Friday, December 5, 2008

Major Design Decisions!

If you have chosen to hire an architect, then you probably have some design dilemmas that you need help with solving. It may be a structural problem such as how to open or move a structural wall, or how to fix a previous design mistake (either your own or a previous owner's). In our case, our major issue was our stairs which affected everything about our overall design because of their current central location. As you can see in the picture, our stairs go up the back of our living room. Our addition was planned to go off the back of our house because of the configuration of our lot. I have always loved our stairs and how they look from our living room.
Our hope was to cut the stairs back about 4 or 5 steps where there would be a landing and then the steps would turn towards the back of the house into the new addition. After several drafts of the plans, our architect (Kaye), Jim, and I all realized that it would be impossible to make the steps work that way and that we would either have to leave them as they are and just have a step up and down into the addition, or move them entirely.
Although it took me a week to get used to the idea (I am a very visual person so I had to think abou it a lot), I eventually realized that it would be the best thing for our house because the stairs would not be a dividing line between the old and new house. We wanted a seemless transition between the old and new so this certainly would help that goal.

Our stairs are now going to be completely within the addition, starting from the basement and going all the way up the attic (no more pull-down stairs!), including a landing on the driveway which will be the main daily entrance for our family. This also solved the issue of having a direct basement entrance from the outside which was important because Jim has a wood shop down there (his new one will be MUCH bigger!) and a 5th bedroom some day.

Another advantage is that our current third bedroom (former office, now a nursery), is very small because the stairs go "through" that room now. Ironically, that room has the best closets in the house (yes, 2 closets in a tiny room). But, now that the stairs will be moved, that room will become a good-sized bedroom which would be able to accomodate a full-size bed which is not possible now.

Now, I love the plans for our stairs and see that it will become a memorable feature in our house. The moral of the story is listen to your architect, I think I'll like them even more because I won't be carrying large loads of laundry up and down any more either!

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