Just as an actor studies all aspects of a character in preparation for the role, an architect studies the character of a home he is about to renovate. For an architect working in the context of residential design build firm, this study is at the core of every project.
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.
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 our next post we'll swing around to the back of the house and have a look what Dan decided to do with it.