Renovation in Brighton, England

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This Edwardian house, built around the year 1900, is fundamentally sound. But as found, the interior has a terminal case of beige. Michael Dant Architect LLC was hired to update materials, finishes and equipment to bring the interior of this house into the 21st century while maintaining its historic character.

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By British standards, this home is generously sized. Ample windows and through-corridors give the home a spacious, open feeling. The entrance hall, above, gives a sense of the home’s historic features.

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The main entrance stair, above, occupies a generous, well-lit space. However, its fussy detailing and suffocating oatmeal carpet were not appealing to the new owner. Updating this staircase and extending it up to a new bedroom in the attic became one of the main program elements of this home’s renovation.

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I studied the renovation of the existing stair in three dimensions, using renderings to convey a sense of the new stair design to the owner. One of the key elements of the renovation, new wood flooring, is shown here both as flooring planks and as stair treads.

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On the first floor (second floor in the US) the existing stair terminated. In order to reach the new bedroom in the loft, a new stair was needed. My goal was to make it feel as though the new stair was a natural part of the house, like it had always been there.

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The view from the top of the stair shows both the spiraling path of the stair and the open column of space the stair wraps around. A new landing bisects the existing window, sharing its light with the new stair above and the renovated stair below.

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One of the more significant elements of my work on this project was assembling the material palette of the renovation. The owner was interested in rich, clean materials. The wood sample in the lower right corner is Dineson natural oak flooring, which will be installed throughout the house. The grey stone sample is Bianca Eclipsia, a natural quartz stone that resembles marble. It will be used for counters and bathroom floors. The remainder of samples are finishes being considered for the Bulthaup kitchen, including lacquer cabinet finish, solid oak breakfast bar and glass backsplash.

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Bathroom design was a large part of this project. With three existing bathrooms and one new one in the loft, much of the project budget will be spent in the bathrooms. Duravit Happy D.2 fixtures and Dornbracht Meta.02 faucets were chosen for their harmony with the home’s traditional features. In the drawings above, the elevation rendering (upper drawing) shows Ann Sacks glass tile in relation to the Duravit sink and the Dornbracht shower, while the floor plan in the lower drawing shows the scale and texture of the floor relative to the vertical elements.

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As a US architect working on a project in the United Kingdom, I limited my role in this project to its design. I assisted the owner in hiring a local firm, HUUK of Brighton, England, to be the architect of record. They will ensure that the project meets all relevant codes and planning regulations, and is detailed in accordance with locally practiced methods.

I created all the photographs, drawings and renderings in this post.

 

Portland Phased House

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This project is designed to make new home construction affordable for more families. It eliminates the need for owning two properties at the same time, or expensive temporary housing, and allows the homeowner to proceed with construction when it fits their budget.

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Phase One of the project starts as soon as the family has closed on their new property. They move into the existing house on the site, and proceed with the demolition of the existing detached garage. In its place, a new garage is built. This garage includes an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU), located to the side of, and above, the garage.

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The ADU is built to the maximum size allowed by Portland’s ADU program, and can be rented out for additional income when the main house is finished. While the ADU is a one bedroom unit, additional space in garage can be utilized by the family while their new home is under construction.

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The ADU has a generous entrance and stairway, with its bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, and open living space on the second floor.

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With the living space on the upper level, views and light are enhanced. The living space opens out to a roof garden.

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The ADU is treated with similar architectural features as the main house. This maximizes the family’s enjoyment of their  temporary home, and allows a higher rental price down the road.

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The main views from the ADU are oriented away from the future house.

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In Phase Two, the existing house is demolished, and the new house is built. As can be seen above, the two buildings form a cohesive whole. A large, south-facing courtyard is defined, and indoor-outdoor living is developed.

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The street facade captures the entire buildable width of the lot. While the house is a simple rectangular volume, varying levels of openness and enclosure interact with light and shade, developing a lively engagement with the neighborhood.

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The entrance from the street is brought to life with light, shadows, reflections and transparency.

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The living and dining room are animated with light filtered through trees.

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The living room is open to the east and west, with ample light throughout the day. The home’s terrace is seen on the right.

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While somewhat open to living and dining, the kitchen is a clearly defined space. It opens onto the terrace, and has a western view of the back yard as well.

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The stair to the second floor is enlivened with a generous skylight, and open construction.

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From the second floor master suite, the upper part of the stair is glimpsed, along with a view of the roof garden.

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Indoor-outdoor living in the master suite. Should the owner desire, the roof garden space could easily be converted to a third bedroom.

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The home’s grand exterior space, defined by the house(right) and its garage/ADU (left).

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Focus on the terrace, with dappled light and filtered views. A generous glass covered walkway shelters access from the garage to the kitchen, and creates an outdoor space that can be enjoyed in the rain.

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An overhead view clarifies the overall composition of architectural elements.

