A really cool looking house I'm going to build someday

This place is awesome. The design is the product of an architect named Dan Tyree, and has a lot of modern elements and features I like:

  • It has a relatively small footprint given the amount of space in the house, meaning you could put this on a medium sized lot and have it work. Also, the footprint is narrow and deep meaning it fits better within a neighborhood.
  • The walls are exclusively right angles, which makes extending the footprint a little bit in any direction more doable without ruining the design. Once built it also makes arranging furniture in rooms simpler. 
  • The layout of rooms and use of space reflects a modern interpretation of the rooms in a house people actually use vs the way many older homes were designed.
  • The flat roof design lends itself to installation of solar panels without ruining the curb appeal of the house. It also makes possible some sort of outdoor deck area.

First Floor

Second Floor

Roof and Exterior

As mentioned above, the flat roof and rampart along the edge would enable doing some cool things with the roof area. Depending on the height of the rampart, you could easily put a large number of solar panels on the roof without them being visible from the street. Also, the staircase location toward the rear of the home on the right means that if you were to make it go up another level, the exit slope on the roof likely wouldn't be visible from the street. Lastly, there is a lot of room to make the roof functional by adding a terrace area, bbq area, etc. Assuming you reinforced the roof to handle the weight loads, certain areas might even support a hot tub up there. Dope!

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The roof above the garage offers additional area for a terrace of some sort, and may be the more accessible and desirable location. However, it's proximity to the front of the house means more street visibility unless the rampart height were increased.

In the interior courtyard area, the pool is the dominant feature. I really like how the rooms of the house all wrap around the interior courtyard and look out toward it with solid glass walls. Depending on lot orientation and foliage, this likely means a lot of natural light would make it to the interior of the house, which is great.

Lastly, in my opinion the white exterior color just looks cool. I could envision doing the exterior as a hybrid between the art deco designs of 1920s and 1930s combined with today's modern "Apple Store" look to give the home a more timeless appeal. 

Pool Area

The pool area takes a lot of space in the interior courtyard. One idea I had was if you could reuse the same space when the pool wasn't in operation by having the pool cover actually look like the surrounding patio area. Sounds crazy, but there is actually a company I found that does exactly this. I have some questions about the durability of this sort of thing--exactly how much maintenance would it require--but the idea is really cool.

If you were able to have the floor area of the space the pool occupies be used as a patio for most occasions and then slide out of the way to access the pool for other occasions, it would create a lot more usable space in the courtyard area. I could envision stringing up some al fresco lights and creating an outdoor eating area, projecting a movie agains the wall, and a lot more ideas too. 

Interior Design

A place that looks this awesome outside needs to look equally cool inside. To me, that means minimal stuff and maximum efficiency, utility of that stuff, etc.


Kitchen Area:

The kitchen area seems to be a pretty efficient design overall.

The island and lengthy countertop along the wall provides a lot of counter space for standalone appliances like blenders, coffee makers, etc as well as space for food prep.

Given the growth in handheld computers, the apparent space for a fixed computer seems a bit dated. A better idea would be to have that area be for base cabinets and then put a flat panel TV on top of it. Using Airplay/Apple TV, anyone in the kitchen could just beam their iPhone's or iPad's screen to that TV and display the content there. This would be useful for entertainment content as well as food prep related content.

As for finishes and surfaces, my personal taste is for utilitarian designs. A kitchen ought to be a place to store and make food. Period. That's why professional kitchens have an industrial and utilitarian look to them. 

So why then do so many homes have these kitchens that look like so over-designed? Whatever the reasoning, that's not my plan. Instead, I'm going for industrial design with high utility. Again, this is what kitchens at restaurants opt for and it seems to work for them. Oddly enough, this is also a far less expensive option too. Traditional wooden kitchen cabinetry is very expensive. Why bother if you can just get stainless steel open cabinets? Way cheaper and more useful.

Lastly, storing knives on the wall just looks gangster.


