01 Jul Top Architecture Trends According To Greg Huddy
Jason: Good morning, guys. It’s good to have everybody back. I know last episode we had Greg Huddy on, with C3 Studios, and we’ve brought him back today. Luckily, we’ve had a couple weeks in between and I ran off and have applied for architecture school after last podcast, I was so enthralled by Greg’s upbringing. I’m going to take-
Greg F: So, Greg, you’re not needed anymore. Thanks for coming!
Jason: Anyway, this will be our last interaction together. No. Anyway, Greg, welcome back to the podcast.
Greg H: Hi. Good morning.
Jason: A little bit, we hit on is … Everybody wants to know, everybody loves architecture, loves homes, but sometimes don’t necessarily know what elements to put in the house. I thought today, let’s kind of go through some must-have, or at least our must-have items when designing a new home.
Greg H: Something we discussed last time, at the very end, was just the little teaser, is really to discuss a little bit about pantries in and around kitchens. Probably long ago, pantries were just kind of a place to store food.
Jason: And maybe a wire shelf where everything sat awkwardly.
Greg H: That’s right. That’s right, exactly. And butlers’ pantries, going back a ways further than that, didn’t do much more. Sometimes were a pass through to a dining room. But nowadays, pantries, we like to see them take a little bit different shape. They become somewhat of a second kitchen space, allowing them to increase the functionality of the kitchen for much less cost, really. Kitchen cabinetry is expensive, and when you can take another room and allow it to function, a lot of the messy parts of the kitchen, without spending a lot of additional money on additional cabinetry, then I think it’s a win-win. I mean, it’s one of the favorite spaces in our house, because it is so functional.
We like to see additional refrigerator freezers in pantries, and sinks. We were talking about the importance of bringing light into these spaces. Of course, it still stores dry goods and canned goods. They can also transform into small offices. I know we’ve got a computer station in our pantry, and they’re just good all-around additional space that accompanies and assists the kitchen.
Jason: As we move towards these more working pantries, does the kitchen become smaller, or is this just additional square footage, or maybe it takes square footage out of somewhere? What does that look like in plan?
Greg H: I wouldn’t think the kitchen becomes much smaller. It probably allows for … Everyone’s been in kitchens that maybe you get one window, or maybe you get no windows, right? Because we have to have the range, we have to have the sink, and so we still have all of the important elements of a kitchen, of course, but it might allow us to, instead of doing upper cabinets on the back wall looking out to the backyard, it allows us to put three or four windows, over the sink, perhaps. That allows so much more light. The kitchen feels so much better, and so those things that were missing, the storage needs that were missing, just moves into that additional space.
It could be a five by five room. It could be an eight by eight room. It really … They all have different size and shapes.
Jason: The thing I like about what you’re talking about is, I do not like to see clutter on my countertop. I don’t like to see the microwave. I don’t like to see the toaster, the blender, the coffee maker, all that stuff. Some of these working pantries, you have just a nice countertop with three or four outlets in, and you can really keep all that stuff plugged in at all times, and it’s kind of out of the pretty kitchen, and it’s in the working pantry.
Greg H: That’s absolutely the idea. Absolutely. We keep everything out and wide open. I think once people have that opportunity, I think it would be hard to shift back to having to either take things in and out when you’re using them, blenders and toasters and whatnot. Once you can just leave those things out, it’s pretty hard to go back.
Jason: Yeah. A fellow builder of mine out in Phoenix, or out in Arizona, has developed … He calls it his Costco door. He’s got a little door in the back of the pantry that goes straight to the garage, and I don’t think we’ve done that yet. Have you done any of that just yet, where you can back the truck straight up to the little Costco door, and throw all your items into the pantry?
Greg H: Not directly from the garage. We’ve had secondary access to the pantry from a foyer. I mean, from basically a family entry, a garage entry, but not directly from the garage yet.
Greg H: Sounds like a good idea.
Jason: We’ll have to give Brad Levitz some credit with that, from Finer Touch Construction out there. He’s the one who turned me on to that. I’ve been keeping it. I haven’t done it yet, but been wanting to try that.
Greg F: On the last episode, you talked about the range of size of homes that you worked on, so 600 square feet to 10,000 square feet. At what point does it makes sense, or whichever way you want to go, not make sense, to have this kind of functional pantry? I mean, I assume you get to a small enough house that you can’t really do it, or is that a misconception?
