20
Nov
12

What Statement Does Your Front Door Make?

After the initial overall impression, the front door is the first and single most important design statement a house will make. It is the first element that is seen up close by every guest who enters the house. The front door should set the tone, character and feeling the homeowners want to project to their guests. When we meet new people the first 3- seconds establish our first impression and the front door does the same for the home.

What kind of first impression do you want your guests to have? There are basically two types of front door/entry statements. Once this question is addressed and answered by the homeowners, the architect can translate the answer into a design solution that meets the needs and desires of the homeowner. These statements can be incorporated into many styles of architectural design, from classic design to more modern and contempory design styles as well.

Design Statement #1

This door is very easy to find and has a very grand scale to the entrance to the home.

The first design statement gives guests the impression of grandeur and elegance. It is large in scale and impressive. It says, “this is who I am—I have nothing to hide”! This design approach has a more masculine feeling.

  • Front door can be seen from the street
  • Front door is symmetrical to the design, giving a more formal entry experience
  • Front door is larger than most and/or heavily ornate
  • Front door opens to a large formal entry or main living space, which immediately features views of the main focal point of the space, i.e. a fireplace or art work
  • The front door is a double door

Design Statement #2

The second design statement is more casual and expresses a sense of mystery. Guests arrive to a slightly hidden or off center entrance. The entry foyer is usually smaller with lower ceilings, and features a table of flowers or a piece of art. The entry experience continues around a decorative wall of art and the living space grows and expands. Finally, when guests arrive at the main living space, the focal point of the design is fully expressed. With this design approach the main living spaces do not need 24-foot ceilings to make the rooms seem spacious. The spaciousness can be achieved with 12 to 14 floor ceilings since guests are entering into 7-8 foot ceilings. Frank Lloyd Wright used this concept in many of his Prairie and Usonian styles of architecture.

  • Front door cannot be seen from the street, but the design of the house directs guests to location of front door
  • Front door is usually off center from the rest of the house, giving an asymmetrical but balanced design appearance
  • Front door is only 7 or 8 feet tall with a roof extending over it, providing shade and protection for the guests
  • Front door can be decorative and detailed, but with smaller and more refined detail
  • Front door is usually a single door, but at least three and a half to four feet wide to accommodate moving large items in and out of the door.
  • A low outdoor roof overhang will give the door and guest a sense of protection from the outdoor elements.

With either design approach, it is the responsibility of the architect to guide and advise the homeowner.

Good design is not arbitrary. Everything has a purpose, especially the front door!

        Frank Lloyd Wright Front Door at Taliesin West

Front door not seen from street                Entry to the Frank Lloyd Wright living room at Taliesin West
adds interest and harmony with               showing the slightly hidden front door. By hiding the door it
a custom design wood over                        will add more interest and drama as people enter the space.
laid onto copper.

17
Aug
12

Project Feature: The Palm Residence in Syracuse, New York

One of my design philosophies is to take into consideration the site and climate of a project. With consideration for the golf course views and harsh New York winters, we accomplished the design of a home in Syracuse, New York that captures golf course views from each room and draws life from its natural surroundings in a masterful blend of indoor and outdoor environments. In addressing the harsh winters, a 12’ cantilevered carport provides immediate shelter for guests arriving to the house.

View from the street

View from the street

The entry driveway has radiant heating so that ice doesn’t build up causing a possible safety hazard and wide, generous stone steps bring guests to the custom designed from entry door.

Nestled in the brow of a sloping setback constrained lot, the three-level, 7000 square foot home is a clear focus of many sustainable, energy-minded design features that are currently available to the everyday homeowner. In keeping with Frank Lloyd Wright visions, natural materials are utilized on the interior and exterior walls. The rooms flow into one another, and include features such as high trapezoid shaped windows and statically placed solar skylight tubes welcoming natural light deeper into the various open living spaces. Open views welcome natural light and the use of warm colors express the organic philosophy. The exterior walls are covered with horizontal Cypress siding paired with stone veneer at the base providing a natural connection and extension of the house with the lot. The same materials continue on interior walls, bringing the outside in and adding a warm inviting ambience.

On the main level, the living area, dining area and kitchen create a great room space that flows together and then blends

Interior Kitchen

Interior Kitchen

almost seamlessly with expansive views to the rear terrace and golf course. The soaring space is visually broken by large structural wood beams that continue outside and support the large cantilevered overhangs. A dropped suspended ceiling cove was designed above the kitchen. The spatial effect is one of a defined sense of space between the kitchen and great room while retaining the open feeling of a great room.

