The Architect In Design Build Part One

by Kevin Gilday & Tom Gilday

Just as an actor studies all aspects of a character in preparation for the role, an architect studies the architectural character of a home he is about to renovate. This is one of the most important steps in the renovation process. For an architect working in the context of residential design build, this study is at the core of every project.  

A Cleveland Park Family Room Addition

It is vitally important to begin the design process for a home addition by acquiring a full understanding of the existing conditions of a project site. The architect takes style cues from the older parts of the home to create new spaces that harmonize with the old.

Such was the process for architect Dan Morales as he prepared to design a kitchen and family room addition in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington DC. Though this home addition would be built on the rear of the house, Dan spent a lot of time studying the entire house and in particular the front elevation.

Usually, the client wants the renovation and addition to be in harmony with the house.  Since that was the case with this client, Dan studied all the architectural details of the client's house as well as others nearby.

This house would fall into the general category known as "shingle style."  There are many examples of this style in Cleveland Park.  This particular home is picturesque in a peculiar sort of way.  Dan labeled it Victorian Eclectic.  This photograph should explain that label.

Cleveland Park Victorian eclectic architectural design style
This 1896 built home demonstrates a distinctly eclectic architectural design style.

 

Going from left to right we see a Tudor style component, a somewhat Gothic style chimney perched atop a hulking stone base, a Dutch Revival dormer sporting a gambrel roof (a curved bay window below it) and on the far right an Arts and Crafts style porch.  What the heck is this?  Dan says it is either a whimsical celebration of architectural styles or the preposterous concoction of "a schizophrenic untalented hack with too much money."

So..... what will we do with all of this information?  In part two of this article, we'll swing around to the back of the house and have a look at what Dan designed. And we'll see how the design build process brought his design concept to life in the form of a kitchen and family room addition that complements the existing architectural design style of the house.

If you'd like to talk about the feasibility of putting an addition on your home, schedule a consultation with one of our architectural designers.

And, to prepare yourself to get the most out of that meeting, download our eBook 6 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Call a Home Remodeler.

six questions to ask before calling a home remodeler