custom home designs and renovations
blog - older stuff
Sometimes people struggle with deciding to reno a bathroom because no feasible solution to what they they want comes to hand. This bathroom project was a case in point and I am writing to encourage owners to keep looking at those plans because (usually) there is an answer buried in there that provides what the owner is looking for.
In this example there was very limited space and requirements were to have large shower, make up area, better walk in, separate wc and of course the bath. The original layout was very convoluted and awkward and very limited walk in closet space so typical of spec houses today which have the audacity to call themselves custom designs!
My early layouts (below) did not have a big enough shower - until we placed the vanity alongside the bath and used it’s length as circulation space (did not forfeit any area) and put the shower behind which seemed a bit unusual at first look. However - the plan functioned well and resolved the owner’s requirements and the bathroom reno turned out just what the owners wanted. So keep looking at different options - it is amazing what you will discover if you keep an open mind and keep trying something different. Design takes time and needs to review alternates all the way during the process.
Early layouts the shower was too small and there was no make up area.
Larger shower but still no make up area. The final solution (top) was much better because the spaces were more functional and well laid out.
January 2010 : Doorways
One of my pet peeves is going into older houses and finding 30 inch doors to bedrooms. I can partly understand this in some really older houses but when I see this in more recent design I begin to wonder why this was done. It make getting furniture much more difficult to get into the rooms and generally i think the door size does not fit the human body very well.
European anthropometrics I think have always been way ahead of North American standards and use of 862mm (34 inch) doors have long been used as standard. When building and designing your new home please consider using a size similar to this or at least look at your options and don’t take the status-quo as a given parameter that can’t be changed.
June 2008 : BIM and ArchiCAD 3 modelling
Hewitt Designs is pleased to announce the major change in work flow with the introduction of using the world class BIM ArchiCAD 3d program from Graphisoft. This is a major leap forward for us and we have settled on this choice of software because it was written by architects for architects. Our design service will now include 3d CAD generated renderings and sketches and the drawings are now created from a virtual model rather than the older generation lines and fills.
One of our first 3d models using ArchiCAD (v11) rendered in Lightworks
May 2005 : Stairs
One of the things I like to do is to create distractions around the staircase. Get the person’s mind off the fact that they are climbing up stairs - make it an interesting journey. There are several and in fact many options and opportunities here and I don’t think stairs generally are fully designed to make us of these design possibilities.
One of the really useful ideas is to design a 10” wide bookcase down the side - you are only using an extra 10 inches but you are making the staircase a valuable area to access this feature as well as function as a staircase. Other was of enhancing the stair journey is to create god light (safety) and in doing so use the opportunity of designing neat window features like the image below. The sculptural form creates interesting surfaces with the natural light flowing onto the feature and makes this item and interesting feature with changing characteristics at different times of the day.
Window feature over staircase
don't spoil a good design by trying to be cool and trendy - good design will stand out on it's own and will last way longer than the current "trend"