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A collection of random thoughts, kudos and useful resources for home and business owners looking to do architectural work -additions, renovations or new construction- to their home or small business.

Monday
Sep012014

Wellesley Zoning

Just spent the weekend redesigning/ drawing up plans and elevatons for an addition on Brook Street in Wellesley to meet the requirements of the Zoning Board. Glad that Wellesley is being sensitive to design integrity and stopping , when they can, projects that are noticably thrown together without any design thought.

Here is the original elevation that I was asked to redesign.

Monday
Apr072014

project in progress

Needham MA. In a pleasant neighborhood of early twentieth century homes, made up of an eclectic assortment of styles and sizes, is a small simple Cape perched on a hill. The house is well sited overlooking the neighborhood, however is a bit small and too plain for the fun and interesting family who lives there. After living in the house for a while they decided they needed something new. They really like their neighbors and that particular location in town, so rather than moving they decided they wanted to add on and renovate. That’s when they contacted me.

From discussions, questionnaires and images shared through dropbox, we developed a detailed program for everything they wanted to acheive—modern but sensitive to the existing, bigger but not a lot bigger area, improved circulation and spatial connections, plus a few specialty items like a small tandem garage space to accomodate 2 cars squeezed in in a snow storm; big front sitting porch; tons of storage (everyone wants that); a nice spacious sunny laundry room; a convertable first floor study/guest room with Murphy bed; a golf-swing room; a green monster wall in the sons room, and if he was getting that, then the daughter would need a fairy princess wall… 

Then after we brought builders in to review the early plans, to get us in the ballpark in terms of budget, we embarked on the design. The goal was to maintain the existing character both of the original home and streetscape, and at the same time, it should develop its own personal style. The owners had clipped an image of a house they really liked, and I agreed it was a good model, so we used that as a starting point. We looked back to the model a couple of time when the owners struggled to clarify some aspect of the design they wanted to modify. The final front elevation as we begin the construction drawings is shown above. The existing house and the image they clipped are shown below.

I will post periodic updates for anyone who might be interested in the process and resulting product that comes out of it…

 model image: 

  

Monday
Feb102014

best of Houzz award 2014

Press Release

Shannon Taylor Scarlett recieved a Best of Houzz 2014 award for client satisfaction!

Read article here.

Monday
Jan272014

houzz kitchen survey

curious what the trends are in kitchen design today?

the residential “ideabook” site houzz (similar to Pinterest for houses) did a survey, and here is a report on what they found:

kitchen design report

top motivations

Wednesday
Nov132013

breaking the "fast house" habit

What is Slow House?

A slow house cannot be a standardized, mass produced commodity. While any good design will attract our attention, and ignite our desire, it will also add true value to the neighborhood, and provide long-term benefits to the homeowner.

In describing the problem of poorly designed houses across North America, Slow Home Studio points out, “…like fast food. A fast house is a standardized, mass produced commodity that has been designed to attract our attention, ignite our desire, and give the illusion of value as much if not more than its been designed as a place to live. This lack of attention to the fundamentals of good design makes a fast house difficult to live in and hard on the environment.”

They go on to describe their findings from their survey of design quality of over 4600 new residential properties in nine North American cities, they discovered 57% were badly designed fast houses. Even more unsettling was their finding that in the single-family house category 78% would be considered fast houses.

The slow home attempts to break the “fast house” habit by offering equally compelling but different standards for the homeowner to use in making future housing decisions.

“We believe that homes are too emotionally significant, have too large an environmental footprint, and represent too significant a financial investment for this kind of institutionalized bad design to continue unchecked. A Slow Home is the antithesis of this too-fast mindset.”