Monday, July 15, 2013

Introducing...30X40 Design Workshop

I've looked forward to opening my own studio focusing on simple, modern, residential design for as long as I can remember. Building on the ideas explored developing the Longhouse I've been hard at work on some compelling small house designs. They're simple + they're long, but they're efficient and proof that good design can be affordable.  These aren't the designs of the massive online plan warehouses, the 'Carleton' or the 'Windsor'.  They're crafted by an architect with experience designing high-end custom homes.  These plans pack big ideas into small spaces - they're simple + direct but they exude custom and + thoughtful.

If you like what you've read on the Longhouse blog, I think you'll find 30X40 Design Workshop even more engaging.  30X40 is my studio where I work on these humble, considered design projects of all scales. It's also a shop where I sell my simple home designs, offer advice, product + material reviews and a place to get a glimpse at some of my other more recent work.

Why 30X40? Check out this post on my new blog that describes the thinking behind it.

As I mentioned I'm offering floor plan sets for sale, the first of which is based on the three bedroom Longhouse (3.0), but there are others in development, being released every week.  The original plan for the Longhouse here on Mount Desert Island, Maine remains a wonderfully efficient house to live in. But, I'd be a fool if I didn't learn from my time actually living here and improve upon the things that our family has found to be somewhat less than perfect.

Longhouse 3.0 - Aerial View (without roof)

What's new and improved?

  1. Closets.  If you've read through any of my laments in the original posts you'll know we didn't implement an out-of-sight storage plan properly. The new plans address this, but also allow you to phase the storage plan in over time.  We've provided multiple places in the plans to incorporate storage cabinetry or leave it out if the budget suggests otherwise.  Personally, I'd use every inch of it, especially in a small floor plan, storage is a key component to organized living.
  2. Bedroom size.  When we first designed the Longhouse we kept a mindful watch on every square foot we added.  While it made sense at the time, it was short-sighted.  A couple of extra feet in the end bedrooms would've allowed for extra play room as well as closets (see #1) and made them more versatile over time.  But, we learned and the bedrooms are larger and filled with storage.
  3. Basement / Attic access.  This was something that was taking space in a location it didn't need to be. Shifting it to the new location provided for additional transition space between the living area and master suite.
  4. Floor framing. We learned that the savings on dimensional lumber (2x8s) for floor framing would've been more wisely spent on bones that don't shrink over time.  As dimensional lumber dries the first floor system settles.  I knew this going in, but really thought it wouldn't be an issue and while it's not a structural issue, creaking floor boards in certain parts of the house are an ongoing reminder of my decision to save a few dollars.  The new Longhouse incorporates engineered floor framing members as a starting point.
  5. Materials.  Architects can be fickle.  Liking one material this week and another next.  So, had I it to do all over again, I'd probably switch up the exterior Hardieplank for shingles or Hardipanel, but that's not because I don't love the product.  It's because I like different things every week.  The Hardiplank looks new even five years on - hard to beat that for low maintenance and low life-cycle cost.
As always, I'd love to hear from you, to know what you think of the new and improved plan or to talk about a design conundrum you're having, drop by the 30X40 site and get in touch.  And, if you're ever near Acadia National Park, the Longhouse always has a pot of coffee on feel free to drop by.

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