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Phoenix Villa - Rising from the Ashes

Tim Brockett burnt shop and home
The incinerated remains of
my home and Branford Bike
October 24th, 2006

On July 30th, 2006 a massive forest fire destroyed my business, home, greenhouse and garage. I decided to rebuild. Rich Spallone suggested that I design the house with Broderbund Home Architect 4.0. The program is easy to use but has a few limitations. My limitations are greater for I have no formal training in architecture. Lack of time and insurance money precluded hiring a professional. Thus I accepted the responsibility of designing my own home and resigned myself to living with my mistakes. Readers and eventually visitors can judge whether my attempt was noble and successful or misguided and shortsighted.

I started to design my new home in the middle of August, 2006. Already I have made several changes on the computer. Rich says that I am free to modify my design almost up to the point where the carpenters build it. As of this writing on October 24th, 2006 only the concrete basement walls are completed. I expect that my final design will have many modifications and improvements from what you see on this page.

I endeavored to follow the teachings of ancient Greek architects Ictinus, Callicrates, Phidias, their Roman counterpart Vitruvius and the noted Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio when designing my home. The front porch or portico should have fluted Ionic columns instead of wood timbers for supports. Column spacing will be offset and should frame the door. The porch sides are to be open like a Greek temple. Small, wide steps will lead to the driveway which is six feet lower in elevation and 20 feet away in distance. An open roof and balustraded balcony will sit on top of the porch. Pilasters and a small pediment might be nice looking surrounding the door and first floor window to your right. This will be the main entrance and opens with two eight foot tall doors into the central entry hall.

South is the direction at the TOP of all the plans. Thus east is on the LEFT side and west is on the RIGHT side.

Phoenix Villa - Basement Floor Plan

Basement Floor Plan

The basement has eight inch rebar reinforced concrete walls, a full concrete floor and a nine foot ceiling. It will eventually house a workshop, kid's playroom, full bath, laundry room, spare bedroom, game room, utility room and a small storage room. The kid's playroom, game room and spare bedroom contain 48 by 48 inch windows that open to spacious wells. The windows provide some light, but more importantly, act as an emergency escape route in case of fire. The workshop also contains a 48 by 48 window for light, emergency escape and access to a fireproof, below ground, concrete storage vault

Phoenix Villa - Ground or First Floor Plan

Ground or First Floor Plan

The first floor has more symmetry than the basement. Note the X axis which goes through the front door and north portico, past the entranceway and stairs, through the kitchen and out through the veranda. The Y axis goes through the side porch or west portico and follows a hall where it meets the X axis.

I designed the windows to be symmetrical for the side of the house they are on. Second floor window centers align perfectly with first floor windows. The east side of the house is open to a 50 mile panoramic view of the snow capped Absaroka mountains. Emigrant Peak rises almost 11,000 feet into the heavens and is only eight miles away.

I would like to add a decorative cornice and frieze under the eaves. Perhaps I could divide the first floor from the second floor with a frieze also. Some sort of quarry cut stone block siding would look good for siding. Columns and pediment window surrounds would work best on the first floor. Perhaps arches with keystones and two corbels along the jamb will adorn the second floor windows.

Phoenix Villa - Ground + 1 or Second Floor Plan

Second Floor Plan

Abalcony sits on top of the veranda. I would like to put Ionic fluted columns in the veranda and then create a Palladian balcony with classic balusters. A gable above the balcony, and set in line with the back wall, was skillfully turned into a pediment by Aaron and Justin. The balcony has an open roof and is connected to the library via eight foot tall, double doors. Maybe I will place a few half columns or flatter, pilasters around the doors and a small pediment over them.

The hip style roof has a 6/12 pitch and will be covered with Vande Hey Raleigh Rivera style tile.

East Side Elevation

The east side has a panoramic view of the Absaroka mountains; thus big, wide and undivided windows. Note that the driveway circles the house and passes about six feet lower than the house grade on the east side. All outside features here will draw the viewer's eye to the horizon and upward.

A flat, V shaped, piece of land extends about 250 feet away from the house on the east side. The wide part of the V is about 300 feet across and next to the house. Eventually I would like to turn this piece of land into a formal symmetrical garden with many pleasant walkways. Perhaps I will place a circular Greek Temple in the middle of the gardens with white gravel walkways emanating from it. On the front of the V a cliff drops about 600 feet. Eventually I will place a balustrade along the cliff's edge and create a block paved patio behind it. It would make a wonderful place for a summer cook-out under the stars.

South Side Elevation

The south side has the afore mentioned veranda and balcony. I will change the veranda into a portico with ionic columns while creating an open roofed balcony with classic balusters above. Note the divided windows on the second floor. I added a pencil grid that divides the big panes into smaller ones which should fill the upstairs rooms with alternating patterns of warm sunlight and shadows.

West Side Elevation

The west side opens to a 75 foot expanse of flat yard, a curving, looped driveway and 25 foot carved hill beyond. This part of the yard gets the least sun because the steep 25 foot carved hill rises to the top of the mountain behind it. The porch I will turn into a portico with Ionic columns. The gable will be a small pediment. Basement doors open to the side of the porch. The west or back yard will be wide and flat.

During the spring and summer the sun peaks over the top of the western ridges until almost dusk. I added grids to the upstairs south and west windows to catch the light and let it dance with shadows inside my home.

North Side Elevation

The north side of Phoenix Villa is directly across from the garage and where the main house entrance will be. It is also the first side of the house visitors will see and thus is designed with the most dramatic features. A 13 foot wide grand staircase will rise from the driveway to a small landing where a classic three step set of stairs will lead to a columned portico, 8 foot double entry doors and a central interior foyer. Above the portico will be a ballustraded balcony with a tile floor. The two story turret offers expansive views to the north, east and west. A set of Palladian windows will be the central feature of the second story balcony.

Phoenix Villa - Garage Floor Plan

Garage Floor Plan

The garage is large enough for two cars or trucks and an attached snow plow. Two storage closets are in each back corner while an eight foot heavy duty work bench sits between them. Near the north wall a wood stove will be installed. Under the rafters and above the ceiling is a walk in, unheated, daylight attic with a folding staircase that pulls down. Four garage windows and two more in the doors will provide plenty of light and more than a few, beautiful views. A four season water hydrant sits just outside. Pediments will adorn both the front and rear gables. The hip style roof has a 6/12 pitch and will be covered with Vande Hey Raleigh Rivera style tile to match the house and eventually, the greenhouse.

Phoenix Villa - Garage Elevations

Phoenix Villa Garage - West Side (front) Elevation
Phoenix Villa Garage - South Side Elevation
Phoenix Villa Garage - East Side (back) Elevation
Phoenix Villa Garage - North Side Elevation

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