Part 1 – Gonzales Residence, Philadelphia

Part 1 – Gonzales Residence, Philadelphia (PDF) | Part 1 – Gonzales Residence, Philadelphia (JPEG)

  • Louis Pereira

    I had a difficult time with this one and though i came up with a few options, i’m not entirely satisfied with either. I did like however, the option to have the kitchen along the top wall for each layout rather than its current location.

    OPTION 1:

    i attempted to reverse the MB and Guest Bedroom in the first layout but didn’t like the result – in fact, it gets messy. I felt the 2 doors into the patio became redundant so i converted the one off the Living room to a window.

    OPTION 2 + 3:

    For Options 2 and 3, i adhered to the Demolition Plan and turned the existing closets into a sizeable Ensuite with good closet space within the MB.

    The entry closet is now aligned with the Hall separating the communal and privates rooms. The only difference between each is the Kitchen configuration.


  • Andree Iffrig

    John, I think this technique you’ve developed for enabling lay people to enter into the design process is brilliant. I found I listened avidly to every word, wondering how I would handle this design assignment. Of course, it is the client who matters most.

    I plan to feature your work at and celebrate the slow home movement.

    Best, Andree Iffrig, M.E.Des. (Arch)


  • John Brown

    I agree with you about option one. Although the allure of the two windowed master is pretty strong I wasn’t able to come up with a scheme that I was pleased with either. Of the two options for the kitchen I prefer option 2 as I think the penninsula in option 3 conflicts the dining room. I also like the intimacy of the seating area in the old kitchen.

  • John Brown


    Thank you for your help in getting the word out about slow home. I believe that the current state of the economy creates an ideal opportunity to learn more about the principles of good design so that when things improve we are all able to make better choices than were made in the past about where and how we can live.

  • Tony

    Can i ask a question? Is there a hallway to another unit across the wall by the front door? i guess I have 2 questions. Is there no fridge in the original plan?

  • John Brown

    There is a hallway behind the wall adjacent to the door. The fridge is located to the left of stove. I apologize if the details are too light to see.

  • Louis Pereira

    A couple more layouts i wanted to experiment with – this time with the Kitchen tucked in to the NW corner. John has espoused the advantages of doing this a number of times on past design projects.

    The Entry closet facing the Dining Room may be a bit daring, but i think it work, especially with the right finishing…


  • John Brown

    Thanks for continuing to explore the options.

    The interesting thing about these two schemes is how they privilege the kitchen by putting it closer to the terrace. Given that the kitchen is listed as the most important space for the client and she lists cooking as one of her hobbies, this could arguably make a lot of sense. Of the two I think I prefer the first one (although it is very close) because the peninsula in the second seems to make the space right in front of the door to the terrace feel a little left over.

    Does anyone else agree with that reading?

    In terms of the closet, I don’t see a problem with the coat closet opening onto the dining room – if, as you say, it was finished as a piece of millwork.

    Isn’t it interesting to see how nuanced the variations are. It underscores your comment about the advantages of working up multiple alternatives for a project.

  • Paul C

    All excellent options however, I am still a fan of option 1 actually, from your earlier post. What I like about option 1:
    • Proportional spaces/all the spaces feel right compared to each other
    • A guest bath that serves the second bedroom
    • Defined entry hall suitable for definition and detailing
    • Master in the corner with two windows/closets
    • Minimal plumbing disruption
    • The kitchen millwork could be extended into the dining
    • Eating bar location is well positioned

    If the choice of master bed placement is between: under the window in the bedroom with one window or under the window in the bedroom with two windows, I would take the two window bedroom. A little cross ventilation during a Philly summer would be a very nice thing.

  • Louis Pereira

    Thanks for the feedback Paul,

    I admit it was certainly my first option i wanted to tackle when i started the exercises. Assigning the MB to the 3 pc. Bath and the room with 2 windows made a lot of sense, but I struggled with the result of the choppy separation wall. If only we could shift the smaller most northern window up a bit further, then I could run the new MB Closet along the entire separation wall.

    I’ve attached another version of Option 1 with minor revisions that I think improve this Layout – see attached.

    I also struggled with the idea of eating up precious floor space by adding another Hallway of sorts, off the Guest Bath, but the upside is that it serves as you say, the Bedroom as well as visitors.


    John – Does the attached revised plan change your opinion of Option 1?…


  • Grace

    Louis–YES to your #1 of your 2nd series. If I had been able to figure out how to use mac paintbrush for the exercise, I would have situated the kitchen in the same way. What a great place to cook and with a more natural egress to the garden.

  • John Brown

    I think this version of the corner master bedroom works better. One big issue that would need to be clarified with the client is whether a 2 piece bath is sufficient for her son’s use. It would mean that they would have to share the master bathroom in the mornings.