Home Addition - One Project Start to Finish - Part 4b

This is a detour from part four of a series of posts that will attempt to tell the story of one project from beginning to end, from concept to completion. It is based on a typical home renovation project in Montgomery County Maryland, but many of the issues convey to most jurisdictions throughout the United States.

Part 1: Home Addition - Where to Start

Part 2: Home Addition - Set a Budget

Part 3: Home Addition - Zoning

Part 4: Home Addition - Designs

Part 4b – Design Changes

This isn’t a planned part of the process, but homeowners asking for major design changes is not uncommon. Your new addition is a huge investment and you want it to be perfect! It’s ok to change your mind about the design of your project, but the earlier you can make up your mind on major decisions, the better. It’s relatively easy to change the scope of the project when it’s still in the Preliminary Phase. The later you get in the process, the more difficult and costly a change could be.

In our example project, we all loved the spacious, double height kitchen. The large windows and balcony allowed views of the back yard and provided light into the master bedroom. As we started to move this design into the next phase, Design Development, the clients began discussing an alternate approach. As great as this kitchen is, the renovation would add more value to the home with a complete second floor.

Though we were sad to see the open-riser stair removed, the new concept allowed for some new design opportunities. The clients still desired high ceilings in the kitchen, and we were able to leave a portion of the ceiling joists visible. Exposed structure is often an attractive detail that can be modern or rustic, and added nearly a foot of ceiling height to the kitchen. A few windows and doors changed, but the kitchen design stayed mostly the same, so the clients were able to get their second floor without losing space in the kitchen.

The roof also stayed mostly the same, so the additional work for this seemingly major design change was limited to configuring a new second floor. The Preliminary level plans, sections and 3D views allowed the clients to get a good feel for the space and decided that their new second floor concept would work for them.

Which design do you think is best?

An Architect's approach to kitchens and kitchen renovations - part 4 - lighting

This is Part 3 of our series on Kitchen Renovations. Scroll down or click the links for the previous posts.

When an architect is designing a kitchen in a new home or in a kitchen renovation project they try to make clients aware that this space is best approached by prioritizing what you want both functionally and aesthetically and then working in roughly this order:

  • GENERAL LAYOUT (Part 1, below)
  • APPLIANCES (Part 2, below)
  • CABINETS (Part 2, below)
  • SINKS (Part 3, below)
  • COUNTERTOPS (Part 3, below)
  • BACKSPLASHES (Part 3, below)
    • General, accent, task

Lighting is obviously critical in all design work. In the kitchen it is sometimes helpful to try to break the artificial lighting up into three main areas:

  • General
  • Accent
  • Work

General lighting typically brings the entire room or space into light. This is often achieved with either recessed or surface mounted fixtures that don’t bring attention to themselves. They offer added flexibility when they are on dimmers.

Accent Lighting can bring attention to a specific area as well as itself. Often in kitchens this is done with some type of pendent light over an island or peninsula. They often hang down and are beautiful to look at as well as highlighting a specific area on a countertop or table.

Work lighting can vary based on the aesthetics of the kitchen. Sometimes the accent lighting can double as work lighting, but typically the under counter lighting should be strong enough to allow you to see the food you are preparing.

Generally speaking with lighting we have traditionally worked with Incandescent cans and some form of fluorescent, but in the last 2 years LED lights have made amazing inroads and offer unlimited design opportunities not to mention incredible efficiency.

This was the final post in our series of kitchen renovation considerations. Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or requests for future posts.