Part 2 – Mendoza Residence, Maryland

Part 2 – Mendoza Residence, Maryland (PDF)

  • John Brown


    This is the completed concept design for the Mendoza residence.

  • BradW


    A very busy week, however, here is my attempt.

  • Paul C

    Thank you for the comment yesterday Terri.

    Nice plans John. I like the use of the lowered ceilings as a way to emphasize the remaining 12 foot ceilings.

    Brad W except for a suggested tweak to provide a public bathroom, very nice plan as well. I really like the overall living “area” with it generous proportions. 12 foot ceilings, floor to ceiling windows on two walls, this space would feel really great.

  • BradW

    Paul C – The sliding doors in the second bedroom were intended to allow the space to be reconfigurable. Most of the time the bathroom serves as an ensuite but with the sliding door closed to the bedroom, the bathroom becomes public. I also did not want the wall directly in front of the entry to have a door so it could be used to display art.

    The sliding door between the bedroom and the living room opens to expand the view to the southeast. Probably glass above this door to mimic the exterior windows.

  • Paul C

    Brad W, oops my apologizes I did not see that other door. Thanks for the clarification.

  • BradW


    I did not like the view down the hall towards the master bedroom so I relocated the door as shown.

    The space outlined in red is enclosed to the ceiling and used as storage. (the kitchen/living/dining/bedrooms/master bath have 12′ high ceilings – the remainder are 8′ high).

    Finally, I modified the second bedroom and added a garage door instead of a wall between the it and the living room.

    A fun project John. I think dividing the space as you and Louis have done would probably maximize the developer profits but one large unit could really be amazing.

  • Louis Pereira

    BradW – Nicely done! A well conceived layout for a single 2 Bedroom unit. The simple layout is extremely efficient with a sizeable and open living space for the K, Living and Dining areas.

    Presuming the media and TV are located along the left wall of the Living Rm., my only suggestion would be to mirror the furniture arrangement so that the “L” sectional faces the wall…or perhaps there is no tv and therefore it is just perfect. As someone once said, ‘Having a TV makes you very smart – it makes you want to turn it off and go read a book!”.

  • Louis Pereira


    Some of the spaces created over the last couple of days reminds me of Jennifer Post’s work and some of her apartment projects.

  • Ruth Hasell

    John, I have been a fan of yours since hearing your talk at the AIA convention in San Fransisco this year. Cudos on your growing recognition. I recommend your site regularly to my clients. You do a marvelous job at design education (and design).

    I am also a fan of the site’s participants. Louis, you blow me away generally and for this exercise particularly. I hope you are getting lots of opportunities to build. Brad, I agree with you – although it might not be developmentally optimal, the space could be really terrific as one unit. Paul, you are so right to keep reminding us of the sectional opportunities afforded by the 12 foot ceiling heights.

    I am impressed with the positive tone and encouragement that you show to each other. This kind of environment is a petrie dish for growing a great conversation on home design.

    Thanks to all of you.

  • BradW

    Louis – Where do you find the images?! I think they really capture the intent of what the space could be. Regarding the TV/media, there are so many options almost anything is possible.

  • Terri


    Your idea of not separating the two units with a straight line has created more variety between these units but at the same time offers the same basic square footage–probably a good way to go from a developer’s point of view.

    I had split the two with a straight line, giving the left hand unit more space because it didn’t get the two different views out as the right side would. (My plan is still unfinished at this time–maybe I won’t get to it today either.)

    I like the revised version of your plan with the garage door; however, I got to thinking that this room (with this door) probably wouldn’t be used as a bedroom or else the door would be shut all the time, as no one really wants to look at a bed from the living room space. So that makes it one spectacular den.

    As always, your precedents are great.

  • jim baer


    like all good architects, i could not leave well enough alone.

    i also started to think about the “loft” aspect of the building and a previous design study where john used partial height casework to define spaces within a loft space.

    it is, after all, a downtown commercial / industrial building that may well appeal to young professional singles or childless couples.

    so here is a new layout that tries to maintain a loft type space by using casework to define but not enclose the spaces. and maybe emulates louis’ penchant for a more custom approach to his designs.

