Traditional Twist

  • James Wentling's prototypical streetscape proves that no two boxes have to look alike.Varied garage treatments play a role in achieving that diversity.

    Credit: James Wentling Architects

    James Wentling's prototypical streetscape proves that no two boxes have to look alike.Varied garage treatments play a role in achieving that diversity.
Jim Wentling
James Wentling Architects
Philadelphia
www.wentlinghouseplans.com  
FOCUS: Custom homes and stock plans at all price points with colonial and classical revival characteristics 

Jim Wentling didn’t look to new homes on the market for compact-lot inspiration. Instead, he checked out some of the older houses in his Philadelphia neighborhood, taking note of how they were designed originally, as well as how people had remodeled them.

One Mid-Atlantic housing type that he found especially compelling was the rotated colonial that makes the chimney part of the front elevation, rather than a side appendage.

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    Credit: James Wentling

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    Credit: James Wentling Architects

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    Credit: James Wentling Architects

“There are a lot of homes built in the ’20s and ’30s where they took what would be a wide-lot center hall colonial and turned it on its side to fit a narrower, deeper lot,” the architect explains.

But chimney fronts only work when they are accent points in a bigger panorama. Wentling envisioned a streetscape lined with a mix of thematic elevations, including Arts & Crafts, traditional colonial, and Greek revival styles. The great thing is that the same plan can fit behind all of those façades and look different every time.

Garage placement was another variable he experimented with to keep the streetscape interesting. In Wentling’s prototype, the garage is a movable building block that can shift to fit various lot conditions.

“We are showing the base design with a detached garage in back, but you also have the option of pulling it up to the side of the house, which is more cost effective,” Wentling says. “It could also be alley-loaded and attached to the house in back through a little sunroom.”

Old School

Architect James Wentling found several examples of chimney-front colonials in his own neighborhood. His concept elevation sticks with that tradition on the outside, but the plans inside are open and contemporary.

  • Credit: James Wentling Architects

1 Streetscapes become monotonous when repetitive massing forms a march of garages down the block. In Wentling’s design, the garage becomes a movable module that can be front-loaded or alley-loaded.

2 Older homes tend to expand over time with additions. Wentling paid homage to this tradition by adding porches to the front and back of this house, which extend its usable living space to the outside.

  • Credit: James Wentling Architects

3 Hallways eat up square footage and aren’t necessary in a welldesigned open plan. Here, the stairs and kitchen island serve as organizing elements.

4 Reducing the number of interior walls and doors saves money, but carving out little niches can make wide open spaces more functional. An alcove off the formal living/dining room provides space for a desk or project area.

5 One corner of the kitchen contains banquette seating for casual eat-in dining.

  • Credit: James Wentling Architects

6 For cost savings, all of the framing is designed in standard length spans. Stacked floor plates of equal size reduce the number of bearing walls that are necessary.

7 Wet areas (kitchen and bathrooms) are stacked and form a spine to allow shorter plumbing runs.

8 Plan variations imagine diff erent uses for what was traditionally cast as a front parlor or formal dining room on the first floor. One alternate plan divides the space into a study and first-fl oor bedroom.