It is currently a single-story 3-2-2 ranch-style home, 1952 square feet, with detached garage, both on concrete slabs. The property was built in 1958 and sits on 1/3 acre in a wedge-shaped lot (see survey) in Houston, TX. Family is two adults and two indoor/outdoor cats and we plan on living here the rest of our lives (we’re mid-40s), so some creative “aging in place” design (aka “universal design”) is appropriate. We are fans of the "Not So Big House" book/concept ("right-sized spaces").
We want to expand the house toward the south from the southeast bedroom (the laundry room-to-be), possibly “stepping-out” each room addition nearer to the east property line, where the required setback is five feet. An alternate idea is to step out once to the east to the 5 ft setback line, create a wedge-shaped hall closet and then run the eastern edge of the addition continuously 5 ft from property line (probably a better idea).
Goals of this remodel:
1. Add new master suite (bedroom with sitting area, bathroom, closet(s))
2. Add enclosed Endless Pool (accessed through both master bathroom and backyard)
3. Add screened outdoor space around master suite and pool
4. Add walk-in closet in new hall for general (and holiday) storage
5. One of the new closets should serve as a FEMA Safe Room (hurricane shelter)
6. Relocate laundry room to the private (east) side of the house and add 3-4 ft to its southern edge
7. Rebuild and relocate an expanded garage with 2 discrete added-on spaces plus a half-bath
8. Connect garage to house by means of a covered breezeway
9. Both existing bathrooms will be remodeled (gutted to studs), as the potable water plumbing in the house will also be replaced during this project.
Subdivision rules dictate that 51% of exterior (exclusive of doors, windows, and roof) must be brick/stone/equivalent. Our brick is Old Chicago (aka Chicago Common Brick), the creamy/peachy color. Pictures attached. Currently entire ground level façade is brick, so we probably want to stick with the same brick, though any gables will be Hardie siding (fiber-cement board). As part of this remodel, the existing 3 gables and garage will be re-sided with Hardie products of some design. Hardie will also be used for the soffits and the fascia and trim boards. Color suggestions welcome for gables and trim.
Likes and dislikes. We like: natural light, natural ventilation (seasonal, we do live in Houston, TX), big (operable) windows to look out into the yard, classic design, soft wall colors, medium-to-dark wood furniture, wall sconces and other uplights for room lighting, pocket doors. We dislike: ultra-contemporary design, very ornate fixtures, recessed can lights where other lighting is a better choice. The home has original 55-yr-old solid oak 2-1/4-inch wide flooring, which we will want to continue in the master bedroom and new hallway connecting to the original house.
Best views will be to west to the courtyard, pond/stream, and parterre garden. We would like windows for light and ventilation on all sides of all rooms, as practical.
Note: We need a section of solid wall on the south side of the addition (pool room/screened space) in order to make new utility connections – weatherhead and electric service panel and meter, phone demarcation point, cable, whole house surge protector.
The project will be built next spring, as soon as our old house’s remodel is completed (scheduled to begin around Nov this year). The garage portion of the project might have to wait til we sell the old house (in which we’ll be living while this one is expanded), but it will be built in short order as the current one is useless to hold cars.
Floor plan should be as efficient as possible with minimal unusable space.
1. Master suite (bedroom with sitting area, bathroom, closet(s))
a. Bedroom should be as small as practical, but no smaller than 14 ft x 18 ft (thereabouts). We would like 9 ft ceilings, possibly tray/coffered so we can run cove lighting. Ceiling idea picture attached.
i. In our current master bedroom, we have a moderate-sized queen sleigh bed, in medium cherry finish, and two matching, heavy nightstands. Picture attached. We are looking to replace the nightstands with something lighter in feel, but still with drawer(s).
ii. We’d like a place to hang clothes (on hooks) that we’ll wear again soon (like casual clothes after work that get worn for 2 hours a day each evening)
iii. We have 2 custom cornices in our current bedroom we would like to move to the new bedroom. One is an 86-inch wide cornice over a 73-inch wide window; the other is a 44-inch wide cornice over a 36-inch wide window, so we will need windows of these widths; heights do not have to be the same. Pictures attached. We have enough of the damask field fabric to make at least one additional small window cornice, possibly more.
iv. All windows should have operable “blackout” cellular shades or drapery to darken the room for sleeping (both east and west neighbors have very bright security lights).
