I met late this afternoon with the architect that is helping to design my new home. My hopefully interesting, environmentally-responsible, small footprint, nice indoor-outdoor connections, little home. He brought with him four preliminary designs: the first one was similar to a house plan that I had shown him that I liked (it was two stories - with two of the three bedrooms and one full bath on the second floor - the rest of the stuff is on the first floor). I liked the first plan - he had modified the home I liked to make it more space-efficient and I was thinking 'okay, this covers what I want' - aren't we done? But then he showed me the other three plans.
The second plan was a modification of the first one. There was still two bedrooms and a bath on the second floor - but the location of the master bedroom on the first was different, and it took advantage of both the lot and a southerly exposure. I liked everything in this plan except for the 'study' - my home office, in other words, that made me think that after awhile I'd feel like I had a home closet - not a home space that I'd actually like to work in (and I like the freedom that I have to work from home - or write from home, more like it). The third plan was totally narrow and linear - interesting lines, could incorporate everything on one floor but could be two stories as well. Again, the study/office area felt isolated from the active part of the house, and I couldn't help but think that it would become a space that I would avoid. But the advantage of the third design was space efficiency and incredible cross-ventilation (especially with a southerly orientation on a piece of land not far from water). I liked the plan - it was different than what I was thinking about - but it grew on me, surprisingly so.
Until he showed me the fourth plan (now remember that all of this will be close to 20' off the ground. We're talking treehouse here). It was completely different from the first plan, and from the house plan that I had showed him that I thought had everything that I wanted. This house was both simple and fun -- "sexy" was the word he used, and I'd have to say that I would agree. When he first showed it to me, I was quiet for awhile - and finally he broke the silence and said 'okay, is this quiet-good or quiet-bad?' and finally I responded 'quiet-good'. The house was not like anything I had thought about - except that it was perfect in ways that I hadn't even imagined. We talked through it for awhile, modified it - but I have a feeling that the fourth plan will be the one that we build on from here on out. It's shaped like a 'T'. The top of the 'T' will be a master bedroom and bath (that will point towards the live oaks and have windows on three sides). Then there will be a staircase (remember: the house is on stilts and I'll park my car and the boat underneath the place) and then a second bedroom, that will essentially be my office (with a closet - so it will be larger than the 'study' proposed in the other plans, a good space that another could use as a bedroom if so desired). Again, good windows and good cross-ventilation (can you tell that I crave cross-ventilation - open windows and indoor breezes as often as possible?). Now, the interesting part. The part that surprised me (in part because I really liked it, and I wouldn't have thought that I would): the front door takes you into the dining room (just below the top of the 'T"). When you enter the dining room - you can walk straight through (well, after going around a table) and there will be another door that leads out to a covered area that leads you to a separate bedroom and bath - the guest bedroom. It will be it's own building, connected to the main house by the deck and a covered roof (most likely a screened in area) - when it's not in use, it can be 'shutdown' - so closed up so to speak. The trunk of the 'T' then will be the dining room, then the kitchen (a linear kitchen that opens up a bit to the dining area and to the living area) - the living area will be at the bottom of the 'T's' trunk. Again, almost every room will have windows on two (and mostly three) sides. There still are several things to work through - but we had a great discussion about how to modify his preliminary plan, and I could tell that we each got more and more excited about the design as we continued to talk about it. It works. So I walked into this meeting thinking one thing, and walked out being really excited about something completely different. It was a fun surprise.
So now I just need to see if the enthusiasm holds. I think it will. Tonight in the dark I stood out in the front garden, by the gate, and tried to imagine a 'T'-shaped home, and it actually fits. It fits the live oaks - in fact, it takes advantage of them. Just as it should.