Tuesday, February 15, 2011

a plan

Everything starts with a plan. In this case, it's a plan that's been growing and refining since 2008, when we purchased the lot and started to think about the ways each of the house's components related to the neighborhood around it.

The first gesture was probably the porch. Since the house sits at an intersection of two small streets, we decided to address the corner with a porch, which is analogous to the way we like greeting our neighbors. We'll write more about the house's stance toward social engagement in future posts.

Next came the living room and dining room, which form a single large space on the west side of the site.
From here, the living and dining rooms look west (through a large expanse of windows) into a one-acre park across the street, and look east (through a large expanse of sliding doors) into the courtyard. The courtyard is the fulcrum around which we organized the house. It is probably the major space "in" the house, and the kitchen opens out onto it.

The kitchen is going to be an interesting space. Since it faces north into the courtyard, we've glazed the large opening between the kitchen and courtyard to allow lots of indirect light into the kitchen. We will fill this opening with a 16' run of sliding doors (sitting on top of the countertop) which will open, allowing us to pass food and plates back and forth between the courtyard and kitchen. The ceiling above the kitchen is very tall (over 20' high at its peak), because the roof is angled for optimal solar orientation. By setting the roof at a 25-degree angle and facing it due south, we've created the ideal platform for photovoltaic panels to generate electricity (our solar hot water heater, however, is set on a lower roof - less optimal, but still pretty good). We'll write more about the house's environmentally sustainable features in later posts.


  1. That sounds absolutely wonderful.

  2. Thanks, Lillian. We think it's going to work out pretty well. We're excited to see all the things we can't or haven't anticipated, too.

  3. The more I look at this plan the more I like it. It is efficient and the galley style kitchen servers as circulation, which during warm weather would often be by-passed since a direct route through the courtyard is highly desirous. While the courtyard serves as a critical hub, the periphery of this house is is highly responsive. To entry, the corner, the west park, privacy off the master towards the east, even to the best location to a guest bedroom. (is that where I'm going to sleep?...LOL).

    I'm very excited to see this all come together. I do have one question for you David. In the master, is the shower next to the tub as a walk-thru or is that "X" representative of something else?


  4. Thank you, Anthony! That is very well put - you've picked up on a lot of the concerns that shaped the design. We really thought of it in terms of the way the internal program elements relate to the site and surrounding neighborhood.

    And yes, that's your room by the entry, though you'll have to share. Apparently, people like coming to Miami. It was Holly's idea to put the guest room by the entry, so that guests would be able to come and go at their leisure and not feel obliged to interact with us every time they leave their room. We also like the efficiency of the guest bath, which is split into a w/c that opens to the hall (as a regular hall 1/2 bath) and a bathtub room that only opens to the guest room.