Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Living Spaces, Work Spaces, and Eldercare for Family

Hi Everyone. This blog begins with our current big building project - a studio and living space for Lian's dad, Peter, who is currently living in an assisted living facility. He is a metalsmith who works in jewelry and who, like many artist's in his situation, does not have a studio space available in an assisted living facility like he did in NY for thirty years. Lians mom, Emelyn, whom passed away in November 2007 was a fiber artist. Peter and Emelyn maintained studio's at their home for many years, exhibiting, teaching and becoming an integral part of the local arts community and the LI Craftsman's Guild for many years.
For Peter to continue working as a metalsmith, we offered a portion of our land as a building site. This site is near to the brook that runs along the South side of our property. We also offered a building that could tie into our septic, water and heat to make it affordable. This building site is off of the road past the back of our home, and has a bit of elevation with wooded hills and a western sunset view of Mt. Mansfield, the tallest mountain in Vermont. Our wishes were to offer Peter the space he needed to continue working, and the proximity of family to help him live as independently as possible for as long as possible.

In the brainstorming and planning process of this living space, work space building the idea came that since we were providing a building on our land, that other use should be taken into consideration, whether current or future. For the future the living space, which takes up over half the building, could not revert to all studio space and be practical. Taking out kitchen and handicapped bathroom seemed to be a waste of resources and good living space. An idea to build a second story as a studio for Lian came as a solution to the proximity problem between Lian's current studio across the road, approximately 700 feet with our home in between and Peter in his building needed help. Our home is about 250 feet from the building site and had the same proximity problem.
The solution to build a second story studio for Lian onto Peter's space seemed like a logical solution. Lian has been working in a studio across the road from our home for the past 10 years in a building that has limited insulation, and no water, heat or septic. The idea that Lian could work alongside her father in the same building had an appeal to it, maintaining Peter's independence with close contact if needed.

For Peter, the first floor plans are contained in one ground level space that is level with the driveway that runs along the brook and shares our driveway. This ground floor level consists of living space on one side and and working space on the other. Also planned is a caregiver/guest room which provides the opportunity of guests visiting or a full time caregiver for him when and if needed. The building's front faces south/southwest towards the brook and a view of the hills across the valley. On the east side of the building is the living space with living room, kitchen, handicapped full bath and bedroom. A central hall off of the front main entry contains a half bath to be used from the studio and for a caregiver or guest. The caregiver/guest room is on the back or north side of the building at the end of the main entry hall and also contains the stairs to the second floor.
The studio workspace is on the west side of the building, to the left of the main entry door. The jewelry studio occupies most of the south/southwest corner,with easy access to Peter's living space and main front entry screen porch. The mechanical room in the building occupy the back part of the studio, on the north west wall. The building takes advantage of the southern exposure for light and sound, with a screen porch facing the with the brook and waterfall below the driveway access.

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