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The north face of the home’s two parts.

Site Plan

The site and floor plans above show the house in its finished state. The main house is 1,600 square feet, with two bedrooms; and the ADU is 790 square feet with one bedroom.

This house is designed for a typical Portland east-side lot – 50′ x 100′, relatively flat, and with an existing house and detached garage. Its principles can be applied to other lot types as well.

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When designing this house, I was inspired by the idea of helping architecture lovers of moderate means achieve their dream of building their own house. I’m looking forward to getting to know your particular dream.

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I created all the designs, drawings and renderings for this post.

Southwest Hills House

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The challenges of building in Portland’s Southwest Hills can be great. Steep drops from the street call for creative solutions, and can lead to spectacular results. This four-bedroom, 3,300 square foot house is designed to maximize its inhabitants’ enjoyment of their hillside, while minimizing construction costs.

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I’ve designed this house to address its sloping site in two ways: Concentrate the living spaces into a three-story tower with a compact footprint, and bridge to the street with an entrance deck, garage and driveway.

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Given the vertical orientation of this house, stairs play an important role in its use and enjoyment. This stair, which connects three and a half levels, is located in a glassy bay. Scaling the stair brings dynamic views of inside and outside.

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The main living space is located on the house’s top floor. I’ve capitalized on the freedom afforded by this “up top” location to explore terraced floor levels and varied roof forms. The space is open, and centered on a massive chimney.

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The south facing elevation shows the glassy enclosure of the living areas. In addition to the living, dining and kitchen areas of the third floor, the southwest corner of the second floor has an intimate family room. Both the living and family rooms have outdoor terraces.

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The floor plans show this home’s compact nature. Third floor living spaces cap a family room and the master suite on the second floor. And the first floor is filled with bedrooms at ground level.

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The second floor family room offers a cozy retreat, and has ample connection to the outdoors.

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This axonometric view gives a good idea of the house’s overall organization, especially the staggered terraces of the living and family rooms. It also shows the large skylight located above the fireplace, and the entrance bridge.

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This view of the main living space shows its terraced floor levels and soaring ceilings. Views and light wrap around the space, and light from the sky washes the fireplace’s brick.

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Set five steps above the living and dining level, the kitchen has commanding views. Yet it remains a subtle presence in the living space.

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The kitchen is designed to be practical and enjoyable. It’s located steps from the garage, has ample counter and storage space, and dramatic views in all directions. The sink area is located in a bay that projects outward from the house, surrounded by views and light.

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Looking back toward the living spaces from the kitchen give a good feeling for the sweeping living space of this home.

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A slight turn to the west shows the connection of the kitchen to the entrance level. You can also see the fireplace chimney’s second skylight, illuminating the home’s highest level.

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The view from the southwest gives a good idea of how the home’s terraced living levels interact with site’s steep slope.

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Inside, the ever-changing sweep of light animates the space.

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The design of this house is rooted in classical systems of order, energized by asymmetric elements.

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The house’s romantic massing is especially clear from its sides, where the disjointed roof forms interact with the projecting bays of the stairs and kitchen.

I designed this house as a speculative study on a non-specific site. I created all drawings and renderings. I’m excited to see how we could work together to make a home like this on your own hillside.

Portland Access House

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Designed to enable long-term living in one’s own home, the Portland Access House combines single-level, barrier-free space with low-energy use comfort and extra income.

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The 1,500 square foot owner’s space is capped with a 795 square foot, one-bedroom apartment. This additional dwelling unit can be used for rental income, a family member, or a full-time caregiver.

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The house wraps around a south-facing courtyard. With generous windows and outdoor plazas, indoor-outdoor living can be enjoyed all year long.

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The view from the kitchen shows the visual connection to outdoor dining, raised planting beds and a reflecting pool. Even during Portland’s cool months, this outdoor amenity can be enjoyed, with the water’s surface reflecting moving patterns on the kitchen’s ceiling.

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The kitchen has been designed for maximum enjoyment and minimum obstruction. Counters are lowered and pull-under work spaces are provided at the sink and cooktop. The dishwasher and oven are raised to eliminate the need to bend over, and a cooking island is provided at counter height to facilitate social food preparation.

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Turning from the kitchen toward the living and dining rooms, the warmth of the space is combined with ample light and views. Radiant heat in the floors and massive brick walls maintain a warm equilibrium, eliminating the temperature swings of typical lightweight construction.

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The living space is wrapped with light and views.

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The bedroom can be left open to the living areas, yet privacy is gained with sliding doors. It also benefits from the animated light provided by the reflecting pool.

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The courtyard, viewed from the back yard, is a combination of nature and architecture. Raised planters cater to gardeners with limited mobility, and level, paved paths enable access to all parts of the garden.