Greg H: Correct. No, that’s true. I think if they get too small, then probably the pantry is worked into other unique spaces. I think having a pantry is pretty critical still, but I think the pantry, the ability to walk into a pantry at some point probably doesn’t make sense. I would guess when you start getting over 2,000, you can really have a functioning walk-in pantry. It might not be to the extent that it becomes a working pantry, but certainly in the mid-twos and up, I feel like you can. I feel like it all comes down to priorities.
Greg F: What are the smaller homes here in Norton Commons?
Jason: I’d say they probably start at 1600, 1700 square feet.
Greg F: Maybe a little bit bigger than that, and you’re right in there.
Jason: Our Homearama house from last year, not our big one, we had the smaller one, was called the Magnolia Cottage.
Greg F: Yeah. Which I really liked.
Jason: It was about 2100 square feet, and we had a pantry in there that was probably five or six foot wide by eight foot deep, and the first floor footprint was only 1100 square feet. I feel like we worked a nice size pantry in there, although we didn’t have a window or a sink, so I may have to add some additional items to that as we’re getting ready to reproduce that plan with some new features to it. I’m going to toss this to Greg, the food guy.
Greg F: Oh, okay.
Jason: Greg the podcast host, not Greg the architect, but you’re a foodie. Food blog, all that kind of good stuff. Do you have a working pantry? What are your thoughts of the working pantry versus keeping everything in the kitchen?
Greg F: You know, I don’t … I’m of mixed views on the working pantry. I’ve never really been … I’ve never used one. I do like… I have a big island, and our kitchen is a … Bleeds into a lot of space. It’s very large, very open, very social. I love it to be social. I like my kids at the counter when I’m cooking. I love the idea of being able to leave stuff out that I can’t do right now, so the Vitamix, the three-prep…. If it’s a big dinner, right, I’ve got a lot going on.
It’s hard to be social and tell people to move out of the way because something’s coming out of the oven, or I’m prepping something. I think it’s just a matter … I haven’t experienced it to know how much I would love it. If I do, I’m scared I can’t back that up, like Greg said. Once you go through it, you’re kind of done. There’s a part of me that’s like, and Jason wants to build a house for me. It’s like, “If you do, if you give me one of these rooms, I’m going to be angry, because then I gotta go build a house with one of these rooms.”
Jason: That’s right. That was all leading into this question of, your house you’re living in is just too old.
Greg F: Yeah, exactly. I’d like to try it, absolutely. Absolutely.
Jason: Good. No, I’m just curious. Any other items in the working pantry, Greg? I mean, it sounds like you’ve got it in your new house, or your…
Greg H: Yeah. We did it in the last three houses we’ve designed and built. We’ve had working pantries, and we even put our microwave in there. We just feel like that functions better for our family. Like I said, we’ve got a small office nook with a computer and a printer, so it kind of houses … It’s a catch-all, really, but it’s a functional catch-all. Everyone is just simply used to going in for the toaster, and the toaster oven and things, and it’s steps. You’re not talking about “down the hall to the left.” I mean, you’re talking about right off of the kitchen.
And the secondary refrigerator, rather than being in a garage, is extremely convenient. We can’t make enough ice in our normal freezer in our kitchen, so having another ice maker is extremely convenient. No, it’s just a good, functional space, not only to put tons of food items. It just catches a lot of the other items as well.
Jason: Yeah, and I’ll second that, too. I mean, you guys designed my current house I’m living in. I’ve been there about a year, and we have a larger working pantry, and the full-size fridge in there is always full, and it’s a great spot for the waters, and kids’ Cokes, and leftovers, and it’s always full, and probably gets used more than the main fridge, just because that’s where we’re prepping. Good stuff, man. Well, let’s move on. We covered … maybe that’s a whole podcast episode on pantries!
Greg F: That’s right.
Greg H: That’s right.
Jason: But we’ve got more for you, so kind of what’s your next must-have item in a new design?
Greg H: Greg mentioned when you’re cooking, you like it kind of opening up into the living spaces, and especially when you’re entertaining, and I think that’s something we’re seeing is that kitchens aren’t just for cooking anymore, you know? They’re certainly a gathering space. They’re certainly an entertaining space. Kitchens these days have to be designed with large islands for gathering, and I feel like visually, at least, you need to feel like you can function with the living spaces. Also, we really like our kitchens to connect in some way to outdoor spaces, if possible. Not only because you’re going to be grilling and entertaining out there, but just that’s kind of the flow we like to get for multiple people, to have multiple opportunities to kind of be in different parts of your house, but all still functioning together. I think that’s the next one, is just, “How do our kitchens function as entertaining spaces?” Whether it’s just for your family, or a group of 20.
