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Elevation Feedback

Posted by kats_meow (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 10, 11 at 3:34

Below are drawings of the front, side and back elevation for the house we intend to build. Would appreciate any comments.

The front elevation is meant to be mostly white Austin stone with some brick. The brick will probably be in a dark red color. The elevation shown on the sides is mostly stone with similar brick. The designer misunderstood the instruction and the sides are actually intended to be brick.

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I also show the floor plan in case it makes a difference in any suggestions, but am not really asking for comments on it (that is, we have had extensive review of it and feedback -- including from here -- and believe it is final and would only be interested in comments that were truly urgent and not just a matter of personal taste).

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Elevation Feedback

I like it. The only thing I don't understand is the corner window in the study...I would center the arched window on that wall so the elevation is balanced. Or add another gable and a small bump-out (that I know so many people here detest) that would break up the plane on that wall for the front elevation...I think your choice of materials it nice.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Yes, that corner of the study is a bit of a dilemma. I agree that aesthetically from the from the front it would probably look better with the single arched window and not have the windows at the corner. That was how it was originally designed.

However, that corner will be my desk area. I had a similar corner desk area at my old house and liked having the windows at the corner so I could see outside. (That said, that house the corner was on the back of the house and not the front). Right now, we are in a rental until we get the new house built and I have a corner desk with no windows and I don't like not having windows.

So I added the corner windows so I can see out. I guess another alternative would be to get rid of the corner window on the front of the house and then centering the arched window and keep the small window on the side?

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Does it look too strange to have the corner windows for the study? Should I give up having the windows so the front elevation looks better? If I do give up the corner window on the front, could I keep the small corner window on the side?


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RE: Elevation Feedback

*If* I gave up the window on the front for your office, I would keep the side window. Having at least one window there would be very nice.
I could see you doing either way. It depends on how much you appreciate symmetry. Moving the main window over a bit to make it more symmetrical would bring some light to your desk also. And, if you lean back in your chair, you may be able to look out it (since it is a little lower to the floor as well).


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Well if I got rid of the corner window on the front and moved the mail window over to make it more symmetrical it would have to be raised. The desk is going to be built in. You can see the outline of it in the dotted black lines on the front of the house in the picture I first posted. If the window gets moved over, then it has to be higher so it is above the desk.

Here is how it would look if I didn't have the corner windows. (everything else would be like on the current elevation ...there are other things on the below elevation that I've since changed...but if we got rid of the side window I would have the window in the study as shown below)

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So which is better? This? Or the one I have now where I have the window in the corner? (If I did this one I could still have the window on the side?)


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RE: Elevation Feedback

I like the last front elevation much better.

I do have a little comment on the floorplan related to the swing of the front door. I would have it swing the other way ie open on the side where the transom is. It seems awkward to have it open towards the wall in the entry. Also I would think you might look out the transom before opening it and then you have to completely walk to the other side to open it.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

I would totally keep the side window! The front window was my only question mark! That being said, I LOVE the second elevation (and I would still keep the side window. Second elevation seems more naturally balanced to me...Hope you are having fun designing your future home. It really is a nice design.


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correction

Ooops sorry didn't mean to call the side lite window transom. I've got transoms on my mind at the moment.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Yes. I like #2 better. And, you should keep the side office window. (I think it also allows you to look at your driveway, yes?)


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RE: roofline

The last thing I don't understand, is the "horn" on the right side roofline. And, I am no expert on these things, so perhaps it won't be so noticeable in real life than on a 2D drawing... It would be nice if that peak matched the main peak though, if possible.

(And, I agree about reversing the front door. It is "tight-feeling" to walk into a wall when you walk in a door. Walking into the "hallway" with the sidelite as wall, is more open feeling.)


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RE: Elevation Feedback

I understand what you mean about the sidelite. But, for security I don't like a sidelite next to the side of the door that you open so that it why it is on the other side.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

We just require the key to be used to open the front door for security reasons ie not just a knob to turn for the lock. If you use a keypad lock then you don't even need to worry about having a key.

