Saturday, January 19, 2008

Coming Into Focus

Nothing makes you look like a bigger, more pretentious douche than blowing off a visit from a friend by telling them that your architect is coming by. Fortunately, our friend is also a douchebag, but he's hip to the project, so no hard feelings. We'll still be able to put his ass to work on the project eventually and help him toughen up those soft, white hands of his.

So anyway, Aaron from Smallworks came by the other night to show us the latest version of the plans, and WOW.

To be perfectly honest, my first reaction was slight disappointment. I'd grown so attached to the previous design he presented to us, I didn't want it to change. But it didn't take long for me to get on board. He'd taken our suggestions re: the previous design, and come back with something that, while definitely different from the first plan, was better suited to our immediate needs and basic comforts. All the comforts of home, without being a house.

We probably should have posted the first design mockup earlier, but we hadn't discussed it with Aaron and didn't want to do it without talking to him first. So now, with his permission, here is our original plan:

This was blue-skying, and represents a few phases, with a main structure for cooking, socializing, and sleeping, and a small bridge to the lower bluff, which contains two bunkies designed to sleep eight people. The entire structure is oriented east, to take advantage of the view of the mountains and ocean.

Unfortunately, budget dictated that we had to cut the bunkies loose (for now) and focus on the main structure, on the left. We also cut back on some of the main structure, because at the end of the day, we want to keep things as simple as possible. Our vision is about camping with style, not hanging out in a city house in the woods.

We puttered around with the SketchUp* design Aaron gave us, and came up with this crude revision to show him at our next meeting:

Since we realized that right now we can only afford to build a one-room cabin, which might have to do for the next decade, we asked Aaron to make the core structure slightly larger to give us more room in the sleeping loft and on the main floor. It had to sleep four comfortably, and be comfortable for hosting friends and their kids.

A few weeks later, he came back to us with this:

This is exactly what we're looking for at this stage. A nice little camp core with plenty of room in the loft for beds and storage, an open, practical floor plan below with a bathroom, and plenty of deck space for a huge table, hammocks, and hanging out. Sleeping arrangements for most guests will have to be a tent for now, but it'll be a nice tent.

Next steps... we're going to spend a week or so soaking this in and figuring out if we have any changes, and then I guess we start talking about blueprints, how to build it, and cost. Yikes.

Oh, so many crazy things to research. I'm going to drive Tammy up the wall.

*SketchUp is a pretty cool rendering application from Google. There's a Pro version, but we've been puttering with the free download available here.

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