The latest in my identity series.
I love architecture. More specifically, homes. I love home improvement shows, I love looking at homes when I run, I love tours of homes, as long as they're not overly elaborate well beyond what I could ever imagine owning.
Office buildings don't hold the same appeal for me, because usually they're just big boxes and occasionally someone lops off a corner or tries to be quirky. But I do love mixed use properties, to see a design that smartly incorporates retail and then office or housing as well as parking.
But houses... I love to see them being built, I love to see new ideas and designs, I love to see spaces reimagined. I've designed a number of houses, but it's been a long time. Most of my designs were back when I was in high school and college. Now that I am a homeowner and am broke, a lot of the passion to make new designs is gone. Now I try to imagine on a smaller scale... what could I do to improve the home I'm in, to give it a better aesthetic or to make it more functional? And technologically speaking, how could I make it cooler, more automated, easier to maintain?
I have enjoyed the "Not So Big" books that teach mixed use and smaller spaces with richer materials. I have yet to try any of the concepts, but this house is just begging for an overhaul if we ever have the cash and decide it's a worthwhile investment. TwistedSifter and WebUrbanist give me inspiration for cool architecture as well.
First would be even more light. We didn't realize it until we were looking at homes, but our realtor (contact me for a referral - he's awesome and has sold homes to three of my friends and coworkers families now) observed that we seemed drawn to homes that were open, airy and light. And if we thought about it, that was true. Our first apartment was partially open and airy, our second was really open and airy with cathedral ceilings and then our first home was dark with low ceilings and trees out front blocking the light. Our current home is airy and open, but there are dark spots. I would love to bring more light into the hall and bathrooms, probably through solar tubes. We'd also like to add a bathroom downstairs to make the downstairs more functional. And also build a little hideaway underneath the house, a small room with a stereo, an easy chair, a footrest and some soft lighting where Lori or I can escape to read a book. From there the ideas get more crazy... knock down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, put a desk in the kitchen, put upper and lower cabinets on the blank wall in the kitchen, or blow up the entire center section and move the bathoom and put in a massive island and turn the kitchen, dining and living rooms into a big great room. That would certainly be cool for small group and entertaining.
We'll see. One idea that wouldn't necessarily give us more space (though it could make room for a loft above part of the living room) would be to refactor the outside (we could also extend the bedrooms out over the garage further) to make it look more Craftsman like. That would be awesome. Here's a quick sketch I did a few years ago that would give us a deck and a more welcoming front entrance. I'm hoping we can do even at least part of this in the next 5-6 years, maybe the entryway. Why? To make it our own.