Revised Roof Plan and Elevations

jeff2013October 13, 2013

It has been about 3 months since I received the intial set of of floor plan and elevations from the architect. I have received a great deal of comments here. Thanks to everyone!

While there are a lot of critisisms of the original design (disjointed/chopped composition, overcomplicated roofs, ill-proportioned depth/width, plain left elevation, etc.), unfortunately we failed to identify a totally different yet better solution and I do appreciate some practical aspects of the current design. Therefore my strategy has been focusing on the goals to
A. Make the fixes (mainly on the floor plan)
B. Simplify the roof plan (on the top to make it more unified and over the dining to have it separate from the entry porch)
C. Improve the front elevation (to highlight the front entry in particular).

We also made an important decision to use metal roofs (thanks to feedbacs from Chris and Holly) and brick walls instead of tile roofs and Stucco.

I have also been doing some sketchup drawings myself to try out different ideas based on feedbacks that I received here, my discussions with the architect, and my own limited understanding.

Finally I have received some updates.

Attached are some pictures showing
1. Revised front elevation and 3D view from architect

2. My SU drawings of floor plan w/ rooflines, front elevation, and 3D view

3. FYI-Original floorplan, front elevation, and 3D view

4. Hipped version (front & back 3D views, 4 elevations, all pitches at 5/12 excepted back at 3/12) and the inspiration house

I am OK with the general layout and design and understand that a lot of details about window/door placement and horizontal banding toward a contempaory Prairie inspired style. However, I am still concerned about the following issues in needing your help
A. Two front gables appropriate?
B. Shall I really need to push the architect to simplify the top roof as suggested in my drawing or they make no difference?
C. How about roof pitches? Right now, the back is at 3/12, top 5/12, two gables and dining 4/12. The eaves are 2.5ft in the architect's design and 3ft in my drawings

And any addtional comments please?

Thans! JF

Updated with the hipped version of both entry and bumped out sections and the inspiration house. 10/14

This post was edited by jeff2013 on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 20:01

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Hi JF,

I'm not very familiar with this style house, but here are my gut reactions --

A. I am not a fan of the gables. I prefer the hip roof on the main level from the original elevation, I liked how that carried across the front of the house. I also suspect it would do a better job of shedding water.

B. I prefer the roof on the second level that you drew, with the exception of the gable. Don't know the size of that bedroom upstairs in the front bump out, but maybe consider cutting it back to avoid the gable?

C. Why not just use 5/12 and 3/12? Would you want a taller window in that upstairs bath or no?

D. Metal roof and stucco?? :-) Are you going to keep the curved sitting wall at the entrance?

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 12:19AM
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You know I don't have a design background ..... but I like the choice of brick colour posted at top of your post. I actually like the two gables, but don't listen to me if the designers on this forum tell you otherwise. I now find your windows way more cohesive on the front elevation you posted at top of thread. I still don't like that cut-out in the roof at back, but I have made that point many times so it must be worth it to you for the floor plan.

Once you get to choosing exterior colours, you could try the home decorating forum. I also know of a few websites that are useful for these decisions when you are at that stage.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Thank you for your comments Oaktown and Carol. I have updated the original message with the hipped version drawing I did along with the inspiration house that I gave to the architect before I recieved the revision from him.

Two gables or hipped roofs (or one gable, one hip)? I am looking for a general design to better identify the front entry itself and will improve the overall harmony and balance of the house (which is somewhat lacking in the original design) without adding too much complexity/cost.

I will consider pitches, window and door details, and other issues once this decision is made.

I would appreciate if anybody can give me more inputs on this. Thanks! JF

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 8:14PM
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Jeff- Congrats on getting so far with the design! It looks very nice :)

I'm not a 'modern design' type of please, take this with a big grain of salt. I think the house is beautiful, but I don't like the glass block. Everything seems so clean lined, but the glass block and the multi-paned French doors seem busy, compared to everything else.

Also, I love windows that open (cross breezes, etc.) but some windows seem to be double hung, while others are not. Are the upstairs windows sliders? I think I would want them to way or the other.

Last, the columns...I like the last picture much better, with the rock bottom...maybe wood top? Again, I like bungalow, craftsman style so I may not see the modern aspects.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 1:01PM
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I totally agree with Lavender's assessment of the windows. When I said above the windows were looking more cohesive, I was referring to the front of the house you posted at the start of this thread. What is the latest look of windows for the other elevation sides? Are they more cohesive looking, or are they the same as they were in the older versions?


    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 8:11PM
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Lavender, Thank you for your always kind words! I am grateful for all your help with my kitchen layout.

Out of those drawings, which one do you like the most? Do you have any preference between those two gables / hipped roofs?
1. I agree that the glass block window in the front master bath and the multi paned French/sliding door to the great room on the back elevation do not look right. I did a poor job there. This problem would be fixed. Maybe just obscure glass and single paned sliding door.
2. Yes. The house needs some consistency in its window arrangement. Again, my poor job of Sketchup drawings.
3. I like the columns from the inspiration house too. The architect used stone bottom and steel top. I have no idea about house style. When I found the Prairie style inspired house picture and shared it with the architect, he asked me to look at arts and crafts, and bungalow too. I guess they are related. I understand the metal roof along with the eclectic design add some contemporary / modern flavor into it.

