the cross's "just right" design+Build home
Imagine this: Over the years, you have fallen in love with the community around you, grown to adore your home’s unique character, and—more than anything—cherish the memories you have of your kids growing up within the four walls of your home. When you first bought the house, it fell into a grander plan for the future; this home would act as a stepping stone, where for about five years you’d live until it was time to move into a larger space to accommodate your growing family. Now, it’s fifteen years later and with all the rewards you have gained with this first home, what’s the next move? Moving into a new home, likely away from the community and the character you have grown so fond of no longer feels as perfect as you once thought, but neither does staying in a home that does not fit your full-size family’s needs. For the Cross family, the third option proved to be the best choice. They took a home that didn’t quite fit, added in some Design+Build magic, and à la Goldilocks, created a dream home that was just right.
many choices and ideas to think about at the start of a project, organizing your goals into a consolidated plan can easily feel overwhelming. At Studio21 Architects, our team works alongside our clients to delve into their needs and values before the Design Phase; doing this gives the client a concrete understanding of what their dream home needs and gives us the tools to create a design that makes that dream into reality.
After completing their Lifestyle Questionnaire, Brian and Kate’s top three areas in need of more space were: the kitchen, dining area, and bedrooms. The original, galley-style kitchen severely lacked storage and workspace; two people couldn’t comfortably work in the kitchen at the same time and small appliances had to be housed elsewhere. It also felt cut off from the other common spaces of the house, limiting the first floor’s flow. Off the kitchen was a formal dining room whose small size couldn’t accommodate more than the five Crosses; like the kitchen, this space also felt walled off from the rest of the first floor. On the second floor, there were three bedrooms, and amongst a family of five, that meant room sharing.
become a comfortable space to cook, eat, and live life. The addition's design relocated the dining room to the rear of the home, where it became a more informal dining area and an extension of the kitchen; this configuration offers multipurpose functionality, as the family can use the room as a workspace, dining space, or simply a place to hang out. A study now takes the place of the original dining room. The design of the Cross family’s first floor expertly highlights the usage of zones in a home’s layout; rather than removing as many walls as possible for the sake of open-concept functionality, employing an intuitive separation of spaces supports a natural flow, while also allowing for a division of rooms by function, like public versus private, quiet versus loud, working versus entertaining, et cetera. This leaves their home able to work well in any kind of circumstance—quiet evenings, entertaining guests, and much more!
Upstairs, Gregg designed the primary suite that Brian and Kate had at the top of their list. Including an ensuite bathroom and a walk-in closet, the primary suite frees up the use of the third bedroom, resolving the sharing of rooms for the young Crosses. In true dream home fashion, the primary suite offers a sanctuary space for Brian and Kate. In the second-floor design, a workstation was also included to accommodate remote work; putting the workstation upstairs acts as another example of intuitive zones for a home’s design, where spaces in need of a quieter environment are on the second floor, and spaces better suited for entertaining and livelier routines are on the first.
Discovery Review. We conduct the Design Discovery Review before any design takes place; if we find a factor that could cause problems down the line, we can adjust accordingly and avoid potentially major setbacks for your project. During the Design Discovery Review on the Cross home, we learned of a zoning ordinance that would play a significant role in the design’s parameters. Called an Open Space requirement, this ordinance states that fifty percent of any residential site must be devoted to green space; the other fifty percent comprises not only the structure of the house, but decks, patios, and driveways. In its original state, their home’s footprint already met that fifty percent limitation, so there was no way to add outwards.
utilized space was the sunroom and in removing it from the floor plan, a sizable amount of square footage was freed up to expand the kitchen, relocate the dining room and first-floor powder room, and add a mudroom at the back entry.
What Brian and Kate wrote in their Lifestyle Questionnaire beautifully sums up their ultimate goal for this project:
"We would like to live in this house comfortably for at least twenty more years. We’d like it to be a gathering place for our children to come “home” to when they are grown up."
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written by: emma halliday
Emma Halliday works as the Marketing Coordinator at Studio21 Architects. For each of our newsletters, Emma conducts interviews, writes articles, and formats the pages to make sure they reflect the great design we value so strongly at this firm. She may not be an architect, but she certainly makes sure that the marketing materials have architect-worthy design as well!