[b]THE BROWNSTONE CONDOMINIUM ARC 72[/b]
Thank you for the opportunity to provide a proposal for your new space. After reviewing your program and the builder’s plans, I came up with an idea that I think solves all the inherent problems with the current layout and gives you all the items on your desired list. As a first step to address reworking the plan I identified the problems I noticed, some of which of course are in your program.
ENTRY – Maybe entering facing a dining area is fine, but here the space is so small you have to navigate around a table making the room nearly unfurnishable. Also, I think a site line directly into the work area from the entry door is not ideal, as well as nearly a direct site line to the guest bath toilet!
KITCHEN – The general location interrupts the space chopping it basically in half and making the unit look smaller. The bar area creates a too narrow aisle that is lined with doors, making it difficult to place stools here and still pass. I like open concept but the sink seems almost too close to the living area, and the narrow dead-end galley has the sink on the short leg forcing the dishwasher on another side making for awkward use. With 3 counters, the third along the wall with range and refrigerator seems a little short considering this is the only place for anything tall including wall cabinets. I wonder about lack of upper storage here.
LIVING – I’m generally not a fan of corner fireplaces, but especially not in a long linear room like this, they generally function better in a square space. I find placing the TV above the fireplace problematic for both aesthetic reasons and it’s not the ideal height for viewing.
CIRCULATION – All those doors and niches! It seems the original plan tried to design around the constraints of the 2 modular boxes by creating a lot of openings; It robs you of a lot of useable wall space. The worst is the fact you can see into all the core areas from the living area, and the door to the master makes the living area less functional.
CORE – The central bath/laundry/closet area seems badly planned with too much space/circulation is some areas and not enough in others. The master wic is too small and the hall to the master bath too narrow. Plus you can see into the toilet from the bed! (seems to be a theme) The master shower is way too small, yet there’s a gigantic linen closet. The laundry and bath 2 seem much larger than necessary, and I debate whether you need the second door from BR2.
Overall the entire space seems to have awkward circulation and quite a bit of wasted space and opportunity.
For my solution to the problem I tried to figure out a way to divide up the space more wisely by using the modular boxes to advantage. I felt there was enough space to create a corridor on the bedroom side that would essentially eliminate most of the door openings, which more or less led the design and provided the ability to rethink the overall space.
KITCHEN – With the doors gone, and relocating the BR2 closet, I not only was able to move the kitchen to the interior wall, but actually sink it in about one foot. By encasing the refrigerator and ovens at either end, I limited the main opening for the range counter to about 10 feet. The upper wall cabinets at one foot deep with wind up on plane with the original wall giving the space a clean line. The back wall is now much wider at 17 feet total compared to the current plan at about 11 feet which will give you much more upper storage. In front of this I floated a long sleek linear island which at over 10 feet long is about equal to the current plan, but losing the corners should be more efficient storage (no need for lazy susan which saves money also). This longer bar provides room for at least 4 stools for casual dining and the new location places away from the front door gives plenty of room for circulation.
I think there is just enough room in the window bay for a small café table and 2 chairs; for the occasion when you don’t want to sit at the bar. Plantation shutters would add further give a nice cozy feel to this area. There is now also enough room along the outside wall for a large (rendering shows 18x72) console table which will be ideal for entertaining.
DINING – I only need one opening through the center wall so placed a wide four foot doorway just to the left of the kitchen, and separated by a wide wall space, place a second four foot wide opening for a niche containing the wet bar. These two openings are then balanced on the opposite wall with 2 built-in cabinets framing a niche. These could house china and coats. I like using banquette seating in a narrow room for better flow and maintaining more open floor area, as it eliminates the need for a second aisle around the table. Except for the largest dinner parties this works fine, and if you desired you could flip the table lengthwise out into the room and with leaves and have a much large table for special occasions. [There is technically enough room to float the table however, so this is merely a suggestion.]
LIVING – My main objective here was to think of a creative way to eliminate the corner fireplace. Omitting the bedroom door was a start; though I wanted to stay close the corner to connect to the vertical flue riser. I’m suggesting a corner unit that sits flat against the wall. ([url=http://www.nbmc.com/woodburning/corner-right.html]http://www.nbmc.com/woodburning/corner-right.html[/url]) I pulled it a few feet out from the corner so it is closer to the center of the space. Then I designed an enclosure that uses various forms to encase the vertical flue in a tall element and a lower one above the firebox to conceal the transverse flue connecting back to the corner. I extended the ledge or hearth at the floor out the side to create a built-in bench.