If somebody wants in they'll be able to get in via the side lite anyways, or via your back door.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

I agree with the previous posts. I like the 2nd option much better. The only thing I would suggest is to make the window a little bit larger/taller if possible. It just seems a little bit small for the space and the transom for the front door seems to exaggerate it a bit. since they are on the same wall, it seems that they should be similar in size and scope to be more pleasing to the eye?? Definitely keep the side window!
I also agree about changing the front door swing.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

I've told him to go with the second option but keep the side window. The reason we can't really make the window larger is that it can't be any lower because of the built in desk and it would look odd I think to be taller without being lower.

As far as the door swing, I'm thinking about it. Like I saw I did it for security reasons. I did think about making the deadbolt there keyed on the inside instead of a turn knob. However, while that might be more secure, it is also more dangerous in the event of a fire where you want people to be able to easily go out of the house. Of course, someone could always break in through the back. I'm also conflicted whether to make the door from the breakfast room to the covered porch a glass door. I like the look but I do worry about security. Yes, I know any house can be broken into but I don't want my house to be particularly attractive so not sure what I will do on it.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

I agree about the door swing. We switched ours because we didn't want to walk in next to a wall - had to pay to do it because door was ordered - and wow am I glad I did.

The keyed interior door lock is no big deal. We have one now and have a little nail with a key on it beside the door. My parents have it as well and they have a little table by their front door where they put it in a decorative box.

I am afraid you might regret it if you don't switch it because it will feel like you are walking into a tight hallway rather than a spacious entry hall.

If security is an issue, why the side transom? You could do a transom over the door for light and a peep hole?


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RE: Elevation Feedback

A sleeping space should not be accessed directly from a garage nor should the egress path from it to the outside pass through a garage. In most states that is the law but even if it is allowed in your state you should not do it.


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also

Here is the most recent national consensus code requirement for sleeping rooms accessed and egressed from a garage:

R302.5.1 Opening protection.
Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted. Other openings between the garage and residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 13⁄8 inches (35 mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less than 13⁄8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors.

R311.1 Means of egress.
All dwellings shall be provided with a means of egress as provided in this section. The means of egress shall provide a continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from all portions of the dwelling to the exterior of the dwelling at the required egress door without requiring travel through a garage.

Also check to be sure the designer provided the proper wall, ceiling, and door opening protection between the garage and habitable spaces and any ducts that pass through it are properly designed.

Also, check to be sure that the attic ventilation is adequate since the ridges are relatively short compared to the attic volume.

Introducing a horizontal "belt line" half way up the exterior wall further emphasizes the horizontal nature of that element under such a dominant roof element.

The use of columns adds vertical elements but they seems small under the large roof. I am curious if there will be enough room for column and window headers with such a short roof eave projection and high openings.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Renovator8 - What code are you quoting from?

Around here (Texas) I see a lot of garage apartments so how do they do that to meet what you are quoting?

What is the purpose of the code requirement? Is it security or something else?

Also, check to be sure that the attic ventilation is adequate since the ridges are relatively short compared to the attic volume.

Are you talking in the bonus space or elsewhere? How would I check that? I don't really understand what you are talking about here?

Also check to be sure the designer provided the proper wall, ceiling, and door opening protection between the garage and habitable spaces and any ducts that pass through it are properly designed.

What does that mean?

Introducing a horizontal "belt line" half way up the exterior wall further emphasizes the horizontal nature of that element under such a dominant roof element.

Are you talking about where the wainscoting is? The line of brick? What is the significance of what you are saying? Are you talking aesthetically or making a structural comment?

The use of columns adds vertical elements but they seems small under the large roof. I am curious if there will be enough room for column and window headers with such a short roof eave projection and high openings.

Are you talking on the covered porch? Is the first sentence an aesthetic or cosmetic comment? As to the last sentence when you say high openings are you talking about the windows? How much space is needed for those headers? I haven't seen yet the specific drawing for that wall.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Renovator8 -- Actually rereading the message I think on the garage what you are raising is a fire issue. I would guess this could be cured either by putting the stairs outside the garage or putting the doorway from the garage to the drop zone area so that the stairs are inside the house? That would seem the simplest thing to do. Would that cure it?


