Elevation feedback please

Momto3kiddosApril 21, 2012

Hi all - This is our first draft of the elevation with the architect. The house is a one-story house that will sit far from the road, so we want the house to have some height to it. The color version below is the one Summerfield helped us with, but with current dimensions and ceiling heights, our architect says it is not really possible to get a taller triangle in the center of the hip roof. We want room for a walk-up attic space, so I think this is making the roof higher.

As you can probably tell, we are interested in symmetry and would like very traditional lines. I don't know what "style" we are looking for or how one would define this style, but I guess that is irrelevant as long as we get a cohesive look.

We will not use the transoms as drawn... I would like tall double hung windows. I also do not like the squared off look of the elliptical arch over the front door. I cannot tell what the height of the front door is in this pic, but I am planning a 8' door here since the center front part of the house has 12' ceilings. The remainder of the home has 10' ceilings. The vents on the front will be a different shape as well - more like Summerfield's pic.

We will likely do coin (spelling?) corners on each side below the gable roof. I may also do a key in the center of each arch.

My husband feels that the house looks "squatty" and univiting at this point with too much roof/shingle, but he thinks making the front porch wider so it would have a more prominent triangle (gable) would work. I am not so sure about this.

Please give me any advice you think might work. I would love to hear from Renovator 8 if you're out there. :) THanks in advance everyone!

Our architect's elevation:

Summerfield's version - easier to visualize because the colors are similar to what we are looking to do.

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Another Nouveau Eclectic, it seems to be me, combining Federal with a bit of Greek Revival. The pedimented portico might do better as a central element were it bigger. And scrap the ancillary gables. I'd toss in another chimney, or forget it altogether. ( I have an unreasonable contempt for brickclad plywood "chimneys". You're burning wood, I apologize.)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:04AM
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I don't see how it is possible to build this roof without the main pyramid form being truncated creating a big flat top and a huge cricket that brings 4 roof slopes to one point where each wing meets the main roof. It appears that the rear of the plan would need to be changed quite a bit to accommodate these roof shapes.

It is easy to add tightly integrated wings that project to the side or that project to the front but not both at once because of the complicated intersections. Water looks for every opportunity to collect and find a path into your house. This roof should have a full underlayment of WR Grace Ice & Water Shield (not some knock-off product) and the large crickets should be soldered copper.

This dilemma is usually the result of designing a large house in one massing and then trying to force the exterior to look like several elements added together to make a whole. It is often necessary to go back and find a way to modify the interior so it better relates to the exterior.

To salvage this design you need to draw a roof plan and a perspective, then go back to the plan and alter it to fit better if you can. I tried to draw the roof plan and couldn't do it.

As for the style, the lower part is one-story Colonial Revival and the upper part is Medieval French (if it isn't truncated). The polite term for placing very different historic design forms next to each other is Neo-Eclectic.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Here's a real life variant on the design in Aurora, Ontario.

(Sorry about mixing my Neos and Nouveaus.)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:59AM
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You may be confusing Nouveau-Traditional with Neo-Eclectic.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Notice the difference between the two rendering's window unit height and spacing. The B/W has taller windows closer spaced, yet there is still more brickwork courses above them than in the color rendering. The color elevation has the windows spaced further apart which reads much better. I think that the color one has lower ceilings. It doesn't add up that they could be the same story height.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 1:06PM
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And Summerfield also changes the placement of the dormers, provides a different eaves return detail and gable vents and omits the first floor solider course.

(Level 2 of Spot the Differences.)

You may be confusing Nouveau-Traditional with Neo-Eclectic.

Or with nouveau riche.

Further thought: since there is so much roof, don't go with cheap shingles. I'm partial to textured so-called Chateau style. Or perhaps, in keeping with eclecticism, cedar shakes.

Is this the point where the OP jumps in to berate us all?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Momto3--Here's what I see that's different between the two elevations...

Your architect's version vs. Summerfield's:
-The rooflines of the "wings" are too high--how tall are the ceilings in the attic in those areas?

-The twin gables' hipped roofs are too high vs the height of the A-frame gable at the far front--OR--the A-frame gable is too narrow and low vs the twin gables' hipped roofs

-The upper windows in the gables are too narrow

-All windows need a softer arch--as shown they have a very sharp radius

-Dormers are placed a little too high & too far apart

-Windows on the center portion of the house (flanking the porch) look much skinnier and are too close together.

-The windows in the wings of the house are significantly wider

-Distance top of windows/top of front door to roofline is off. Looks like architect maybe used a 6'8" door. I prefer the softer look of Summerfield's transom as well. An 8 or 9' door would work better. With an 8' door + 1' transom + 6" of brick detail + 9" of multiple trim piece, that puts you at 10'3" in height from the porch floor leaving a space measuring 1'9" from top of brick detail above the door to the roof line. A 9' door would take that measurement to 9" which may be a better way to go. It looks like Summerfield used a 3 piece trim option between the porch gable and the columns the architect did not include the last 3-4" piece which would bring the porch roof down another 3-4". The windows would need to be moved up as well. If those rooms on the front of the house are 12' high, you will need some very tall windows in there placed at 8-9' for top of window. I think the differing ceiling heights--especially the 12' ceilings in the front of the house are part of the problem with the front elevation.

I hope this helps! This is probably the most difficult part of the plans when working with 2 designers. We had the same challenges when translating Summerfield's drawings to the ones from the architect. I hate to say it, but Summerfield tends to pay more attention to the smaller details that the architects (who you're paying the big $$$) often miss. It's those small details that catch your eye and make you realize something is off and then you have to go through with a fine tooth comb to figure out what's missing or has been changed. The best advice I can give is to keep pushing through until those architect plans are what you want them to be. Then provide your builder with not only the architect's drawings, but also Summerfield's so the builder has a color visual of what it is exactly that you are shooting for as far as looks.

On the brick color--General Shale's Spalding Tudor with Federal White mortar & regular sand is very similar to the color of the brick & mortar Summerfield used in the elevation.

It's a beautiful home & I can't wait to see it go up! I know you've got to be even more excited now that you have an elevation! Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 4:17PM
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Here are some pics of a very similar house built in Myrtle Beach, SC. Summerfield is familiar with the neighborhood it's in--a lot of very nice homes there from which we pulled our inspiration.

And another similar home...

Link to website for home above:

Hope these help!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 11:16PM
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Thanks all! I have to go back and re-read your comments so I can understand everything. I will certainly not berate any of you for so generously trying to help us figure out exactly what we want.

I guess the difficulty comes with wanting a walk-up attic space over the right wing. The architect says the roof pitch must be this hight to accomodate that. I guess colonial or french country would be the look we are going for. Any way you can see this home with a more colonial roofline?

As for the brick, we are leaning towards General Shale Pheonix with grey mortar which should read very similar to Summerfields drawing.

I love the myrtle beach pic and the last pic, but we would really like to have a warm, welcoming porch on the front. I will post a few inspiration pics later and maybe you guys can help me see where I am missing something.

Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 5:59PM
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momto ...

here is the roof plan from an earlier design that we did ... hopefully , this will give your architect some idea of how the roof should be ...

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 6:14PM
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