Our first exterior sketch didn’t have any internal floorplan. After some more work, this was the first floorplan draft that Shaun, our architect, got to us:
In the meantime, we had dropped the idea of setting up the office, bathroom, and a small kitchenette as an Accessory Dwelling Unit, since setting it up that way under Summit County’s zoning laws would mean incurring an extra $50,000 versus having the same general floorplan without permitting it as an ADU. ADUs require separately metered utilities and a fire break. We figured it may increase the cost $5,000, which would have been fine, but $50,000 was too much. So the ADU was out.
The floorplan had a good start: kitchen in the center of the house; living to the west, bedrooms to the east. All echoes of ideas from A Pattern Language, and generally tracking our Design Goals. But a number of things were kind of clunky. Downstairs, the office in the middle of the house felt like a recipe for noise, and it only had north exposure.
Upstairs, the sitting space off of the master bedroom seemed like wasted space, and the staircase in the center of the house felt like it ate up a lot of prime real estate.
We also wondered whether it would be worth ironing out the hitch on the north side of the house, making it straight, to pick up some (relatively) cheap square footage. We turned those notes back to Shaun, and waited for the next round of revisions.
Meanwhile, we kept reading. I found House, by Tracy Kidder, to be pretty illuminating. It’s getting pretty dated at this point, since it was published in 1999, but it gives a good sense of the competing and inter-related roles of the owners, architect, and builders. It’s even less applicable to our situation, since, if all goes well, Shaun will be both our architect and our builder. But it gives a sense of how decisions on one front can end up changing things on another.