Theater Area

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The theater room appears to be what would normally be called a family room. While I like the concept, I think the room would benefit from additional light and access to a rear patio area. True, light and projection movies don't mix well together, but I think you could solve the light problem with blackout curtains when necessary. Instead of having the TV picture projected against the rear wall, I'd instead have that wall be large floor to ceiling sliding doors, with a blackout curtain coming in from each side to block out light when desired. Then, you could use the left wall as the projection wall, or better yet, just get a normal LED TV (a big one) for that wall.

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Dining Room & Living Room

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One of the things I love about this floorplan is the obvious intention that each room be used for it's described function. This manifests in the limitation of redundant space. Compare how in many older house designs, there is a formal living room and a formal dining room, to go along with an informal "Family Room" and a "Kitchen Table" area. As we know, the reality is that most families only end up using the family room and the informal kitchen table. Rarely is the dining room used save for Thanksgiving dinner or the like. Rarer still is the living room used. People spend lots of money on furnishing these rooms and buying all the prescribed artifacts e.g. grandfather clocks, grand pianos, "Silver" ware, fine china, etc. To what end? These rooms often go unused. Why build two rooms to satisfy the same purpose? Such redundancy only takes up space unnecessarily.

This plan mostly avoids that mistake. The Living room is perhaps slightly redundant, but it's the only room that is, and just barely so. The dining room is the only place to put a table to sit down at and eat a meal, so it must serve both formal and informal use cases.

The only thing I'm not wild about in this design is the glass partition separating the dining area from the living room. I'd omit building that and instead opt for one large room that facilitate a multitude of space uses.

Probably the best feature of this room is the folding glass curtain wall that spans the length of the left wall. Opening it would allow airflow from the outside and easy access to the pool/courtyard area, thus removing the need for much if any outdoor seating space (just open the wall). 

 


Master Bedroom

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The master bedroom is a nearly flawless design. There is an obvious location for the bed that emphasizes the view outside. A huge private patio accessible by a folding glass curtain wall, and a bathroom and closet that while not massive, are certainly "big enough" and highly efficient. While the design shows pocket doors to access the bathroom and closet, I'd opt for sliding doors on rails that would partially cover the bedroom wall when open. This would provide a cool design aesthetic while also making the doors a little easier to operate (most pocket doors are awkward to slide open because they lack any protruding handles, whereas hanging sliders don't have that limitation, and can therefore have handles.

 

I made some modifications to the master bathroom and closet by extending the home's footprint a bit. I think the revised version looks and functions much better.

 

My additions include being able to access the bathroom and the closet (now walk thru) from either side of the bed, as well as adding some additional windows in the Master area.


Closets (Throughout)

So I generally hate most closet designs because most of them suck. The reason they suck is that they are fixed in location and arrangement. The reality is different people using a space have different stuff, and that stuff has different space needs. And even the same person can have different space needs at different times of the year or as their own needs evolve and change. For this reason, I've long thought closets should not be built into a room at all, but instead should be modular and free forming. Luckily the geniuses at Ikea agree with that thinking too and make a modular closet system that is infinitely flexible. This is also a heck of a lot cheaper than building something into the wall.

In my place, there won't be any fixed clothes bars or shelves in closets. Everything will use this Ikea system and be fully reconfigurable as needs change. To hide the closet are, you can put a hanging curtain in front of the closet space, and voila, it's hidden from sight, but still highly accessible.


Suite 2

As the footprint for the building gets expanded vertically, it enables squeezing a larger closet into suite 2 and making the bedroom larger.