While most of the home’s active living takes place on the main level with its two master suites, the upper level includes two smaller guest bedrooms with private baths and access to a connecting cantilevered balcony. The lower level accommodates the owners’ various hobbies with an enclosed half basketball court, a home theater with seating for six, an exercise area, and a simulated golf driving range and putting green to allow for practice during old winter months.

View from Kitchen to Great Room

View from Kitchen to Great Room

One of the most intriguing design elements of the home is a Sapele wood lined elevator that travels up or down three levels with a window in the back framing a view of the stone veneer wall!

17
Aug
12

When Building a New Sustainable Building Consider . . .

•  The energy required to produce and transport the materials

•  The toxicity of material

•  Recyclability of the materials

•  Durability and lifespan of the materials

 

17
Aug
12

What’s New in Architectural Products

Architectural grade LED linear is now available from GM Lighting. The flexible LED ribbon I an ETL listed, 50,000 hour LED product that delivers more performanceExample of LED lighting per linear foot than any equivalent light source. It provides even illumination without any shadowing or dark spots and is available in standard and high output versions. The ribbon installs easily and is cutable every 3 LED’s; it’s dimmable; and it comes in a convenient reel that keeps the linear ribbon properly stored and ready for installation.

07
Aug
09

Secret formula to project success: Quality x Quantity = Cost

Three elements — Quality x Quantity = Cost — determine your final construction project; whether the project is a home or a commercial building. As the consumer, you control two of those elements. As the architect, I control the third.

To start a project , it’s best for consumers to prioritize among these three elements so the architect can design accordingly. If you want top-of-the-line finishes, such as granite countertops, rare wood cabinets, and marble flooring, the size of the house may need to be smaller to fit into the budget. If space is the priority, you may need to put in less expensive finishes. If the size and quality are priorities, then you must have a more flexible checkbook. No doubt you’ve heard the phrase that you can’t have champagne tastes on a beer budget. The same theory works for architectural design.

I find that I usually need to help the consumer balance all three design elements. By talking with clients before we start the project, I learn what their priorities are and the leeway I have in design. With more than 20 years of architectural experience, I have an accurate way to estimate the quality against the size.

That leeway allows me to suggest alternatives. I can find ways to achieve the function and look you want with some flexibility in exactly how it must be done. For example, maybe you would like wood floors throughout, but real wood for the home’s square footage is too expensive. There are several choices of wood veneer flooring that look the same, but for a fraction of the cost. Alternatives exist for every finish or design aspect of the home.

If you need more information about balancing your project’s size and quality within your budget, call me at 480-219-0554. For more information about me or my projects, visit www.theorganicarchitect.com.

24
Jul
09

Plans vary depending on detail level

When people decide to build a home or commercial project, there are many types of plans within the process. It’s important to understand each type of plan and for what it is used.

Some people may start with a conceptual floor plan. You can find conceptual floorplan books at local home improvement stores. I even sell books of my home plans on my Web site. These plans give you a basic idea of what the project will look like. At this stage, it is easy for an architect to change the design. Maybe two rooms need to be switched around. Maybe you want to knock out a wall and create a bigger master bedroom with a large walk-in closet. Maybe you want to add a bay window. This is easy to do. But a conceptual plan isn’t good enough for a contractor.

That’s when you need a construction drawings. The construction drawings are the final design used by the cities for permitting and the contractors and subcontractors for construction. The design is detailed and drawn to a scale. Construction drawings lay out the guts of the house. It includes the electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems.

When you hire an architect to design your project, the construction drawings are included in that design fee. When you buy a conceptual plan, construction drawings are an additional charge.

If you need more information about the different kinds of design plans, call me at 480-219-0554 or email me.

29
Jun
09

Architectural services vary by customization

Just as there are different ways you can build your home, there are also different types of architectural services. You can have custom design, semi-custom design and pre-design plans. Each carries a separate price tag along with separate benefits.

A pre-design home comes from a mass-produced plan. You can find these in design plan books at local home improvement stores. They are a basic layout of the home and used as is. This is a very inexpensive way to obtain architectural services, but you also live with whatever the current plan states. Want a larger kitchen and a smaller guest room? Too bad.

A semi-custom design can be a bridge between a pre-design home and a custom design. Maybe you found a pre-design that is acceptable with a few modifications. An architect can make those modifications by shrinking the guest room and redistributing the square footage to the kitchen. Want to substitute a large master bath and his and her closets for that small fourth bedroom? No problem.

A custom design is specifically tailored to your needs, your land lot and your budget. The architect starts from scratch to marry your home requirements and budget together and make it fit on your land lot. Your home will be a one-of-a-kind creation.

If you need more information about the different kinds of architectural services, call me at 480-219-0554 or email me. For more information about Michael Rust and his residential architecture, visit www.theorganicarchitect.com.




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