Archive for January, 2010

Entry study

Author: Travis Kinney

I have a client that has asked me to design a new entrance to their house. Their current entrance is around a corner under a glass roof and hidden from view. It’s confusing to people when they come to the house as they don’t know where to go. To complicate matters, the driveway is horse-shoe shaped and people entry from both drives. People new to the house usually enter the second driveway where the mailbox and house number located. Once people know where they are going they take the first unmarked drive entrance. So people tend to park at both ends of house.

Here’s a photo of the existing conditions.

What’s interesting is that there is an old greenhouse foundation in the foreground and if you look, the shed roof along the front of the house is all glass. The recessed sitting area in the center (where the wreath is) also has a glass roof above it (too shallow of an angle to see). I guess at one time this area used to be enclosed and was also used as a greenhouse. The entry door is in under this recessed are to the left of the wreath. The plywood in the photo is used to push water away from the house as it dumps down. There’s been some huge frozen slabs of ice on the walkway. There is also a bulkhead under that window to the right of the wreath.

Existing conditions

My first inclination was the pull the dining room wall forward and install a pair of french door. You’d have to see the plans to see why this is a possible solution. As you walk in, there would be a coat closet to your  left and a cased openging to dining room and view toward the ocean. That door hidden behind birch tree is an access door to the basement. The doors should be shown a little to the left. I want them aligned with strong axis line through stonework. I would also like to see a pergola built over old greenhouse foundation walls. The upper glass roof would be replaced with a flat rubber roof.

Scheme - A

This scheme extends the little existing foyer. We would close-off the existing entry door that is around the corner and move the entrance to face the driveway. This structure would be detailed to look like an old english conservatory. This scheme maintains the outdoor seating and includes a pair of french doors off the dining room to access it. The shallow glass roof would remain and with the new french doors, give a lot more light into dining room. Difficulty with this scheme, is that the new entrance does not align with any of the old stone walls. I recommend removing walkway down center of old greenhouse and replace it with a garden plants and possibly a water fountain. I also recommend replacing brick pathway with some other material that is radius-ed and aligned with new entry.


This scheme is based on the previous scheme, but was drawn to match the door and window style of an existing entrance around the corner of the house. No one ever sees this other entrance, so the idea of matching the styles might be lost to most people.

Entry alternative that matches another entrance

The homeowner wants me to advance Scheme-B and see how that looks when drawn more accurately. Will post images when I have them complete.

Schematic Design for new house

Author: Travis Kinney

First Floor

Second Floor



Brick floor with radiant heat

Author: Travis Kinney

I designed an addition that was part mudroom and part family room addition. The flooring I specified was Old Port Blend brick pavers. Same type of antique looking bricks you see all through the Old Port. The room has radiant heat and the floor will nice and warm in the winter and cool during the summer. I wanted it laid in a herringbone pattern, but alas, we can’t have everything. I need to stop by and take an updated photo now that the project is done.

Brick pavers

Ugly foyer doors

Author: Travis Kinney

Ever walk into a really nice house and notice that the door into the garage is ugly? Chances are it’s a 6-panel steel fire door. UGLY

Problem is, it doesn’t need to be that way. What most homeowners don’t know, AND most contractors, AND surprisingly, some Town inspectors, is that the door only needs to be 20-minute fire rated. I had a project last year where I specified a single panel, solid cherry door from Rogue Valley and had it purchased through LaValley Lumber. Below is a copy of the cutsheet. The door looked amazing in this contemporary entry I designed. I didn’t have my camera with me, but will try to post a picture of it soon.

A number of Towns have adopted the IRC 2006 code. Section R309 Garage and Carports

R309.1 Opening protection. Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted. Other openings between the garage and residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 1 3/8 inches (35mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less than 1 3/8 inches (35mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors.

For some odd reason, most builders think the doors needs to be one-hour rated. The walls have to be, but not the door.

Don’t settle for an ugly door to your garage. Look at the code and ask your inspector.

Fire rated door into garage