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Per your last post: I think moving the door from the garage so that the stairs are inside the house is a great idea. It will make the bonus room area feel more like part of the house, rather than part of the garage.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

I have heard that it is code (in our town in NJ) that front door must have a knob operated deadbolt. Reason is, easy egress in case of fire. If one were to add a keyed lock in addition to the knob deadbolt, it defeats the purpose and might not pass inspection.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

We don't actually have to have an inspection. But, that is beside the point in that I want to do what is safest and, in general, I think that protecting against being able to get out in case of fire is important. I thought about keeping a key near the front door, but in the event of an actual fire, someone might not remember where it was or might not know (if a guest) or might not be able to see. So I would do the knob in any event.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

The code I quoted is the 2009 International Residential Code. It, or earlier editions of it, is the law in all but a few areas of the US.

The code is concerned with the possibility that a fire or carbon monoxide might hurt someone sleeping on the other side of a door between a bedroom and the garage. That would apply even if there was a stair in between the spaces.

The walls, ceiling and doors that separate a garage from any living space must be designed to act as a smoke barrier and in some states it actually has to be fire rated.

The part about an egress path not being allowed to pass through a garage speaks for itself.

If there is no building code where you live, that is even more reason to use a nationally recognized code for your family's safety.

An attic is required to have ventilation so it can dry if it gets wet. Since you don't have gable vents you will need to provide eave and ridge vents that meet the code requirement for size but the ridge seems too short compared to the volume of the attic. that needs to be investigated.

I am concerned that your designer is not familiar with common fire safety and ventilation issues. You should have a professional review the entire project.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

An attic is required to have ventilation so it can dry if it gets wet. Since you don't have gable vents you will need to provide eave and ridge vents that meet the code requirement for size but the ridge seems too short compared to the volume of the attic. that needs to be investigated.

What about unvented attics? They do that around here some. I noticed the OP is from the same state as I am.

Did a google, and it is part of the IRC. Could it be possible something like this was intended?

******************************************************

2009 IRC, Section R806.4; 2012 IRC, Section R806.5, Unvented attic assemblies

Unvented attic assemblies (spaces between the ceiling joists of the top story of the roof rafters) shall be permitted if all of the following conditions are met:
1.the unvented attic space is completely contained within the building thermal envelope
2.no interior vapor retarders are installed on the ceiling side (attic floor) of the unvented attic assembly [2009 IRC]; no interior Class I vapor retarders are installed on the ceiling side (attic floor) of the unvented attic assembly [2012 IRC]
3.where wood shingles or shakes are used, a minimum 1/4 inch vented air space separates the shingles or shakes and the roofing underlayment above the structural sheathing
4.in Climate Zones 5, 6, 7 and 8, any air-impermeable insulation shall be a vapor retarder, or shall have a vapor retarder coating or covering in direct contact with the underside of the insulation [2009 IRC]; in Climate Zones 5, 6, 7 and 8, any air-impermeable insulation shall be a Class II vapor retarder, or shall have a Class III vapor retarder coating or covering in direct contact with the underside of the insulation [2012 IRC]
5.either Items 5.1, 5.2 or 5.3 shall be met, depending on the air permeability of the insulation directly under the structural roof sheathing
1.air-impermeable insulation only: insulation shall be applied in direct contact with the underside of the structural sheathing
2.air-permeable insulation only: in addition to the air-permeable installed directly below the structural sheathing, rigid board or sheet insulation shall be installed directly above the structural roof sheathing as specified in Table R806.4 for condensation control
3.air-impermeable and air-permeable insulation: the air-impermeable insulation shall be applied in direct contact with the underside of the structural sheathing a specified in Table R806.4 for condensation control; the air-permeable insulation shall be installed directly under the air-impermeable insulation.
4.Where preformed insulation board is used as the air-impermeable insulation layer, it shall be sealed at the perimeter of each individual sheet interior surface to form a continuous layer.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Would the OP actually heat and cool such a large attic space in order to avoid venting it? This would seem to only be feasible if the attic space was intended to be habitable and because there are no windows in the main roof I had assumed the attic was filled with trusses.

