future house, to be built in the tradition of the Gothic Revival style. This description will include an explanation of the general layout of the house, as well as address the elements of light, acoustics, and color. Further, issues of living space will be addressed, including sleeping, entering, food and storage, and bathing areas. External structure and landscaping will be outlined, as well as internal infrastructure like heating, and "smart-house" wiring.
The Gothic Revival style of architecture is a return to the architecture of the middle Ages. Although popular in Europe, the Gothic Revival eventually became the most popular in the United States and Europe. Early examples appeared in the 1700s, but Gothic Revival did not appear in full force until the 1800s. During this time, churches began to appear in the style. Soon, fashionable homes began to mimic the Gothic Revival style of these churches. While the Gothic Revival style can never hope to mimic the craftsmanship of the original Gothic architecture, it does attempt to take influence from both structure and materials of the era (Columbia Encyclopedia).
Like virtually all other styles of architecture, Gothic Revival architecture is much more than a simple mixture of physical building components. Architecture evokes the senses and feeling, and Gothic architecture is no different in this sense. The architecture brings up images and thoughts associated with the Gothic era that evoke mystery, danger, and a profound spirituality. The Gothic Revival style brings up images of ancient medieval churches, moss-covered stonework, and dark, brooding statues. Gothic architecture recalls days long past, and brings up thoughts of the supernatural and spiritual that are outside of our modern world of Palm Pilots and laptop computers.
Perhaps it is this emotive appeal that makes Gothic Revival so attractive as the chosen style for my future home. If life and architecture were only driven by functionality, I could simply design and build a series of box-like rooms that serve effectively as a shelter from the elements and a living area. However, life (at least a worthwhile and interesting life) is about more than functionality. Therefore, I am attracted to a style of architecture that speaks to much more.
Gothic Revival architecture is a perfect choice for the feelings that I want to convey in my home. I want a feeling of mystery and spiritual grandeur. I would like to come home to a home and feel an iota of that experience of awe that is felt in the presence of a great building. My aim in designing my home will be this: to capture the essence and feeling that mark the Gothic Revival style.
Certainly, many practical constraints will limit my ability to design my home in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. These constraints will include the all-important item of cost, space limitations, and the limitations of area building codes, where applicable. In addition, I wish to build this home in the mountains, creating potential issues with the development of a basement in granite bedrock. This location will also require that I provide a method to heat the house. One serious limitation to my work is the "impossibility of reproducing medieval buildings when there (is) no longer a medieval economy or technology" (Columbia Encyclopedia). Despite these constraints, I am hopeful that my design will hold true to the Gothic Revival style.
The general layout of the building will be a three-storey house, with a full basement. Each storey will comprise of approximately 1,800 square feet. Ceilings will be a non-standard 10 feet in the first two stories, and 12 feet in the third storey of the house. This ceiling height is designed to create an impression of great vertical distance from both within the house and outside the house.
The external finishing of the house will be wood siding, stained a mid-tone grey. Stone would have been preferable, but was ruled out due to cost considerations. The facade of the house will have a twin columnar structure, commonly known as a pier that will be faced in grey granite, available locally. The three structures of main arcade, tritorium, and clear storey will make up the facade. Twin buttresses will flank the front entrance, and gargoyles will perch on each of the buttresses, overlooking the front entrance of the house.
Pinnacles will be built on each buttress.
The third story of the house will have a steeply pitched roof that is covered in grey slate shingles. The house will have no gingerbread external trim, unlike many other examples of Gothic Revival architecture (Colorado Historical Society). The veranda will exist on one story only, and wrap around the back and sides of the house. External windows will be arched, and incorporate mutton bars.
The entrance on the main floor will have a double external door, with an arched top, and small arched windows. This entrance will be recessed into the house at least four feet. Small gargoyle statues will flank the door. The door will be made of solid, dark wood, with a stained glass inset. The double door will open to reveal a front foyer that is open up to, and including, the third storey. The foyer will take up about 700 square feet. The lower level will be open to the foyer, but upper levels will be closed, with the exception of several windows overlooking the foyer.
The main entrance will consist of a kitchen, pantry, dining room and library directly off the foyer, as well as a single bathroom. The second story will contain three bedrooms, three ensuite bathrooms, and a sitting area. The third story will contain the master bedroom, which overlooks the front entrance, an ensuite bathroom, and a study. The laundry room, television/games room, forced air furnace and hot water tank will be in the basement. Bathrooms will have claw-foot porcelain tubs.
Heat and lighting are important components of any house. In the front entrance, the ceiling of the third storey will incorporate arched skylights designed to increase natural light. The foyer will have a massive, wrought iron chandelier, and sconces in the wall to insert candles. Further, freestanding candleholders will line the interior of the front entrance. Skylights will also be incorporated into the third storey master bedroom, ensuite, and study. The windows in the foyer's first storey will be made of stained glass, in gothic designs containing gargoyles and angels. Windows in the bedrooms of the second and third storey will be bay windows. Recessed electric lights will be available in all rooms of the house. A double French door will lead from the back dining area to the back yard and pool area. The basement will receive little natural light, so track lighting will be installed.
Fireplaces will be built for both light and warmth. Natural gas fireplaces will be built in the kitchen, master bedroom, and one of the bedrooms on the second floor. A wood fireplace will be built in the dining room. The foyer will be lined with arched windows that reach from the third floor to ground level. A forced air furnace will provide heat, and the concrete floors of the basement will have water heating.
Color is also crucial to a successful house design. As noted previously, the house will have an external wooden siding in grey, grey stone, and a grey slate roof. The interior of the house will also incorporate this grey motif. The floor in the front foyer will be grey stone, and fireplaces will be built of blocks of grey granite. The kitchen and bathrooms will also be floored in grey stone. All other flooring surfaces will be in a soft carpet of an ivory color. The foyer walls will be painted in a muted soft tan, as will other internal walls. The library will be painted in…