-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dad's ideas for verandah

Dad emailed a few days ago with some more ideas for the verandah. Here's extracts from the email, along with Dave's replies in blue:

Dad said...

I've been reading a book at the place where I work at night. It is a series published by the Australian National Trust, and this book is a two volume set called Äustralian Homesteads". The approach we take to building the verandah will be greatly affected by the ultimate design we decide on. So I photocopied some images to help in discussion.

First is the image of Gidleigh, NSW, which is in it's main house very like your house, in terms of roof and size and with a setback for the lounge portion of the house creating the interesting prospect for the entranceway and veranda.

Gidleigh NSW near ACT border.jpg

Your house was built as a terrace house, but is now placed in a large space without the confines originally placed on it so it needs to be rounded out to look comfortable. Your idea of the L-shaped veranda, even going only partway down the side of the house facing the lake would achieve this and would be more harmonious with the new house when built ultimately.

The second image is of the cottage veranda floor. This is included as you sent some images of this alternative as demonstrated by a house in Queensland.

Gidleigh verandah floor using planks.jpg

If we used this approach I would be costing it first, using 6x1 OB unseasoned hardwood unless you have another idea for planking, and allowing that it would have gaps between the boards once airdried. I used this flooring type on the house veranda I built at Healesville. It was cheap, and very good as it did not hold water on the floor when water was swept in by the wind. It also allowed me to do the less expensive framing approach, eliminating a complete row of stumps and bearers. Costing this approach and considering it is something I would suggest for now before we go further in discussions of labour.

Dave replied: "We like the floorboard style you suggest and will probably use that in parts of the verandah on the 'new house'. We almost got to the point of thinking to have that for the old house too, but then Lyn became concerned that it might not be in keeping with the original style of the old house... that it might clash stylistically with the level of detailing on the window frames and patterning on the top. So, at present, we've come back to favouring the T & G floor"

In this next image, I want to encourage you to seek the frieze pattern for both houses if you think making this old house harmonious with the new house is important.

a pleasant post and frieze pattern.jpg

I do not think the old house needs to be as nice as the new. Treat it as the "cottage"it is and you will come close to my concept of it in the scheme of the whole project.

Dave replied: In terms of the frieze, we are not sure yet what we will do, but agree that it would be an important feature for helping tie the houses together. Depending on how the sketch of the new verandah posts for the old house goes, it may be that we can manage without a frieze on that, but we will see.

We understand where you are coming from here when you say that the old house does not need to be as nice as the new. But, we want to restore and 'improve' the old house, being sympathetic to its style. The things we do to it externally and internally need to reflect that. If we wanted to be minising costs, we'd put up fake brickwork on the outside, for example. Lyn calls it a cottage because of its size. The old house isn't possibly going to be as nice as the new one, and will certainly be a lot smaller, but it doesn't mean it's not going to be nice. Lyn suggests it's perhaps better to think of it as a whimsical cousin rather than a lowly cottage.

Bear in mind that the roof material used can make a significant impact on the design of posts and roof framing. This example is with a slate roof, and so is necessarily of more robust construction. You can use a much lighter approach if you chose to leave out the ceiling. But if you ultimately want the lining of the ceiling the framing of the veranda needs to accomodate this so adding it at a later date is possible.

Dave replied: Agree about building the framing to accommodate a ceiling, but it is something we can do at a later date, unless we spot material to do it in the meantimea a bargain basement price. Ultimately we do definitely plan to line ceiling, but that particular job can be put off til we move there. Lyn wants there to be enough beams in the frame to hang hanging baskets off.

The next image is of an entrance which I thought was able to give you some ideas for the entrance to your house.

interesting entrance on verandah.jpg

This was chosen by the architect to achieve some very good objectives:
1. It makes a statement about the house.
2. It is a gable which lifts the roof above the doorway and permits massive amounts of light to enter the passage without being obvious about it like a skylight or clear sheeting in the roof does.
3. It is in keeping with the period of the house.

I don't like the portico posts but for this house of brick it works. Certainly not on your house. But a veranda post configuration such as this could help with your desire to get the light into the passage, and if made to be like all the other posts of the veranda, but with a difference that makes it stand out a bit, you could achieve such a good effect as this entrance achieves.

Dave replied: We're having a play with verandah post configuration now. The gabled bit is nice, but it's too grand we think for the old house. We have another idea though that we will include in the sketch, as we like the principle of allowing light in without being so obvious about it.

The next image is to show you how I had planned to embellish the square posts I bought for the deck. I would work the centre part with the router and plane, and add the moldings which give it character and dress. The skirting around the post at the bottom is likewise an embellishment which can be added later.

verandah posts embellished.jpg

I like the square posts for the veranda rather than the round look of the turned posts. And they are a fraction of the cost for expenditure right now. Embellishment could be done later when the style is decided and the frieze is decided. All things you and Dave could do in free time as well, given that you can wait for such things and save these sort of jobs for yourself. Getting the moldings is easy, and using the tools easy too.

If you want turned posts, these need to be done before being put in place, however, and do not lend themselves to embellishment at a later date so readily as a decision of how low to keep the unworked part of the post to accomodate the frieze must be made before placing the post in situ.

We replied: In terms of the verandah post shape. Lyn likes turned posts but is worried they may not fit well with the balustrading. So, we are in the process of designing some 'square' post scenarios that Lyn is comfortable with, and I'll try to finish those and get em to you this weekend.

We've also been experimenting with some ideas about the animal protection bit under the floor level on the verandah. We saw a picture of one that was recessed back a set of stumps, to allow shaded space for garden and/or for animals to rest. We think this is a good idea to try on at least part of the house.

Finally, this next image is to give you some idea of the roof structure of the hobbithouse I plan to build.

hobbithouse roof structure image.jpg

I will have a veranda on it of course, and it will be built in a crescent shape following the hill it is carved into, but the roof structure will be quite distinctive and time-consuming. The whole will be quite unseen from your house or the roadway, but will be a pleasant surprise to discover when walking. I will obtain a permit for the structure first as I want it to be a building you can use as a bed and breakfast. But at present it is my dream on paper and in my mind. By getting the permit, I can proceed in a sensible sequence with my foundations and Treebeard and his Entwives which will be posts to support the whole of the structure. (NB: Treebeard and his Entwives are Dad's names for the big tree trunks from the trees taken out at Mum's house).

Dave replied: It'll be great when it's done! It is very interesting, I bet there won't be another house like it in all of Victoria!

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