v. The wall color will be Behr Paint color ‘Cumberland Fog’.
vi. We would like a sitting area for a couple of chairs, a small table, lamp, etc. to read and relax, probably on the west side of the room, so we can look outside to the courtyard and garden (they will be designed and built after the house is remodeled – we’ll have water features, pergola(s), and a parterre garden).
b. The master bath will adjoin the pool (see Goal 2), via an exterior-grade wall, sided with Hardie fiber-cement panel. Thus, the master bath will also serve as a guest bathroom for pool guests.
i. Because this room connects directly to the pool, we would like operable windows between the two rooms, so that we can get natural light and ventilation in the bathroom. The door between the two spaces will be an exterior-grade glass French door (either with interior blinds or obscured).
ii. We dislike having the toilet completely walled-off in a closet. However, we saw a design with a semi-walled off toilet area with a pocket door (or, rather, barn door) on the toilet side and a cabinet on the side facing the bathroom. We could live with that so that pool guests could have some privacy. We also liked the idea of having display shelves in the toilet area which give it less of a closet feel. See attached pictures toilet.1,2,3,4
1. Base will be 60-inch wide (threshold) by 36-inch deep, from Onyx Collection. http://www.onyxcollection.com/standard-lowprofile-shower-base-pan.html
2. 28-30 inch wide frameless, hinged, glass door centered in the threshold
3. Two shower heads, one on each 36-inch-long side wall to allow for a 2-person shower.
4. Each 36-inch side will have a 19-inch high, 14-16 inch deep shower bench to the floor, so that the water controls (handle and showerhead) are effectively recessed, making the interior space above the benches about 90 inches from wall to wall.
5. We like the attached pictures of showers where the lower half of the walls flanking the door are not glass (shower.1,2)
iv. Vanity could be one or two sinks, as long as we have sufficient individual countertop areas. See attached picture for styles of cabinets we like vanity.1 and vanity.2.
v. We would like at least four 30-inch towel bars – 2 for shower towels and 2 for pool towels.
vi. We need to store towels, toilet paper supply, and minimal toiletries and medicines (little makeup).
i. Walk-in closet(s) – we have become accustomed to having no dressers in the bedroom, so all clothes storage will be here (minimum 6 ft wide) – depending on the layout, we could have 1 large or 2 smaller closets, we’re flexible.
ii. Preferably near the master bath
iii. Will be outfitted with Elfa shelving and Elfa décor gliding drawers, pant racks, shoe racks, etc. Pictures of Elfa ideas attached, as well as pictures of our own current Elfa installations.
iv. A bench on which to sit and put on shoes would be great
v. While we prefer pocket doors, if one of these closets is selected for the FEMA Safe Room, it will have to have a locking swing door in addition to the pocket door.
vi. In addition to clothes, we need storage space for our bed linens in this closet or in the hall closet (item #4). We may have more linens than the typical family does (twice as many as pictured). Picture attached.
2. Pool room will have a partially in-ground Endless Pool (http://www.endlesspools.com/). Suggested layout sketch attached. Per city code, the pool must be 5 feet from house (our drawing is only 4 ft from house). The rough dimensions of the pool room interior are therefore 21 ft x 28 ft x 10-11 ft high. The room will be tiled with Cerdomus Poseidon Lake (16 x 24 inch tiles)-a blue & gray tile. Picture attached.
a. We would like the pool room to have a large opening (http://nanawall.com or http://www.marvin.com/patio-doors/lift-and-slide-doors/ or http://www.milgard.com/catalog/doors/style/stacking/or similar) to the west, with large expanses of operable windows on the other sides. This room will be open much of the year, but we want to be able to completely close it when it gets cold so that we can heat it, or close and cool it in the worst of the summer.
b. Pet doors for the cats between yard and porch, and between porch and house. Challenge: door placement should discourage possums and squirrels.
c. Pool should be accessible from master bath by exterior-grade locking door and from backyard by exterior locking door, which is possibly a pair of outswing French doors if there is room (we think this should open towards the courtyard, at the north end of pool room).
d. We have a large, decorated door to incorporate somewhere. It does not need to be functional, but should be displayed so that both sides are visible. It measures 34 inches wide x 2 inches deep x 96 inches high. Pictures attached.
