We've been pushing the limits of what semi-custom really means with Project Shake Front new build and it's paying off big dividends! It looks like we may only be out a few more weeks with finish material installs before the interior is completely finished (oh yes!! I have photos...and lot's of them of progress shots that I'll be sharing in forthcoming post). Once the project is done we'll do a final photo shoot and then I'll post the big reveal here. You're not going to want to miss it!
Here's a rendering of the front elevation of this beautiful home prepared by the architect. As a side note, if possible it's always my preference to be involved in projects in the beginning stages of the design process...that way I can best use my space planning skills and help the clients get the most out of their spaces. That said, it doesn't always happen with new builds...often clients don't think about involving an interior designer until their plans are "complete" and they are ready to move on to colors and finish material selections. In large part one of my motivations, besides loving the idea of sharing my design journey is to help educate people on what a skilled and experienced designer can bring to a project. Follow along and you'll see just what I mean.
OK...now that I have that out of the way...but truth be told, I know it won't be the last time I beat that drum...but for now, let's get back to Project Shake Front. As a semi-custom build there were of course limitations with floor plan changes. Before I even met my clients they had worked for months with the in-house architect on their floor plan. They had spent time touring homes in the development where they were building and had some very clear ideas of what they wanted...they needed someone to refine their ideas and help them get there. Fortunately for me they trusted and valued what I could bring to the project.
PROPOSED FLOOR PLAN
As typical with these kinds of projects, I went through the floor plan and redlined places where we could fine-tune the spaces and improve on what had been planned...and from there I got down to specifics by starting with the kitchen design. The clients wanted to add a coffered ceiling to give some architectural interest to the space...in theory it seemed like a good idea but it wasn't coming together on paper.
PROPOSED FLOOR PLAN CHALLENGES
As far as function goes, the proposed kitchen plan was ok. It met the conventions of what's considered good kitchen design...but why not make it better? Why just be average? With some modifications to the arrangement of the appliances and adding some other architectural details, what was once going to be a so-so kitchen is now on it's way to being a show-stopper.
Over-all the kitchen lacked balance....as it was proposed there was no visual relationship, connection or balance between the stove wall or the island, the island and the sink wall, and the floor and proposed coffered or beam ceiling. To make matters worse there was a single column proposed to act as the sole support for the lowered ceiling.
REVISED FLOOR PLAN
I set to work to solve the issues noted above and this is what I came up with.
By centering the stove top off the island and moving the refrigerator to the opposite wall, I could then create balance and visual connection. Take a look...
REFLECTED CEILING PLAN
While fine tuning the floor plan I simultaneously worked on the reflected ceiling plan, designing and adjusting the ceiling border and location of the beams so they too were centered and balanced off of the stove wall and island. These changes allowed for both the pendants and recessed lights to also be balanced both in the boxed-ceiling and on the stove wall and island.
Additionally I increased the stove cabinet depth a couple of inches along with both the base and upper cabinets on each side of the stove so as to give that section prominence since it was no longer centered on the wall. I know that may sound somewhat counter intuitive to uncenter something in order to find balance but in this case it needed to be done to make it all work. Making the stove section of the cabinets deeper was also critical in providing balance to the space.
My other objective was to get rid of the one-legged horse-look that was created with the single column, by adding two more half columns. You can see the new columns in both the plan views and in the elevations below.
FEATURE WALL ELEVATION
SEEING IT IN PERSPECTIVE
DESIGN IS A PROCESS
These changes got us on the right track, and from here we perfected...and perfected. In the drawings and photos to come you'll see proportion changes with the columns and how the design evolved and transformed.
COLORS & MATERIALS
And finally I can't end this post without adding a little teaser and enticement for you to want to come back for more...here's the design board of the proposed colors and finish materials I presented at my initial client meeting. There has been a few changes along the way but for the most part things have stayed pretty true to the original ideas.
From here we'll jump to the drywall and final color & material selection but before we do I might have to include more of the design back story with the bathrooms and laundry designs. You can see more of the design process and planning by going here.