Sunday, February 10, 2013

The design program

We had an initial meeting with our architectural team, accepted a scope of work and cost proposal and then met with them again. At that second meeting, we got into a few more design ideas, talked about our old house and our current house, how the rooms might flow in the new house and I shared the following document with them. Sometimes it is called a Program. Sometimes architects make their own version after listening to your needs, but we had been thinking about this house for a long time and had a clear vision of what we were looking for in the design. Maybe we should have been more open minded about the design, but we knew what we liked, and after a disappointing experience with a different architect, we thought it best to be clear about what we wanted. Thankfully, our new architects, Erica and Liz, were willing and able to design a house even better than the one we'd been imagining.

As I read it again, I kind of wanted to edit it. It has been over a year since I handed it to them and few things might not matter anymore. More than that, I really want to ask Erica (the architect who designed our house) what she thought about this list, but maybe I'd be too embarrassed to hear an honest answer. At the time, I really wanted her to know more about who she was designing this house for and what we hoped it would be for our family.

Whatever she really thought, she is an amazing professional and I don't think I could have found a better person for me to work with in Anchorage. Traditional design is not the norm here and is not necessarily Erica's style, or anyone else's here. There were lot of reasons we picked Olberding and White, but a tiny part of it was that Erica grew up in Alaska but went to school at Savannah College of Art and Design and was familiar with the architecture of the South. After living in an architecturally rich neighborhood of Atlanta, I kind of liked that. She was the right person to help us create an Alaska appropriate home that had some of the character of a more traditional home. She and Liz were also interested in helping us build a beautiful and energy efficient home.

For the most part, I am impressed with how much the plans match this list. The biggest difference I can see, is that we went over on the square footage, which also raised our budget. :(  We are at about 3400 sf on the interior of our 10" SIPs walls. When we had a preliminary design, Erica did suggest we start whittling it down, but I said I didn't want to. So, it is mostly because we didn't make many compromises from this list. We could have gone back and cut things, but we didn't.  I feel like we are getting the house we wanted, but we had to wait an extra year to start building it.

So here it is:

The Boorsteins - Dan, Kjerstin, Oliver, Benton, Linnea, and Birdie (the dog)

Our lives center around our house and the adventures we go out on.  Dan works from home and I spend my days learning with our three children at home.  We cook our meals at home and eat together and everyone gets in the kitchen to help.   

We enjoy outdoor activities all year long.  So, we are often heading out for an activity or coming back in with all our stuff that needs a place.  When we are home, we have many hobbies.  We are all avid readers and everyone has their pile (or two) of current favorites, everyone spends time at a computer, Dan does woodworking, and I love to sew and bake.  

We like to be together, but everyone needs a quiet spot sometimes.

We would like our daily activities to follow the sun (morning sun in the family studio and kitchen, evening sun in Living Room).

We like the house to be tidy, so all those books, learning and art materials, games, toys etc, need a place to go when we are not using them.  As well as all our outdoor gear and such.

I love a party, so we have lots of special occasion items, including dishes and serving ware, speciality appliances etc.  Dan also brews beer, so we have considered a kegerator in the house.

We want a place where out of town guests can be comfortable, but not a room that sits vacant the rest of the year.

We would like a semi-attached or detached two car garage with storage space for seasonal items and outdoor gear and workshop

As silly as this might seem, we have a family website called the Solstice Cottage (we were married on Summer Solstice) and we kind of like the image that conjures up for this new house; a sunny, welcoming home, with a nod to at least passive solar, if not active.

General Design Concepts
  • Front facing gable
  • Covered front porch
  • new old house
  • living in the attic
  • modest looking - simple traditional shape, appropriate massing
  • about 2500-3000 square feet - medium sized rooms, open (not vaulted), but defined spaces, with more built-ins, plenty of storage and or closets
  • Highly energy efficient, great windows, passive solar, possibly active solar
  • Sustainable and healthy home  - low VOCs, no-added formaldehyde products, radiant heat, properly ventilated with fresh air exchange system, if used, non-toxic spray foam insulation (TEP or TCPP) and foam board (polyiso), check for radon, whole house water filter/purifier (if needed), durable products (timeless)
  • safe home - built-in fire ladders upstairs, sprinkler system?, carbon monoxide detectors,
  • LEED certified? LED lighting, wired for technology, audio
  • considering a standing seam metal roof

The following is what we have imagined our house to include, but everything is up for discussion.

1st Floor
  • spot for everyday and guest coats, boots, hat/mittens
  • 1-2 benches (boot storage underneath)
  • a bit of a gathering area - we often have another family coming and going with all their winter gear while we all greet them or say good bye.
  • little dream - wide front door w/2 square stained glass windows we already own
Mudroom – connection to attached garage and or side or back doorindividual storage areas
storage for assorted gear ( small walk-in?) - seasonal items, extra backpacks, etc.
dog area- feeding spot and food storage

large room for both laundry and storage
storage baskets for dirty linens and rugs
Cleaning supplies area, including spot for vacuum and floor cleaners
Utility sink

¾ bath Guest Bedroom/Sewing Room 2 closets would be nice, but not necessary (one for sewing, one for guests)
may have a murphy bed, so I can use the room for sewing the rest of the year.  

Living Room
wood-burning fireplace or woodstove
symmetrical fireplace and cabinetry 
built-in bookcases
room enough for 2 small sofas/loveseats, and a chair (at least 14’x14’),
preferably not larger than 18’x18’
TV space (54” tv behind cabinetry)

Dining Room
Everyday dining
Round Table – size 54” expandable to 108”
Built-in storage
china, glassware, silverware storage, specialty dishware storage or display
linen storage (tablecloths and napkins)
small wine and liquor storage, kegerator

Kitchen - For me, this house starts with the kitchen, its functionality, an unconventional amount of windows, and its connection to other spaces.
large sink – dish station –sink, dishwasher, storage,
more windows, less upper cabinetry
either large stove & oven  but could do a separate cooktop and ovens
baking area – large mixer, baking supplies, 
trash and recycling area
near kitchen - small spot for phones and calendar, small household tools, etc.
Walk-in Pantry
storage for bulk pantry items, occasional items, freezer?

Family Studio  
connection to kitchen
semi-open (double pocket doors/barn door)
closet or built-ins –kids’ learning, arts and crafts supplies
space for kids table for crafts and learning projects
wall space for computers (2-3 desktops)
space available for a sofa or even built in spot to read books together 
Our current space is about 16x12 plus, 10x10, but just 16x16 should be plenty

Master Bedroom
space for queen sized bed, dresser, chair and ottomancloset for 2 (walk-in?)possibly a small fireplacebuilt-in bookshelvesdreamy extra - sitting area 

Master Bath
double vanity double showerlinen closetprivate toiletfreestanding tub 

Kids Rooms (2)
1)  large enough for 2 twin beds, 2 dressers, closet space for 2 kids
2) same or smaller room (1 child) (she has a day bed with a trundle bed)

Kids Bathroom
double vanity
private toilet
bathtub?/shower (height adjustable shower head)
linen storage

Dan’s office
south facing windows - he dreams of a 3rd floor tower.  :)

Possible Extras Upstairs
upstairs linen closets(s) and storage for 2nd vacuum cleaneradditional laundry closet built in bookshelves and/or cozy window seat

Outdoor Living Ideas
deck and covered front porch

1 comment:

  1. Like the idea of having a family studio, plus a whole house water filter at home! :) We were actually thinking of installing the filter but we're still canvassing on the cost.