Here they are! The final architectural plans.

I had planned several posts describing the many iterations and phases of the process. But I’ll spare you the details and give a quick summary.

We started developing the plans in earnest in the middle of the summer of 2016 and applied for permits in March or April of 2017, with many rounds of revisions and a lot of work by engineers, surveyors, and architects in the middle. We enjoyed working with our architects Ryan and Gentry. They were patient with us and provided much-needed professional input. This period also amplified what we already knew about our work styles. I like to plan all of the details so that I know that the whole design is going to work (be build-able, evoke the right emotion, connect visually, etc.) while Kylee wants to jump in and start building. We compromised. We balance each other pretty well and are grateful for each other’s natural tendencies.

After design, we struggled through the permitting process for three rounds of revisions, each requiring a 4-6 week review by the county. Some of the revisions seemed necessary. Others felt ridiculous. We experienced the most frustration when the reviewers would request changes to design elements that they didn’t mind in earlier review rounds. We also made the mistake of beginning our application online. In Maricopa County, once you start online you must submit everything via their terrible portal. The system is so bad that the employees hate using it, so you get second class treatment. It felt like we would NEVER get permits.

We finally got wise and made appointments to meet with a couple of the reviewers. We were pleased to discover that they were very nice and accommodating despite being swamped with an unrealistic workload. Meeting in person allowed us to get feedback in an hour that would have taken 4-6 weeks required another round of revisions otherwise. Plus, we now had their verbal commitment that this would be the last round of revisions. I highly recommend meeting with your reviewers as early as possible in the process if you get the chance.

We threw a party the day we received our permit. Here are some screenshots from the document.

This is the first level floor plan. I know you can’t see all of the details. You’ll have to come visit us if you’re that interested in the layout. Some basics, though:  There are two structures – one is the primary living area and the other is the garage plus small guest casita. The main building consists of three volumes. The west volume is the kitchen, pantry, and mud room. Its roof line runs north to south and it’s one level. The middle volume is the great room. Its roof line runs east to west and connects the other volumes. The east volume is the office and master suite on the first level. Its roof line runs north to south.

Once I start showing pics of the actual building, you’ll see architectural details that help connect these spaces while also providing them with their own identities when you’re inside of them. Symmetry and asymmetry are both used to subtly define spaces. Window sizing and alignment also plays a big role in establishing the spaces and both shrinking and elongating the feel of hallways and rooms.

The second level floor plan shows the kids’ bedrooms and laundry room. We like having our kids share bedrooms – it builds character. We have two girls and two boys, so this works out perfectly. To reduce the fighting that often accompanies our morning routine, we put a full bathroom in each of the kids’ rooms. The vanity space is accessed directly from the bedroom, and separate shower and toilet rooms open from the vanity area.

Here’s the north (front) elevation. The volumes on the east and west are vertical board and batten siding painted white. The middle volume is horizontal rainscreen siding painted grey. The roof is standing seam galvalume. The lower window areas on the east and west volumes are inset and the rainscreen siding surrounds those windows, providing some visual continuity among the three volumes.

Here’s the west elevation. In the background is the 2-level east volume of the house. In the foreground to the left is the kitchen portion of the house. To the right is the garage structure. Its siding and roof are made from corrugated mild steel, which we’ll allow to rust.

Here’s the south elevation.

And here’s the east elevation.

This is a cross section of the house, viewing it from the south side. From left to right, you are seeing the mud room, kitchen, and great room. Then downstairs you see a mechanical closet and master bathroom while upstairs you see the landing area at the top of the stairs.

This section views the bedroom volume from the south. You see the master suite on the bottom, kids bath area in the middle, and the attic/loft space above the bathrooms on the top.

This is the view of the kitchen from the east.

This shows the bedroom volume from the east side. From left to right downstairs:  master bedroom, master vanity, master toilet, shower, master closet, and office. Upstairs: kids room #1, kids vanity space, laundry room, landing at the top of the stairs, kids vanity space, and kids room #2. You can also see the loft spaces above the kids’s bathrooms and laundry room.

This cross section views the garage volume from the north. You can see how some well-designed trusses leave ample space above the garage for creative uses down the road.

As a bonus, here’s an early rendering of the main living space, looking east and viewed from the kitchen.

Dustin Smith

Author Dustin Smith

Dustin is the father of four awesome kids and works as a consultant and entrepreneur in the entertainment attractions industry.

More posts by Dustin Smith

Leave a Reply