After a few months of living in the new home, I have come to a couple of conclusions where form over function was not the best choice in the architectural design. I still love the new house, and I still think that overall it is really well thought out and quite liveable. Like anything though, there is room for a bit of improvement. Where the new house needs help falls into one space, access to the outside. What I mean is this, aesthetics over ruled decisions about access to the home, and placement of doors. Most of the time this isn’t an issue, but since we have had a very rainy summer and fall here in the Midwest I am taking notice.
Lets start with the front door. When the house was designed, there was no consideration for any kind of overhang above the front door. Since the shape of the house is basically a box, this means if you are standing at the front door trying to get in and it’s raining, you are going to get soaked. I understand visually why the threshold to the door is void of any kind overhang. It keeps the lines of the home clean and allows the wood siding to flow to a complete stop as it meets the white aluminum break by the front door. I just keep thinking that the architects could have come up with a solution that gave some level of protection from the elements without sacrificing on aesthetics. The door could have been recessed, or an overhang that mirrored the wood siding could have been placed above it.
My other two problems with the home are the outside entrance to the basement, and the garage door being placed on the far side of the attached garage. In both cases we are talking about choices that were made for visual impact as opposed to every function and use. The garage door is minor. In reality I never use the side door to enter or exit from the garage. I just open the main door and walk in the front. And I completely get why they put the door on the side that faces away from the house. If the door had been placed on the side between the house and the garage, it would have broken the visual flow between the two structures with a large white rectangle. The problem is that for many people, closer access to the garage from the front door is a must. In addition, the ramp that runs from the front door to the stabiligrid walkway, forces you to walk 20 feet out from the house before you can turn and move back to the garage.
As for the basement door, well it’s just a pain in the butt to have to go outside and walk all the way around the house to get to the basement. This is one of those things that I didn’t even think about until I had to do it three or four times in the rain. I’m also starting to wonder what this is going to be like once we have snow here in Kansas City. This goes for the garage as well. I’m not sure of what the exact thinking was when the door to the basement was placed outside the home. I heard at one point that the design decision was based on funding, that there simply wasn’t enough money to build an extra module that would have contained an interior entrance to the basement. The more I look at the house, and the original drawings and plans, the more I am convinced that this was once again an aesthetic choice, not a financial one.
I guess the point of all of this is that while I love the new house, there are a few things I would have done differently based on the climate where the house lives. Based on the need of the occupant versus the aesthetics of the architectural design. Function and Form need to come together to create the best solution for the occupant of the house.