Church to Home Renovation

These renderings were created to help visualize how an existing, 100 year old church can be transformed into a desirable home. Located in McMinnville, Oregon, the former Christian Science church is perfectly located in a prime residential area, within a couple of blocks of the thriving downtown.

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The proposed home’s main living space is to be in the former sanctuary of the church. While the space is quite modest by church standards, with its  seventeen foot ceiling, it is very grand for a residence.

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The neoclassical design of the original structure is enhanced with placement of new kitchen elements, and existing, arched openings are subtly altered to facilitate their new uses.

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This focus on the kitchen sink, with a new fireplace beyond, give the potential homeowner a good feel for the kind of living this home inspires.

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Light from the grand arched windows animates the formal arrangement of space.

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I developed this design in collaboration with the property owner, who appreciated my ability to translate his thoughts about how this little neoclassical temple could make a great home. I created all the renderings in this post.

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 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.

 

Santa Clara Hall

Santa Clara Hall is a student residence located on the lakefront campus of Loyola University in Chicago. I led a gut-rehab of this structure, transforming a 1920’s apartment building into a state of the art residence hall.

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The building was originally constructed as studio and one-bedroom apartments. Its  location is unique – it is directly on Lake Michigan, with Loyola to the south and a beach to the north. However desirable this may seem, the building was in run-down condition and did not conform to today’s standards for student residences.  Everything inside the building, aside from the structure, was removed. New two-bedroom units were planned, and new elevator and egress stairs were threaded through the existing structure.

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While the units are minimally sized, they provide ADA accessible kitchens and bathrooms, and flexible shared living spaces. One of the big challenges of fitting this tight layout into the 1920’s shell is that the structure was very irregular, and varied from floor to floor. Fortunately, Loyola hired a great general contractor with whom I worked closely to adapt the layouts, especially in the bathrooms, as the existing conditions emerged through demolition.

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The ground floor presented another challenge. In the original structure, it was treated as a service floor that had low ceilings. Loyola wanted to use this floor as public space for the residence, with lobby, lounge, conference and laundry room functions.

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The ceiling height was maintained by carefully coordinating the existing structure with new mechanical, electrical and fire protection elements during design and in construction.

Santa Clara Hall opened on time and on budget, and has since become very popular with the students.

This project was completed while I was an employee at Solomon Cordwell Buenz. I managed design development and construction documents, and performed construction administration services.

Bill Zbaren created the interior photographs, and I made the exterior picture. The rendered floor plan was made by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.