My husband and I love architecture, and so that is why he is an architect and I love houses, too. Our daughter is finishing up her Master’s in Architecture at University of Texas-Arlington, this is her last semester. This is her second degree; she graduated from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, TX with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business-Retail Management, but she has been an artist since she could pick up a crayon and I knew she would pursue her love of art somehow.
But, house design is an interesting concept. Each house needs the same functions: living, kitchen, bath, sleeping. But to create each in a different way is so addicting. Any creative process is the same way. I have been sewing since junior high and the same thing. By choosing different materials and different option (short sleeve,long sleeve, cuffed pants or not, etc.) you can create a whole new outfit with the same pattern. I had favorite patterns I just skewed and used different patterned fabrics for each outfit. Same with any kind of design; change it up and have a new look.
So this house came from our ideas of merging several styles we really liked into a cohesive and functional unit. Prairie style, Craftsman, Bungalow, and Arts and Crafts styles topped the list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_School, (you can see it in our main living space with beams, a built in booth, vertical wall planks separating some visual spaces at booth and into hall space and stair space, and also the dark stained woods),
but also log homes or timberframe homes with vaulted ceilings creating lots of open space:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_framing, (the living ceiling with beams and truss structure creates an open feeling),
and I love the Southern regional dogtrot style of home: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/cfd01;
(our detached garage connected to house with wide covered porch). Many years back we went to City Park in Dallas where they have recreated a little village using old structures they have refurbished and furnished just like they would have been back in the 1800’s or so. A school, dentist, a home, blacksmith shop, pottery making, food producing gardens, flower and herb gardens, etc. The minimally furnished dogtrot house on display was a log house and the docent explained that in cold months the log walls were chinked with a clay mud that dried hard, but in the summer and warm months the chinking was removed in places to allow air movement, aka “air conditioning” back then. That fascinated me as I had not heard this altered in this way. It was then easy enough to re-chink with new mud when the cold started moving in. In the South you look for any way to bring in cool breezes so this makes sense. There is not always a lot of breeze or a lot of cool in summer down here.
So the dog-trot style has come into play again as we were laying out the pathway from drive to front porch. It worked out where it will be easy to create a “barrier free” entrance by sloping the walkway to the porch level and eliminate a step up. We have a four-foot wide porch entrance covered to the front door on left side of porch, and the opposite porch wall is the garage wall and “person” door off the porch to the right.
The old dog-trot, or dog runs, had a very wide center porch area with ramps where they drove their wagons up on to the covered porch, unloaded their supplies and grains, etc, into the store room attached on one side of porch, and then drove forward down the ramp on the other side. This porch was so useful since it was covered and it was used for anything and everything back in the day: laundry, sleeping, cooking, vegetable prep, butter churning, etc.
We hadn’t really planned on the sloping walk, but it worked out design-wise and the builder said he can do it easily, so there you go. Ask and you shall receive. And, of course, our two and a half year-old grandson will love it as he zooms on his trike around the long porch and down that slope. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa, I can hear him saying.