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Viewed from the south, the courtyard combines openness to light with structured space. The veranda-style roof overhanging the south-facing windows blocks summer glare while welcoming the warming winter rays.

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Upstairs, the one bedroom apartment creates a generous home for renters, caregivers or family members who provides a helping hand.

The Portland Access House is designed for a typical Portland 50′ x 100′ lot. While it addresses mobility needs, it emphasizes the enjoyment of an unimpeded life, rather than treating a medical condition. My goal in designing this house is to enable long-term joy in living by opening up space and maintaining flexibility. I would be pleased to speak with you about how these ideas might apply to your own life.

Mount Tabor Houses

These two houses, located on the north face of Portland’s Mount Tabor, are designed to capitalize on their sites’ dramatic slope. The houses are located on individual, adjacent lots, where there are currently no existing structures. Each house is 2,460  square feet, and shown in these drawings with three bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and 1 powder room.

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Each home’s footprint is compact while the space is expansive. With living spaces located well above street level, views are open and privacy is guaranteed.

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Following the natural slope of the site results in the eastern house being nine feet higher than the west house. While its driveway is a bit more dramatic, so are the views.

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The plans for both houses are simple and easily adaptable.

The home’s living space is generous, and while the open space keeps everybody in contact, there’s also a sense of definition between the living room and the kitchen and dining.

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This section perspective clarifies the spatial relationships.

Looking from the living room back to the kitchen and dining, one gets a sense of how light and nature wrap around this house. The sloped site is present as well.

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Just enough definition in the kitchen keeps messes from spilling into living spaces, yet visual connections are strong.

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Two sides of the kitchen are wide open, and a third wall is filled with full-height cabinets. These provide ample, easily accessible storage, as well as a built-in refrigerator. The kitchen has its own terrace, perfect for barbecue.

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The master bedroom, part of a master suite on the mezzanine.

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This open space, shown here as an office, is easily tailored to the owner’s needs. It would also make a great library, workout space or media room.

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On a sloped site, level space like this roof terrace is at a premium. Partially covered with a glazed roof, this flexible outdoor room combines fun living with fantastic views and light. Definitely a must have in Portland.

Why not make one of these houses your home?

 

Portland Courtyard Community

This development of five houses, built on a 100′ x 100′ lot, is designed to engender community. Houses 1 and 2 address the street in a typically Portland way – porches, yards and interaction between inside and outside.

The architecture is open and inviting. The five 1,600 square foot houses are similar, but not identical, and laid out around a casual square. Each home has three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.

Four of the houses are linked through their carports, while the fifth house is free-standing. Each house has a front porch  and a roof terrace, giving ample opportunities for indoor-outdoor living, and all five share a common courtyard. This area, composed of permeable paving and green, landscaped yards, maximizes social interaction for children and adults alike.

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Courtyard entrance.

The view above, from  the second floor of House 1, gives a sense of the community space.

The floor plans for House 5 (above) are similar to the others in layout; with an open first floor, space-efficient bedrooms on the second level, and a flexible fun third level.

The living room of House 5 and its front porch, accessible through a large, sliding glass door, create an interaction space for the family and the community.

The open ground floor keeps the family in touch.

House 5’s intermediate stair landings project into the courtyard, and bring light into its core.

On the third level of each house, a play room and roof terrace give ample opportunities for your family to do what they enjoy most. Covered outdoor space keeps your options open in Portland’s ever-changing climate

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The living space of House 2 faces the neighborhood.

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House 2’s kitchen includes the family dining table.

This community design  balances the benefits of shared living with the retained identity of an individual home.

All designs, drawings and renderings in this posting were created by me. While this specific layout is intended for two 50′ x 100′  lots, joined to make a 100′ x 100′ lot, I’m sure it could be even better tailored to your specific property.

Portland Garden House

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Like many US cities, substantial portions of Portland, Oregon are laid out on a rectilinear grid. One of the most common lot sizes in the gridded part of town is 50 feet wide by 100 feet deep. This house is tailored to one of these lots, with massing and features that relate it to its neighbors.

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Entering the garden house, you get a strong sense of space and light. The home’s vertical circulation presents itself at the front door, but doesn’t invite immediate ascent. While the living room is the first space you notice, dining and kitchen are hinted at.

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Crossing into the living room, the home’s layers become apparent. The open studio loft hovers above, framing the dining and kitchen, with a view to the back garden. Skylight floods over the stair, filling the space with a healthy glow.

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In the Garden House’s building section, the overall spatial scheme is made clear – the lower two floors are mostly open, and a third level contains bedrooms and a roof terrace. Views through the house are emphasized, from north to south and east to west.

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In plan, the home’s harmonious organization becomes clear. Living space is graduated from public to private; both front to back, and top to bottom. The home’s three gardens are seen here – the social garden at the front of the house, a more private family garden off the kitchen, and a sun-seeking sky garden on the third level.

