Turning a Home in Texas into a Slow Home – Part 2

In the conclusion to this week’s “From Fast to Slow” segment, John and Matthew present three separate redesigns that turn a Texas fast house into a Slow Home.

  • Brad W

    Great segment. The bedroom needs a door but that is really beside the point as the house really comes to life with your changes.

  • Frances GF

    Hi John and Matthew, I was very excited to have a design to work on!

    There was some awkwardness with the bedrooms. A bedroom with two doors, three linen closets and colliding doors! I combined two of the closets a create one large linen closet, and across the hall a laundry space.

    The study is separated from the front entrance by a partial wall of bookcases, a bench and a five foot closet. The entrance door from the garage was flipped to keep the traffic out of the kitchen proper.

    The kitchen layout was not changed too much, an island and a full height pantry was added. The stairs were opened up and widened.

    Full height windows and two garden doors were added to the living dining area. The closets on either side of the fire place were replaced with built in consoles.

  • http://slowhomestudio.com John Brown

    Hi Frances,
    Thanks for working on the design along with us. I like your plan. My only real concern is that you have to walk diagonally through the kitchen to get to the living area. It is a little awkward. Otherwise, well done!

  • http://slowhomestudio.com John Brown

    Hi BradW,
    Good eye. Matthew noticed the lack of a door in the bedroom right after we finished the segment. A silly oversight on my part. He also predicted that you would be the first to comment about it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/k.g.newcomer Kyle Newcomer

    Thanks again for taking on my house. I’ve spent hours thinking about different configurations and trying to solve the puzzle, and it’s really helpful to have John & Matthew as well as the community here at SHS offer your re-imaginations of the floor plan.

    Here are some of the things I liked the most:
    - The use of a partial partition or piece of millwork to separate the entry from the office. I knew that a hallway-like entry wasn’t ideal, but couldn’t really think of a different solution.
    - The reorientation of the kitchen was something I had just begin to think about, but seeing your design really helped to see how it would help the flow from the entry through to the living room.
    - I like everything you did with the Living Room. It is our favorite part of the house, and I think the changes you suggest will make it more efficient and more enjoyable. You were exactly right about the French Doors. We don’t use them for anything more than a large window right now.

  • http://profiles.google.com/k.g.newcomer Kyle Newcomer

    Two Questions:
    1. Would it be advantageous at all to move the door from the house into the garage around the corner into the new entry space?
    2. Is the space behind the new range location intended to be storage?

  • http://slowhomestudio.com John Brown

    Glad you like the suggestions and thanks for contributing to the discussion today. To answer your questions:

    I would definitely consider moving the door from the garage around the corner. I was going to make that change but, not knowing the construction details, didn’t want things to get too expensive.

    In terms of the space behind the stove, I thought of it as storage. Again, not wanting to increase the costs and without knowing the details about the stair construction I thought the simplest thing to do would be to remove the stairs and close it in as a closet.

  • Anonymous

    Hello John and Mathew,

    I have a question as to how is the space accessed, where the old access stair to the family room stood. If it is still at the same level to the kitchen would you consider it to be a pantry, accessed from the kitchen?

    Also, I like Kyle’s idea to switch the door to the garage to the new entry space and swing it into the garage.

    What are your thoughts behind having a 6’-0” wide stair and would you also consider using a 6’-0” French Wood Sliding door instead of a swinging door.

  • Brad W

    I notice things like a missing door. The trades I work with really hate that about me :).

  • Steve in Van

    Moving the livingroom access closer to the entry is the key to making this plan feel whole (as opposed to an awkward addition). I prefer J&M’s kitchen arrangement to mine, but like Francis I think the former hallway would be a great pantry. As for the den/study, I swapped it for the 2nd bedroom — it could be as open or closed to other living spaces as the family likes. Left in the front I think it reads like a reno. IMO

  • http://slowhomestudio.com John Brown

    In answer to your first question about the old access space, I have to say it depends on how it is constructed and where the higher floor plate stops. Once the stair is removed there will be some space for storage at the lower level. Depending on the floor plate there may also be some space on the kitchen level. While this could be used as a pantry I think that interrupting the counter surface to gain access would cause too big a disruption to the kitchen. At this point my sense is that it should be accessed from the lower level.

    In terms of the stair width, my general advice would be to make them as wide as possible in order to increase the connection to the living room. The counter argument to that is that every inch of additional stair is an inch less of counter space. Further discussion with the client would help determine the correct balance between these two.

    Finally, I would certainly consider a sliding door instead of a swing door, and I would try to make it as large as possible.

  • http://slowhomestudio.com John Brown

    Thanks for posting another option for the project. I really like your idea of putting the office in the back because it opens up the connection to the kitchen. If the office doesn’t need much enclosure, I think that this could increase the livability of the house substantially. If the study needs to be very private then I think you lose a lot of the advantages.

    Maybe Kyle will let us know what his needs are for that room.

    The one downside to this scheme is the quality of the front entry. It really becomes nothing more than a hallway.