Chuck and Holly Paetz have a beautiful home in South Nashville. I have worked with Chuck in the Real Estate industry for years even partnering on many deals to play to our strengths. He approached me about helping them to remodel an existing garage and workshop into an in law suite for Holly’s parents. The unit was to one side of their pool and also had a restroom, storage, and a shed. I love anything to do with water themed design, and the Paetz’s have been long time personal colleagues and friends so of course I was elated to be their Architect.
Check out our Southern Athena Pinterest Idea Board for all of these amazing photos and more inspiration!
We designed the in law suite around Pool House style (for easy conversion into a POOL HOUSE at a later date, and to match their existing style). Major design considerations included:
- Price & Time
- Plumbing Connections
I like to start many of my design projects off with Floor Plans and Idea Boards. After taking measurements and plotting out the actual site plan. <– Start big, then narrow in so you don’t miss anything! The most efficient use of space was to keep the open span of the garage for the living and kitchen areas, and to put the bedroom and bathroom in the back where the restroom and workshop used to be.
After we received the rezoning approval needed to permit adding onto the garage it was go time! Check out our article on How to Add an In Law Suite to your Nashville Home for all of the details.
Managing Price & Time Priorities
One of the reasons I ask clients to fill out Questionnaires is to find out their priorities, which may be very different than my own. For instance, I had a hard time letting go of my desire to base the entire design off of exquisite views to the pool and exterior courtyard, but Chuck and Holly reiterated that they valued their privacy and autonomy from her parents over enhancing the visual connection.
One of the ways we were able to manage costs was through our Southern Athena Creator Package. Chuck was going to be completing much of the work himself and then sub contracting portions out to those he trusted, so he needed plans and a very easy approach to constructing it.
The more you can reuse in a space design the better. (Unless the whole thing is junk, and then why are you Remodeling again?) Once you maximize value from the existing, you then make key strategic changes elsewhere to maximize your ROI on the new. When you begin demo, you run the risk of finding more problems, so it is more cost effective to focus your energy keeping the knowns greater than the unknowns.
I intentionally started the design with the existing plumbing, openings, and structural elements held constant and worked quickly toward finalizing the Floor plans with walking the space so everyone was ready and in agreement for go time as soon as the permits were pulled.
As parents get older, many will need to have safer homes to live in that conform to accessible and safe design best practices. This was one of my largest priorities as I have personal experience with family and mobility issues. Key design factors can make a HUGE difference for someone who has a hard time getting around, or who has dementia or other living needs based on their age. And I am not just talking about grab bars or other medical and health related solutions.
- Even, Single Level, Non-slip Floors – Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older.
- 5′ Turn Around space for Wheelchairs even if they don’t need one now.
- 3′ Aisles between counters and doors for walking with a walker, animal, or cane.
- Higher Seating Options (Getting up from a low spot gets harder with age!) This includes Bed frame, Toilet Seat, Couch and Chairs, Dining and casual Seating.
- Open view perspectives – Being able to see with a wide angle of vision within your space allows for increased awareness and cuts down on disorientation problems associated with age.
- Stabilized and built in storage options. Not only to help with downsizing, but to also provide stabilization opportunities that prevent falls, and to prevent falls of furniture on someone.
- Lots of natural light – to improve mood and mental health.
The best way to maximize storage in a small space is to line it along the longer walls for easy access and keep open storage as much as possible above eye level so you don’t cut off your view. This means using open shelving above counter height where possible and enclosed storage below the waist.
Larger closets, storage furniture, and isle based design for access all maximize storage without taking away the visual space that makes the open plan so nice.
Maximize Adding and Moving Plumbing Strategically
We needed to use as much of the existing plumbing as possible, and align any additional plumbing with the path of least resistance to the sewer. This made it easy to know where the kitchen and laundry had to go. The sink and dishwasher had to go on one wall and the laundry needed to be in the existing utility area. A lot of the design decisions were appropriately directed by the water features on the site such as the plumbing and pool.
The kitchen had to be designed around the plumbing lines. I have done a lot of research on kitchen design over the years. And I had just recently completed a kitchen and bath remodel myself. Hello Preferred Vendors! I had all of the connections. Lily Ann Cabinets for value is one of my favorites. These are the rendering they prepared from my plans of the kitchen.
The finalized Floor Plans show a built in Island with seating on one side as seen above. My renderings show a 2nd Option with a 4 person dining table to be used for multiple functions and as a less expensive option. The 3rd Option we discussed was a moveable cart with expanding seats, but we decided against it for practical reasons.
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I have loved working with Chuck and Holly on this project. It is special to be invited into someones life and decisions on how best to prepare to care for their loved ones. They are incredibly generous individuals and I love seeing the world through their space. You feel good when you are in their home.
GREAT CLIENT RECOMMENDATION
“Elizabeth is just so easy to work with. She is a pleasure and much nicer than people we have used in the past. I have recommended her to partner on projects with my company so I can hopefully work more with her in the future.” – Holly Paetz, Owner
Check out all of my design inspiration and more details in our Southern Athena Pinterest Board – Pool House Remodel.