Jason: Yeah. It never ceases to amaze me. I mean, we build some small houses. We build some big houses, and no matter how big the great room, how extravagant the lower level is, everybody gravitates towards the kitchen. I think it’s important to have that larger island, and the connectivity to the outdoor space is a great touch.
One of the things I hear over and over again about our homes, and obviously Greg is designing them, is that the houses have good vibes to them, and they have good energy. I think that comes from the natural light that we flood into these spaces, and you guys do a great job about bringing in … Not necessarily just having two windows on one side of the room, but having two windows or four on the other side to get that cross-light, and it just really fills those spaces with some natural light.
Greg H: I think natural light is crucial in any room that we’re … Apart of, say, perhaps a media room. You know, I think natural light, it changes our psyche. You can demonstrate that in places that don’t see much sun. Psychologically, we need light, so I absolutely agree. The windows, the window sizes, as you mentioned last time, they’ve got to be proportioned in size to bring in that light, but also it reflects positively on the aesthetic quality of the outside as well.
Jason: These larger kitchens that are open into these spaces, are you seeing a kitchen-great room connection, or are you just seeing a larger kitchen that’s open to the outside? What are you guys seeing in these plans you’re doing?
Greg F: If I can piggyback on this question, are you removing space from, say, a more formal room, like a formal dining room or a formal living room? Are those going away in connection to the kitchen opening up?
Greg H: Generally I’d say yes. The kitchens are most often nowadays opening up to a living space, a great room type of environment. And I think open living used to be a concept that used to be a trend, and I think now it’s kind of here to stay. I mean, majority of our clients, whether builder or homeowner, they are not even thinking twice about the living space being open. Very few still want formal dining rooms.
That’s definitely a shift, I think, in the last 30 years or more, that people are tired of living in individual rooms, and would much rather live in an open space. If we consider the kitchen being a place for entertaining, no one wants a large percentage of the group in the living spaces not to be seen by the people in the kitchen. It doesn’t really function well, or the last house we rented while we were in the process of designing and building, that was exactly what we had. Great house, but the kitchen was separate from the living space, and whoever’s in the kitchen cooking isn’t too thrilled that whoever’s excited to be hanging out and gathering in the living room.
Greg H: That just doesn’t function for most of us these days, and so I do. I see large islands. The islands become a gathering space, but then also it flows into the living room, and then they’re all connected by the outdoor spaces as well, I think.
Jason: What’s next? What have we got next?
Greg H: Well, I mean-
Greg F: I like having this list of stuff we can just bounce around. This is a lot of good thoughts going on.
Greg H: It’s fun to talk about. I think we mentioned in all of these about the outdoor spaces, and I think that’s the next crucial thing. If we’re going to focus on entertaining and how we live, most of us want to live outside a certain percentage of our life, depending on the seasons. We like to create outdoor spaces that function like rooms, and can be lived in four seasons. Whether it’s a part of your glassed-in porch, or whether it’s a covered porch, or an open deck, or a patio, or a terrace, all these different ways of doing outdoor living, to us, that’s got to be thought out in the design of the house. We don’t stop at the exterior walls, just like no one stops living from the outside. Once we go outside, we need those outdoor rooms as well thought out as the interior spaces.
Jason: What are you seeing in those outdoor rooms? Is that an auxiliary kitchen, fireplace? I mean, what do people want out there?
Greg H: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, we’re seeing the fireplaces, certainly, and then the fire pits when they’re not covered, because people like to gather around fire pits. We’re seeing the outdoor kitchens, from extravagant to simple. We’re seeing outdoor dining spaces. I mean, we look at the outdoor porches, covered especially, they should be proportioned like living rooms. The outdoor dining rooms with nice-sized tables that your whole family can eat outside in a covered environment.
