[‘The Pad’ is a condo in downtown Boston that I am currently re-designing for my friends Eric and Holly. This series of blogposts chronicles its progress.]
After our previous meeting, I revised the design to address Eric and Holly’s comments: specifically I included more color, as E+H worry about a space seeming sterile if it’s too white. I entitled my next concept ‘Japanese / Medieval Modern’: stacked stone and tile mosaic and shoji screens, combining minimalism with more florid decoration. E+H liked the feeling of enclosure in the garden but wanted to move the fireplace there, so I included an open firepit (bio-ethanol, so as not to need venting) . While there will still be a fair amount of real planted material in the garden area, I switched gears a bit on the vegetated walls – both from a design point of view and from the knowledge that neither owner has a particularly green thumb. Instead, the walls will be composed of photographs of plants printed in a translucent fashion onto slick glass or acrylic panels and lit from behind. Easier installation, low maintenance, and a cool postmodern take on ‘garden’.
- Mirren Fischer Design Workshop – ‘The Pad’ Design Development, Sectional View
- Mirren Fischer Design Workshop – ‘The Pad’ Design Development, Top View
- Mirren Fischer Design Workshop – ‘The Pad’ Design Development, View from behind the bar
- Mirren Fischer Design Workshop – ‘The Pad’ Design Development, Garden view
Since the presentation of this design things have moved on even further. Both clients are very interested in having a hot tub in the garden… and they have also changed their minds about the idea of having the computer desks be central. We’ve done a new layout but no new pretty images.
E+H are now in the stage of getting pricing and trying to get their heads around what they really want to do. I can fully understand how daunting it is for them to have so much work to do — both from a financial and an emotional standpoint. How do you choose what you really want? Most people would rather do their houses only once, so the design direction is of paramount importance. In the initial design phase you can try a lot of options, but eventually you have to make decisions in order to get anything done.
For an architect this is not quite so difficult; my base assumption is that I’ll do and re-do many of my own residences, whether or not I move, so any direction can be a sound one. I renovated my own 1950s concrete condo in Boston to a certain point (though it could still use a lot of work) in a very minimal fashion; the flat in Edinburgh dates from the 1890s and has decorative plaster mouldings: it simply cannot be treated in the same fashion, and that’s ok with me. So anyway, the pad will wait until E+H are ready to start moving again.