A FAMILY HOMESTEAD
A young couple has undertaken to build a future manifested in a small shelter which holds its hopes and plans for a family and home. It is a structure which is constructed close to the life they intend to cultivate, near chosen work and potential friends.
Just as real as the small building which one sees built on the land are the designs for the expansion and evolution of the building into the home which will serve the coming family well through generations of its existence. It is planned; it is definite; it is flexible.
This couple’s dwelling is comprised of few spaces of simple finish, but the structure is well constructed, well organized, and the spaces are generous in size. The envelope of the house includes non-conditioned space into which the household can expand. It contains a screened porch to open the living space during temperate weather; a large attic as storage or protected play area in inclement weather.
This small dwelling is a compact investment which serves to direct common living expenses into real estate equity while the couple begins to grow a family. As children arrive and start to grow, more space is needed to cultivate the family. The resources which have been invested in the core house, as well as the savings from not carrying the cost of extra construction for years in which it is not needed, are available to expand the house with a bedroom wing. The kitchen would be replaced. Bathrooms would be added. The attic would be developed. In addition, an attached garage, a foyer and a pantry are planned to complete a house in which any family could flourish. The finishes and decorations would differentiate it over time, although the house is identifiable as one of many houses of a type.
There may be a point in the fortunes of the couple’s family when the lifestyle and desires expand beyond the standard home. In the planning of the structure is expansion to support a family’s expression of themselves and the image they have cultivated. The front of the house is organized for the development of a new public face which would contain these special spaces.
In one scenario the couple has developed a social persona and has created a set of formal rooms in which it would be joyful to entertain, separate from the family living space. A formal living room, a formal dining room, an elaborate foyer and a library / guest suite would serve such a family at this stage of life. The presentation of the house on the street is transformed with this addition.
The second floor spaces are less used as the couple’s children grow up and leave home. At first, the second floor serves as the place for the children to return, but the returns become less frequent, and less needed as the children succeed and grow in life, the second floor has been planned to be separated as a distinct apartment through an enclosed stair with its own entrance, in order to adjust the size of the original household to a logical size and single story configuration as the couple ages.
As time passes the couple ages further and their grandchildren grow up. The needs and desires for space are exchanged, in stages for the needs and desires for care. The house is large and represents a resource. The resource could be exchanged with a grandchild, in a staged process, to establish a next generation of the family in the house for the care that proximity of their family could offer as the grandparents finish their life. That branch of the family would start out in the apartment on the second floor while the grandparents are still independent.
The apartment is connected to the home through an enclosed stair. while the two households are separate, the stair offers privacy, but, as the grandchild’s family needs to grow, and the grandparents need less space but more care, the stair connects the households. The grandparent(s) give up space, allowing the new family to grow into the space downstairs making the households one.
This relieves the grandparent(s) of the responsibility of maintaining their own household.
The life of the grandparent(s) moves out of the core of the house into the one of their personalized spaces in the front of the house. An age accessible bath is added to the front wing of the house to make the special room proprietary.
The remainder of their life is spent privately, but adjacent to their family, as they have strengthened the structure of their family through a smooth succession.