CORE – Here I did take some liberties with the program which hopefully are appealing and manageable. If not, I did include an alternate plan that is closer to the original program. The most fundamental thing I did was create a circulation spine in order to eliminate all the doors opening into the living area. This also provides a way to screen access doors to various spaces from direct view of the living.
The master corridor essentially performs as a private entry/dressing area creating a suite. The walk in closet is mostly the same though perhaps a bit smaller, but now there is a wide 7 foot closet along the interior wall, which forms more or less a his/hers setup. The total closet square footage is increased to about 61 square feet (wic 47 sf and hall closet at 14 sf) compared to the current wic at about 40 square feet. The advantage to this plan is that closet and bath are isolated from bedroom so one spouse can get ready in the morning and leave without disturbing the other and makes the bedroom slightly more efficient by eliminating one door.
I relocated the linen elsewhere to give more space to the bath, and moved the shower to the back wall making it larger (42x72 compared with current plan at about 30x60) and added a bench. This is not required for the plan to work, but I’d suggest using shower glass to enclose the toilet area for a cleaner look and space efficiency. Since the toilet is now tucked behind a new cheek wall you really don’t need to, but you could use etched/frosted glass for privacy if desired.
Now there is really enough room to rethink the bath layout in general so I decided to place the tub here so you can have a soaking tub in the master. (much better for resale) It wouldn’t have to be but an option could be a freestanding vessel tub. (you might be surprised at the economical values available now) I added the cheek wall which encases a storage niche and ledge that could contain the faucet. Since the back wall here was thickened to accommodate utility panels on the other side, I used part of this depth to make room for a niche behind the new tub.
LAUNDRY/HALL – So now there is a wide vestibule off the main opening from living that provides access to master and laundry while concealing the private areas from view of the common area. I created a second 7 foot wide closet along the corridor which could be used for pantry or general storage. The laundry is nearly the same though just slightly shorter and I kept the hvac and wh in the same location.
GUEST – On the other side of the opening is a second vestibule accessing the hall bath and guest bedroom. Here there is enough room on the inside wall to place one foot deep storage cabinets if desired. With this secluded arrangement I didn’t feel a separate entry from the bedroom was needed. The bath is larger toward the entry so I placed a wide linen cabinet here opposite the vanity. The bath narrows to the back to allow for the bedroom closet, and since there is now a tub in the master I provided a large shower stall here. The guest bedroom is slightly different proportions but about the same overall square feet.
As you can see from the plan, the suite of rooms is very tightly and precisely organized along the corridor giving you more storage and more space generally within the same space.
In the kitchen I really dislike micro/vent units. They are ugly and usually ineffective. Reaching over a hot cooktop to use the micro is problematic, and since the kitchen is visible from the front door I think a vent hood attached to a feature tile wall would be much more attractive. So I flanked the center cooking area with the refrigerator at one end and a tall oven cabinet at the other which could house a wall oven/micro combination unit. You could then do a drop in cooktop (with continuous counter) that would give you even more storage below and a visually more appealing cooking area. If this arrangement is not feasible, you could maintain the range and micro and the tall cabinet could become pantry. (or split the difference and keep the range, but do a nicer hood, then install a pantry and place the micro inside)
In the Brookhaven/Woodmode website I thought these cabinets were a nice look and would work for the plan and space.
In the dining room if cabinetry is cost prohibitive you could construct closets with doors, but I feel built-ins would give the appearance of furniture and really enhance the flow of open space. In the corridor I rendered the 2 seven foot closets at built-in cabinetry as well. Something like this is would work:
My plan uses 30x96 doors throughout. I find 36” doors unnecessarily wide other than main entry. The taller doors will definitely enhance the height of the space. I also like to use glass doors when feasible. Home Depot actually produces a nice interior glass door at a surprisingly affordable price. They really do further enhance the open flow and allow light to eminate between areas, especially in corridors. Where solid doors are required I use a simple single panel “shaker style” door.
This HD door is slab only and 80” tall, though I know they can do 96”, but this will give you the general idea;
This door comes pre-hung and include handle, so not really a bad value:
As a final note, I am not too far away in the Washington DC area, and if you did decide to select my proposal, I would be more than happy to continue to work with you on details, and would be able to make a site visit if desirable.
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