Suite 3 and Suite 4

The two upstairs bedrooms toward the front of the house are pretty well thought out, but I'd make a few changes. First, by extending the footprint about 5 feet toward the front of the house, I can get a second bathroom in next the one that is currently shared between the two suites. Private bathrooms just work better, and this change adds little in the way of cost, and has no impact whatsoever on the overall layout save for gaining some additional space in the living room area below. I mentioned my view on closets above, and these rooms suffer from this fate right now with the fixed closets with double opening doors. The door swings take up precious space in the suite itself, and require furniture placement to account for the doors opening. I'd get rid of the fixed closets altogether. If it becomes necessary to add some sort of freestanding closet like I mentioned above, that space is an ideal place to do it. If so, you could just put a curtain in front of it to hide the contents. That said, in-room clothes storage might not be necessary at all. By duplicating the bathroom, there is a duplication of the hall linen closet. There appears to be enough space that you could nix the hallway access to this closet and instead make it accessible from within the bathroom the sink area (assuming you rotate the sink location). If so, both bathrooms would have their own closet space without taking up precious room in the suite itself. Lastly, the bedroom door location in the middle of the all is awkward. I'd move the doors closer to the bathrooms to create a longer interior wall. This would maximize options for furniture placement within the bedroom.

 

With furniture in the rooms, suite 3 and 4 would look like the below design.


Basement

The house doesn't show a basement level, so I made my own. It's a little rough considering it's a hand drawn sketch, but what you're looking at the identical footprint as the house above, with the staircase in the same location against the right wall. To the right as you come down the stairs, there are 3 sets of double doors. The right-most set of doors go into a locker room area.

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Locker Room

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I'm calling this area the locker room and it will house all manner of sports gear: skis, surfboards, snowboards, football gear, as well as gym stuff (more on that in a minute). Each person will have their own locker for their stuff, and larger items can go against the far wall. The locker will be in the style of those used by professional sports teams, but the actual hardware will be the Stolmen system from Ikea. Each will have a hanging area, shelves, several drawers, an open space for big items, hooks for helmets, and a stool to sit on. I'm showing 4 lockers in this drawing, but the number could increase by using one of the other walls, getting rid of the couch in there, etc.

The floor of the locker room will be polished concrete or possibly rubber, so there won't be any worry about damaging or scratching it.

On the opposite wall of the locker room will a couch so you can sit down or lay down. Also, on one wall there will be a TV, so you can watch SportsCenter, a workout video or whatever else you want.

Gym

Adjacent to the locker room door is a bathroom, complete with a shower, and directly beyond the bathroom is the gym area. This gym area isn't meant to replace a professional gym, it's just meant to give you the basics.  Frankly there is a lot you can accomplish with just a few machines, a bar bell, and some space to use them. I'll start with a ROM Machine (see above) because that's one of the best full body workouts you can get in one machine. In addition, I'd add a free standing sauna because they have a lot of health benefits. In addition, there will be a free weight area, as well as a hanging bar for pullups. The entire floor area of the gym will have a rubber floor so you can drop weights on it if needbe without worrying about it. The overall idea is to make exercise and working out an integral part of life, something that just happens each day without needing to think about it or really plan for it. The best way to do that is to build in everything you need to do a basic workout all in the same area right at home. The space is intended to be small yet highly functional, so great care should go into choosing each piece and arranging them for maximum usefulness.

Storage

Beyond the gym area is a walk in storage area along with a washer/dryer unit. The main floors are a bit light on storage so this area was a much needed addition. Both walls of the storage area will have modular shelving (think Ikea) for storing all manner of gear, supplies, seasonal items, etc.

Home Office

Just to the left of the staircase as you're coming down, I'll have my home office. It will have enough room for a large desk, couch and some shelves, and will have a locking door too. It takes up roughly the same floor area as the dining area above, which is ample room for me. The wall opposite the couch will have a desktop and shelves spanning the length of the wall. The wall opposite the door will have a TV/monitor on the wall.

Open Area

Just beyond the office, there is open "multi-purpose" area that has roughly the same floor area as the living room above. I think it's good to have some flex space that can be used for different things as needs change or as circumstances arise. If you had a party, the downstairs open area could be used to set up additional seating or even a bar area, while the doors to the gym and the locker room could simply be closed off to prevent people from wondering in. You could also use this space for meetings, in-home education, working out, etc. This space would be finished with polished concrete and that's it.