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As architects and designers, we don’t often have the opportunity to share what’s on our boards. First, for some of our newer (and younger) readers, “on the boards” refers to the days when a pen and pencil were used to hand-draw sketches for new projects. For some of us, that’s still the early part of the design process. For others, the initial sketches begin directly in a CAD program. Either way, the following pages offer a glimpse of what’s “on the boards” of our design team. You’ll see concepts ranging from a compound of small cottages to an amazing luxury home with exciting and innovative exterior design details. Along with some practical new ideas for the typical suburban single-family home in a cul-de-sac, there’s also a timely design for Baby Boomers who want to spend more time traveling in their motor home.

For past House Review topics, click here


White Magnolia Apartments

J. Kobi Moses, AIA
Monika Moses, AIA
GMPA Architects
Plan Size
Total area: 65,222 sf
Unit size: 1,050-1,270 sf
Now under construction, the White Magnolia Apartments in Encino, Calif., will provide 50 two-bedroom, two-bath luxury apartments geared toward long-time area residents and professionals who no longer wish to care for large residences. The welcoming, village-like look for the complex was created to encourage interaction between residents and neighbors.
The biggest design challenge stemmed from the building’s exceptionally narrow, linear site. To visually break up the massing, the building steps down from four stories to two stories at the corner, which is anchored by an iconic, tower-like structure. A variety of shapes and colors also breaks up the massing, adding to the village feel. Arched balconies and a two-story arched entry provide depth and visual interest. The corner tower engages the primary common open space at the podium level, all designed by TGP, Burbank, Calif. The space houses the outdoor kitchen—one of four principal outdoor rooms—a party space adjacent to an indoor community room, a large spa area with lounge chairs, a living room with shaded and sunny areas and a fire pit, and a dining room with an outdoor kitchen, all surrounding a linear fountain.
The orientation of the building is easy to navigate with soft colors forming visual references. A Mediterranean palette of landscaping with olive trees, lavender, roses, Italian Cypress, and date palms surrounds the building’s perimeter and patio.


The Oakdale

Richard C. Handlen, AIA, LEED AP
EDI International Inc.
Plan Size
Width: 29 feet
Depth: 52 feet
Main house area: 2,260 sf
Cul-de-sac lots come in all sizes and shapes. One way to maximize your options with a minimum number of plans is to have a design with a detached or detachable garage. This approach provides the freedom to adapt a standard plan to odd-shaped sites and take advantage of larger side yards.
This plan fits a standard 50-foot-by-105-foot lot with a detached garage to the rear. The garage has an optional bonus room or in-law unit above with an enclosed private stairway. You enter the house through the adult quiet room, which is partially open to the great room. The openness can be adjusted with shutters, screens, or closed off completely. There is a first-floor bedroom suite and three bedrooms/two baths on the second floor.
The center of the house is the great room consisting of the sitting area, kitchen, and a two-story dining room. The stair to the second floor is a sculptural element overlooking the dining room. The rear corner of the house is the laundry room, which acts as the family entry in the standard lot configuration. On the cul-de-sac lot the detached garage is pulled forward and a porch or sun room is added to the dining room. The garage is linked to the sun room with a traditional breezeway. The location of the garage will depend on the shape of the lot. The narrow plan and freestanding garage maximizes potential design options.
A. Adult quiet space
B. Great room with volume dining area
C. Detached garage with optional unit above
D. Breezeway options
E. Porch or sun room options
F. Outdoor living areas
G. Private courtyard space
H. Porte cochère option on standard lot


The Port Home

Donald F. Evans, AIA
The Evans Group
Plan Size
First floor: 959 sf
Optional second floor: 480 sf
Total: 1,439 sf
In today’s get-up-and-go society, when sitting at home, we are aging. But when on the go, we are staying young. So a home base for the home on wheels is the perfect solution. Many of these homes on wheels cost in excess of $1 million, so the idea that they will sit outside when not in use is just unacceptable. But for many, the idea of being gone 365 days a year is also not appealing. The Port Home has a garage for the motor home, but the doors on the side of the garage allow the motor home to be useable when it is docked. The home isn’t overly large but provides all the necessities of a home base. A great niche product with a lot of appeal.
A. Courtyard home
B. Car garage
C. Motor home garage
D. Golf cart storage
E. Home complete with grand room, kitchen, master suite, second-floor loft, and guest suite


Austin Cottages

Larry Garnett, FAIBD
Plan Size
Width: 16 feet
Depth: 24 feet
Living area: 375 sf
These small 375-square-foot cottages were designed as guest quarters or weekend homes. The optional porch connection creates a shared outdoor living space with a fireplace and courtyard. An optional sleeping loft provides a quaint space that’s perfect for children, a private retreat, or storage.
A. Each cottage has a spacious bedroom and bath.
B. Two cottages can be attached with a large shared porch.
C. Optional outdoor fireplace
D. Optional ladder to sleeping loft
E. Courtyard with arbor and low stone wall


Fort Worth Proposed Residence

Gerald H. Schwarz, AIA, LEED, AP
Schwarz-Hanson Architects
Plan Size
First floor: 6,351 sf
Second floor: 666 sf
Cabana/guest: 576 sf
Located in a gated community in southwest Fort Worth, Texas, this 7,000-square-foot proposed contemporary residence provides movement and motion with its angled floor plan and building forms. The predominantly single-level residence has a secluded second-floor bedroom suite and a detached pool cabana that both have views of an adjacent golf course.
The master suite with exercise room is separated from the remainder of the bedrooms by the kitchen, dining, and great room. Twelve-foot-deep covered porches line the expanse of the backyard façades. The exterior materials consist of natural stone, stucco, and areas with metal siding to complement the metal roofing. The interior flooring will be stained concrete, porcelain tile, or stained wood throughout. Warm, natural colors will be employed to soften the often cold, contemporary palette. Heavily treed, the plan will save as many existing trees as possible.
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