Our Home Addition - Part 4

Our Home Addition Part 1

Our Home Addition Part 2

Our Home Addition Part 3

We last left off at a very critical moment.  Our home addition was getting hammered by the Board of Architectural Review (B.A.R.).  What I had thought to be an appropriate and attractive design was being described as "awkward, not working, and not bold enough."

One of the challenges in the way that these meetings are structured is that once the board begins their comments, the applicant no longer has a chance to talk.  There would be no more chance to discuss and defend my design.  This time, there would be no rebuttal.

So I would just have to sit there and take my lumps.

I felt like I was that guy in one of those commercials who begins to literally shrink in his seat...getting smaller...and smaller.

There were a few more comments before Jay White said he was ready to make a motion.

Again there was this pause followed by an uncomfortable head shake.  

He said he wanted to make a motion that recommended "conceptual approval with final details to staff and wanted to include all of the comments by the City Architect Dennis Dowd."

uh.......Say what?..................huh?

Did I hear an approval?....Now I was making that confusing head shake.

Sheila Wertimer seconded the motion and the board unanimously voted to approve the motion.

So we passed!

The We Passed Pic!


Are you as confused as I was?  We were a sinking ship and now all of a sudden we are a float.  How could there have been so much negative critique and then there be a unanimous approval?

Welcome to the B.A.R.!

Remember when I described the B.A.R. as a roller coaster?  Makes sense now doesn't it?  I have seen this type of thing many times.  Unfortunately, I have been on the reverse end of this deal where it appeared to be going very well and then right at the end someone swoops in and recommends a deferral.  

It's just confusing......

Looking back on it, I have a few theories about why this one appeared so obtuse.  

  1. As fellow architects and friendly acquaintances, perhaps Ms. Alexander and Mr. White were just giving me a hard time...kind of like how good guy friends like to make fun of each other and bust each other's chops........yeah.......a good ol' fashioned chop busting........maybe.
  2. Or maybe it is because our house is not historic and not in a very significant area, therefore they thought....well....I guess it looks good enough!.....maybe.
  3. What I'm hoping is that they did in fact think it was a good design, but were just pushing us to make it better....This is definitely a part of the B.A.R. process.  If you give them 10, they ask for 11.  If you wrap your building in silver, they will ask for gold.......get the picture?

Whatever the reason, I didn't argue.  I said thank you, grabbed my Apple TV and got the h*ll out of dodge!

Conceptual Approval with Final Details to Staff, Addressing the City Architect's Comments

So what does that mean?  The B.A.R. has 3 major steps: Conceptual, Preliminary and the Final Submittal.  Because they gave us final details to staff, that means that we get to skip step #2 Preliminary and go straight to Final.  That is huge.  And because it is details to staff, that means that we do not have to present to the B.A.R, but instead just need to submit our final drawings to Mr. Dowd and his staff for review.  In my 7 years of working with the B.A.R., I have never gotten final details to staff after a conceptual meeting.  Never!   However, I have never worked on a building this small and significant...Sorry our little brick box...I didn't mean it!

And addressing the City Architect's comments is exactly how it seems.  Here are those comments:

  1. Expose the rafter tails - Because we had exposed the structure at the front porch, he thought it would be appropriate to expose the rafter tails around the entire perimeter. And consistent with 'craftsman' architecture.
  2. Paint the brick.  Or a lime wash.  Said this would make the house more cohesive.
  3. Remove or revise the design of the shutters.  He thought that they felt foreign to the design.
  4. Thought the fence still felt too pedestrian.  Recommended changing the front vehicle gate to a pedestrian gate.
  5. Wanted more clarification of the site materials, i.e. driveway and sidewalk materials.

And here is what I have done since the meeting:

Our current house.....eww.


The Conceptual B.A.R. Scheme

this is my favorite angle of the house.


First pass after the B.A.R.  Brick is painted, shutters are gone, rafter tails exposed, vehicle gate replaced with pedestrian gate.

ok....so maybe the painted brick does look better....I submit!


Second pass after the B.A.R.  White brick changed to gray.  Green siding changed to gray. Green fence changed to white.  Hello green door.  Hello shrubbies at fence.

Putting the hedges in front of the fence helps hide the large extent of fence we have...or as an architect would say..it Softens It!


And here is the house from the corner:


Our current house...yowsers!


The Conceptual B.A.R. Scheme

not bad


First pass after the B.A.R.  Brick is painted, shutters are gone, rafter tails exposed, vehicle gate replaced with pedestrian gate.



Second pass after the B.A.R.  White brick changed to gray.  Green siding changed to gray. Green fence changed to white.  Hello green door.  Hello shrubbies at fence.

getting warmer

Dang....I could live there!

I'd say we are making some progress.  These renderings are good examples of the iterative nature of design.  You try, try and try again.  

I have to admit, I was originally a little stubborn about painting the brick.  I didn't think it looked bad in the first rendering nor did I think it was necessary.  Now that I see it on paper, I do agree that is makes for a much more cohesive look when painted.  I also think that the painted brick and the replacement of the green siding with gray gives the house a higher level of sophistication. 

I emailed some of these renderings to Mr. Dowd over the weekend and he said they looked good.  

So what's next?

At this point I am working on the final construction drawings.  My goal in the next couple of weeks is to submit the final drawings for final review to the B.A.R. and pending approval submit the drawings for a building permit. In the meantime, we will be working through financing with our bank and contractor.  Turns out we have to pay for this thing!

If all goes well we will break ground on construction this summer.  That's when things will get real interesting...when construction begins.

And the final goal is to have Thanksgiving dinner in our new dining room......Wait..scratch that...The real goal is for me to finally have that proper space to bask in my new Corbusier Chaise Lounge!  What a perfect gift that chaise would be...just sayin....wink, wink.......the cowhide one btw.

Thanks for watching and stay tuned for Season 2 of Our Home Addition!