It is good to hear that you like the gables as suggested by the architect. So that may work.
As far as I know, the windows/doors in the architect’s latest work are the same as in his previous design. Now I understand what you meant by more cohesive looking of the windows in the architect’s drawing (as compared to mine). Beside the fact that I lack the basic house decorating skills, the free SU does not have a rich selection of window models for use. Once the building form (roofs and walls) is determined, hopefully we would devote more efforts into this important issue. BTW, how is your building progress?

Your gut reactions are important for me to consider so let me get back to them.
A. While I see the openness from the gables, I am concerned that they deviate from the hipped roof forms in the rest of the house. So they may be increased complexity / reduced harmony.
I agree the original design would shed water better as I see one small portion of the gable would push water to the left side of the entry wall (the architect said he knows what needs to be done there).
The problem I see with the original design regarding the front porch is that the entry door is somewhat hidden under the big roof/blocked by the bottom right column. I also don’t like the way the entry is tied more to the secondary part of the dining room instead of the left main part of the house. In addition, I do not see the porch would be used a lot.

B. I am glad that you like the way I did on the second floor roof (except the gable). Without the bump out, the 2nd floor bed room is about 12ft by 12ft so we may get away with it. One idea is to have bump out on the main floor only, and then I can extend the roof from the entrance to the left.
C. I was told by the architect that he tried 3/12 on the secondary roofs on the front and it was not high enough. I do prefer taller window on second floor bath but the consideration is secondary to what needs to be done to make the exteriors good right now.
D. I like the idea of metal roof and stucco. There is cleanliness in both materials. To save initial construction cost and future maintenance, we are inclined to brick walls except for small decorative areas say horizontal banding.
Yes. I am certainly open to the curved sitting wall if that adds to the curb appeal of the house.

Just too many things (roofs/pitches/windows, etc) to consider. Now I am trying to resolve one issue at a time. I am polling for more opinions on how to do the top roof.
See attached picture showed the proposed revision on the top with a red circle and my idea on the bottom with a green area. To me, the sharp edge on the top is bothering (and I also don’t know how it can be installed). I am OK with the hipped/gable roof bump out as an added on feature but I do not like more cut offs as the top roof already has its complexity (by offsetting the game room to bring one roof to three roofs).

Is this common sense, architecture 101, or something I missed (I do agree that the bottom one with a bigger top section is more overwhelming/heavier)? Let me know what you think. Thanks! JF

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:42PM
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Besides a slightly different front porch and different exterior finishes the new drawing from the architect seems almost identical to the old one.

Not that the original was really all that bad but it just seems like not much has happened in all that time.

Wasn't there a problem with the garage width encroaching into the side setback? I think that those windows are unusual and the brick will cost more than stucco. But there was some money saved by taking out much of the front porch.

While I have to commend your SU skill in such a short period of time, seeing your work is almost more of a distraction than a help. You have a tendency to fudge things. (like simplifying the roof without changing the wall under it or not using the correct windows or plate heights, etc.) That is not a criticism really because I understand that you do not have an unlimited amount of time to play with SU.

But as far as the architects work goes -I do not really understand why all the different roof pitches? What is the deal with the left side of the front elevation? What kind of windows are those? Why does the garage bump out past the utility room? No options for the roof line? etc..

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 3:28PM
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Thank you for your continued comments.
1. Do you have a preference out of the two options of the top roofline as in the previous post? If I go with the architect's design, I would keep the same pitches for all top roof sections to get rid of the sharp angle. I also understand that I may need to align the walls or do some cantilever roof/2nd floor to allow for my simplification.

2. How about the two gables? Are they appropriate here or you like all hipped roofs better?

These are the two main decisions that I need to make before we settle on a general form of design. There are many other issues to consider when we move on to the next stage.

Re: SU drawings
It is hard for me to articulate what I dislike about the current design or what a desired design would be. I was trying to use SU to communicate my ideas to the architect. If you see this as distraction other than help with the ideas, I guess I really shall refrain from doing more drawings.

The architect must be frustrated with my attempt to revise the roofs / exteriors too. He really think there is not much to be revised architecturally. He did not recommend me talking to builders about construction cost as he said they would simply charge me more when they saw such a beautiful house designed by an architect :). Well, I have been worried if the house looks so bad that it would not be acceptable to our neighbors or an average buyer. Talking about perception difference.

Re: Garage offset outside building line

While the HOA CCR calls for 7ft side setbacks, the subdivision plat from the city requires 10ft. I already did a hearing with the city and obtained approval of the left neighbor side 7ft setback when I was doing the planning with the first designer. The architect said he needed the extra 3ft to open the view from the great room/breakfast area. He said he would submit the construction document to see permit and if not approved he can change it. I would rather do a second hearing before finalizing the plan.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 9:56PM
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Hi Jeff,

Just saw this info on Houzz about the Prairie style and thought about your house.


