I'm working on a new project and the client saw a house that inspires him
("Chateaux des Reves" by Architect John C. Henry).
The house can be seen here: http://dreamhomedesignusa.com/case_study.htm
[However, the link to Good Morning America's story on the house is dead.
Anyone happen to catch it?]
We're in the very early stages (site has been picked and bought, we're
working on writing the program and determining budget, etc.)
This client so far has been a dream client, (his favorite answer to any
design question is "whatever you think would be best, as long as it's really
nice" and he's answer to budget questions is always "whatever it costs, I
want it done right"). In the next week or so I'll be sitting down with the
client and the builder to really hash out a firm budget ($200/s.f. has been
thrown out but we need to find out how much above that we can go).
Anyone have any good additional info/pictures that would fit with this
"style"? His original design desire was "Traditional French Colonial", them
he saw this house and wants something fairly similar. Appreciate any/all
help and/or pointers.
PS - Let the FAQ flames begin!
I liked this bit
" It is a study of classical proportion in plan and elevation. "
Er.......no it aint
And why oh why is that site right click disabled? like that's going to stop
Michael (LS) wrote:
We have a guru lurking in the mix :-)
Thanks for the tip
BTW a kludge I discovered was if you wanted a copy of a picture that was
Open a new email message
Drag and drop the pictures into the email
And then mail it to yourself :-)
The way I do it is to just (using Internet Explorer) >FILE>SEND>SEND PAGE BY
EMAIL and waa-laa!
Not that I would EVER copy an image without first a getting written release
from the copyright holder....
Looks like a disaster to me... $200/sq. ft. ain't gonna cut it. Closer
"Traditional French Colonial"? Just in the details, right? The plan is
fully 21st century?
I dunno...I've done a project or two like this and it's never ended
well...unless the client had more money than sense (and usually they
don't have the more money very long).
Up here in the NY tristate 'burbs, you'd be hitting the $500-600SF range in
the blink-of-an-eye. I'm doing a Tuscan Villa style right now, it'll be all
stucco exterior, drywalled interior (no exposed beams and ceilings etc) and
it's getting very difficult to keep inside $250SF
LOL... "you want to buy the appliances yourself?" "GREAT idea!"... "AND
all the hardware??? GREAT idea... AND the floor materials??? GREAT
idea... and all the trim for doors and windows??? GREAT idea!!!"
I just realized that the $200/s.f. wasn't stated clearly/correctly. It's
actually "$200/s.f. with an unfinished basement". If the house ends up
~7500s.f. that's ~$1,500,000. of which only ~5000 s.f. would be finished
(the basement would be insulated but not wired, plumbed, sheetrocked, etc.).
At the next meeting I'll run approxiamate footage numbers past the builder
and client and we can start "firming up" the budget.
Yeah, the problem is the client can't say "what" he likes about the house,
only that he likes it. When pressed, he can only point out things he
doesn't like. Show him a photo and he's pretty good about giving feedback,
ask him what/why and it gets cloudy. LOL, that's why I was looking for
photos of potentially similiar styled houses so that he could say yeah/nay
to the details (i.e. he loves arches, he hates the stone on the "inspiration
At this point it seems the "sense" is what's lacking. The homeowner really
doesn't care as long as it's re-sellable. The money/budget hopefully we'll
hammer out soon.
Thanks for your input,
Your client might in fact like and prefer a house that may be closer to
something those such as Chris or I might approve of... if not ABC's 'Good
Morning America'. :)
I like elements of the house, myself, but to get what I wanted out of it,
I'd want to seriously rip out, add to, scale back and reconfigure many of
Some of the interior treatments I'd keep as they are quite attractive, if
Of course, after I got through with it, it would be a totally different
The tall roofs. The many roofs. The articulation of the front. The general
heavy massing. The adequately "impressive to guests" entry. At a guess "big
Not an easy question. Consider that client is thinking "do I like the doors
or the chimney?" when you are asking "do you like the proportions or the
articulation..." Client may well not know that the specifics of what he
likes actually exist.
Not a bad idea at all, but if I've hit some of the target re:
massing/articulation then you might miss the big correct answer.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 11:16 AM
Subject: Re: Anybody know this house?
Yep, he actually thinks the pitch is not steep enough. In the photo it
looks like a 6:12 and the front elevation rendering looks more like a 10:12.
The client has asked me to do the prelim drawings at something along the
lines of a 12-14:12.
Actually, since the client has only seen the one front photo (which doesn't
really show the roofs/rooms on the left and right sides) he won't be
disappointed when I show him his "simplified" house.
Yep, he definitely like the massing, though what I'm going to show him will
be quite a bit different - if you take the front elevation and lop off the
sides (which the lower s.f. forces us to address) the house is way out of
scale. Obviously what I'm working on is going to be a totally different
Unfortunately, this is far too often the goal of some clients. I'm working
on "educating" him on the importance of living in a "great home" rather than
a house "impressive to guests".
Yes, I find it almost always easier to get a firm handle on clients
likes/dislikes about the details. Massing/proportions are trickier to get a
feel for and usually require a broader sampling of examples to determine
(i.e. they may like the massing but say they don't because what they really
don't like is the exterior cladding.)