e. Pool room should have a shower on shared wall with master bathroom. It will have a “half oval shower rod 36x36” (picture attached) to control splash, but privacy isn’t critical: it’s just to properly rinse off before getting in the pool.
f. Pool room should have HVAC system separate from main house, with particular note to be able to adequately warm the room in winter (winter lows typically range from mid-30s to mid-40s, but can drop to low-20s for a few days’ stretch). Suggestions welcome.
g. Room will have a small bistro table and chairs, as indicated on Pool Room Sketch.
h. Pool heater and hydraulics require a 55x28x77 (high) inch weatherproof storage shed (like a Rubbermaid storage unit) on the exterior of the house, with both natural gas and electricity serving it. Must be near pump end of the pool (within approximately 30-50 ft) – we would like this located on the south side of the addition.
i. 40 gallon natural gas water heater (to serve the house) should go in the northeast corner. It should be installed in a louvered “closet”.
j. Views: to the south of the pool room will be garden (blueberries) and to the south of that, a chicken coop and/or compost pile. To the west will be a raised bed gardening area, along with fruit trees. To the north/northwest will be the courtyard (pergola), water features, and house and garage/workshop.
3. Add screened outdoor space around master suite and pool. Functionally, it is a screened porch, but could perhaps be accomplished with pergola or other design. It needs to:
a. protect south and west sides of addition from direct sun
b. extend pool area to outside
c. screen insects from pool room
d. keep rain from blowing into pool room’s open windows
4. Walk-in storage closet off the hall between existing house and new master suite. Our old house had a great walk-in closet in the hall that we used for coats, costume clothing, and holiday/entertaining storage. We miss it greatly. We will be installing 16-inch deep Elfa shelving in the closet to maximize storage. Size is negotiable, but no smaller than 4ft wide on the narrowest side and at least 5 ft deep.
5. Hurricane shelter (FEMA “Safe Room” http://www.fema.gov/safe-rooms ) - either a master bedroom closet or the new walk-in closet for storage should be designed to double as a FEMA-compliant Safe Room. From what we can tell, the thing to really understand about this is that the room must not have load-bearing walls and must be of a certain minimum size to handle 2 adults and 2 cats for a number of hours. A structural engineer will handle the exact building spec, but the room size needs to be adequate.
6. Relocate laundry room – washer, dryer on pedestals – to southeast bedroom:
a. This room will also act as the passage to the master bedroom suite addition (on the western side of the room).
b. This room will also be a sewing room.
c. Washer should be on the left, dryer on the right, as these are front-loading machines and that is the arrangement the hinges dictate.
d. Some sort of (temporary) space for folding clothes would be nice (fold down shelf/table from the wall, etc.).
e. Dirty clothes storage – we sort all of our clothes into lots of loads as we can’t use the same detergent (allergies). We just saw that Elfa has introduced hampers for the laundry room, so an Elfa unit in the laundry room is a distinct possibility, and it has a shelf (which could be used for folding clothes). Picture attached.
f. We need space, either here or in the master bathroom, for 2 drying racks and a hanging rod on wheels. Drying rack 1 is a stack of 28 x 28 inch sweater-drying racks and the other is a standard drying rack, 28 in x 30 in x 50 high. Hanging rod on wheels is 19 in wide x 56 in long (and adjustable height) – this is where shirts are hung to have the wrinkles steamed out.
g. We have a lot (A LOT) of quilting fabrics to store as well as some machine embroidery supplies. Plus a couple of sewing machines (maybe I will finally get a sewing cabinet set up after this is all over)
7. Garage: New, expanded two-car detached garage (9-ft wide garage doors), with 36-inch standard exterior door on the north end of the east wall of the garage, facing east. Deed restrictions stipulate a setback line of 5 ft from property line if the garage “attaches” to the house (such as by a breezeway)
a. Natural ventilation as it gets stifling in Houston's heat – prevailing wind direction in summer is from the southeast.
b. Natural light access
c. Roof line designed for ease of rainwater collection – we’re thinking that since we have to move the garage to the east to comply w/deed restrictions, we’ll set up rainwater collection on the west or south side of the garage, depending upon the system we can get installed. We are thinking a single-slope roof, high side to the north, might work well, particularly with clerestory windows on the north – even better if they're operable. But maybe a standard hipped roof with well-designed gutters on all 4 sides would work as well. We’re open to ideas.
