Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Two Favorite Small'ish Houses are by Pak Heydt and by Adam Stillman

I noticed the feelings not the things.

All I can tell you is that I felt great in these places. I saw both on home tours, lucky me. The design effort is in the proportions, practicality, light, and flow rather than elaborate detailing, finishes, and fixtures.

I've seen at least 150 houses in the last year, probably more. I remember these two above all one in Virginia-Highland one in Inman Park. They illustrate the high value of design and the good fortune of starting from scratch. They aren't so big. They compliment their neighbors. They seem as if they've been there all along.

In these neighborhoods there are three ways to go.

If you renovate your 80-year-old house, you usually end up with the 80-year-old flow. That can be charming or not.

If you build a maxi, traditionally styled spec house, it's "if you've seen one you've seen them all." They are market-safe with shock and awe details. These can be fine houses or not.

Then there are the modernist tear-downs. They specialize in awesome spaces, infinite vistas, and light. Most become landmarks of  "difference" which can be good or not.

I present these two as the fourth way. They compliment the street and live modern. Marketing-wise I think these would sell before the sign went up. But I can't imagine why the owners would ever leave.

This is the Pak Heydt design before from 1922. It's a pop-top effectively a tear-down.

After, about 2,900 square feet. They "saved" the first floor - a good thing. I want to live in the great room.

In context.

This is the Adam Stillman design before from 1917, it was burned out.

After, about 2,300 square feet. It's great room is one of the greatest I've ever visited.

In context.

If I was a spec builder, I'd do these over and over. I'd hire the architect to tweak the design for the lot and setting.

1 comment:

  1. I was in the Pak Heydt designed house during the 2013 VaHighland Christmas Tour. Loved it. Had one question though—you walked through a study/sitting room to enter the master bedroom and when you looked back at the doorway, there was a symmetrical doorway on the other side (two doors into the same two rooms). Did not understand this design...


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