As of last night, we’ve been approved by the Rochester Preservation Board! Thank you to everyone for your support. We just need to wait for the final report/certificate of appropriateness to see if there are any final changes (color, windows, roof materials) that we need to make. Next up: design and engineering.

Edit: The Preservation Board’s formal findings can be found here (warning: PDF).


So I’ve been wanting to do a post for a while about how our design changed from our initial zoning and preservation hearings to the ones taking place this year, but I just haven’t had a chance. Well that all changes here! There were three ‘substantial’ changes to the plans from the initial go around to now. They were, in no particular order: the siting of the carriage house, the roof lines of the entire project, and the front porch.

garage comparison

In the initial plans, we placed the carriage house 5 ft from the rear of the property line (fire codes, if you are interested) and had the third parking space between the house and the carriage house. In the revised plans, we’ve moved the carriage house off the property line by 9 feet, and put the parking space behind the garage. This makes the ‘lost space’ behind the carriage house much more useful while giving us additional green space between the two buildings.

Roof Lines and Front Porch
side by side rendering

There were a trio changes to the roof lines. The angles of all of the roofs were normalized. Then the roof line was brought down slightly on the main house to better meet the windows on the second floor. Finally, the triangular window was better framed and carried over to the carriage house as a unifying design cue. We believe these changes add good visual continuity to the house and more than make up for the slight loss in usable attic space.

We’ve been spooling through front porch designs since the very beginning, but we think the one we’ve settled on here does a better job of mirroring the columned front porches in the neighborhood while still maintaining the modern interpretation we’ve pursued for the house.

Just a reminder that we are on the agenda for 3/2/16 at the Preservation Board, and I should have updates soon after.


So we’ve now had our first ZBA and Preservation hearings. They went well.

I want to thank everyone from the community who came out for and against the project. It’s good to be involved no matter your position. I also want to thank the board members in attendance at each meeting for their hard work. We’ve received a variety of feedback regarding potential changes to the house, and we’ll be spending the next weeks and months modifying our design.

I have a few other posts that will bubble up in the interim. Even so, I can’t wait to share updated designs as soon as I have them. Hang tight.

ZBA Pt. 1

We had the hearing Thursday morning. We did not get a yes, but we also did not get a no. The logistics of only have 4 of 7 board members created a challenge. We will be implementing a few light redesigns, as well as meeting with preservation and pursuing their approval. We expect to be back before the ZBA in April or May. I’d like to thank all of the concerned neighbors who care enough about Corn Hill to have come out.


So I never did post the actual floor plans for the house. They were a little in flux all summer, so many apologies.

house first floor

We’ve gone with one monolithic room on the first floor with living to the front and kitchen to the rear. Along the south side of the house is an entry mud room (we call it the airlock), and is a feature we’ve wanted desperately since I had one at 15 Atkinson. Past the mudroom is a small ‘foyer,’ a powder room, the stairs up to the rest of the house, and the stairs down to the basement apartment. The design also allows for a future connection between the main house and the basement through a door in the kitchen if we ever wanted to combine them.

house second floor

The second floor reserves the entire west half of the house for a large master suite. The middle of the house is given to the stairs, a laundry room, and a second full bathroom. The front of the house is split into two bedrooms. One, likely the south, will end up as an office. The plans for the other are in flux. As we plan to use the studio above the garage as a guest house, we don’t really need it to be a bedroom, although it seems likely that it will at least start as one.

house attic

Finally we have some attic space to use as flex. For anyone who knows me, I am currently planning on putting in shelves/tables to have toy displays up there.

This layout is surprisingly close to what we have in Colorado right now. It really is a pretty efficient setup that also offers a great deal of flexibility for utilizing the space. One final heads up – I should be posting a rendering of the house later this week (likely to coincide with the coming Rochester Subway post), so keep your eyes peeled.


So I know I’ve been slow rolling everyone. It’s been a long cold winter with very little progress on design. That said, the basement apartment is pretty much set, so let’s take a look. Oh, and just to get it out there, the plan is for the house to be up about a half story, ala a brownstone, to allow for larger windows in the basement apartment and some added privacy for the main house.

basement version 1This first layout is the original plan. It wasn’t bad, but we didn’t feel it utilized the space as efficiently as possible. It was also a studio setup, and we really wanted it to be a one bedroom. Finally, having to stomp through a tenant’s space to get to the whole house’s mechanicals seemed less than ideal as well.

basement version 2After some rejigging, we were able to arrive at what we think will work much better. We even have a view of it in perspective. This version also allows the renters to put in a kitchen island and stools if they wanted the space arranged that way instead of having a table.


Overall Site Plan
So here’s a quick glimpse of the siting we’re leaning towards. The driveway will be cut back to just be one car worth next to the garage, but otherwise, we’re really feeling this. Don’t mind the interiors, not only will they change, we don’t own a VW.


Here are a few early sketches trying to fit everything into the ground floor that we want (which is to say SWBR trying to fit everything into the ground floor we want – Thanks guys!). Once we have the layout of the house downstairs set, the other levels and the siting will fall into place much more easily. Starting with the first sketch and moving through to the third one, you can see how the concepts are coming together.

Sketch 1:
Sketch 1

Sketch 2:
Sketch 2

Sketch 3:
Sketch 3