I’m not going to post plans showing the existing walls, as all except the wet walls are irrelevant. What’s not irrelevant are the sprinkler heads, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and HVAC ducting, all of which seem to have been placed in the most inconvenient areas the developer could have imagined. Gripe. We will deal with all that eventually.What I was first concerned with was imagining a program (i.e. set of spaces and their relationships) that would work for Eric and Holly.
So I came up with a few options for how I thought the space could work. This point in the process is often one of the most interesting: for example, in my own home I would NEVER design computer workstations to be so central – but I can tell you from having stayed with them, the first thing Eric and Holly do when they get up in the morning is go to their computers, and they are found there whenever they have a spare moment.
In Lower Level Option 1, I gave over a lot of space to a garden. We went around and around with this concept, and at a certain point I wondered whether I was fighting for it simply because it seemed like a cool idea. But the reality is that in a city the ultimate luxury is open space and greenery; in a city that has long brutal winters, one begins to crave light and softness and humidity. If we did the garden with water and trees and bright lamps I think it would become an oasis and that it would be the defining characteristic of the apartment. It would give Holly a beautiful place to practice yoga; their friends a random area to wrestle and grapple and lie on pillows on the floor in the ‘sun’ in February; and Eric an excuse to nap in the hammock to the sound of running water and pretend he’s in Pokhara.
In Lower Level Option2 I speculated about building a third bedroom / office / gym on the entry level. For resale this may be a good option, but for the way E+H live right now, it seems to cramp their living and entertaining space too much. Perhaps it was impolitic of me to remind them that we are all getting older, and that their friends are getting less and less likely to drunkenly refuse to go home after parties, so one guest room and a large couch might actually be enough.
Upper Level Options 1 and 2 seemed fairly equal, but E+H eventually chose to develop number 1; due to the staggered location of the wet walls, we could get a bigger master bathroom in option 1. We could also fit in more closet space without changing the location of the existing exit door, which they want to be contained in the guest suite. I sketched Option 3 to study whether we could get three bedrooms upstairs, but it quickly became clear that it would work only by sacrificing most of what Eric and Holly are dreaming about for their master suite.
In all options I showed glazed walls at the window side of the bedrooms, to bring borrowed light farther into the mezzanine.