  • BradW

    Terri – You are right with the garage door it is more of a den/guest room – the garage door was simply a whim to really open up the space – I kind of like the way it would capture the industrial/raw vibe of the building…definitely a different direction from the chic Post interiors shown by Louis…

    Ruth – Welcome to the site!

  • Terri


    I decided to not cop out and just finish my plan off. I had the benefit of John’s posting, showing the ceiling height differences between the 12-ft and 9-ft. so I kept it low where the bathroom areas area.

    I was more inspired by the west unit (because of all those windows along one side) and also by Paul’s contribution with his outdoor/indoor room, so I included an area of sitting/walking along the middle of that west side, with a wall of plants. This unit also indicates a projection screen for video (I’m imagining some kind of retractable unit that is suspended from a beam up above and can come down at the flick of the switch–if this doesn’t exist…then the seating would have to change to accomodate a regular flat screen TV.)
    Another banquette seating has popped up in my dining area here.(I’m fixated on this kind of seating arrangement, it seems…) A pony wall separates it from the entry.

    The east unit is pretty standard, with the lower ceiling for laundry, bathroom and closets and the rest opened up.

    Oh yeah, I’ve put built-in benches in both entries, but this could be a shelf too.

  • Louis Pereira

    Ruth – Welcome and thanks for the wonderful comments! i never thought to think that we’d be developing a ‘fan’ base. We promise it won’t go to our heads!! ;) “ pictures please!” – Zsa Zsa Gabor.

    I’m certain that John and the rest of are especially proud of the comradery that has developed between all the contributors to this site. And you are right – the postive tone fosters a meaningful discussion on the house design. Not to jinx Slowhome but fortunately, the site and blog has been and hopefully will continue to be free of the ‘little billy’ syndrome plaguing so many other forums.


    BradW – The images are from Jennifer Post’s website. (l love her work!)


    jim baer

    i like your plan how you’ve maintained the openess of the suites – even with the millwork pieces – i’m assuming they wouldn’t go to the u/s of the ceiling. As for the Ensuites, i’ve also seen examples of shower and tub side-by-side as this would concentrate similar plumbing at a single location


    Terri – I’m intrigued by your plan that you were able to create two suites that offer an open plan and one that seems to employ some ‘not so big house’ principles i.e. more intimate main living spaces like the eating nook and Living room.

  • jim baer


    yes, the intention is to keep them several feet short of the ceiling so the space would flow over them. they would be more like large free standing furniture than enclosing walls.

    i don’t quite follow your ensuite, tub / shower comment though.

  • BradW

    Jim – I think your design and comments bring up an important point for the developer – does he want to maintain a true loft feel or does he want to develop more refined spaces. If you look at your design, the developer simply builds the dividing wall, the bathrooms and kitchens leaving the rest of the space for the buyer to finish.

  • Louis Pereira


    Jim – What i was attempting to say was this (attached), which is a variation of your bath layouts…Although, this would work better if you have a curbless shower.

  • Paul C


    I believe there may be code ramifications related to dead end hallways, so this two unit option may not be possible, but hey it’s just a sketch at this stage. I took a page from the idea of alternate entry locations tried on past narrow lot, single family home exercises. What I particularly like is how the doubling up on floor space for circulation, moves the entry further into the middle of the homes and frees up space.

    Just for fun, I placed a little catwalk/library in the middle of Unit A accessed by a ladder. The floor for this would have to be as thin as possible to maximize headroom. The catwalk/library would create soffits over the bed headboard and the entertainment millwork.

    Welcome to the discussion Ruth.

  • Louis Pereira

    Paul – Very nice! though i wondered how well each kitchen would function in a lineal arrangement i.e. no ‘work triangle’. I see unit A has the fridge on the opposite side though, but it’s a fair distance away. It looks like there would be room to re-organise the kitchen to make it function better. i was thinking that you could also integrate a sink as part of the Dining Table in both cases.

  • BradW


    Paul C – Nice detail in the plan…moving the front door solves some problems and creates others..I like the central entry point between the kitchen/dining and living space but both entries (especially in Unit A) are small…

    And Paul in this exercise there is no building code :).

    Louis – is this what you had in mind for Jim (from JenniferPost Design – Miami Beach)?