If there is no building code I suppose there could be some kind of mechanical dehumidification provided for an unvented unconditioned attic space. But I can't offer alternative design advice without knowing the nature of the local climate.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Wowza! That's a LOT of roof and 'attic'. We have a lot of roof too, but we have a formal staircase from foyer to that space. Our attic can become additional BR's and baths with the addition of dormers.

The single sidelight on the entry door looks too 'modern' for the rest of the front elevation. I'd change the door swing.

It is a bit odd to have completely different style windows on the front elevation with nothing similar carrying over to the sides or rear of the house.

Do you want a window in your MBR shower?

I prefer the larger, centered window for the study, and would keep the archtop on BR #3 too. You could also simplify the front windows to match the rest of the house.

OT: Would you like a MBR/Closet door to the right of your bed? I access my closet from time to time during the day, not just when using the bathroom.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Thanks Renovator8. Around here, there usually are ridge vents for the roof which I expect there to be for this house. The builder we are expecting to use (are using their designer) really does have a good reputation for quality. I don't think there is an intention not to ventilate the attic.

I do think there is a good point about the stairs in the garage. It isn't that uncommon to see that around here as the space is denominated as bonus space rather than a bedroom. In our case, although we have a floor plan for it we do not plan to finish it at this time. I do know that when I discussed with the builder putting in the bonus space he did indicate several changes that had to be made to make the space above the garage suitable to have living space above it.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

I did check the standard specs (specs specific to our house have not yet been written). For attic ventilation it says

Ridge Vents - Ridge Master plus Baffed type for superior ventilation

Soffit Vents - Continuous running soffit vents in all applicable areas.

Chisue - I don't find the front windows odd compared to side and back. Most houses I've owned/seen around here do those differently. I do want a window in the shower. We are keeping the centered window for the study and are keeping the archtop on BR #3. We planned to keep the side window for the study. However, if we end up putting the stairs inside the house then that would impede the door swing from the car so we might need to make the garage a little wider which would probably push it to be flush with the front of the house and would mean we wouldn't have the side window for the study.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

kats- re: the stairs in the garage: is there room to straighten them out so they go straight down into the drop zone? That would reduce your space for cabinets in the drop zone, but might solve the impeded car door swing you mention above.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

I'm not familiar enough with the code, but Renovator, could you help? RE: the stairs.
Why couldn't they just enclose them as they are with a wall alongside them separating them from the garage (rather than straightening them out, etc)? And, change the doors around a bit. It would be a little tunnel like. But, I don't think you have to change your Garage layout.
Would that work?


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RE: Elevation Feedback

As long as the stair terminates in the house instead of in the garage it would provide an adequate exit path. However, if someone left a car running in the closed garage, the CO might rise up the stair so you could put an automatic closer on the doors to the garage and the stair.

A local person died recently because they left their car running by accident.

It is very important to seal the floor/ceiling above the garage. A good way to do that is with spray foam from below.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

Thanks, Renovator8

The issue kirkhall is that by putting the stairs in the house -- even though not changing their shape) there isn't a lot of room to open the car door fully so may have to make the garage a foot or two wider (that is moving it down to be flush with the study). We are OK doing that and that will be our likely solution.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

The irregular shape of the wall between the garage and the house will cause the foundations to be expensive. I would find a way to make it a rectangle and force the bonus room stair to land inside the house. Instead of being one of the last issues to resolve it should have been one of the first.


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RE: Elevation Feedback

The shape issue is one that was discussed early on. The plan we are using was substantially modified from an existing plan that the builder using. In modifying it we are charged a specific extra amount for additional square footage and it doesn't matter whether the house is rectangular or has angles. I specifically discussed this. That said with the change we are making to the stairs (so that they are now inside the house the front left will be rectangular with the garage being even with where the study is at the front.


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