True. He's actually has some fairly firm ideas about room layout which will
drastically effect what can/can't be done with the exterior massing (i.e.
the Great Room, Dining Room, Kitchen and Nook all are to be on the rear of
the house and all are to be 2 stories with the Bedrooms at the front being
able to look down into those spaces). Like always, this client is learning
that what they thought they wanted isn't necessarily what they do want (or
at least not for the reasons they thought). The only room I've agreed
can't/won't move is the Den, which is being positioned to take advantage of
the view of the waterfall and creek.
Appreciate your help & insight,
PS - Sorry about emailing you this reply, I hit the wrong button! I blame
Micro$oft for making the reply buttons RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER!!!
My problem with owning that type of house is the diversion
of labor. I'd need to have someone to wash windows for my
aggrandizement, when that person could be usefully employed.
As a youngster I was rather uncomfortable with the servants
being servile. I did know it was a good way to get people out
of Europe (post WW2) and get work and experience in North
America and so that was a good thing, and they never had to
work very much, and could focus their studies on the new
culture, I can understand doing that.
But today, employing people to maintain my properties seems
awfally deficient, unless you're famous and you have too.
Don was asking about vaulted ceilings up north. Well in
Muskoka ont, thats a new fad. Friend of mine put up a 2.5
story cottage and has south exposed glass on most of that
wall, with dinky triangle windows at the top. So, knowing
he's not a man of financial means, asked whose going to
clean the windows. He says decided they'll never get dirty.
I shut-up, but we all know about pollen, and people actually
fart inside a house...well you know...living in a building
dirties walls and windows, by occupation.
Ken S. Tucker
PS: Being an infrequent poster, I'm the guy building a 20x20
experimental cabin. Just got 8 4'x10' floor panels completed,
finally figured out how to do that on the 8th.
PSS: It's a good thing I post to this group. You Archies
live in a world divorced from the reality of ergonometics.
Another story: Friends of ours built a dream home, actually
partially practical. In 2 years the place was covered with
clothes on the floor, yuck. The wife was a nudist and good
looking, but she would stand in front of her black frig for
hours admiring the reflection of herself.
Another story: A child friend of mine had a castle like
house perched on Scarboro Bluff in the Toronto area, and
I got to know the mom. After a while she would talk to me,
and explained she only used the kitchen and the breakfast
nook - aside from her bedroom - she, BTW was real smart.
Another story: Near the same as last...mom given huge
kitchen, must walk 20 feet to go from frig to stove, drove
her near crazy, she divorced the man that gave her that
The moral of the story:
Houses are for girls, homes are for women.
Mustn't forget to draw pictures of pretty things.
A common shortcoming among snapshot takers. "Isn't this a great picture?"
No, it's a really really shitty picture of something that was probably quite
True, unfortunitly at this point there have been no pointers to What you and
Chris like (just that this house isn't it). I'm not agreeing/disagreeing
with everyone's thoughts on the house. I personally like some of the
details/elements but find the overall interior "gaudy". The exterior IMHO
isn't too bad though I'd definately change some things (like losing the
"turret", using different stone, etc.) My project is going to be
significantly different for a number of reasons (i.e. s.f. is going to be
less than 1/3, and that'll be over 3 floors, not 2). For instance, the
front elevation (the color sketch shows more of the elevation than the photo
does) won't have the octagonal room on the right, no turret, and none of the
spaces/rooms on the left that protrude out past the entry (I'm unsure if
that's the garage or guest house).
Yes, what we're going to end up with will be much different if for no other
reason than the footprint will be 1/4 the size.
I agree, luckily most of the stone (columns, fireplace, etc.) we can get for
dirt cheap (which will really help the budget). The HomeOwner wants to use
a fair amount of stone because he can get it at a signifacant discount
(though if I'm not careful he'll put a stone sculpture in ever nook and
cranny! He said he wanted stone lions flanking the drive, one every 10' up
the drive and I've convinced him that's too much lawn ornamentation, so at
this point he gets one on each side and that's it!).
I've prep'ed him for that. At the square footage we're talking about the
house is going to end up a SIGNIFICANTLY different scale and therefore a lot
of the elements/details will be scaled appropriately for his house, and not
like something he saw on a 18000 s.f. behemoth.
Appreciate your thoughts/comments,
I agree, it CAN be a nightmare. This project is really just me and the
client. Since the builder has already selected, I've invitied him to join
some of these early discussions. At this point his role is solely to advise
on rough budget issues (he's been in the business for 25 years and his
"rough" numbers tend to be more accurate than a lot of builders "contract"
numbers. IMO, at this stage it's nice to be able to bounce the potential
numbers off him.
Yeah, that sounds like the ideal client/project. Unfortunitly, those types
don't come along every day (at least IME)
That's pretty similiar to the way I normally work when I'm hired by the
homeowner. I like to get rough numbers very early in the process (and
sometimes a couple of updates throughout) so that the design & budget meet
at the end. I've gotten quite a few jobs where the homeowners hired an
architect who designed with NO regard for their budget. I did a job last
year where I was hired to draw up CD's (I was given the schematic drawings)
for a custom home and nobody bothered to ask the homeowner (who spent
$32,000 on the schematic sketches) what their budget was. The homeowners
wanted to spend $800k and the design was 7600 s.f. (and not a cheap
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