We are preparing to demolish a somewhat uninspired house in Los Angeles and replace it with a modern home veritably oozing with character. Yes, modern homes can have character! Here are a few renderings, starting with one showing the old superimposed over the new.
This old house has a 3-car, attached garage. Or, more accurately, the old 3-car garage has a house attached to it. We normally prefer to downplay garages in our home designs, yet this site required it be at the front of the home. To make it even more challenging, the client needed an additional stall. So, we hired David Copperfield (not really) and magically made a large garage appear smaller.
The solution was simple, really: double load the garage and access it from two sides. Easy, huh? It didn’t hurt that we also provided windows and other details to enhance what is often left as an awkwardly scaled element of a home.
Voila! A garage befitting of Tony Stark, Iron Man.
Here’s a plan of a home. Can you tell what the home looks like by looking at the plan? No? I can’t either.
How about the elevation below? Does it help? My answer would be, “a little, but I still don’t really get it.”
Part of my job is to help clients visualize the home I designed for them before it’s built to ensure they are satisfied with my work. Plans and elevations are not enough. These two dimensional representations simply cannot convey the feeling of three dimensional spaces or the impact of the architecture on the site. Virtually walking through the home via a 3d computer model provides a much greater understanding, but does not quite paint the whole picture, either.
But a rendering… now that can capture the essence of a design in an artistic way like nothing else can.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Here are four thousand:
Throw in a view or two from another perspective, and now you actually understand what you are building.
To this day, it amazes me that the vast majority of homes, even very expensive ones, are built with, at best, a few elevations and a plan. No physical model. No computer model. No renderings. I don’t know how they know what they are getting. Maybe they don’t care.
Designing an island home led to this logic puzzle. If you haven’t read the puzzle, follow this link (preferably before reading the solution below).
The ferryman takes the contractor across to the island, leaving him there, alone.
He goes back to the shore and brings the architect across to the island. But instead of leaving the architect and contractor together, he brings the contractor back with him to the shore.
The ferryman then takes the engineer across to the island, leaving him and the architect to swap recipes.
Finally, the ferryman goes back to the shore and takes the contractor across to the island.
All ends well.
An architect, engineer and contractor are constructing a home on an island. They are not getting along. As happens frequently on construction projects, the engineer is having an affair with the contractor’s wife. To add to the friction, the contractor has stated in no uncertain terms that his two-year old child could draw a better set of plans than the architect (this also happens frequently, but not to us 😉 ).
At the start of the workday, they arrive together at the shore. It’s a low budget project and the only way onto the island is via a small ferry that can hold two people (and one of the two must be the ferryman).
If the contractor and architect are left alone on either the island or the shore, the architect will pummel the contractor.
If the engineer and contractor are left alone, well, let’s just say the engineer will require additional structure for support.
The architect and the engineer, on the other hand, are BFF. They can safely be left alone together.
When the three are together, one of them always intervenes in the others’ dispute, thus avoiding calamity.
So, how can the ferryman bring everyone to the island without incident (alive and unbound), and save himself the extra trip of ferrying a medic across to clean up the mess?
When you build a home on a mountain, great views are par for the course. But on this mountain in Sonoma, California, you regularly find yourself on top of the world. This is a home I designed on the Gustafson Family Vineyards.
Pop the Champagne! After an extended, protracted and strung out (not to mention lengthy) approvals process, we received our final development permit for a home in Calabasas, California (near L.A.). We garnered unanimous approvals from the Planning Department, Architectural Review Committee, Planning Commission and City Council, without a single voice of opposition. Apparently this is a first for this community. If you are interested in the process, check it out here:
Watch the Planning Commission Hearing (starts at 0:29:45, I speak at 1:27:40, accolades start at 1:33:40 🙂 )
Watch the City Council Hearing (starts at 2:05:55)
The next step is to obtain the construction permit. If all goes smoothly, the new year will echo with the sound of shovels breaking ground. My thanks to the team for your heroic efforts!
Peekaboos between spaces make for interesting homes, creating an alluring tease which gradually reveals what lies beyond. Trust me, it’s much more fun than showing it all at once. Yes, this applies to architecture, too. In this example, a curved wall separates the foyer from the living room, and another separates the living from the dining. Combine this idea with the concept of layering spaces (a topic for another post), and you really have something.
Cross-country flight today, seated next to a young girl, 6 1/2 years old (not 6 or 6 1/4, but 6 1/2. Very important) and her mom. She didn’t have anything to do, so I gave her my sketchbook to color in and we chatted for much of the flight. Kids like Disney World. Who knew? She left me this note.
Yet another reason to always carry a sketchbook (and multi-pencil)!