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Collaborating with an Architect: Edgehill Part 02

Have you ever wondered what happens during the design phase between an architect and a designer? Today we're giving you part two behind the curtain of design meetings, drawing markups, and the nitty-gritty details that have to be worked out before we ever break ground on new construction!

We've been deep in the design phase of this very special family project for the last few months. Our team is working with my architect brother, Trevor Miller, AIA, to design a dream home for my Dad and my stepmom Julie in the Santa Ynez Valley of California. If you missed the back story, catch up right here before diving into the plans for this very special home!

Client requests

As we do with all of our clients, we had an in-depth meeting to discuss what specific things Dad and Julie were looking for in this home. As a reminder, their list of must-haves were as follows:

  1. Single Story Home

  2. Ability to Age in Place

  3. Enough Space to Fit Family + Friends When They Visit

  4. Indoor + Outdoor Feel

  5. Area to Entertain

Throughout these discussions, the design keywords that came forward for them were "earthy, traditional, elegant, farmhouse." One goal that is also a bit unique to this project is that they both wanted to be able to use as much of their current furniture as possible in the new house (but lucky for us, that house was one of my first projects, so I know exactly what we're working with).

At the risk of overwhelming you with a ton of information, we split this phase of the project into two posts! Today we're covering how these goals manifested in the primary bedroom and bathroom, as well as the closets and office space.

You'll notice we included the first set of original plans, and then a set of redlines that we, as the interior design team, suggested or added in, both in collaboration with Trevor and his team, and my Dad + Julie. So thankful that it has been such a collaborative process, with so much respect from all sides! It truly will end up being such a better project in the end because of all the feedback + perspectives shared.

One other thing to note... design is not linear. You have to start somewhere, and then there is back and forth between function, aesthetics, budget, and all the other details and considerations that go in to a project of this scale. I am showing you two versions below, but there have been several other iterations between these, and still a few more that will likely happen before plans are fully submitted for permits, as well as revisions and change orders that inevitably pop up during construction. It's all part of the process, but I love watching it all unfold and shift over time.

Primary Bedroom and bathroom

In this first iteration, the primary bathroom touted a built in tub wall, and separate vanity sinks. The linen storage closet was relegated to the entry hallway into the bedroom, and the bed faced the entry door rather than the view. There was also one set of double doors to access the patio.

Knowing the existing furniture they were using from their primary bedroom, we thought it made more sense to move the bed wall, as well as to take advantage of the view. While the house will, no doubt, be gorgeous, I would rather wake up to a view of the Santa Ynez valley! This shift enabled the addition of a fireplace, and add in two sets of double doors, all of which gave us a sense of symmetry in the bedroom. We loved the idea of doing a double sided fireplace that could be enjoyed from the patio as well, but as of now, we're sticking to single sided!

Moving the bed and nightstands also made the angled wall feel tight, so you'll see how Trevor worked through that in the next plan.

Widening the bedroom entrance to a double door entry allowed the linen storage closet to shrink and move into the bathroom area, and the bathroom entrance to be angled, so we could add a short 90 degree wall to enclose the bedroom. Now there is plenty of space for their existing larger nightstands (except after all of that, we'll be getting them new furniture in there anyway! Haha, told you design was a process!)

The bathroom evolved to a freestanding tub in front of a large window, adjoining sinks and a vanity area on the opposite side.

Primary closets and office

The initial plans had a split walk in closet situation, an angled toilet room, a long shower with a changing area next to it, and a large office space.

Through the red line drawing phase, we saw a need for a secondary office in one of the other bedrooms, so we paused on planning out the primary office until other things were more set.

I knew they had a furniture piece that would work in the entry, with a shoe bench built in on the other side, so that was another call out in this phase.

Another detail to note - if you are designing around a space where you will age in place, consider a large shower and changing area to accommodate a wheelchair, with a zero entry shower where you have no curb to impede you. Planning ahead will be worth the cost and time, because it's never a good time to retrofit a home in the midst of major life changes or crises.

The angled office turned out to be creating more inefficient corners and spaces than it was worth, so the plan became much more rectilinear. The split walk in closet can be accessed at the same distance from the bedroom and bathroom in this plan, and the coat closet backs up to the toilet room, taking the same amount of depth.

The shower widened to have a shower head each on opposite walls, and his and hers benches in the changing area to hold each of their towels and clothing hooks.

The office also widened to accommodate a credenza, two bookshelves, and a safe along the walls, and an executive desk floating the middle of the room. Since my dad is retired, it will be more of a den than an "office", but he will still have his favorite Broncos fan items adorning the walls!

We also had time to devote to scaling out appropriate furniture in the living room, which shows a big sectional, two large chairs, two ottomans, a side table and a coffee table in this iteration. We will all be in this area the most when we're together, so it was important to have enough seating for a good amount of us to be comfortable. Still very preliminary, but it's a start, and it will continue to develop as the project progresses.

At this point, we have HOA approval, and Trevor and his team are working on construction documents and a permit set of drawings. We're hoping to have plans submitted in the next few weeks, which means we're gearing up for a lot of waiting! In the meantime, we're moving forward with Dad and Julie to select finishes, plumbing, and lighting for each of the spaces. Stay tuned for those posts - we'll share more throughout the summer so you can see this all come to life!



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