Monday, October 5, 2009

Final Plan

This is the final plan. We lost the separate entrance for the guest room, but got the curved great room with unobstructed Strip view that we wanted. We lost a lot of the bar, but gained a much bigger kitchen. We lost the theater door at the end of a long hallway (we were going to make it steel and leather), but gained the projector throw that we needed for our big screen. We lost the elevator (and still have some stairs), but kept most of the house on one level. We lost some of our closet space, but kept the private Master Bedroom area.

Please ignore some of the raggedy lines at the bottom of the drawing. I had to make this up by scanning the full sized plans and piecing it together in Photoshop. Not all of the pieces are exactly the same scale and orientation. But overall, though it has been months that we have had to live with this final design, it meets all of our criteria. We are quite happy with it. No, take that back. We are ECSTATIC about this design. We are already living there in our heads. We are putting furniture in place. Deciding where pictures will go. Contemplating where each kind of book will go (notice, there are a lot of built in bookcases, even without showing the freestanding ones.) We are even ready to hang our clothes (or in James' case, his art) in our closets. If you have a clear idea of how you live and you can communicate this to your architect and he listens to you, all designs will be this good.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Working With An Architect

There haven't been any posts over the summer as we have waited endlessly for a building permit. Sometimes these dull periods appear. You want to do something, but there is not much that you can do effectively. We did meet with several cabinet makers and some flooring professionals, but after a while we simply went into hibernation, waiting for this project to get started again. We are still probably two weeks away from breaking ground, but I want to go back to February when we started to work with our architect.

No matter how detailed your instructions are, there will be some disconnects between what you said and what your architect heard. You might have even changed you mind about the things that are really important. This is the first drawing that Bob Sherman gave to us. Looking at it again, it is remarkably close to what we ended up with, but there are significant areas of change.

The first thing we changed completely was the idea of a two story house. Since this house is on a steep hillside we were pretty sure we would need two stories to get all the rooms we wanted. Since we want this house to be the last house we ever live in, an elevator seemed to be necessary with more than one floor so that we could move from floor to floor even with a walker or a wheelchair. But when we looked at the first design, the two bedrooms on the bottom floor seemed to be more space than we would need. If we eliminated the staircase and the elevator we could use that space to add the one bedroom/cat room/gym that we needed.

The other major change that we wanted was to emphasis the view of the Strip, especially at night. Bob gave us a tremendous covered porch, but we both felt that the columns would get in the way of the view. We were looking for more of a circular wall focused on the view. The bar was too big and so was the formal dining area that we mostly use in our current house as a large desk rather than an eating area. Even when we have guests, we usually use the kitchen area to eat.

But the overall design was terrific. It splits the "public areas" from the "private areas". It gave us two studios, a library and a home theater. It also gave us a private entrance with a huge gallery/hall for art work. Yes, the design needs to be revised, but not as much as we thought it might have to be. Next? What the final design looks like and the compromises we made to get there.