This one and one-half story, Queen Anne Victorian home was built as a single family residence in Pasadena, California in 1894 and subsequently cut in half and reassembled as a duplex at her current location in 1915. At that time, the interior staircase was removed, the rear porch enclosed, and an exposed, exterior staircase was tagged onto the back of the porch to provide access to the upstairs. The staircase is out of character and blocks the driveway. Fifty years later in the 60's, the duplex was divide again, creating four units (two up and two down). The house has functioned as rental property at this location for nearly 100 years and has received minimal maintenance or care.
As the current owner, I am rehabbing the property and re-converting it back into a duplex. This project will affect approximately 500 square feet of the house and primarily includes designing a private entry with enclosed staircase accessing the upper unit. The house was recently designated a Landmark structure, so the winning design will incorporate all of my goals, while creating a cohesive design which captures the charm of the home's original Victorian styling.
1. Convert the property to a duplex, so it serves as my primary residence while providing rental income to offset the mortgage.
2. Remove exterior staircase which is blocking the garage.
3. Design private, enclosed entrance for upstairs unit with interior staircase/stairwell.
4. Redesign/reconfigure upstairs and downstairs rooms at rear of house to accommodate staircase.
5. Design upper unit floor plan to include staircase, and reconfigure living, dining, kitchen to create flow and design more open plan so unit doesn't feel so bisected. Eliminate laundry area and configure bathroom.
6. Reconfigure rooms in lower unit to include staircase area. Identify location for passageway to create flow at back of unit (passageway connecting the two living rooms in the front of the house has already been uncovered), and retain or create as much closet space as possible.
7. Locate and identify area for washer / dryer hookups in downstairs unit, preferably under the new staircase.
1. Private entrance area must have enough room for storing a bike.
2. Must consider slope of ceiling upstairs as a result of house being only 1 1/2 stories tall. Exterior wall height is only 6', while ceilings are 9' tall at their highest.
3. Must be simple, cost efficient and use as many existing walls/structures/materials as possible to save time and money.
4. All ceiling and floor joists were cut in half and mended together at/near the bearing wall. Upper unit could benefit from an open plan, but I'm concerned about rebuilding a main header on the bearing wall because of the cut and the expense. Maybe I'm worrying about nothing, it's not my expertise.
5. Exterior design must conform to the existing Victorian style of the house, as the property is a Landmark structure. Interior is more flexible, but I don't want to stray far from her historic style except to be more functional.
6. Leave open the possibility of later reuniting the upper and lower units into a single family home by identifying a place for a passageway into the stairwell from the lower unit.
I plan to rehab the upstairs first so that I can start generating rental income, then pick away at the items to complete the downstairs. I am currently living downstairs in a semi-habitable condition and will be acting as General Contractor, pulling permits, etc., and performing as much of the labor that I'm able to do. Please make this as easy on me as possible!
The main goal of this project is to redesign the back of the house in the simplest, most cost-effective way. I am not so much interested in materials and finishes as I am basic designs, because I am going to be matching the existing structure visually.
The primary goal is to eliminate the existing exterior staircase which is blocking the garage. Then, relocate the staircase inside the existing enclosed porch area, providing private access to the upstairs unit.
The existing porches need to be eliminated or redesigned to match the Victorian styling of the house. (Google maps search of "Mountain and Summit, Pasadena CA" brings up images of the complete exterior).
The upper unit should be reconfigured in a way that opens the living spaces up to create light and flow, but doesn't pose too much of a structural issue because of the bearing wall and the mended ceiling joists above.
The stairwell enclosure should be designed in such a way that an interior passageway could reunite the upper unit to the lower unit, as in a single family residence, and the exterior door could act as a back entrance to the house.
This project is the result of City Inspection report, wherein I have to rebuild the back staircase. I have a very limited budget, so this design needs to be simple and cost-efficient. For instance, I'd like to reuse the concrete steps leading up to the private entrance, if possible. The focus is on the back of the house and the back half of each unit. I am looking for simple, overall design ideas which will meet code and will be easiest to construct.
The big puzzle which I haven’t been able to solve is how and where to put a private staircase accessing the upper unit. I would really like to bring the stairs inside, using the existing enclosed rear porch area as a private entrance for the upper unit. I nominate the center bathroom downstairs and the laundry room upstairs to be sacrificed for the staircase, but of course, I'm open to other ideas.
For now I'll be renovating the upstairs but only parts of the downstairs that are necessary for the construction of the staircase. I'm using one of the downstairs kitchens as a laundry room, and I thought one day it might be a bedroom, a large bathroom, perhaps a kitchen. As it is now, the bathroom I'm using is the one located in the kitchen, which is not ideal. (The center bathroom is completely demoed and sealed off). Although I'd like ideas for how the downstairs unit should be, I won't be implementing them until I've collected a bit of rental income from the upstairs unit.
There are several existing passageways downstairs which have been sealed off as a result of the prior divisions. You will notice these on the floor plans and drawings. So far, I have uncovered the one connecting the two living rooms, so I can pass from one side to the other.
I have already begun demo upstairs and the bathroom and laundry areas are down to the studs. I've removed several walls and uncovered a passageway. You will see that as a result of one of the prior remodels, the angle of the roofline in the laundry area was changed, and the builder simply sistered scraps of lumber together. I am aware that all of these structural type of defects will need to be repaired/rebuilt during renovation, and I thank you in advance for your guidance on that.