Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Layout Dilemma

Alright, folks: we have a dilemma.  Today, we went out to the Bungalow to meet with the Maryland Historical Trust folks.  Not only were they exceedingly nice, but they were wonderful people and joys to behold. (I'm not just saying that because they hold the keys to our renovation in their hands, but still...)  We also met with Rory and our architect, Mohammed.  Everything went well.  But now we're confused and fretting about pretty much everything having to do with the top floor of the Bungalow.  What's wrong?  Well, in the last 24 hours, both Courtney and Rory have presented us with options for the layout of the floor that both Abby and I concede are better than our original plans.  (Yes, folks: Abby and Gregory are admitting not just one but two plans are better than their own.  Savor this moment.)

The original plan had a "Great Room" centered around the fireplace and having attributes of both living and dining rooms.  It had a half-wall separating the Great Room from an area with closet space and an entry into our bedroom, which would be surrounded by windows.  The half-wall would allow the Great Room to appear as if it stretched the entire width of the house.  And the kitchen would be off the dining room area of the Great Room, with counters flush to the windows and appliances against a far wall.  Don't worry if you can't picture this all: it's not happening.

Courtney's plan took out the half-wall entirely, stretched the Great Room into a truly great room that went side to side, giving more room to both the living room and dining room areas, and pushed most of the closet space into the bedroom.  If we thought the living room was the most important room, she said, then get those closets out of there.  She was right.

Rory's plan not only doesn't build a half-wall, but keeps the existing wall up in its entirety.  However, it relabels every room clockwise by 90 degrees.  The Great Room becomes solely a living room.  The kitchen becomes a dining room, thereby alleviating the need to block windows with cabinets.  The bedroom becomes the kitchen, with cabinets against a wall that would have had the bedroom's entry from the closet area. And the closet area, retaining its current walls, becomes the bedroom, with a whole wall of closets on the far side.  If we don't want to waste windows, and if we want more living room space, he said, then don't tear down the wall at all, and instead maybe put some sort of architectural element into it, like an antique salvaged window or something, that'd draw the light from the window boxes on the far side without giving away precious square footage.  He was right.

So here's our dilemma.  We know our plan is now moot.  But do we go with Courtney's Plan or Rory's Plan?  We're asking you, our potential visitors, to let us know which you think we should choose.  And just to be sure, here's our pros/cons list:

Courtney's Plan:

  1. Kitchen located in preferred location, at NE corner of house, to see prettiest view.
  2. Privacy issues in the bedroom; everyone in condos can see into our bedroom, necessitating blinds.
  3. Cramped bedroom space.
  4. Amazing Great Room, with fantastic view from main entrance
  5. Kitchen cabinet issues, with cabinets against lower part of windows and no ability for upper cabinets.
  6. Need to change from radiant to forced-air heating, due to placement of radiators in kitchen.  Loss of radiant heat means we will have to insulate the roof, and deal with Maryland Historical Trust's issues concerning keeping the historic nature of our roofline.
  7. Air conditioning returns will be more conspicuous, possible need for a vertical conduit somewhere in the living room.
Rory's Plan:

  1. No cabinets against any windows.
  2. No privacy issues in the bedroom
  3. Wall cuts Great Room's ceiling in half
  4. Bedroom may feel more spacious, although it's only slightly larger, due to high ceilings
  5. Dedicated living room and dining room
  6. Living room furniture layout difficult due to angles of entrances into the room
  7. Entryway divided with wall separating bedroom from living room
  8. Possibility of keeping radiant heat, cheaper to power, and potential to leave roof as is (or fiddle with it less)
  9. Natural conduits for A/C can be built into existing wall.
Thoughts?  Votes?

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