Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Revised concept drawings for our renovated bungalow

Woohoo! Today we met with our architect and she showed us the revised concept drawings for our renovated bungalow in Ottawa.

We'd like to thank everyone who commented on the earlier draft drawings for their great suggestions. You helped reaffirm many of our thoughts about the drawings and offered some great new ideas. We think you will find many of your suggestions incorporated into this latest set of drawings.

Quickly, here is what we told our architect about the previous options she proposed. We said we liked the main floor of Option 1 with the lower level of Option 2. However, on the main floor, we wanted to have a mud room off the foyer, expand the kitchen to significantly increase the counter space, and make the kids' bedrooms bigger. We also heard what many of you said about having a powder room on the main floor right next to the kids' bathroom. So, we gave that up in favour of having a larger kids' bathroom. We also asked her to add what we call a "communications centre" by the foyer. This is a space with a small counter for an iMac computer, plus a bulletin board, cubbyholes for mail, hooks for keys, a calendar, etc. We also liked the suggestion to put the laundry room on the main floor, but there was just no room to do so without sacrificing something else, so it is staying in the basement.

On the lower level, the play room has expanded because the bedroom above has been bumped out a couple of feet and the area under the terrace outside the kitchen will be excavated to create an office. In theory, this could also become a media room or even another spare bedroom.

When we looked at these new plans, we really couldn't think of too many changes that we would want to make. There are a couple of things, like making the island in the kitchen a bit bigger and putting a wine fridge underneath it, as well as moving the door for the master bedroom ensuite bathroom to the little hallway rather than leading directly from the bedroom. On the lower level, we have asked for double doors leading into the office and to increase slightly the size of the laundry room so that there is more room for drying racks.

Our Architect also provided us with a proposal for the look of the rear of the house. There is a terrace leading off the kitchen with a pergola over it. If we grow grapevines on the pergola in summer, it will keep the terrace and the house cool and remind us of the farm in Chile, while in winter the leaves will fall off the vines, allowing sunlight to stream into the master bedroom and kitchen/dining room. This terrace leads to another terrace, set down a few steps behind the family room creating a quiet, partially enclosed space with great views to the back garden. From here, steps lead down into the back garden.

For the style of the house, she has gone with a modern take on the Arts & Crafts style. The lines are more simplified than Arts & Crafts, more similar to Prairie style, which is what we originally suggested. We may ask to see a conceptual drawing of a more modern style of exterior, just to compare. We are hoping to partially clad the house in stone with stucco on the rest, but it will depend on the budget. We may have to go with stucco only. Either way, a new layer of blue foam insulation will be added to the outside of the home all the way around and the stucco or rock cladding put on top of that, which will significantly increase the insulation value of the home.

We told our architect that we will send her any additional comments that we may have by the end of this week. If you have any comments or suggestions we'd love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment.

For comparison, here is what the rear of the house currently looks like:


  1. Another comment Simon, I like the idea of partial stone if you can afford it. It always looks classy. I think you can easily make a powder room beside the kids bathroom if you forego the shower and leave it in the bath. The entrance could be off the foyer. I like the idea of making the kitchen island bigger. I'm not sure what you mean by a more modern exterior, but perhaps you'll put this on the blog so that we can see it. Mum

  2. I didn't do the funny word so my comment wasn't published, I don't think, so I'll repeat it. First, I think you should definitely put a door in the outside of the garage, so that that could do as a mudroom in wet weather for the kids, and for a pet. I love the house and it is so big, much bigger than you originally intended, I think. I love the terraces and all the windows. I like the communications centre in the hall, great idea. The playroom is great and so big, a great party room with the sinks etc. The laundry room looks big enough to me for a rack, (like mine), or two. It's amazing how much you can get on it. I like all the storage, adequate but not so much that you will be tempted to fill it. The office can certainly serve as an extra bedroom if necessary, but it seems to me that you have plenty of room to put up guests downstairs. I like the 6 burner stove, gas I presume? Generally, the house looks terrific and your architect has done a good job and if you can do it on budget, you've got great value for money. Mum x

  3. When we initially met our architect, one of the ideas that we gave her was to have a door beside the garage door so that kids could enter into the house that way when they are muddy, and possibly bring bikes and toboggans and such in that way too. In the end though we decided not to go with that for a couple of reasons. First, we like the idea of having one principle entrance into the house, and with the new mudroom off the foyer, we can deal more effectively with the inevitable muddy kids' boots (maybe we should put a little foot shower in the mudroom for boots and pet's feet). Second, a door beside the garage will always have to be locked, so to enter, someone will have to go down and open it for the kids (at least until they are old enough to be trusted with keys). I figure, if you are going to go down and open a door, you may as well just open the garage door for them and let them come in that way. At least the garage door I can open from upstairs with the remote control. And finally cost. putting a door beside the garage means digging out the retaining wall beside the driveway and expanding the driveway. I like that idea, but it would also eat into space for the porch on the front of the house.

    Somebody also suggested putting a door in the rear of the garage so that you can walk right out into the garden, but to do so would not allow for the nice terraces that our architect has designed.

    The play room is a great space and you're right, it will be a great party room. I saw the idea for the cabinets and sink on the TV show Divine Design. The designer was redoing a basement for a couple with two young kids who loved to paint. In one corner of the basement she put in lots of cupboards with counter space, a sink and space under part of the counter to pull a chair up to make a little desk. It made for a great arts and crafts corner, and the sink made it easy to clean up afterwards. I figured that if we add in a fridge, it could easily double as a space for birthday parties with easy clean up afterwards.

    We are definitely trying to go for the partial stone cladding. I will post some pictures of some of other homes that we have seen that we are using for inspiration.

  4. Oh yeah, I forgot to comment about the more modern exterior. Basically, this just boils down to changing the window style to a simpler look and perhaps changing the exterior surface or colour of the surface. We cannot change the roof, so we are not talking about having some sort of square, modern architecture type of home.

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