The existing house is going to be raised, but only marginally, just high enough so we can park our cars underneath. This alleviates the need to build a carport or garage at the front of what is already a small front yard. However due to the fact that the site can be subject to flooding, building any additions on ground level was not an option.
The house had to work harder on the site to engage with it's surrounds. So how did we go about resolving this challenge?
|Side elevation of the (to be built) children's bedrooms and terrace|
A key strategy for achieving this was modulating the floor levels. So rather than looking down at the backyard from the house above, we will now walk down five steps to a private outdoor entertaining area that, in turn, leads to the garden at ground level. The kitchen itself is also open to the outdoors; the sliding doors peel back to provide access to the terrace which acts as a transition space, halfway between the house and the garden. This clever design negates the need for a long flight of stairs from the house to the yard, and having four small children this was something I wanted to avoid. The terrace and stairs will be open to the elements, but due to their masonry construction, will require little maintenance.
|Section of the elevation above (the floor level shown is the minimum required.) Notice the soaring ceilings in the bedrooms?|
I mentioned previously that every room in the house has been carefully considered, and the boys haven't missed out on some slick design features in their rooms either. The kids will be sharing bedrooms, and although the rooms themselves are not huge, they do include high ceilings and large window and door openings, creating the feeling of spaciousness. Another little feature in one of the rooms is a high level window, which draws the eye up to a peep-hole view of the sky beyond (a modern-day oculus perhaps) that will also provide a shaft of northern sunlight during the winter months when the sun sits lower in the sky.
|Elevation of the bedroom featuring the high level window|
And at last we will also have somewhere to hang our XMAS stockings. Toasted marshmallows anyone?