Jason: Spoiler alert here, for our Homearama house this year in Poplar Woods- it’s going to be open July 15th- the outdoor space we did on that one is pretty special. Extends across the back of the house, and we do, we have that larger outdoor dining room, then we have a larger family room. Great big stone fireplace, but then we also have these retractable screens that can enclose the entire space and make it screened in, or because it was one of those lots that backs up to like hundreds of acres of green space, they wanted to be able to open up the screens and have unobstructed views of everything, so I think that will be a great example for people to come out and see, and just one idea of some of the stuff you’re talking about.
Greg H: Yeah. I mean, and the screens are tremendous. Again, that opens additional seasons, and the other thing that we’ve seen in some of the porches that we’ve designed is outside heaters. Anything you can do to make these outdoor spaces functional and usable throughout the year, that’s kind of what we’re after.
Jason: Yeah. We’ve seen … I mentioned we use Phantom Screens here in Kentucky, who does our retractable screens. They also have an application that they can do a retractable vinyl screen. You can have two tracks in these systems, so you get that fireplace going, you kick up the heater, and you drop the vinyl screens down, and you can put some heat in that space, and really people just love being outside. I think it makes them feel better.
The more we can do to bring that outdoors in is great. I think one of the other things we’re doing a lot of on these outdoor spaces is we’re opening up the entire wall to the exterior. Now, I think this trend comes from maybe out west, where you can have 12 months of outdoor living, but people are still investing $10,000, $15,000 into these massive pocket doors or accordion doors to where you can have 15 foot of opening between the great room and the outdoor porch, and that space can be completely transparent and have one larger space that’s indoors and outdoors.
Greg F: Even in our market, you’re talking about, people are …
Jason: Yeah. Specifically, gosh, our last several homes we’ve done have had these massive doors, and one project in particular is … I think I hashtagged it Beckley Crossing, that we’ve got some cool finished photographs coming on. We had, I think the doors were 10 foot tall, and it was a five-wide door, so I think it opened up like 15 feet, and walked out onto the patio. Man, you talk about an awesome space. Our client loves the outdoors, and he realized that, “You know, I may not be able to have these doors open but a couple months out of the year, but I want to have that ability if I want to.”
Greg F: What do you guys need to do on the front end? Obviously you need to talk to the client and find out if they want to put in a door like that. You gotta prepare for that, right? That’s not something you decide on the job site, “Oh, I can put in these monster doors.” That’s something you need an architect for and design for, I would assume.
Jason: Yeah. One of the things I like about the particular project, Beckley Crossings, that I referenced, that accordion door, it’s a big pocket door, is probably like almost two feet thick. The doors, when they’re open, you see the doors, but when they’re closed, they slide back into the wall, so you have to make that room almost … It may have been 20 inches deeper, because you gotta get those doors to slide out of view. Definitely have to incorporate that at the front end.
Greg H: It’s structural as well, you know? If we’re going to span 15 feet, we need to be aware of that. I think to Jason’s point, we’re always looking for this seamless connection between the inside and the outside, and whether it’s for two months, four months, or the entire year, that’s what people want. They want to feel like their outside spaces are integral with their inside spaces.
Jason: You know, by chance, sometimes we can retrofit. If somebody didn’t have the forethought, or didn’t think about one of those larger pocket doors up front, they make a … It’s called an accordion door, where one folds on top of the other. It still only takes a two by four or a two by six wall, and you can still get those doors open. They fold back like an accordion-style on one side.
And if you remember our Homearama house from 2017 at Norton Commons at Hampton Point, we had those exact doors back there. It works out well, too. It’s just a matter of what look you’re going for.
Greg H: And fortunately, these systems are becoming more affordable. I know we used them 15 years ago, and they were ordered out of California, and the shipping alone was probably exorbitant. Nowadays, there are more manufacturers making them, and so the prices have come down. They’re making them quite affordable, which is really kind of nice, when you see something that is a trend that’s kind of sticking, and people really like it, then the prices are forced down.
Jason: Yeah. Again, you’re spending all this effort on developing these great outdoor spaces, so just another way to connect the indoors to the outdoors.
Greg H: I think, you know, we talked a little bit about the fact that as professionals, it’s our job to bring these ideas to our clients, because our clients may have not ever even had the thought of connecting outdoors in that dramatic of a fashion.
Jason: Yeah. A couple other things that I’m going to throw in here that may not be specific to the architecture of these spaces that we’re seeing in these outdoor spaces is usually some distributed audio, definitely some video. Of course, fans, and even when we’re doing decorative lighting, some people like the old bourbon barrels reclaimed into a chandelier. Again, very seldom do we see the old rickety white ceiling fan with a light kit on it on your back porch.
