Thank you for the opportunity to submit a proposal for your home. My initial thought for your project was to confine the additions to the existing footprint to both keep the existing open space at the rear for outdoor living space, and to keep the budget in check by eliminating the need for costly excavation and footings. I felt the rear yard was essential for current use and resale value, and that there should be plenty available space to fulfill the program by building up to maximize the available building envelope. The ultimate advantage to this scheme is that a roof deck atop the highest available level should afford the most optimal views.
In brief my program developed as follows.
· Utilize existing footprint for renovation
· Utilize existing second floor for children’s bedrooms
· Add a new third floor for master suite, lounge adjacent terraces
· Roof of addition to provide interior access stair to multi level roof deck
· Excavate basement to provide additional living level with optional separate entrance
· Finished house is essentially five levels.
I rather liked the existing side entry. It makes for a wide living area at the front, and the entry door is more privately located. My thought was perhaps to inset the main entry door a little to make the outdoor stoop feel a little wider, and if allowable to provide a small canopy or roof over the landing for protection from the elements.
I reprogrammed the entire floor to essentially flip the original concept by locating core elements requiring solid walls to the center in order to locate open rooms at each end which provides exterior view and access. I mostly kept the stair in the same area though slightly elongated, and separated from a corridor with a freestanding glazed wall. IN the center is a new mudroom, pantry and coat closet. I opted to locate the mud room here to maintain the openness of the rear façade and so this area shares the stoop. You could even have the option to provide a door into the mud room from the main entry, or even perhaps eliminate the mud room door and have all traffic come through the main entry.
In the front of the house I provided a formal living and dining area. I placed the dining in an alcove formed by utilizing the existing double front window and lowering the sill to accommodate tall french doors with a juliette balcony facing the street. The remainder of the space is given to a living area where I relocated the fireplace to the opposite wall. I would suggest using a new eco-smart or similar bio fuel unit here for both cleanliness and in order to eliminate the need for a flue going to the roof. I aligned the room to be on axis with a new entry hall.
Between the dining and stair I’ve place additional core elements, including a powder room and a potential new elevator. These are discreetly placed off a small vestibule to eliminate views from the main areas. My thought is that with five floors of living an elevator may be a worthwhile expenditure and could add to resale value. Either way, the plan as designed could be used for closet/storage on each floor, reserving the option to possibly install the unit at a future date. You could also perhaps merely install a dumbwaiter type unit that might be more cost effective, though there are some residential lifts on the market that are reasonably affordable.
I am showing the stair to the basement as open to the corridor. My suggestion is that whatever you choose to finish in the basement, that at least provide a finished area just around the lower stair landing so enclosing walls are not required around the stair at the main level. This will open the plan up spatially to great effect.
In the rear I located a large open concept living/dining/kitchen area. Using the core for the back wall of the kitchen to locate tall ref/oven cabinets, and the outside wall for a feature range wall, allowed me to float a very generously scaled island in the center. A wall of cabinets on the opposite wall could have multiple uses, including second prep sink, wine storage, children’s project center etc.
Along the north side wall I located a new wood burning fireplace, so the flue could be located in the outside rear corner so as not to interfere with roof deck views above. I then would open up the entire rear wall with tall glass doors opening onto a wide deck stretching across the entire width. I would like to relocate the basement access stair to the front if allowable, which I think will not only improve use of the space in the back, but provide a more flexible and useful use of the basement.
I felt the existing structure and even some of the current interior partitions accommodated the program surprisingly well. I provide four relatively equal bedrooms. Bedrooms 1 and 4 anchor the ends each with private bath while bedrooms 2 and 3 are located in the center sharing compartmented bath. Bedroom 1 has a somewhat larger bath, but I decided to keep the existing. The layout of bedrooms 2 and 3 even worked out to utilize the existing masonry openings, and these 2 bedrooms have walk-in closets. In the center is a new laundry room.
The elevator shaft opens onto the central corridor and a new stair is located atop the existing to provide access to the new third floor.
I would ordinarily be reluctant to locate the master suite two floors above the main living area. But since your program requested all children’s bedrooms on the same floor, and specifically the master on a separate level, I just didn’t see how the second floor could accommodate all these uses even with an addition. So with the addition of an elevator, and the opportunity to create a very spacious and luxurious suite I thought the trade off was worthy.
So the new third floor provides a nicely scaled bedroom located for privacy and noise at the rear with tall glass doors out onto a small balcony. I provided a second bio fuel fireplace here as an option. In the center I placed a very large walk-in closet across from a spacious master bath. Utilizing the location of the masonry openings below for façade continuity, I designed the bath to have a large freestanding soaking tub in front double windows flanked on one side by a toilet enclosure and on the opposite side with a quite large shower stall and very wide double vanity.
One of the advantages of the space here was the ability to provide a dressing hall connecting the master suite. A spouse can get up early in the morning, get ready and leave without ever going back into the sleeping area to disturb a sleeping spouse. Likewise getting up in the middle of the night one does not have to worry about lights being a disturbance.
At the front of the new interior I located a lounge area that provides access to the master suite, a front terrace, stairs to a roof deck, a small kitchenette and powder room. I felt the living areas on the upper floors were significant enough to warrant a second lavatory so guests would not have to use the master bath.
At the very front I wanted to set back the front wall to have a separation from the existing front masonry gable. As the existing roofline and attic did not accommodate a full floor height I essentially eliminated the roof line and created an outdoor deck between the new front wall and the existing gable. The existing window provides a portal to allow for a partial view, but mostly this is a private somewhat enclosed outdoor space.
To fit everything within the allowable height limit the front of the third floor is kept to an 8 foot ceiling height. You might notice an elevation showing 38’- 4”, which I had intended to be 38’- 0”. However I set the first floor at 3’-6” above grade which is actually only 3 feet so the dimension from grade to the ceiling at the top of the stair enclosure is just under the 38 foot height limit.
Atop the new third floor then is a roof deck spanning the entirety of the new structure. The stair enclosure and elevator continue up to this level proving access. In order to allow for taller ceilings in the master suite the deck steps up an additional 2 feet which then also provides for views out over the top of the existing front gable. At the rear I placed a spiral stair providing the required second egress that descends to the master balcony and then out and down a second spiral down to the main rear deck.
For the basement I suggest a new access stair from the front sidewalk utilizing the setback. This could allow you to have an in-law or nanny suite with private access. The remainder of the floor could accommodate another bedroom/bath along with storage and mechanical spaces. Since even with taller ceilings here, the basement is only 2 feet above grade, I have made the optional suggestion to lower the walkway along the south setback to accommodate taller windows. While not required to make the scheme work, it might enable you to have the rooms on this level have better light and air, without sacrificing use of the rear yard. You could perhaps only lower the walkway from the entry stoop to the rear yard, and leave the main entry walk at the same height, as the front basement room could have taller windows by opening onto the new lowered front area.
Finally, I wanted to let you know that a very good friend and work colleague lives in Chicago on Halstead, which I imagine is very close to you. I am in the area frequently, and am actually currently working on the design for a house in Lakeview. If you determine that my proposal meets your needs, I would be very happy to be available to work with you further and could easily meet in person. Thank you again for the opportunity to provide a proposal.
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