Well, it's official. I signed the new architect's contract, the new architect's assistant came out do verify the previous architect's measurements (I'll call him D), and we (I'll call her L) ahad our first planning meeting.
Although L was about 10k more than any other architect I talked to, her credentials were impeccible. And give the zoning and site constraints on this house, and my want to keep things 'in the style of the original house' I figured every penny I spend in architectural will be worth it. She actually reaffirmed a lot of the though process of the previous architect (and confirmed we should be able to use a lot of D's previous work, which should save some of the rework costs). But she also noted some shortcomings, which I thought was helpful
It was very easy to talk to her, and she explained things very well. When I resisted considering moving a window upstairs a few inches (to potentially expand the bathroom) she calmed my fears about making it look period appropriate and that it wouldn't cost much.
We explored a bunch of options. Raising the house (though that would exacerbate the grading issue), a split level to raise the garage above basement level, regrading the front of the house to get rid of the 2 steps down/walkway/3 steps up (which is also the Indy 500 racetrack for stormwater runoff and is perpetually icy in the winter due to lack of sun). She also encouraged me to really focus our efforts (and my $$) on the existing structure, since the house is really big enough to fit me.
But the shortcomings of this layout are going to be hard to overcome without an addition...because the beautiful views are where the DR and Kitchen are. And I am NOT going open concept. We talked about at least widening the doorway between the LR and DR, using collonades to let the light into the front of the house. We spent a fair time talking about the constraints of the yard and the garage. With the 10 foot drop from the street to the lowest corner of the yard, and a pretty shallow lot, a driveway will pretty much cut the yard in half. I talked to her about my need to have the garage only for car storage, but the garage headroom is a huge issue. Me sad.
And we spent a lot of time talking about the kitchen...she was a little concerned that a 10x12 kitchen was too small, but I reconfirmed that a lot of houses in my town have these smaller kitchens. I think as long as I keep it to a U shape, it's a workable size.
But she knows my immediate wants are a 1/2 bath down, would kill for a woodburning fireplace, and want to really exploit the views. Besides the essentials of a new kitchen and bath!
Heck, I am not against throwing a loveseat into the DR, since I will only be using the table for meals (heck, usually I eat in the LR).
She is going to come back with 3 conceptual ideas...existing footprint only, existing footprint +. and an addition that includes a single car garage (which may be attached or not). Though I have a feeling the single car garage is going to stay on the drawing board until Mr Right comes along or I win the lottery. Maybe at least I can get a shed with heat and electric, so I don't have to haul my car tools out from the basement all the time.
She's leaving for Italy for 2 weeks, so I'm on research duty until then. Good thing, as I just received a bunch of new design books to read up on!
Just a professional gal who loves old houses. Who strives for a balance between city and country living. And who'd like to leverage her new town's bike culture, to get back into gear...both mentally and physically.