Here is a link that might be useful: Prairie style houses

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 10:56AM
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I thought of this thread when I saw that article this morning too!!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 9:04PM
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1. Roofs that do not match the walls always look like a mistake to me so I personally would not simplify the roof without changing the walls unless I had no other choice.

2. yes, again since this is not strictly a prairie style house gables are fine. (although I would not change the pitch)
Gables and those sloped columns give it more of an arts and crafts look.

Isn't it a corner lot? I would not push the garage 3 ft. toward the street and go through the trouble of getting a variance from the city just to add one window to a breakfast area? I would hardly believe you are going to spend a lot of time at the breakfast table enjoying the expanded view of your back yard. Besides the roof does not work.

That does seem to answer the question of why it is taking so long. (Waiting for a zoning variance)
Again I did not see anything in particular which (in my view) would not have been acceptable in the first design. At worst it was average and typical of what you would find in most contemporary subdivisions.

It is not "architecture" as an architecture critic would probably use the term but I doubt that is your goal.

The roof maybe was not the best but the main problem (caused by the game room) is the one problem none of your options ever addresses.

My interpretation of that is that either it is not something that bothers you or you like the game room there and the windows on the balcony more than you dislike the roof.

If that is the case than I would say go with it because that is not going to make or break the aesthetics. Overly complicated roofs are extremely typical in contemporary subdivisions.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 8:19AM
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Carol and Dekeoboe,

Thank you for the information. I read the Houzz article and its comments about Prairie styled houses with great interest.


Thank you for your inputs on the top roof simplfication and the two gables.

The architect too thinks that the front walls to both sides of the study shall be aligned to allow for the simplification (which seems unnecessary to him). He said cantilevered 2nd floor over entry is doable but will cost more and needs structure engineering.

I am attaching the floor plan with the aligned front walls/simplified roofline. The garage is shifted 3ft to the left so that we do not need to wait for a second variance hearing. There is a small drop zone/storage place behind the breakfast due to the change.

Floor Plan with Roofline VerL1F
The roof overhangs are 2.5ft. Porches at front and back are 7'-9" and 11'-2" deep respectively. The masterbath and study walls are pushed back by 9" and the depth of the garage is reduced from 23ft to 22ft to maintain similar sqft area. I like the increased area in 2nd floor WIC but there is more 'wasted' foyer space. French door to study is used.

As always, I appreciate your following of this project. JF

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:35AM
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In my opinion that is the best improvement so far.

It is a little too small to see well.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Thank you for your comments! I have attached the floor plan using two separate pictures. Hope they are easier to read this time.

I like feel comftable with the general floor layout. I was tempted to sketchup the 3D model but I don't think I can do a better job than what I have done and it won't be that different I guess, so I decided to give it a pass this time:).

If the implied exteriors and roofs would be OK , then we shall continue with the design. I cannot wait to move on to the next phase of the design.

The architect is starting to get impatient with me asking for revisions (as he has always been thinking everything including the two island kitchen, the 3 by 4 closet in the masterbath, and the original exteriors/roofs need no improvement).

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 4:52PM
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What is that just outside of the garage/bath door?
-a freezer?

I don't know if the upstairs front bath window will work well or the two bedroom left side windows.

I am assuming these are your plans and not the architects because they do not match the revised elevation at the very top.

Are those drawers on the left side as you go into the master? Why does that cabinet have a wall dividing it in two?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:59AM
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1. Close to the garage door and in front of the PR door is a command center for dropping/receiving mails. The idea was suggested by somebody from the kitchen forum. A freezer might fit there. I think we definitely need a freezer/small fridge in the upstairs gameroom. Close to a wetbar on the left corner.

2.I understand your concern abou the three windows on 2nd floor (front bath and two kids room on the left).The front window shall be center from the exteiror. However, that will make it cross the vanity and bathtub, which may not work well /look good from inside. It is just for lighting so we may place it up high and a small round window may be better.

The architect did not place those two windows in the two boys bedrooms. I aded them for cross breezes (heard a lot on this forum). I first added them to the area close to the shared bath in the middle. However, I was worried abou the furniture placement as the bedrooms are not big (12'x11', 10'7x11'4). That is why I have the windows on both walls close to each other. What do you see as the main problem and do you have a suggestion to fix it?

3. I am not sure if you are talking about the wall separating the double vanity and the reach in closet or the WIC.

Yes. The floor plans are mine. Besides some major revisions from me regarding the kitchen and masterbath layouts, the latest changes mainly reflect the alignment of the front walls and the garage side wall.

Thanks! JF

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 1:00PM
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1. command center is a good idea -I could not tell what it was.

2. the windows of coarse will need to be egressable but also if the side windows where close the closets they would work better for cross ventilation.

3. Oh OK I see, so when you walk into the master bath there is a closet on each side.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 10:13AM
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