Do you know what the word “melancholy” means? Every architect does … even if they don’t realize it.
Did you know that the gestation period for an elephant is between 18 and 22 months long? Maybe if you are the parent of a 6th grade child, or you’re a zoologist, you do, but most people don’t know that sort of stuff.
But architects do.
What do these two things have to do with one another? Every year, sometimes several times a year, architects are giving birth to projects, only to have them taken away in the proverbial delivery room.
That time has come for the KHouse Modern. The gestational period for this project – according to the first post I wrote on it back in August 2013, was 27 months … but after this coming Tuesday, this house will go home with its forever parents and it will be a very happy, and very sad day.
I thought that before the KHouse leaves me forever, that I would try to do one last lap around the house – both interior and exterior – before letting it go.
I’m sure the KHouse’s new parents will love it just as much as we do.
Looking towards the front garage – clad in G90 horizontal siding. There are two garages on this house, and both of them are disconnected from the main house (because this is a LEED Gold or better house, final paperwork has not been completed). This garage is accessed off the street and the second garage is accessed off the alley – and both will serve slightly different functions for the owners.
A lot of landscaping work has been going on for the last few months as the final pieces of the house have been coming together. If you are an architect – or have gone through the process of building a home before – you’ll now that the last 10% of a project seems to take forever to complete.
This is the ramp that will allow someone who is physically challenged by the entry stairs, to gain access to the house. It isn’t an issue now, but it could be in the future so this has been a consideration since the earliest design schemes were presented.
The ramp isn’t particularly long or steep – something that I am more aware of these days since I spent a day navigating through a myriad of challenges while advocating for ADA Awareness day and I spent a day in a wheelchair).
The black locust deck finally has the wood skirt installed at the base, as well as the wood rail cap (to keep you from getting a free tattoo on a hot Texas Summer’s day.)
There are also pathways built-in, and around, the entire house. While the owner doesn’t anticipate running around in the yard, their dogs certainly do, and there are enough pathways designed in through the use of sidewalks, black granite rock walkways, mulch, etc. to where you can pretty much access the entire lot.
This is at the deck just off the main Living Room – which acts as a visual extension of that room in to the exterior. See that yellow caution tape? That is a screen porch and rather than having glass set in to the window frame, we have … you guessed it – screens. There are fans and infrared inline heaters installed in the ceiling so regardless of the season, you can go out there and enjoy some fresh air.
Mmmmm … the oculus. Nothing more needs to be said. But if you DO want more said, you can read everything you ever wanted to know about this particular oculus.
Sweet, sweet oculus … I might miss you most of all.
The landscaping on this project – in keeping with the highest levels of LEED certification – is very low maintenance and site friendly. Most of the back yard will be covered in ground cover – it will be very interesting to see how everything eventually comes in over the next year … when I hope we are invited to the KHouse Modern’s first birthday party.
The front of the house – the part visible from the public right-of-way – is pretty closed off and shielded, whereas the rear elevation is literally the exact opposite. Floor to ceiling glass exists almost on the entire facade.
The windows that are on the right-hand side of the picture above are sitting above the lower level garage – the one that is accessed from the alleyway. The room above is completely detached from the main house and can serve many purposes – guest quarters, an office, possibly a space for someone to live should assisted living needs ever be required.
Another example of the black granite pathway that snakes its way around the rear yard.
Here is a closer look at the screened in porch. Unless you live here in Dallas, most people don’t really have a good handle on what the weather is like. Yes, it does get hot, and yes, it does get cold. (I consider the teen’s and 20’s to be cold .. could it be colder? Of course but of the places that do get colder, they probably don’t also break into triple digit heat as well). All this means is that outdoor living is something that – with a little effort – can be accommodated. A screen porch is a wonderful addition to a house.
The next few images are all of the rear garage. I always meant to do a post on this area but never quite found the time to do so. The image above, and the image immediately following, were not taken on my last site visit. They date back a little bit …
For reasons probably not worth delving into, I really like this area of the project. I always felt a little sad that this space was a nice as it is and for the most part, you will never see it. The site drops off in elevation as you move from the house to the alley – which is part of the reason why we are able to accommodate tucking in a second garage under the Guest quarters above. Trash is collected from the city from the alley and as a result, there are gracious stairs to access the trash bins. I really like the palette of materials – the G90 metal siding, the cast-in-place concrete, and the lusciousness of the greens from the landscaping – minimal but really beautiful.
This is what the rear looks like as a completed area … still pretty good – but will be better once all the trash from the “Final Clean” gets hauled away.
This last picture is the final image I took from my trip around the exterior of the house … beautiful, isn’t it?
I’m going to take a walk around the interior as well – haven’t shown that to anybody in a while – and it turned out very nice as well.
I’m going to miss this house, despite having a bunch of other cool houses to work on – houses that will distract me from the absence that the House Modern will no doubt create. Each house is special, and it’s in these moments when I truly feel blessed and privileged to do this sort of work. I can’t imagine another job that would give me this same sense of ownership and creation – unless my job was to make baby elephants and then give them away to other elephants.
That sounded better in my head.
Only one more post on the KHouse Modern and then it will be off to a new project – and I already know which one it is … actually, you already know it as well.
Cheers, and here’s to the next house!