The original house was a small two-bedroom, and the owners’ desire was to turn it into a five-bedroom house.
The owners’ request was to enlarge and remodel the existing small house so that it includes a good size master bedroom with closet and master bath, three additional bedrooms for the kids so that each could have their own room, plus an additional bedroom/office space to accommodate grandparents during their occasional visits. The anticipation was that sometime in the future the grandparents might not be able to live alone and would have to move into the 5th bedroom to stay with the family.
This last request suggested very strong family ties. Therefore, our design concept had to pay special attention to this value and propose a layout that utilizes the design elements, that would enhance their rich family life while protecting the privacy of the individuals in the family.
The house needed major remodeling. While designing the layout for the bedrooms, living room, kitchen, and family room, special attention was paid to the car and foot traffic generated by the adjacent Hopkins Street. This meant that the private to public space configuration/transition had to begin from the backyard and gradually progress to the front yard. The backyard was secluded since it was further away from Hopkins Street and its traffic and was surrounded by the neighboring houses’ backyards. This meant there was an opportunity to place the bedrooms, kitchen, and family room next to the backyard to benefit from its seclusion.
The existing main entrance was placed at the center of the front elevation where it felt unprotected as it was facing the street. Our design proposed moving the main entrance to the left of the building and the center of the house to make the house less accessible to the passersby. We added an entry porch with dual benefits – providing a transitional space as well as weather protection for the main entrance.
By moving the main entrance to the center of the building the foyer is now placed at the heart of the main floor with direct access to the living/great room, kitchen/family room, guest bedroom, and bath as well as the upper floor stairway. The new foyer now functions as a junction box that regulates/divides traffic from the main entrance to all sections of the house. This division and control of passages eliminated the unwanted traffic that was cutting through the living spaces, and was a serious issue in the original layout of the house.
The new foyer leads to the stairs ascending to the upper floor and arriving at a private hallway, which leads to the master bedroom, kids’ bedrooms, and the bath and laundry closet. The second floor thus becomes a private zone in the remodeled house. By doing this the design not only provided a much-needed private zone, but it also took advantage of the natural lighting and ventilation available at the elevated space to benefit the master bedroom and the kids’ bedroom.
A new balcony, placed outside the kids’ bedrooms and looking over the backyard, reduces the sense of claustrophobia, which could have been a problem if the only egress for the bedrooms remained the windows. The balcony, a necessary addition to the house, completes the design.