Actually, we never thought we were designing a tower. That came later. We were designing a rectangular addition with a shed roof that would allow us to peer over the existing cottage so we could enjoy the sun coming up and down over the Catskills and reflecting on the Hudson.
We kept talking about this structure and were amazed to find it as a fantasy in a book on our own shelves. We immediately sent it to Duke.
It would have a loft.
It might have a breezeway between the buildings, or it might have an enclosed entry.
It would have an open stairway.
And the bridge would be a greenhouse.
In keeping with the eyebrow window houses of the Hudson Valley it would have eyes.
I looked for inspiration everywhere. Architectural Design was a disappointment. The editors seemed to equate spending lots of money with quality design, and the magazine soon bored me with celebrity house tours. San Francisco was energizing – it was my first visit and I quickly fell in love with the row houses.
There was a wonderful selection of design books at the Rosendale Library and many more available through interlibrary loan. Unfortunately I didn’t realize until later that Mid Hudson Library System does not retain your borrowing history unless you ask that they do so. Much of my bibliography is lost.
One book in particular, Wright-Sized Houses: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solutions for Making Small Houses Feel Big, by Diane Maddex, shares the blame (or the credit) for changing my cost efficient plan into a design with pizazz and all its trimmings: fun, challenge, compromise, and expense. I read the entire text, remembering a long past visit to Chicago and a highlight bus tour of the Wright homes and Unity Temple. The Zimmerman House in Manchester, New Hampshire, part of the Currier Museum, was one of my favorite places to bring out-of-town guests. I never tired of the tour guides pointing out the specially designed music corner, the plantings inside and outside the floor to ceiling windows that made the walls of the house disappear, the specifically designed cabinets and storage space which never seemed sufficient to me.
But it was Wright’s overhanging roofs that excited me now. I could picture that roof on the top of my house. It would provide shade from the brutal late afternoon sun, and it would provide shelter so that I could leave the windows open in the rain. I immediately wrote Duke.
Duke liked the idea. He placed that shallow wide roof on top of my addition, giving it the feel of a forest ranger’s tower, a lighthouse, a prison guard tower, the squirrel queen’s lookout.
The plans came in. We were very happy.
Other books that contributed to the addition and to the collage are:
A Little House of My Own: 47 Grand Designs for 47 Tiny Houses, by Lester R. Walker, 8/9/2011
Little House on a Small Planet: Simple Homes, Cozy Retreats, and Energy Efficient Possibilities, by Shay Salomon
Living Under Glass, by Jane Tresidder & Stafford Cliff — greenhouse in collage
The New Cottage Home, by Jim Tolpin — peekover roof and enclosed double entry in collage
Inside the Not So Big House: Discovering the Details that Bring a Home to Life (and others), by Sarah Susanka and Marc Vassallo
Pictures of Home, by Colin Thompson — fantasy shed roof in collage
More Small Houses, edited by Fine Homebuilding Editors and Kevin Ireton — loft in collage