Greg H: Right.
Jason: We’re upping the game a little bit with some more decorative fixtures back there.
Greg H: Right, and technology. I mean, nowadays, you can integrate your ceiling fans with your heating and air system, so it knows when to turn the fan on.
Jason: Yeah. We’ve got … There’s a company called Big Ass Fans out of Lexington, Kentucky, that makes … I think it’s called their Haiku model.
Greg H: That’s right.
Jason: It’ll sense … It’s a very clean, modern looking fan that, it senses movement or raise of temperature in the room, and it’ll kick on to cool the room down, or you can set it to cool a certain temperature. It’s pretty remarkable.
Greg H: It is remarkable.
Jason: The technology is with these fans. They connect to wi-fi, and you can control them. Good stuff. I think, man, you’ve got me longing to go chill on a porch somewhere.
All right. I almost forgot, before we transition, the other thing we’re doing is a lot of second floor sleeping porches. We’re building these massive custom hanging beds that retract or hang from the ceiling. You put almost a twin-sized mattress on it. You can get a weatherproof mattress, a mattress pad and all that, but it’s a great way to waste away a Sunday afternoon.
Greg H: Absolutely.
Greg F: Only Sunday? That’s so sad.
Jason: Yeah. Well, I was …
Greg F: Okay. We’re recording. That’s right.
Jason: That’s right. That’s right. All right, Greg, the architect. What do you got next, after outdoor space?
Greg H: Something we talked about a little bit that seems to be kind of a trend is multiple laundry areas. Not only is our laundry room becoming more than just the laundry room, it’s becoming a craft room. It’s becoming a kind of a filter room, as we call it, meaning it filters, you filter your kids through these back spaces adjacent to the garage. But the laundries also, we’re creating second floor laundries. In our case, so that the kids can do their own laundry. We actually, most recently, put a stacked washer and dryer in our walk-in closet. Gone are the days you have one five by eight or five by five laundry room, and that’s where everything happens. Nowadays, laundry facilities aren’t adding a tremendous amount of cost, so it’s really trying to find what functions best for the family we’re designing for. That seems to be something that people are gravitating towards.
Jason: Yeah. We’re a great product of that. I mean, we’re seeing multiple laundry rooms, and again, it’s not extravagant by any means. I mean, you can have that stackable washer and dryer, and the master closet, and then still have your … If you have a first floor master plan, you can put a stackable washer in the first floor, and then really we can move the laundry to the second floor.
You don’t have to have three laundry rooms. You can have the one in the closet, and then the kids can have one, and teaching those kids responsibility at a young age to take care of their stuff is pretty awesome.
Greg H: Not such a bad thing.
Jason: Yeah. You’re becoming more than an architect at that point, right? You’re a life coach.
Greg H: That’s right. You’re changing the world.
Jason: Yeah. I know my boys have been doing their laundry for years now, and it’s awesome. I wish they could do mine for me.
Greg H: Yeah. Exactly.
Jason: Any other thing that those laundry rooms are including, or is that just kind of overall what you’re seeing?
Greg H: You know, that’s definitely client by client, what they’re including. I mean, some of them are as big as a master bedroom, you know? That depends on someone’s … Kind of what they do, what all they want to do in there. I mean, certainly a lot of them are becoming craft rooms that are adjacent to laundry, and just kind of a multi-purpose room, which is I think a trend in and of itself, is multi-purpose. Everyone wants flexibility in their plan, the way they live, the way they grow through the years. If people are going to live in a house for 20 years, you might use that room differently now than you do 20 years from now.
Jason: Well yeah. I mean, it’s amazing how fast kids grow up, and you know, move from high school to college, or grade school to high school, and needs change, wants change. You’re totally right. The utilization of spaces totally evolves over time, so instead of having to build a new house, you can just retrofit a room. I remember one of my favorite houses we recently designed over in Norton Commons, and the wife dubbed her laundry room the “mom cave.”
Greg H: Very nice.
Jason: I think some people were offended by it, but she was totally stoked by it, and we had a wrapping station in there, a couple desks, and it was just a cool space. It had a back door to the master closet, and then it had another sliding door to the mud room. It serviced a couple areas very well. I think that’s another trend that I’m seeing. If you don’t want to just have a stackable washer in your master closet, you can reposition the location of the laundry room to not necessarily be off the garage where it’s been in years past. It can be off the master closet, connected via pocket door. I think we’re seeing more of that.
