Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 16, 2009-My favorite houses, Part I

When I was a kid, I would sit and design houses, usually in the form of floor plans. I'm not exactly sure where this came from. I do remember a house that my parent's wanted to build. They actually sent to the magazine House & Gardens to get the plans. The house is actually a series of small pavilions and rather Asian in character. The rooms all surround a central garden space. I remember lots of wood and wall to wall windows. I can picture it in my head to this day.

Since then I have collected books on home design and architecture. I actually wanted to be an architect at one point but realized the math requirements were a little too much for me. I'm sure that's not the first time you've heard that. About twice a year I get the urge to start looking through my books and create the perfect house for myself. What I have learned is that the homes and apartments I've lived in have all influenced the designs I choose. In fact, there are rooms or spaces I've lived in that I would seek to duplicate in my own home design.

Over the next month or so I'm going to show you some of the homes that have inspired me. Most of these homes are considered second homes or cottages. I aspire to build a small home. And cottage homes seem to add many touches of character and detail that you don't find in today's main residences, not to mention a little bit of whimsy.

The first house is a post and beam vacation home set in the San Juan hills in Washington state. I have always loved post and beam structures. I like seeing the structure, the copious amounts of wood and the regular intervals of beams can be used to break up the space into functional areas. The house is a 16x60 ft rectangle surrounded by sundecks and a covered sleeping porch with it's own fire place. Inside, is a large central living space with a fireplace at one end and a kitchen at the other. All interior and exterior spaces open directly into the central space. Three sets of French doors open onto the deck. There are 3 main sleeping areas, two lofts on opposite ends of the second floor and a sleeping porch. Features I really like are the window seat, the large indoor/outdoor fireplaces as well as the wood burning stove. I also like the arrangement of the casual, eclectic and very comfortable furniture. There's also a full basement for expansion and storage.

I love combining the living, dining, and kitchen areas into one functional space.