d. Lockable garden equipment storage. Attached to south side of the garage, accessible from the exterior south side (gardens area). Approximately 5 ft deep x 12 ft long (x 8 ft high). Wide doors for easy access to all contents; maybe barn door style doors? Would prefer not to have to give up ground space for outswings. This should probably be shaded from south sun, as well, with either a roof overhang or pergola type structure.
e. Small woodworking shop, 7-8 ft deep x 14 ft long, attached to east side of the garage, with conditioned space, 36-inch wide exterior door on north wall– this door and the garage exit door could open to the same “landing” spot.
f. Half-bath: minimum 48 x 54 inches, can go in the corner where the storage shed and workshop converge. Should have a pocket door to the workshop and an outswing door to the east. This isn't pictured on the survey sketch - the two red additions (for d & e) should meet up and this would be in that space).
f. Carport – not sure what our deed restrictions say about this, but our cats would love it. Something in the style of a pergola, maybe.
8. Garage connection to house via a breezeway – from that landing spot for the garage and shop doors to the back door of the house. Although not technically our responsibility, access to the utility pole has been through our backyard when major work had to be done (the other homes have built obstructions to the equipment’s passage). That means that we need to be able to allow the utility’s heavy equipment into the backyard – a clear path of at least 4 feet wide and ~10 feet high for their pole winch, etc. So any breezeway would need to have some sort of removable/slide-able section or be tall enough. (Having just gotten a brand new pole, we should be good unless a major hurricane hits us, in which case anything could happen, so we need to be prepared just in case.) Since we get diagonal or even nearly horizontal gusting wind rains sometimes, having the ability to enclose the breezeway would be helpful, though not sure how practical this is. Drainage from backyard is an issue.
9. Existing two bathrooms: We do not want to move any toilets, showers, sinks, etc. due to cost. All suggestions for better (or prettier or more creative) use of vanity/storage space would be most welcome. Single sinks are sufficient for each existing bathroom.
a. Current master bathroom will become a guest en-suite bathroom (it’s a small, “Hollywood” bath from the 1950s, very common to our area). This bathroom will be used primarily by overnight guests. It is ~58 inches deep x 131 inches long (including shower). Current pictures attached – en suite 1, 2
i. The shower needs to keep the same floor print, as it backs up to a critical hallway linen closet. Onyx Collection base – 36 in x 36 in in Sandstone . Glass shower door.
ii. This bathroom will use Alfalux Unika Crema Luna tile as flooring and shower wall tile. Floor tile will be diagonal set and wall tile will be standard set. Picture attached.
iii. We are open to the idea of a pedestal sink if that’s the best choice to allow better access to towel storage, etc.
b. The hall bath is and will remain the main bathroom guests will use when we entertain. Dimensions are ~88 inches deep x 103 inches long (the tub & closet wall). Current pictures attached hall bath.1, 2
i. This bathroom is visible down the hallway. We leave the door open because otherwise the hallway would be horribly devoid of natural light (plus the cat litter box is behind the bathroom door). Picture attached.
ii. We want to use Woodland Slate (by Hampton Bay) tile, vertically, as the long wall in the tub surround, as well as the vanity backsplash (oriented horizontally or vertically, whichever works). Tiles are approximately 2 inch long x 1 wide (in a 12 inch sheet). Picture attached.
iii. We have chosen Daltile Franciscan Slate ‘Woodland Verde’ as the floor tile (diagonal set) and for the 32-inch wide ends of the tub surround (standard set). Picture attached.
iv. Bathtub will be Kohler Devonshire, 60x32
v. We really like the Behr paint color ‘Fragrant Jasmine’ which we painted the walls of this bathroom (which is currently tiled with original pink tile).
vi. The countertop will be ‘Navajo White’ granite or a similarly colored ‘Marlyn Imperial’.
We would like a reasonable roof line.
We will be looking for a cohesive, coordinated site plan of structures (within the setback lines) that meets all of our goals as well as maximizes our landscaping space. We are particularly interested in a convenient floor plan that may incorporate clever ideas. We want the addition and the re-designed garage to look like they've always been here, not tacked on.
We will be designing the courtyard (between the house, addition and garage) and the parterre garden (south of the garage) after we have a building design selected.
If .dxf files could be provided, that would be useful to us. It is not critical, however, and will not affect the choice of the winning designs.