Phew! Just emailed a revised set of drawings to a client. Having gotten a NY State license, I am picking up the pace — we’re planning to submit for permits in less than a month. My passion for the project in Bridgehampton is all-consuming. Now that I’ve worked out all of the “big moves,” it’s time to get to details — I’ve been designing a fireplace.
If you are new to this blog and you don’t know anything about the project, please feel free to read up on it here, here, here, here, and here. The plan above shows the initial design. The problem with it is that the fireplace, which is supposed to be a focal point in a room, massive and central, is located in a corner. It’s stuck in a place where a double-height living room transitions into a dining room with a ceiling height of 9 feet. Quite awkward.
Thus, my goal is to make the fireplace feel the way a hearth should, a heart of the house.
Trying out various layouts, I come across an approach. What if we treat the fireplace not as an object in a room, but as a three-dimensional multi-faceted volume, the core of the home. This way, it’s more than a fireplace. It’s a stove with a hood in the kitchen as well as a bar with wine bottle storage in the hallway. That makes it quite substantial.
I have to design it to be inviting and welcoming!
I have to focus on details. When I say “details,” I don’t mean construction details just yet. My process is to tackle everything step-by-step. First is the plan. Next, thing to do is to deal with interior elevations. Geometry has to be worked out before finding an elegant way to build it.
I look at precedents not to copy, but to generate my own idea. For instance, looking at various photographs for inspiration, I decide that the fireplace with its hearth extension and log storage should feel as one entity and that the stone cladding should wrap around to create distinct presence.
It’s still a sketch. I have not selected any materials at this point. Except for the log storage box. It needs to be very sleek — there’s hardly any room for it. I’m seeing steel plate, perhaps COR-TEN steel.
Massaging the design with an eye for continuity and consistency… It’s important to think of the new and existing as a whole without getting hung up on individual elements. But it’s moving along: our fireplace will function as the heart of the house regardless of its problematic placement.