A few photos from on site. A lot of clients get a bit nervous when they imagine what will happen to their precious house. Well, the builders will come and smash up the bits you don’t need and make some nice new bits that you do need and then they will make everything tidy and nice and you will be happy. Try to forget about the bit in the middle!
Good progress on Station road, the builder is ahead of schedule. He is also solving a lot of small problems along the way so that they don’t turn into big problems. I am happy.
I saw this one in Solihull on a client visit. The black timber and basket weave brickwork creates a nice pattern around the entrance but I most like the roofs and windows. Here we have, from left to right oriels (windows that hang out there outside the wall line) a tall leaded glass portrait window to the entrance-and-stairs hallway (which breaks the floor line to show you that it lights the stairs), then a stone window with dormer above and then a pair of bays – tall at the bottom, short at the top. Going back to the black painted garage doors are four lovely diamond windows. So, a nice selection. Now onto the roofs. We can see at first glance a lot of roofy action – gables, hips at different heights and a dropped eaves at the little dormer window. Look again and the builders have been a bit smart and they have kept the roof lines running throughout for both the main roof and the gables – whoever designed this knew that they would be asked to draw up the rafter plan and set the pitches. The gables are achieved by stepping forward a section of wall to form a bay and the rafters built up off the side walls – but look how low the roof comes down over the stairs – he doesn’t need the headroom of a first floor room. He brings forward another bay for the porch – but the top gable roof runs all the way down to the porch wall – you try it on your next project! the dropped eaves above the basket weave is usually achieved by stepping forward the wall so that the roof reaches down further to reach it (or rather comes up from a lower level). You can see a little return wall in the bay. The house plan – what we can see of it – is a long rectangle with just a couple of bays at the front to create interest – but the builder has done a lot with what he has here. Good job!
On a domestic property, you can have a change in level up to 600mm tall without a guard rail. If, for some reason you are not a big fan of guard rails – maybe you are, who knows? For this basement scheme the external level at the moment is quite a bit higher than the proposed basement level, so I would like to bring the doors up off the floor so that we don’t have such a deep external well to get out of (or fall into, walk around) when we step outside. So, how about a bench seat that leads up to the doors, with a step? A normal bench is 450 high, but I only want o n e step and a domestic step can’t be higher than 220, so we can rise 440 with two risers. A tread needs to be a bit longer than the rise, make it 240 so for two treads we have 480. A little deep for a seat so here’s some cushions in my through-the-wall-and-ceiling perspective.
The client of this scheme has a small house with small rooms and now, a small family. He and she want a large family room where “everything happens”. We can go back 4 metres under permitted development because it is a detached house, so we get space for an open plan kitchen with a little island facing onto a sunny dining area with folding sliding doors to the garden. We can keep living room 2 as a snug sitting area – but I think they might end up with the table round the corner and toys spread out on a rug by the window.
The space is quite big and a bit raggedy for my liking on the ground floor, so I wasn’t really happy to have a flat ceiling throughout. We are using a bit steel anyway to support the external wall at the first floor above the new opening, so I have opted for a double pitched roof over the new extension. This will articulate the space (that’s show or say the idea – in this case the idea of the room as a space with distinct parts. I am not super keen on architect-speak) and give a nice feeing of entry and arrival when we come in through the door from the hall. Why? Because inside we will get two vaults (sloping ceilings going up) with roof lights facing south and north. A bit more air, a bit more light – nice.
Notice that the height of the roof is not too tall – we don’t want to bump into the bedroom windows. For the elevation, we get two gables – so much nicer than a horizontal line. You can also get an idea of how it feels to look up, or to sit down or roll around, with all that air above you. Nice project, I am happy!
One other small thing – the pitched roof is a good place for the south facing photovoltaic (electricity generating) solar panels, if the client wishes to have them.