Attempting to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle in St. Louis

Environmentally friendly decisions are tough

1920’s Bungalow Modern Home Retrofit 101 October 17, 2007

Filed under: Design,Green Rehab,Live Green 2.0 — budint @ 1:48 am
Tags: , , ,

So now that Paul (our architect) has described his thought process for designing our rehab, it might be time to share some of the drawings and maybe even that model that was shown in the interview.

Here are some of my comments about the drawings.

1. We wanted to blend the new structure with the old structure in an appealing way.

2. When looking at the North Elevation, think about Paul’s comments regarding the backside of the house not being the back, but “the other front.” A side of the house which often has a very different personality.

3. Notice on the South Elevation the windows at the top. Those are designed to let in the southern sun, as well as provide light to the backside of the house. From those windows to the very back of the house, light is available through Polygal translucent panels.

4. The new exterior fenestration is of similar thickness to the existing brick, so that the transition is not so dramatic.

5. On the west elevation, a side which is visibly blocked by the neighbor’s house, panels are used instead of planks for faster installation and cheaper cost of materials.

6. Also on the southern elevation, one of the 3 windows is functional, which allows hot air to escape via the stack or chimney effect. This will allow for natural ventilation in the home.

7. To preserve the historical look of the home, very few changes will be visible from the street-side. Most passers by probably won’t even notice the new roof line on top of the peak. This was a request going into the design, as our tree-lined neighborhood is very quaint and we didn’t want to disturb that feel.

8. Notice flat portion of new roof. This is to allow for future solar panel installation.

Multiple Elevations

west elev

Before this process I would’ve thought that everything that had to do with home design could be done on a computer. We have 3d rendering and wireframes and the camera that makes you feel like you’re walking thru the space. So what more would you need.

Well, apparently there’s not replacement to an old fashioned model such as the one below. And I’ve found it to be quite useful when trying to understand the proportions and see how the sun would hit the house at different times of the day. yes, you can have Google sketchup replicate the sun’s rays, but this is easier when you’re on site at the house. For those of you at home who are thinking that this is exercise is a piece of cake. Well, I tried it with a 12pack of Diet Dr Pepper box and it wasn’t as easy as I thought it’d be (so be warned).


A key take-away for you would be designers at home: Building a nicely designed house from scratch isn’t all that hard. Building a home with the limitations of an existing structure is what takes the mad skeeeels.


8 Responses to “1920’s Bungalow Modern Home Retrofit 101”

  1. Amy in StL Says:

    Is there a reason all the windows aren’t functional?

  2. budint Says:

    Amy in Stl,

    The reason that those top windows facing the south are not all functional is strictly because of cost. I’m hoping that enough heat can escape thru the single window.

  3. […] I would like someday to have concrete counters like this and a similar (yet less schizoid and big) house like this. You know, cool southern house, but with some full-wall windows and lots of light. […]

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    Jerry Halbmaier
    Construction Ahead, Inc.

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  6. läs Says:

    Thanks for the content you are providing. Love reading your blog!! 🙂

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