  • Paul C

    Thanks guys. Louis, with the introduction over the last few years of so many new kitchen devices for residential use (cooling/warming drawers, etc) I wonder if the arrangement of the typical residential kitchen is due for some changes. Maybe I could have utilized some of those features for these layouts. As well, I was attempting to get away from/explore something beyond the galley/breakfast bar kitchen. Like Terri’s nooks, I guess I have an affinity these days for the incorporation of the table into the overall kitchen.

  • MichaelG


    Great discussion today, its a shame I can’t contribute while its ongoing, I can only add my 2 cents at the end…

    Lots of creative concepts too, I see a lot of people picked up on John’s suggestion of turning this into 2 units. That would be ideal for investment purposes, but as a residence, I like the idea of 1 larger unit. Like Brad W and Paul C yesterday.
    Mine is oriented to the south. Minimize the glare from the setting sun. I wanted to have a large entry leading to a large open living/dining space, really emphasize the space in the apartment. The large windows and the high ceilings.

    I also wanted to have a go at utilizing the height, but honestly I have no idea how to present it with paintbrush! I have an idea for a family apartment, with smallish kids bedrooms with loft sleeping platforms. If I have time…

    Love that bathroom Brad!

  • Terri

    Thanks for your comments and for the link to Jennifer Post Design. Post’s designs are almost ethereal with the purity of the white and glassy surfaces. I noticed that the homes on her site that I was most drawn to included a large plant near the large window — the perfect place for the right greenery (Kroner used this plant as a focal point at the end of a hall.) She also uses large flowers in vases for a contrasting structure and colour in an otherwise more linear and black-and-white colour scheme.

  • Terri

    I see your intention of a central circulation in the plan above, but it seems you lose a little too much area. Unit B seems to have a very tight living room. I do like your library/catwalk idea (once the books have been hauled up there!).

    As I just looked back at the plan, I got to wondering if the hidden hallway to the units is not so “Slow.” It would require 24-hr artificial lighting. Sour grapes award goes to me, I guess. To soften the taste, let me say that I still like your plan from yesterday the best of all.:)

  • Anonymous

    BradW – Yes, that’s exactly what i had in mind. Good find!


    PaulC – I can totally appreciate your view for shaking things up with respect to kitchen layout. And you’re right, there are so many interesting new products out there. Have you seen the Wolf 15″ Steamer?…Great for slow food cooking! Speaking of which, this discussion of kitchen layout also reminded me of this forward thinking concept by Donald Chung Studio (Toronto) – “Small Fridges Make Good Cities” – i’m sure you’ll find this interesting as it reminded me of your Kitchen designs in both units…

    MichaelG – This is another great single unit design. I don’t recall seeing it mentioned in your text, but I love how you made use of the spaces between each outer structural column. I am assuming this is millwork along the outer edge of the apartment, used for either display or to hold books.

    Terri – I’ve been following Jennifer Post’s work for a few years now and i always find her projects inspiring. Perhaps it’s her minimalist approach, but i do like how she manages to add softness with those small details you described. Love that Bernar Venet sculpture too in the Miami Beach project. I am currently working on a design for a client who just purchased a Venet piece who would like to have placed in the landscape.

  • Louis Pereira

    ^…Oops, lost my identity – that was me!

  • MichaelG

    Louis, yes, thats exactly what it is.

  • Paul C

    Michael G
    Your solution works extremely well for its simplicity and the resulting room sizes. I agree, I think it would achieve the emphasis of space that you sought. My only comment (and it’s minor), if there was a way to reduce the number of doors in the entry such that wall space there could be freed up. This may also help that space feel a little more “defined” as opposed to maybe a corridor, otherwise again GREAT plan.

    You are absolutely correct with the potential darkness of that corridor. Good call/catch. Earlier on, I had actually considered having all sides as glass walls, in particular at the end to take advantage of the natural light beyond, but just didn’t run with it. Given the higher ceilings, maybe deep transoms along the entire hallway would also help.

    Awesome kitchen/display. I am a HUGE fan of crisp joinery. Like Brad W, where do you come by these unending sources of examples!?! It’s amazing and thank you for continually sharing.

    Have a nice weekend everyone.