By Jerry Gloss
Lessons are learned from the past and from past experiences. As a residential architect there are opportunities to explore different design solutions with each new commission. Each solution is tempered from what we have learned in the past but authored by new creative ideas, a different set of parameters and goals that each client has for their home, and by the site, the home will be situated upon. There are limitless other influences to the design of a home, but the list is far too long for this column.
KGA Studio Architects recently celebrated our 35th anniversary. That is a lot of experience…and a lot of opportunities and a lot of new ideas. We estimate that we have created in excess of 10,000 home designs. Initially we were Knudson Associates, then Knudson Gloss Architects and more recently KGA Studio Architects. In preparation for moving our office from Boulder to Louisville, Colorado, two years ago we sorted through the documents of those estimated 10,000 homes. It was a trip down memory lane, but more importantly it was an affirmation of the “design rule of thumb” we have used to create successful designs since 1977. The experience provided a definitive lineage of the changes of lifestyles and how we live, technology advancements in construction materials, entertainment and the building sciences, along with architectural and interior styles. In all it was a similar experience to cleaning out a closet and finding some fashions that were rather stylish for their time but whose time had passed, while also finding many gems…..items that are timeless.
Here are a three of the timeless design concepts that hold true today:
• Timeless 1: Plan Organization. To function efficiently a home needs a logical arrangement of spaces where relationships of rooms has a high priority. A major error is the placement of the garage a distance away from the kitchen. It means the prolonged lugging of groceries between car and counter.
• Timeless 2: Zoning. Proper placement of rooms and the consideration of transition spaces between rooms such as halls and vestibules provide privacy where privacy is necessary. Powder rooms should be positioned so when Aunt Myrtle excuses herself to go to use the “facilities”, other guests don’t eyeball her on her journey and then greet her when she exits.
• Timeless 3: Authenticity. Be true to the home’s architectural style. Embrace the detailing and materials used in certain styles. It is the major reason that homes along Denver’s Parkways and favorite neighborhoods retain their values…they have a charm. Remember to bring the exterior styling to the interior of the home for a true authentic feel.
These are the three noticeable design evolution trends we are seeing today:
• Evolution 1: Right Sizing. Rooms must have a practical dimension and size based upon use, inhabitants and furniture. In the day of smaller television screens family rooms were often smaller than today’s family rooms which are now dominated by behemoth flat screen TV’s. When it comes to bedrooms consider furniture trends. With today’s king size beds and overly wide night stands a master bedroom needs a 13’ to 14’ wide bedwall. Decades ago 12’ was okay. And don’t forget the relationship of that bedwall to the TV wall.
• Evolution 2: Room Counts and Locations. The formal living room has disappeared. The study has lost its formality and been moved next to the family room. It is no longer the domain of Dad, but has become a multi-use space for the entire family. Dining spaces used to come in threes: a kitchen island, an informal nook and a formal dining room. Now there is a consideration to include an island and an enlarged nook referred to as a morning room. In this room you may find an alcove for some over stuffed comfy chairs, a television and a fireplace in addition to a dining table.
• Evolution 3: Accessory Spaces. Upsized pantries reflect our shopping at Costco. (Remember the relationship between the garage and kitchen?) Master baths are eliminating the large garden tubs in lieu of large and sexy, spa like showers. More than one client has asked us to emulate their favorite hotel baths and spas. Separate laundries, not part of the entry from the garage. Their location on the main floor or the second floor is still a subject of debate and a matter of personal opinion. Owner’s entries have evolved to be a more highly considered space with cubbies, a bench, and a drop desk for keys and phone chargers.
A last thought: good home design is now found in all price ranges for all buyers. Skillful design increases a home’s value the home’s functionality, and enjoyment of the people living in it. These Timeless Design Concepts along with the Design Evolution Trends apply to all homes. Keeping them in mind has served us and our clients well through the years. Simply put, it is a pleasure to live in a well designed home.
For help with designing the home of your dreams, contact KGA | Studio Architects at 303 442-5882 or visit their website at kgarch.com.