Developing Usonian Floorplan…

It's getting there. Will update more soon.

It’s getting there. Will update more soon.

I’m sorry this is not a large image. I cannot seem to export a larger image than this from CA.

This is on a possible lot we are considering. It is a corner lot on the corner of a 50 acre farm. Fantastic view to the south.

I will be editing more and more of the plan. I am still not 100% happy with it. I think that will be the case up till we build it. For some reason, I keep thinking I am forgetting something in the plan.

I’m also learning Google Sketchup which seems to be a much better alternative to develop our dream into reality. Simple yet powerful program.

Also on the agenda is more attention on furniture designs. More to come…

Usonian Floor Plan Revised…but not complete

I have been trying to use a cad program but just can’t get the hang of it or get it to run on my computer. I have been using chief architect still but using cad elements to bypass some of the rules built into it. Sort of working.

I have changed the ends of the Master Bedroom and Living Room area to reflect a request from my wife (a cozy banquet).

The office/library is not yet full drawn but you can see it is getting more and more refined. Will post the final draft when ready.

This is actually a really good exercise because you begin to see many issues when truly dimensioning.

You will also notice the outside is not yet drawn in. My wife has promised to help with that part so for now, I have a picture in my head what that space will be and how the two flow together. Just have not got it to paper (bits) yet.

Not yet completed on the library and living room section but getting more refined…

My first REAL Usonian house plan…

Usonian Hand Drawn Floor Plan

Usonian Hand Drawn Floor Plan - First attempt

Let’s review the big mistakes I made first designing our new Usonian house…then I will describe the drastic changes:

  1. No floor grid used.
  2. No vertical grid considered.
  3. Not picking materials based on their natural use or beauty.
  4. Not understanding the visual tricks Frank Lloyd Wright used to make the house more visually stunning.
  5. Not considering the site or location (much more on this later).
  6. Not considering the masonry core and how it supports the house around it.
  7. I was not including the outside in my design (remember bringing the outside in and inside out?).

Which brought me to a few big realizations:

  1. I needed to hand-draw my house on a 4′X4′ grid.
  2. I needed to re plan the fireplace to the center
  3. I needed to plan the outside the same time as the inside.

So I whipped out my old school drafting equipment I have had since high school and began to draw, erase, stare, think, ponder show my wife, discuss it, and in general learn how to draw a floor plan the way Frank Lloyd Wright did 75 years ago.

I started with the 4′ X 4′ grid. I began to think of the Rosenbaum Usonian house floor plan layout and the visual tricks he uses in it and figured, hey why not, it looks like the plan we are describing, just the kitchen and bedroom wing are different.

It is certainly not a true Usonian in that the kitchen is much larger. I would call it more a modern Usonian house plan. It sort of addresses a lot of the problems that people had with FLW’s original designs.

So I learned first hand why he wanted his apprentices to draw on the grid system. I came up with a decent plan and it still meets our goals.

I must say, I am pretty happy with it and enjoyed using my hands to draw instead of the limiting computer. Bit of a side story but when i was learning architecture, the computer was just beginning to be used to draw houses. To this day, I still feel it is easier to draw it out by hand then by mouse.

I will describe the plan more as I go along but for now realize, I am sure we have the design we are looking for and it will be around the size we had in mind…the rest is in the details…

I begin to design and make tons of fatal FLW Usonian mistakes…

X Shaped House

X Shaped House

While waiting for a few books to come in to help me learn about Usonian houses and the concept of “Organic Architecture”, my wife and I began to sketch some ideas. The first was an ‘X’ shaped house.

Now remember this is when all I knew about a Usonian house was its minimalistic nature…and the fact we wanted one!

The kitchen ‘core’ would be in the middle of the house and there would be a living room wing, kid’s bedroom wing, master bedroom wing and garage wing. A garden would reside off the back of the house. I think my wife drew the happy face garden as a joke.

The kitchen ceiling would be raised above each wing’s ceiling to create a chimney effect which will be describe later in this blog.

It seemed like a great idea but it had just about EVERYTHING wrong with the design becoming a good Usonian design.

One was with the complexity of the design. Usonians are simple and elegant. No wasted space. No opulence.

Back to the drawing board. Except this is where I made the second mistake. I downloaded Chief Architect as a way to sketch out my ideas. This was a major bad judgement call on my part. The reasons will become apparent as this blog continues.

Adams Usonian Plan 1

Adams Usonian Plan 1 - Big Mistakes!

So I began sketching with Chief Architect and came up with a typical L shaped usonian plan based on the Jacobs house, Rosenbaum and to a smaller degree, Kentuck Knob (also known as the Hagan House or Chalk Hill). Here was my first solid idea.

What we liked about the L shaped Usonian plan was the fact that it sort of wrapped around a garden in the center of the house. It was as though the house was part of the garden. Which was yet another mistake in my design! Do you see the garden? Frank Lloyd Wright would roll over in his Taliesin grave seeing that Usonian floor plan.

It was becoming more real as my wife and I sat in front of the computer designing what we felt we needed into a floor plan which I will describe in the next posting…