Saturday, February 18, 2012

Revised plans

You may remember the 'small' house from yesterdays post. To prove my point about some small renovations were all that were needed to move this house into the 21st century I quickly (and messily) sketched some alternate floor plans. Before: the first floor was ok but lacked an open kitchen, a powder room, and a traffic pattern for modern living.After: I opened the entry hall to the living and dining rooms. I also opened the sunroom into the living room with a large beam holding the wall above with flanking decorative columns. I opened up the back of the house to a new terrace with a long pantry off the new kitchen. The previous kitchen was small and cramped but once it was gutted, provided enough space for a small powder room (so small the door needs to open out!) and a larger kitchen. The addition of a larger group of windows over the sink, matching those in the living and dining rooms, opens the kitchen to the side garden.The second floor was under-bathed and had additional bedrooms that were not needed (remember the 3rd floor has 2 small bedrooms and an extra bath). I turned the old hall bath into a closet with the 3rd bedroom becoming the master bath. Double sinks and an extra large shower were on the top of my priority list. I should have reversed the door swing on the old hall linen closet of course - oops! Remember this was fast and quick. Bedroom #2 gets a small walk in closet with access to an efficient but private bath.I tried to minimize any changes while respecting todays love of open floorplans, private bathrooms and larger closets. What would you have done differently?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Another small house plan

From the same book, Building with Assurance, I bring you house #16. A slightly larger Georgian styled house, it measures in at nearly 3,000 sf, a number seen in the smallest houses built today.

This is almost too much of a house for me, what do you think? I love the gracious entry hall with flanking living and dining rooms. I would remove the doors to the front hall and open up the kitchen a bit more to get rid of the fussy breakfast nook and pantry, otherwise I think this is a great floorplan for modern living. In favor of a larger kitchen, one could forgo the seperate dining room and place a table in the sunroom, facing the garden with additional access to the kitchen near the basement stairs. Then the dining room and kitchen could become a very large eat-in kitchen.
On the second floor, a generous master bedroom with a fireplace and lovely porch is already in place, but I'm sure along the way it would have been glassed in. I'm ambivalent either way (glassed in or not) but I would definitely want to carve out an en-suite bathroom. The rear bedroom and existing bath would need to be reconfigured to that end, hopefully also providing a walk-in closet for the master suite.While I'm getting rid of a bedroom (or possibly two) on the second floor, don't forget the attic has 2 bedrooms and its own bath!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

small houses

While generally I blog about grand old houses and palaces, it may come as a surprise to you that I actually favor the small houses from the early 20th century. Once copiously built and now widely abhored, these cottages and bungalows are under constant threat; knocked down or mutilated beyond recognition in quest of glorious 'space', generally at the cost of quality.Lately I was going through a book in my library released by the Morgan Woodwork company in 1921 called "Building with Assurance" which was a thinly veiled catalog of their offerings under the guise of a magazine. Exhibited were a number of beautifully illustrated house plans and elevations which just happened to use their wares. Over the next few days I'll bring you some of my favorites but it is beyond me why someone would need more than these 1500-2500 sf houses unless they had 10 kids. Most of our grandparents and parents were raised in houses of equal size and smaller (some of the houses built after WWII were barely 1000 sf remember).Of course, I wouldn't be living in this house as it was built had I come across it in its original form. This is afterall the 21st century and modifications would have to be made. Of the 1,675SF house, I would probably create a larger eat in kitchen from the small porch, pantry and original kitchen. Additionally, I would open up the stair into the entry hall and possibly the kitchen. The maid's room (who has a live in maid in this day and age in such a small house?) would make an excellent study or den with bookcases replacing the small closets. The full bath makes a generous powder room and coat closet facing the hall.On the second floor, I would use bedroom #2 as the master bedroom. Bedroom #1 would become an attached bath (through the original closet door) while the sleeping porch would be glassed in and become a join dressing / sitting room with closets on the north wall closing off access to bedroom #3. Bedroom #3 would then become a nice guest room with access to the hall bath. Honestly, do I need more?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

In case anyone missed it, check out the video that is the Google banner today -and a very Happy Valentines Day!