I imagine anyone who works in design can relate to what I am about to say, particularly those who, like me, work in relatively small towns. My work comes in waves of "sameness"...a particular style takes hold of the collective public conscience, or the architectural guidelines of a new neighborhood dictate a certain "look." My career has seen waves of "Craftsman-ish" houses, "European-ish" houses, and what I like to call "High Mountain" style houses. These might be sprinkled with some unusual variants here and there--an infill lot in an established neighborhood, a large scale renovation of an older home, or just a client with a very unique vision, but at times I have found myself screaming for something to design other than a stone and stucco house with a walkout basement and heavy timber accents (in the upstate of South Carolina and Western North Carolina, where many of the custom homes I've worked on are--this is the expected look and palette for so many of the newer homes in resort communities.)
And so, every year or so, I force myself out of the box and do something different. A couple of years ago, I grew fascinated with Tudor style homes (a style I have never had a custom commission to do), then with the beautifully detailed but smaller homes of the 1920's-1940's. These studies are my way of doing some self-directed continuing education, and sometimes make it to my portfolio of pre-designed houses.
I recently re-read the book "Get Your House Right", I am working with a client on the design of a classically detailed low-country style house, and he had recently finished that book, along with several others on Federal, Greek Revival, and Georgian design elements. I have always loved a classic "Five Over Four and a Door" type house--to me, a properly designed one never loses it's appeal, and there is just a definite sense of "home" from them. So that was the defining idea for this house. I did NOT set out to design a house this large. In fact, I decided that my partner and I would be the fictional client for these plans, and we decided that the layout of our current house suits us just fine, but our wish list would add a few things...a music room for a grand piano, "wouldn't it be nice if all the guest rooms had their own bath?", "I've always wanted a huge library with those rolling ladders.", and "I would love a dedicated home theatre in the basement.", and after seeing dual staircases in a house online, someone just had to have them.
So, 14,000 square feet later, there it is. A little something to stretch my design muscles, and a springboard for exploring various topics in design. (Check here for a growing list of topics that have spun off from this plan.)
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