Why build a house that looks like a doublewide?
The exterior of Design K-43 -- with a shallow roof pitch, small front stoop, unadorned facade and end gable with windows -- looks like a mobile home style that's popular in my area of the country.
Owning a manufactured home is an affordable way for many folks to break into the housing market. However, the trade-off for affordability is often a mass-produced look. If you build a stick-built home like Design K-43 (and pay stick-built prices), customize the design so it exactly suits your needs and it looks the way you want it to. This is something you cannot do with most manufactured housing.
The interior layout of Design K-43 is more appealing than the exterior. For one thing, this home has a serious mudroom. Northern readers regularly remind me how convenient it is to have a mudroom for storing coats and winter gear. Readers in warmer climates are just as enthusiastic about mudrooms for storing big beach towels and boogie boards. A large mudroom also helps offset the limitations of a small kitchen by providing storage for small appliances and cleaning supplies.
A shallow roof may look a bit boring on the outside, but at least, on the inside, it lowers the cathedral ceiling to a height that is easier to heat than a double or triple height ceiling. Also, for a small house, Design K-43 has a living room that's roomy enough for both furnishings and people. When visitors enter the living room from the foyer, I think the view through this room to the deck will definitely draw a "Wow!"
We expect architecturally designed homes to provide three unique qualities: firmness, commodity and delight. One way to convey a sense of firmness or permanence is by using a mix of natural materials on a home's faade and by building on a brick or stone foundation. One way to convey a sense of commodity or usefulness is by providing convenient storage and a layout that is easily navigated and furnished. One way to convey a sense of delight or "wow!" is by including an unexpected design feature such as a surprisingly large living room in an otherwise modest house.
Design K-43 comes close to having these qualities. With a few changes to the faade -- a box or bay window in the blank wall next to the entry, a deeper entrance deck (which also will create a larger closet for the bedroom inside), and a mixture of natural materials on the exterior -- this home will acquire a personality all its own.
(Emily Smith is a senior consultant with HPR Services based in Reidsville, N.C.)
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.