Case Study, Part 2

Case Study, part 2


Following up on the previous post about “Cheapskate Architect”; small changes that make a big difference in house design. If it wasn’t clear from the previous photos, this work isn’t “cheap”, but compared to adding new square footage these changes gave the owners a fresh and updated feel to their house, in addition to a more beautiful and generous place to live, while staying within their budget.

The completed exterior.


The before and after photos above show the transformation at the front of the house. The plan changed hardly at all, but it was important for my clients to change the look of the house. We did this most notably with the wood trellis, but we also changed the shape of the entry roof, we added a bench at the top of the front stair, and we added some new copper lights. Overall, this adds up to a more pronounced and graceful entry, with the expression of wood construction. In addition we replaced the garage door and the front door with new douglas fir doors. Once you pass the threshold of the front door, some subtle plan changes are revealed. We closed off the access to the front bedroom, and reconfigured the windows in that room so that they reflect the private nature of that bedroom. The interior entry is more defined, with a douglas fir roof to pick up the wood that is exposed at the exterior entry porch. We added a small and low half wall, and a coat closet so that the entry performs more like a vestibule. These subtle changes alter the feel of arrival at the house. The previous plan simply dumped you into the living room. The new plan allows for a choreographed transition from the outside to the inside, using materials and subtle plan changes.

Before the changes.

The last subtle plan change that makes a big difference is at the kitchen / dining room. At the beginning of the project we had designed a larger kitchen that pushed out into the front yard. For budgetary reasons this kitchen addition would have to be a Phase 2 project, but we still wanted to open up the kitchen. The clients purchased new appliances for the kitchen, which cleaned up the look quite a bit. But the big move was to open up the wall separating the kitchen and dining room. We installed a fairly large beam as the header for this opening, as this wall will be supporting significant roof load in Phase 2, and it had to tie into a the shear wall system as well. But the result was a nice opening that connected the public spaces of the house, in a tidy succession from the living room, through the dining room and kitchen, and out to the back deck and the yard.

The old Dining room, looking into the kitchen.


All these changes, achieved without adding any square footage, transformed this typical and slightly unwieldy bungalow into what feels like a new house, while staying within the budget.


The dining room, looking through the new opening into the kitchen.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.