Greg H: Definitely. Oftentimes even we’ve done pass-through … Your laundry is connected, but there’s also a pass-through hamper, so your clothes just kind of directly go in ready for you in the laundry room. I think the connectivity between either master bedroom or walk-in closet to your laundry is something that’s definitely trending.
Jason: Yeah. I think, you know, there’s still those folks that necessarily don’t want to go through the expense, or think, that, “Gosh, I don’t need two laundry rooms.” We still do a fair amount of laundry chutes, so we’ll position when we’re designing that second floor, we’ll do a little chute up in the kids’ closet or kids’ hallway to where they can toss their … hopefully just their clothing, down the laundry chute.
Greg H: Right. Doubtful that it will just be their clothing.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully they don’t try to slide down there. Anyway, I think that kind of covers laundries. It’s ever-evolving, as plans are, which is cool, and that’s the benefit that we get to see, is building and kind of creating ways for new homeowners to take and make their spaces personal. What do we have next? You got any more great ones? I’m thinking I’m going to have to go put my house up for sale and start this design process.
Greg H: That’s usually what happens to me as soon as I move in a house, start designing the next one. We mentioned a little bit about the flexibility. I think most people want to be flexible with the way they live, because our lives do change so much, and that goes to kind of the flexibility of rooms in general. We’ve discussed the idea that people kind of … Dining rooms, formal dining rooms are gone, but if people want formal dining rooms, we also generally will design them so they can become transformed into another space, whether it’s an office, a study, or an additional bedroom. That might be with a slight change down the road, or it might be functional as multiple spaces currently, but I think that’s the next thing, is we try to build in flexibility, so the house doesn’t necessarily stay the same during the entire useful portion. You know, as people use it for, say, 30 years, it can change with them and be flexible.
Jason: Yeah, and I know one way we’ll access some of those rooms is by a simple door, but another cool way we’re hiding some of those spaces is with these big, massive double barn doors that, you know, you can close off if it is a messier space, or if you want it to be one space versus the other, or if it wants to serve, you know, still, people do like a formal dining room. Not too many people want to build it anymore, but then you can keep those barn doors open, or remove them. It just gives you flexibility.
Greg H: Absolutely. A lot of times when we add those double barn doors into a space like that, whether it’s a study or dining room, we’ll have a secondary entrance, so if they stay closed, maybe if you’re using it as a guest bedroom, you can keep those closed, and then use the secondary door. Again, flexibility, because we’re thinking about it beforehand.
Jason: And that flexibility we talk about, is that more a space like a dining room office just on the first floor, or are there other spaces in the house that can be used as flex space, or how do you guys design?
Greg H: Certainly part of flexibility to me is our clients’ ability to grow with the house. It might be bonus spaces. It might be unfinished spaces that have the flexibility to turn into guest suites, or entertaining spaces, or media spaces. Whether it’s first floor or second floor, I think we try to, at least in plan, utilize every square foot. If there’s available space, we might not expect or even think our clients are going to finish that space, but we want to give them the idea so that 10 years from now, if they need additional space, it wasn’t left for planning at that point. It’s already planned out.
You know, often, unfortunately, I’m sure you’ve seen this, if you don’t plan it out, someone will plan it for you, and generally it’s going to be filled with something you don’t want. You know, a mechanical contractor loves a big, open space that they can use, but it’s our job to make sure that they don’t, because we’ve got thoughts for it in the future.
Greg F: That’s exactly the example I was thinking of, is attic space, or like a bonus room over a garage or something, that if you don’t plan for it ahead of time, it’s going to be filled with … I have big … with the HVAC…
Jason: Duct work.
Greg F: Duct work, and now if I want to finish one of those spaces, you’re looking at moving that somewhere else.
Jason: Or they’ll drag wires all across, or just no thought.
Greg F: Right. I gotta start spending money to get to where I should have been in order to … Right. It’s sort of backwards.
Greg H: That and, too, structurally. I mean, I don’t know how many … When I’ve done remodel additions, and people say, “We want to put space on the upstairs.” And then it’s so unfortunate that a builder might not have accounted for any future growth, so they might have used two by eights, which aren’t structurally adequate for adding that bonus space, or additional bedroom, or whatnot. For us, we’d rather spend and ask our clients to consider spending a little bit of money so that they can grow down the road, rather than wishing they had when that time comes.
