onward with Plan B!

Architect 2d and the Usonian Expert (sounds like a good name for a techno-jazz duo, doesn’t it?) sent us reworked (and more detailed) adjacency and massing schematics late last week. There are two realizations: Schematic Plan A and Schematic Plan B. And they both look mighty fine! We were expecting Plan A based on discussions from our last meeting and, although we were expecting a Plan B based on those discussions, it wasn’t exactly what we were expecting.  And that was a good thing.

Plan A (~2,000 square feet) is a fleshing out of Scheme 1A from the initial adjacency and massing exercise. The floorplan is more refined, including a peek onto the second floor, and we see the rudiments of the relation of the house to the surrounding landscape. Mucho cool is the 3D rendering of the house to give us a sense of what the street presence might look like.

Plan B (~2,300 square feet) is kind of a Frankenstein’s monster of Scheme 1A and Scheme 2 with a few new parts-is-parts thrown in. And it is gorgeous! We like both Plan A and Plan B, but we really, really (really) like Plan B.

How doth we like you, Plan B? Let us count the ways:

-       the gorgeous street presence (kinda love everything about it),
-       the cantilevered carport (holy crap that’s cool!),
-       the overhangs (slim-shady),
-       the “protected” back yard (as opposed to Plan A, which would make nude bar-b-queing challenging…),
-       the office (bonus  room!),
-       the cornerish window (gives the cornerish hens something to look out of…),
-       the self-standing “privacy” walls (Miesian?), and
-       the entry sequence (we prefer side entrances but this front entrance is done really well).

Although fitting in with the neighborhood isn’t a requirement with us (bring on the architectural interventions!), this design fits in better with the ‘hood than the others. Another plus.

Not all is well in B-ville: We have some minor concerns:
-       the layout of the kitchen (my bride prefers a barrier between her and the hungry hordes),
-       the location of the mudroom and master closet (they may have to go there for a number of architectural reasons, but they seem like they may be better as part of the main body of the house inasfar as the rest of the house relates to the courtyard),
-       access to the back of the lot (In an ideal world, we could leave the courtyard open to the front of the property, but this is not an ideal world. In our previous house, anytime we left the side gate open there was a 50 percent chance someone would be in the back yard up to no good. And that’s not hyperbole talking…),
-       color (intrigued by the tan; not sure about the green [which may be intended to send that part of the building into the background]),
-       mechanicals (where do the mechanicals go?),
-       the size of the master closet (the bride frowns),
-       cost (sadly, cool = expensive; looks like some steel work in there [not that some steel couldn’t fit in the budget]), and
-       the Porsche in 2D changing into a Karmann Ghia in 3D (a secret message about the future of the Euro?).

All in all (except for cost and the Karmann Ghia) these are minor (and probably premature) concerns, especially at this point. Next steps include refining Plan B, schematic design (floor plans and elevations), and estimating cost. Still a lot to do.

Meanwhile, we look at Plan B in 3D and just smile. Sometimes Plan B is A-OK…


  1. Plan B is by far the better plan. I know what your wife means about the kitchen not being behind walls. I was very much like that but with our house I have gotten very used to having the kitchen accessing everywhere. Cant wait to see the refined plan. The front and L shape is very Usonian. You may want to look up the rumored Steve Jobs floorplan to get ideas...very minimalist. john

  2. I concur - Plan B looks very cool indeed!!!! Seems like you guys are on a really good track now and I'm happy for you!

  3. Thanks for the feedback. I see that Usonian homes seemed to have U kitchens...

    The Jobs house is interesting, and surprisingly small for a (at the time) billionaire:


  4. The idea of the U shape kitchen was that the hostess could get to everything very easily. The dining room was placed adjacent so the hostess could entertain her guests while preparing the meals. Mrs. Jacobs actually told a later interviewer she was able to comfortably prepare a meal for 30 people in that small kitchen and small house. Not impressive by today's standards but most apartments are even bigger than that. The kitchen also usually had a much higher ceiling in order to draw the hot air of from the bedroom and living room wings out the skylight in the summer (passive cooling). It also was (along with the fireplace) the CORE of the house. I will get into a REALLY cool feature of Usonians later about that on my blog (usoniandreams.info). My wife as many women back in those days, HATES the small kitchens which is why we made a major departure from FLW's beliefs in our plans.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts. I certainly see how the openness helps with access (and bringing the cookies to the table!). As you say, many of those older homes had very small kitchens. This kitchen, located in the elbow of the L, certainly serves as the core.