Bowman Residence: Basement Design 01

It’s been a while since I posted anything about my house, so most people would guess I’ve been putting it off and not doing anything with it. They’d be mostly right. I’ve been collecting ideas in my head and my “sketchbook”. Despite the best efforts of nearly every educator to make it so, my sketchbook is not an extension of my arm. When the fancy strikes me, I have to go find it, or grab some scratch paper and then scan it in to the computer. I have been thinking and sketching, though; what’s below is a first pass, and an incomplete first pass at that. I haven’t looked at the bar or powder room yet, just the living areas.

You may remember the plan (the architectural plan, that is) from previous posts, when I was putting what I have to work with into the computer:

2012-1126 01 Basement Plan

The basic programmatic layout remains unchanged, which is a fancy way of saying that the utility, living and powder rooms are all still in the same place. However, instead of putting furniture (bookshelves, entertainment center) in front of the walls, I am building them into the wall to the extent that it’s possible to do so. This maximizes the floor area and shrinks the utility room a bit, since the “walls” (especially the one at the study) become so thick as to be able to be occupied.

Check out the perspective:

2012-1126 05 Perspective

That’s what you’d see if you just came in from the garage. From left to right, we have the reading area, entertainment center, and stair. The gray is whatever neutral material that we decide to use, maybe a stained wood. I am imagining each area of function (reading, watching, circulation) to be a different color of paint or fabric (green, red, yellow) where it is “cut” into the neutral material.

2012-1126 02 Reading Nook Elev

That’s the reading area feature. You may remember me talking about the inspiration for this here [https://rmbarch.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/design-process-my-basement-1/]. I decided to play with the shape to reflect its functionality. Since this is designed for reading, I designed the nook to be comfortable to read in a couple of positions.  You can recline gently (on the left) or be nearly lying down (on the right), depending on which side you sit on. This made an interesting shape, one that I decided I wanted to carry through into the other “cuts” such as the entertainment center.

2012-1126 03 Entertainment Ctr Elev

If I had designed the opening for the TV and speaker, it would have made a boring old rectangle. I decided to layer in some additional functionality to the opening for the TV so that the “cuts” are consistent and unique. If you imagine a rectangular TV in the opening, I stretched the shape at the sides to make room for some shelves. Right now, I’m thinking that the area at the right might have a wide, narrow shelf for remote controls, while the narrow, taller area at the left might be a place for the empty cases for DVDs and video games that are currently in their respective players.

As you can see, the design is preliminary, almost embarrassingly so. These are computer “sketches” that a client would probably never see in the design process. Architects, however, use rough drawings like these all the time to evaluate the state of the design, scrap what doesn’t work and improve on what does. At this stage, it’s still really easy for me to go in and make dramatic changes to the design without a whole ton of work.

So that’s where I am today. I edited myself a lot so that I didn’t put you into an architecture-vocabulary induced coma. If you think I still failed, or if you hate sketches and wacky shapes, go ahead and liven up the comments section.

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4 thoughts on “Bowman Residence: Basement Design 01

    • I should tell you that you don’t need lots of money to buy a house and hire an architect and get a custom reading nook, but that would be a huge lie. Casework is mad expensive. I dream of doing this myself. I also dream of piloting a zeppelin crewed by amazons who speak only the language of love. One is just slightly more realistic.

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