Jason: I think that flexibility is the name of the game, this day and age. As families are expanding, kids go away to college and then come back, and might take a few years before they leave, so you might want to put them in one of those flex spaces. I definitely think the more flexibility options you can give your end buyer and user, the better.
All right. Let’s roll on. We got anymore to hit here?
Greg H: You know, generally, I mean, flexibility was kind of the last thing that I had planned on discussing, but flexibility is really kind of the theme of the last several items we discussed, and so whether it’s the laundry, whether it’s the pantry, whether it’s the flex room for future growth …
Greg F: Can I go back to the question of flexibility? We’ve been talking about it as for one family, so as they grow. For instance, as they grow, and they have kids, and the kids go off. What about when it comes time to … That family moves out, and a new family moves in? Is flexibility built in to accommodate someone else’s different needs? Is that asking too much of a house?
Greg H: No, absolutely. I’m glad you asked that. I probably should have discussed that earlier. I think … And Jason, I’m sure you would say the same. Our clients are very concerned with the salability. You know, the resale of their house. That used to mean certain things. Like, they would say, “Well, I don’t use a tub, but I’ll put a tub in the master because it won’t sell without it.” Now, I think that one is changed largely, but no, absolutely. If someone wants a dining space, and we can talk to our clients about separated dining spaces not necessarily being the trend, then we will. We’ll work out options, largely for resale. Yes, absolutely. If it’s not for them, it’s for a future buyer, who may not be interested in the house, except that that dining room that becomes a second bedroom down is exactly what they needed.
Jason: Man, I have so many more questions, but I guess we’ll maybe call it a wraps. Except, all right, I’m going to spit out one more that I’m thinking of, since I have Greg here. I think a lot of the stuff we’ve talked about, our floor plan influences, design of laying out the floor plan, and the interiors, we haven’t touched much on the exterior of the homes today. Give us just a little overview of what you’re seeing. You know, if there’s a … I don’t like to use the word “trends,” because I like to do stuff that just is going to look good architecturally for years to come. But what are you seeing on the exterior of home design these days, on what your firm’s doing?
Greg H: We talked a little bit previously about style, and style being kind of in the eye of the beholder. I think most people, probably if you got to the core, want architecture that is timeless. There are periods of time that you can say that, “That house came from that period of time.” We try to kind of go beyond that, and design, along with our clients, and find out what they love, houses that you couldn’t necessarily pinpoint when they were built. There are a lot of houses I think you and I could look at and say, “Oh, that house was probably built in the 70s.” We’re trying to avoid that, you know? We’re trying to be inspired by history, inspired by an aesthetic that we’ve just grown to love over time, and our clients respond well to that. Meaning the photographs they bring us, or the photographs we bring them, are almost all either historic houses or inspired by historic houses. Because I think that’s what people are comfortable with. There’s a nostalgia that certainly goes into the design realm, for us and for our clients.
Jason: Yeah. I mean, I can look at Georgians all day long, and whether they’re built 100 years ago, 200 years ago, I’m still like, “Man, that’s a good-looking house.” I think you’re exactly right. Good architecture definitely will stand the test of time. What about exterior material selection? Is that, I guess, in tune with whatever style they’re picking? Or do you see people wanting more stone versus brick, or hearty siding, or is it all over the board?
Greg H: You know, I think it is all over the board. I think different markets will be different. I think some markets are more used to brick than others. We typically try to push our clients towards authentic. Authentic materials that are style appropriate. We don’t like to include stone in an elevation just because people like stone, necessarily. Sometimes that’s a struggle with our clients. You know, we have to work with them and find out exactly what it is that they like, and why they like it. Sometimes they change their mind, and say, “You know what? You’re right. Stone doesn’t really belong on this house.” Sometimes that’s not the case. At the end of the day, our client, we’re going to respect their opinion on directions, but we also, as the professional, won’t hesitate to give them our opinion, to give them our experience, and kind of share with them why we feel like decisions are right versus perhaps wrong. I know so much of it is like, “There’s not a right or wrong in architecture.” But we talked a little bit last time, also, to a certain degree, if you don’t think things through, the final product won’t be the same.
Jason: Yeah. Well-said.
