If Design J-82 were a professional wrestler, I'd call it "The Intimidator." Huge arches and Palladian windows ripple across the faade of this Mediterranean-style home. A broad, hipped roof looms above. This is a house on steroids.
I'd like to see Design J-82 do a little better on three practical tests for any house plan: the TV Test, the Litter Box Test and the 2 a.m. Toilet Trek Test.
To pass the TV Test, a floor plan should have a clear location for a television in the family room. Most of us are hooked on the tube, and we might as well admit it. Yet, it's surprising how often designers situate windows in family rooms so there is no usable wall surface for a television.
Design J-82 passes the TV Test, if you don't mind sitting with your back to the backyard view. Windows or sliders line three walls of the family room, but the fourth wall can accommodate a TV armoire. An alternative would be to use the shelf wall for a media center, with windows placed high above. Just be sure these windows don't receive direct sunlight, or you'll be squinting as you watch "Inside Edition."
Adopting two cats made me think of the Litter Box Test. To pass the Litter Box Test, a plan should have space in the utility area for the messy fixtures of real life, such as a litter box, vacuum cleaner, ironing board and recycle bins. For a house this large, Design J-82 has a cramped utility room (and a non-existent front hall closet). A designer can help you find more space for life's necessities.
Finally, imagine yourself asleep in that gorgeous master suite. Next, imagine yourself waking at 2 a.m. to use the bathroom. How far must you walk to the toilet? Design J-82 doesn't score too well on the 2 a.m. Toilet Trek test, unless the occupants of the master suite use the hall bath instead. But what did you build the luxury master bath for?
If you're searching for an impressive home, Design J-82 fits that description. Just be sure to balance the practical with the dramatic, to make this design smart as well as stunning.
(What's your personal test for livable home? E-mail Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to HPR Services, P.O. Box 1143, Reidsville NC 27323.)
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