On Sunday, July 27, 2014, we met with the architect, Chris Ridgway, to review the first set of plans he drew up. These were based on plans we (mostly Dan of course) had come up with, which Dan had done a very nice job of drawing up in Sketchup, an online cad program he’d taught himself to use.
We had shared those plans with the architects we interviewed back in March, and one of the things we liked about Chris was the first thing he said was: “yes, I’ve looked at them, they’re great, but I’d flip the top floor so the view from the living area was towards Devil’s Slide.” We were like “well of COURSE that’s how it should be.” Dan spent some time after that trying to figure out how to accomplish that while NOT flipping the bottom floor, a challenge because of the stairs. So that was one of the problems we’d ask Chris to solve for in his first set of drafts.
We sat down at Gherkin’s again, the sandwich shop, and looked over what he’d prepared. I may have gotten a little choked up when he first laid them out. It was a revelation to see our ideas drawn up professionally, with several tweaks made – in some cases major, like flipping the 2nd floor kitchen to the front of the house – that not only solved the problems we’d asked him to address but overall made the entire design better. There were only a couple of things he did that we knew wouldn’t work for us – like an actual master bath, which we don’t need or want – and he got out his pencil and ruler and made changes there on the spot as we gave him feedback.
He showed some sketches of what the exterior could look like, 3 of them, one in particular which Dan Really Liked. It will be a modern look, but not too modern. We spent over 90 minutes there talking about all kinds of details, always incorporating what views would be available in each room. Chris is very good about making sure we are bringing the outside in. We then went over to the property and looked at the views again in the context of the design we’d been discussing and it was pretty exciting. It was cloudy that evening with the fog cutting off the tops of the mountains; Dan just couldn’t get over how pretty it was. Neither of us could get over that we’re going to live here one day.
Here’s where we are after that day.
This is the first floor. It’s about 700 square feet. It will be a rental for sure. We keep going back and forth on whether or not it will be long-term or vacation. We could theoretically make more money on a vacation rental, but it will also require more up front costs in furnishings, plus managing regularly changing tenants, which will be more work. We’ll see.
The first front door is the entrance to the 2nd floor; the entrance to the 1st floor is set back on the left side of the house.
2nd floor, which will be initially some combination of secondary residence/vacation rental. Eventually, it is where we will live full time. About 1000 square feet.
A nice color sketch of the exterior front. Those slats in the front staircase on the right are windows. He’d originally put them on the left; my contribution was pointing out that the mountain view is on the right if you’re looking out from the inside; the other side is just street and houses. We eventually landed on a wrap-around glass concept so the whole staircase will be windows, which is the sketch below. Either way, I’m going to have a cool balcony from the office.
Since then we’ve finally found someone to survey the land – I just put the deposit for that exercise in the mail today. It was harder than you’d think – we kept getting turned down because everyone was too busy. But Chris needs the topographical data to be able to complete the blueprints so some of his work will stop until he gets that. We continue to tweak the design – he just sent the most updated drawings today based on our feedback, but they’re PDFs so probably won’t upload well here. They are not substantially different from what’s above.
So yea, it’s getting real.