Greg F: I have to ask, because I don’t know the answer, why should you have stone on a house if it’s beyond aesthetics? If I came to you and said, “I like the look of stone, and that’s the only reason I want it on this house,” what are you thinking of?
Jason: Let me give you an example. I have a client that we’re currently working with. We’re designing a new custom home in Anchorage, and we went through that kind of list we talked about. She had certain things that she wanted, and she’s like, “I want painted brick. I want stone, and I want black windows, and I want white-painted brick.” We drew up her elevation, and we had some stone on there, and we were going to present it to her, and it’s like, you know, it just didn’t look right. She’s going for a cleaner, crisp look, white with just those black windows, and it just didn’t need the stone. We took it off, we showed it to her, and said, “Look, I don’t think we need the stone on here. It just doesn’t add anything to what we’re trying to achieve.” She agreed, and so we proceed without the stone. I don’t know if that helps.
Greg H: Yeah. I think that’s a great example. Sometimes, as you mentioned earlier, is they just need a couple photographs of other houses that don’t need stone, and they’re convinced. They see it, and there’s authenticity, and it’s beautiful, and so they appreciate the architecture, realizing that sometimes just because you like a material doesn’t mean it has to be a part of your house.
Greg F: Okay. This goes all the way back … I can’t even remember now if this was the first episode, or beginning of this one, where you talked about walking through a neighborhood and just, “It feels right.” Right? Something feels right. Sounds like that’s kind of what you’re coming back to.
Greg H: Absolutely. That goes for the street scape, and the proportion and the scale of the house, but also goes to every material that’s chosen. We all know there are houses being built today that it appears that they feel like the more materials they use, the better, right?
Greg H: All these materials are competing with one another. Sometimes, we mentioned last time too, when we do guidelines for an entire neighborhood, sometimes we’ll limit the number of materials, because sometimes people … It really ends up looking like more of a display, or example of all the different materials you could use, rather than the ones you should use.
Jason: Yeah, so I’m going to give an example of the stone and brick. A lot of people over the last 10 or 15 years have built these five-gable houses, and they’ll pick like a little ten-foot bump out area of the garage to put stone on the front portion of it. Only the front portion of it, so if you walk around the side, you can see the brick and the stone meeting up on the same kind of bump out area. Typically what we like to see is, if you’re going to stone a structure, either stone the entire bump out, or the entire garage, and not just one piece of that. It’s using the stone properly, or a lot of times improperly.
Greg H: Yeah, and to that point, another problem with the way we design now, or the way houses are often built, we just consider the front. For us, as designers and architects, we consider all four sides. That’s a very good point. We don’t think you can stop a material in the front. We think you have to be authentic, but we also think you have to be consistent. We don’t choose nice windows in the front and secondary windows on the side, which is done, which is shockingly …
Greg H: Same with materials. We feel like it’s got to be consistent all the way around. If it’s not, it just loses something. You could make the argument, “Well, you can’t see the back of the house from the street.” Our argument back is really, “Well, what are we trying to do here? We’re trying to create a lasting house, and your house should be beautiful from all four sides.” That’s the way we look at it. We do care about side elevations, even if you can’t see them. Whether windows line up. You know, the scale and the proportion of the windows, porches, all of that from the side, the back, the front, all the way around.
Jason: I think we wrap it up there, man. That’s good stuff.
Greg F: That’s as good a time as any, absolutely.
Jason: Well, Greg, how can folks get ahold of you if they want to learn more about C3 Studios and Architecture? Talk to us. What’s the best way?
Greg H: Probably the website, C3StudioLLC.com.
Jason: Spell that out for us.
Greg H: That’s the letter C, the number three, studio, S-T-U-D-I-O L-L-C dot com, and then my email is simply GHuddy, G-H-U-D-D-Y at the letter C, the number three, Studio LLC dot com. Certainly, I’m always available by phone, by email.
Jason: You guys are on Instagram now, posting pretty actively.
Greg H: We are. We try. Yeah, we try. Facebook and Instagram. We’re very willing to talk with everybody at any time. We try to be very accessible, even if it’s a question about something that we’ve done that isn’t related to any future project. We love to talk about architecture, because we get excited about what we do.
Jason: Fantastic. Man, thanks again. Safe travel back to Knoxville.
Greg H: Absolutely.
Jason: Hopefully you can hang out with us for a little bit, and we’ll look forward to the next podcast, guys.
Greg H: It was a pleasure.