Brookesmith Heights Modern Bungalow

Architecture and Interior Design:  KinneyMorrow Architecture

Our client wanted a compact yet livable home near downtown in this transitional Houston neighborhood consisting primary of 1920's bungalows.  The original 842 square foot home was relocated to the existing site by a prior owner and contained only two bedrooms and one bathroom.  The architect had a vision for a very modern styled home which still retained the charm and simplicity of the original "shotgun style" structure.  A master suite addition and kitchen extension increase the square footage to 1,599. 

In order to pack so many features into a small footprint, several cantilevered areas were added: three to access a side deck off the living space, and one to allow the master bed to move outward for better flow around the bedroom.  The ceilings of the living/dining/kitchen areas and master suite were vaulted to the roof’s ridge and skylights were added to create the feeling of space.  Natural light flows through nearly every area of the home.  

One of the biggest challenges for this home was creating a space for the mechanical systems.  A tankless water heater was installed on the exterior to free up attic space.  In our region we cannot place the HVAC equipment or ducts under the home, nor can we mount registers in the floors.  The architect designed a mechanical platform over the master closet/laundry room which have dropped ceilings.  This provided a central location for all equipment and short runs for the ductwork.  Adjustable Seiko spot diffusers were used to direct airflow as required, and a thermostat was integrated into an electrical “dummy panel” on one side of the kitchen cabinetry. 

Minimal millwork was used; in fact there is no interior trim other than baseboards.  Kerfed drywall returns were installed at the door jambs.  Other modern touches include flush-paneled white oak cabinets stained a matte black, simple floodlight lamp holders for up-lighting, suspended LED task lighting, and flush-installed Bosch appliances.  Switches and receptacles were integrated or concealed wherever possible.  Bocci Series 22 receptacles are flush-mounted into the soapstone backsplash and are hardly noticeable. 

The original home had no storage to speak of, so closets were added to the front bedroom rooms.  In order to maintain an open feeling, the closet walls do not extend to the 9.5 foot ceiling height.  Instead they are framed to 7 feet, and pivot hinges are utilized to allow full access the space.  This also provides an area for storage or display on top of the closets.

The original home only had one bathroom, so a powder bath was added near the kitchen and the existing bath was made to service the two guest rooms at the front of the home. The powder bath has a small footprint (only 3x6) but maximizes space with a wall-hung vanity sink and storage over the toilet. The hall bath has an alcove soaking tub, freestanding vanity, and linen cabinet.

An ensuite master bath was created as part of the addition, which is separated from the bedroom by the master closet/laundry room. The master bath has a floating vanity with stone countertop and integral sinks, and is separated from the shower area by a freestanding wall which is wrapped in brushed aluminum. The oversized shower is open (no glass enclosure) and slopes to a linear trench drain with tile inlay. The toilet area is tucked away for privacy while still maintaining the bathroom’s open feel.

The bungalow’s exterior appearance was updated while still retaining the feel of the neighborhood.  Original wood siding was retained, matched as needed, and painted a gloss black color.  A standing-seam metal roof replaced the shingles and matching galvanized metal wraps the cantilevered extensions housing the Western door units.  On the front porch, board-formed concrete columns with inset house numbers replace the original spindles and gingerbread details.  A galvanized steel handrail was installed for the porch and stairs and the tongue-and-groove porch floor was stained an opaque grey. 

This project is a great example of how you can maximize use of a small space and integrate many luxury features and finishes into a simple bungalow!