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The kitchen, which stretches across the back of the first floor, is open to both internal and external living spaces.

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The dining and living areas are fully visible from the kitchen, but a partial height, enclosing wall shields kitchen mess from the living spaces.

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The stair from the first to the second level gives more than vertical transit – it’s an alternate way to experience the space and views. The landing makes a great vantage point, and would be fun during a party.

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The second level has a studio open to living below, and the master bedroom suite adjacent. A sliding door panel offers privacy or wide-open access.

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From the studio, the skylit double height space reveals wide open views of the social garden and the neighbors’ houses beyond.

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An axonometric view shows off the house’s sky garden and skylight to the living room. While the home’s clean modern composition contrasts with the neighbor’s more traditional pitched roofs and double-hung windows, its massing is similar, along with its front porch.

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I adapted the Garden House’s design from a housing prototype designed by French/Swiss architect Le Corbusier in the 1920’s. Its 2,400 square feet are organized in a simple, modular way, keeping the house open to future needs and desires. I created all the drawings and renderings in this post.

Portland Hill House

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Portland, Oregon is a city with rich topography. Hills, ridges, valleys and promontories give the city texture and drama, as well as mold its neighborhoods and roadways. Slopes often present challenges – access can be tricky, and foundations are usually more elaborate. Yet the compensations are great; the views alone are worth it.

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In Portland, hills have ample greenery – soaring conifers, dense woodlands and lush forest floors. These places can feel like they’re miles out in the country, when they’re often close to the middle of the city. I’ve designed this speculative house for a Portland hillside to embrace the beauty and character of its natural setting.

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It’s in two parts: the main house with its vaulted living space, and a garage which includes a storage loft and studio/workshop on its lower level. These two pavilions are connected by a covered walkway at the front, and a generous terrace at the back.

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The layout of the house is clear and rational. Its form maximizes view and light, and its simple structure recalls sheds and other rural structures.

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The main living level is aligned with the garage. Its spaces, including the master suite, are combined in one open volume. A large deck extends this space outdoors, and emphasizes the indoor/outdoor nature of this home.

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The living area is oriented away from the street, toward the natural landscape and view. With Portland’s rich stock of firs, cedars & spruces, the view up is just as important as the view out.

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The master bedroom is a private sanctuary, intimate and expansive.

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The house’s street face is modest and welcoming. While the main house is just shy of 3,000 square feet, it doesn’t present a bulky image. There are three bedrooms, three full bathrooms and a powder room. I’d enjoy finding out how I can make it your home.

All design and images in this posting were created by me. The sculpture shown in the Master Bedroom rendering is called “Flying Without Wings”, and is the work of Jan Watson Flood. Her website: bronzeandcanvas.com

 

Portland Infill House

As Portland continues to attract new residents, its fixed land area must accommodate more residences. One way that the City of Portland has encouraged higher density is to enable development of lots previously considered unacceptably small. This speculative house design is tailored to one of these typical lots – 25 feet wide and 100 feet deep. The resulting “skinny house” capitalizes on all the code-required architectural features to create a neighborhood-friendly new home.

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All the living space in this 1,700 square foot, three bedroom house has been concentrated on the upper level. This lofted space is open to daylight, both from full height windows and overhead clerestories.

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Treetop views maximize daylight while maintaining privacy, and the gently rising roof offers an expansive sense of space.

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The kitchen, located in the heart of the home, has its own unique roof form, gathering the focus of the living spaces and ensuring maximum sun throughout the day. Bedrooms are located away from the street for maximum privacy and quiet. A small back yard is accessible to both floors via a spiral stair.

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A one-car garage is provided on the ground level – not required by Portland zoning, but useful for a variety of families. Two full-size bathrooms add to the appeal.

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The home’s simple, clear design balances architectural interest with life-accommodating space. This basic design is really just the starting point – it welcomes input from a specific site, the people who build it, and the family who calls it home.

 

Pavilion Spyros

This holiday villa, on the west coast of mainland Greece, is intended to eventually become the owner’s retirement home. It’s located high on a cliff, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

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Closely hugging the rocky site, the house is composed of three elements – the main house, terrace and guest house. The materials are stone, concrete and glass.

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The site’s casual layout contains simply ordered spaces, composed with concrete columns and stone walls. Following local tradition, the loadbearing dressed stone is left bare.

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The interior is simple and open, wrapped with the expansive view. The rustic stone walls contrast with sandblasted concrete and honed stone floors.

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As can be seen in the sections above, there’s a deep overhang along the house’s western edge. Made possible by the reinforced concrete construction, it controls the hot afternoon sun while maintaining the view.

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The main elevation shows Pavilion Spyros’ simple elements, understated and tailored to the site.

This house, not yet constructed, is an independent commission. I created the design, and made all drawings and renderings.