the hall, the space is reclaimed for the coveted master suite. Now, with a new opening from the bedroom into the vestibule, you have the beginnings of a Carrie Bradshaw Closet in route to an enlarged master bath.
Though there would be more space if I could convince my husband to demolish the kitchen chimney, there is just enough room for multi-tier closet rods to the left and built-in drawers and shoe cubbies to the right. I hope to repurpose the old closet doors as pocket doors between the bedroom and the bath.
The bath will be outfitted with two pedestal sinks with a custom cabinet between to hide all the essentials...including the hairdryer! The tub concept is abandoned to accommodate a spacious shower enclosed with glass. The toilet will remain where it is though I hope to upgrade to something more water friendly.
My sister recently came to me with a challenging design problem: design a kitchen that will easily accommodate entertaining (read, I want an island) and open it up to the living room. No big deal, right?
Oh, by the way, the kitchen is long and narrow and there's a STAIR between the kitchen and the living room. Challenge accepted.
Below are some crude Sketch Up shots of the existing kitchen. You'll see by the little green arrows that it is situated in a corner of the house but in the heart of the circulation. From the kitchen, you may access the garage, basement, deck and back yard, as well as the living room. Its a busy place.
The layout of the kitchen has the tradition 'work triangle' that works well. At just under ten feet wide, the kitchen is too narrow to drop even the tiniest of islands. When you include the dining area, it is about twenty feet long. Narrow and long.
The simple fix is to replace the cabinets. Replace the uppers with boxes at least 42" tall in order to gain storage space. Lower cabinets could also be redone for better storage capability--I'm a big fan of deep drawers as opposed to doors. Additionally, the major pinch point is at the fridge--it's so close to the pantries and directly in the way of the path to the basement and garage. No more than one person can be in the area at a time without doing a little dance shuffle.
Solution: The wall comes down. Obviously, the main wall between the kitchen and living room is a load-bearing wall. However, we can open it up with an I-beam spanning the almost twenty feet.
The walls around the stair become counter height with an island that spans the area. Circulation is opened up on each side so getting to the garage or the top of the stair is no longer a pinch point. The cabinets reach to the ceiling for extra storage. Finally, the fridge, pantry and range are moved so they are not all concentrated in one area. The bigger triangle is sacrificed but the island creates a long, continuous prep area and landing space for items coming in and out of the fridge and stove.
My favorite part is the built-in bookcase on the living room side of the island. It acts as a good transition from lounge space to utility space. Now...if I can just convince my sister to go through with it! Who doesn't love renovations?
So as an architect with a young child, a treehouse has to be on the list, right? The first image here is a tree house I designed with Henry at my side. All he wanted was a door, a window, and a roof.
I sent it to Bart and he was not impressed. He said, "You're an architect. Come on, think outside the box!"
Fine. Whatever. I go back to the drawing board. Version 2.0:
I like to think this one conjures up a bit of Star Wars meets air traffic control tower. Either way, you can play anything that has to do with flying...perfectly suitable for being up in the trees.
I asked Bart what he thought. He says, "It needs refinement."
"I see, you don't like it?", I ask.
"Not if I have to build it". So much for thinking outside the box, huh?
Got a new sketch book this weekend and I'm excited to be away from the computer and simply sketching & coloring. Above is a design I've been trying to flesh out...a two bedroom town home with a loft-like feel. How many stairs are too many?
In the past year, Bart and I have had our eyes open for a building to purchase to house his shop, office, as well as a small gallery and preferably a tenant space to rent. We've spent countless hours going up and down our neighborhood in Oak Cliff [because who wouldn't want to bike to work] as well as all throughout the Dallas Design District and neighboring Riverfront area. No solid luck so far but it'll happen. One day. Even if we must win the Lottery first.
An unexpected side effect of the search is that I've come to love the nondescript warehouses along Irving Boulevard. What used to be shabby, rundown buildings to me, I now see in a new light: well designed, functional, beautifully executed buildings of simple means.
From the research I've done, the large majority of these buildings were built in the 1950s. Most have brick facades trimmed with stone. Today's developer would simply utilize tilt wall construction or simply expansive metal buildings as an inexpensive means to an end. Unfortunate, isn't it?