I wanted to share a couple of images of a recently photographed project of ours. This structure is locally called an “ADU”. Not to be confused with the ACU (Army Combat Uniform), a garage with an apartment above is known as an Accessory Dwelling Unit. This particular project features a 2 bay garage at the ground level and a studio apartment on the upper level.
This ADU features a gambrel roof with dormers on either side. The canopy of a large live oak tree covers one side of the structure as it was tucked back into the corner of the lot facing both a rear and a side alleyway. The gambrel roof shape allowed us to maintain additional space inside the apartment while still pulling away from this grand tree at the midpoint of the roof.
This past weekend, I was invited to present at the Charleston Home + Design Show on “Charleston HOUZZ Worthy Homes”. I focused this presentation on trends in three areas of the home that are typically high on a homeowners list. Kitchens, Bathrooms and Storage. For this third excerpt, I’ll focus on the Bathrooms.
Bathrooms are some of the most personal spaces found in a home. Some bathrooms and fairly private, in the case of “en suite” bathrooms (Master Bathrooms), which some bathrooms are very public, for powder rooms and even some hallway-accessed bathrooms. Here are a few bathroom trends that I have noticed recently:
- Aging in place implements – these include grab bars (which may be used as towel bars until needed), zero threshold showers and doorways with enough clearance (which could allow for a person in a chair to be wheeled in.)
- Large mirrors to increase the visual size of smaller bathrooms.
- Independent showers with frameless glass doors. A house should have at least one bathtub but many master bathrooms are omitting the bathtub.
- Toilet closets.
- Private, but shared bathrooms between adjacent bedrooms.
Bathrooms are increasingly important to homeowners, both in the quality of the finishes, but also in the quantity of bathrooms in the home.
This past weekend, I was invited to present at the Charleston Home + Design Show on “Charleston HOUZZ Worthy Homes”. I focused this presentation on trends in three areas of the home that are typically high on a homeowners list. Kitchens, Bathrooms and Storage. For this second excerpt, I’ll focus on the Storage.
Most people tend to think of storage as closets and this isn’t wrong. But, it also is not comprehensive – storage can and should be so much more than simply closets. Here is a brief list of other storage items found in homes:
- Food Pantries.
- Built-in cabinetry and shelves – these are often found in a home office/study and mud room
- Entertainment centers and Audio/Visual cabinets in family rooms – these are great places to hide equipment, cables, gaming systems, extra blankets or pillows.
- Entire rooms can be dedicated to storage and may even be concealed with non-traditional doors.
- Kitchen storage may be more than simply having base and wall cabinets: built-in bookshelves for cookbooks, under counter space for stools, or glass display cabinets are three common examples.
- Specialized closets for dedicated use – a child’s art closet, your quilting collection, etc.
- Rooms built into roof systems often have opportunities to utilize eave storage.
There are several good companies that focus on optimizing closets with organizer systems. As I’ve shown above, storage can be found in many places other than just closets. This can be particularly important if you’re renovating your home as you may not have the physical room needed for optimal closet space.
This past weekend, I was invited to present at the Charleston Home + Design Show on “Charleston HOUZZ Worthy Homes”. I focused this presentation on trends in three areas of the home that are typically high on a homeowners list. Kitchens, Bathrooms and Storage. For this first excerpt, I’ll focus on the Kitchens.
Kitchens are often the social center of the home. We do many things in the kitchen other than simply cook – we eat, we socialize, we do homework, we pay the bills… The list could go on, but the point is the kitchen is extremely important for many reasons, including the preparation of food. With that in mind, here are some important features that many people are looking for in today’s kitchens:
- Spacious aisles, with enough room for multiple persons to maneuver around each other
- Eating/seating area – this should be outside of the work zone (or work triangle) of the kitchen
- Open communication to adjacent rooms – people don’t want to be isolated if they are working in the kitchen. They want to be able to interact with what is happening nearby.
- Lighting is incredibly important. Natural light is wonderful and should be incorporated as much as possible. But, artificial light is at least as important in order to provide optimal task lighting at the work surfaces at all times of the day or night.
- Clean or open countertops – people want as much work surface available as is possible. A lot of countertop appliances are being housed in cabinets to keep the work surfaces open. With the increased popularity of microwave drawers, these appliances are also becoming more often located in the base cabinets.
I stopped by a project under construction this afternoon. We’ve designed this project to have two symmetrical octagonal structures. The portion in the foreground will be an open porch, while the far section will be screened in. Between the two will be open deck space. The framing on this project was challenging, utilizing timber construction details and difficult angles. But the team at Renaissance South Construction has done a tremendous job of executing the design. I am always excited to see the progress on this project!
At the moment, I have two addition projects on my desk that are in the design phase. Both projects are just beginning, so I have sketches in progress on my drafting board. One thing that both projects share in common is that we are working carefully with challenging setbacks. Setbacks are zoning restrictions which prevent construction within a certain distance of a property line (or other feature, such as a body of water).
The owners of the first project first thought of adding a 2-car detached garage behind their home several years ago. Since that time, the zoning rules for their property were changed and the setbacks were doubled for secondary structures, such as a detached garage. The garage would have been a tight squeeze with the previous setbacks and simply does not fit with the new setbacks. So, we are exploring other options to provide parking and storage solutions, including smaller single car garage layouts and carport concepts.
The owners of the second project would love to have a swimming pool behind their house. Their property abuts tidal marshland and there is a significant conservation easement along the marsh upon which no construction may intrude. (Typically, an easement is similar to a setback and is functionally identical for our purposes; you cannot build in this area.) The owners’ home and detached garage were built within a few feet of this easement at several points (you can imagine the marsh edge is not a straight line). So, we are exploring several concepts. One concept places a smaller pool between their home and garage with a new breezeway connecting the two structures which will serve to provide some privacy to the pool area. Another concept that we are exploring involves the garage closer to the street, which will provide the space needed for a larger pool behind.
Zoning setbacks are part of nearly every project that we encounter. It is critical to fully investigate these and other zoning regulations at the very beginning of the project to ensure that the intended scope of work is viable.
South Carolina was recently impacted by Hurricane Matthew. As the storm was still approaching our coastline, I was invited to join the South Carolina State Guard’s Engineering Detachment to assist in surveying and assessing the damage caused that would be caused by the storm.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have taken several days off to serve with the Guard. We have been looking at various structures from private homes to National Guard Armories and public beach access structures.
While the damage could have been far worse and we were spared the devastation seen in Haiti, there are many in our own communities whose homes and property were damaged or destroyed. I served alongside Guard members whose homes remained flooded as they selflessly continued to serve their community.
I am spending the day at my drafting table today. For this particular project, the client wishes to enclose a good portion of an existing wrap-around front porch. The home has water front views from the rear porch and the front porch is rarely used. The space acquired from the porch will be incorporated into the conditioned floor area of the main house. Specifically, we’re looking to increase the size of the Master Bathroom. This will allow for an entirely reconfigured Master Suite, including taking full advantage of this home’s water views. In addition to larger room sizes for the bedroom and bathroom, the space we are reclaiming from the porch also provides enough room to add a second walk-in closet.
On the other side of the porch, we are also looking at different layout options to use some of the space for a new Guest Suite and to relocate the Laundry Room. All in all, this reclaimed porch area will be utilized far more often as interior space.