RESIDENCE REMODELING AND ADDITIONS, MIAMI, FLORIDA
The clients on this project in the Falls area of Miami were both from the Caribbean. They wanted the architectural style of their home to reflect their origins. The existing house was too small for the couple and their two children. The house had a non-defined room next to the kitchen and dining room. It could have been called either a living room or a family room, but it was totally inadequate.
In addition, the house only had two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The couple wanted a real living room and a new master bedroom suite with more bedroom space, closet space, and a larger new bathroom. The clients didn't like the look of the box they had bought. "Can you help us?" they asked.
As Miami residential architects, we asked ourselves how we could take advantage of the large lot and the wonderful Miami weather.
We proposed adding a master bedroom suite addition on the back, and a covered porch on the front.
They wanted a “safe room” as a hurricane shelter for hurricanes. The existing garage would have the floor raised and become the new living room. Then, an independent garage building connected by a covered walkway back to the house would be added on the side of the existing house.
We designed the master bedroom as a safe room with a flat concrete roof. But because we wanted the design to look like the rest of the house, we put sloped wood trusses on top of the flat roof and finished the roof with roofing paper and flat cement tile, a typical high-quality roofing material for Miami.
Sometimes during the design of a project, the client's conditions change. In this case, after all the drawings were almost completed, his parents decided that they wanted to move in with the couple and their children. So, at the last minute, before we started construction, a completely new wing was added for the in-laws. The wing for the in-laws is located behind the new garage with a covered trellis running down the side wall to break up the wall and to beautify the entrance to the older couple's residence. That entrance also ties into the original house with a covered walkway, a very Florida feature.
This project, which was featured on HGTV, changed the house from a box to a pleasant house with Caribbean features. The house almost doubled in size including the covered terraces and walkways. The covered terraces and porches offer a way of taking advantage of the outdoors during the mild Miami winters.
Since the house was on a corner lot, a new driveway which takes advantage of an entrance on one street and an exit on the other street was incorporated into the design.
THE ARCHITECTURAL PROCESS
In the beginning, we worked with the client on the design of the house. We consulted with the zoning department as one corner of the existing house protruded into the side setback. They told us that because of this, we had to get an administrative variance from the county. This is a special process which differs from other variances because the project is just reviewed by a county committee and does not entail a public hearing. However, the clients did have to get approval from all the owners of the neighboring properties.
Since we were almost doubling the size of the house, we had to update the septic. Unfortunately, this house was also on well-water. A surveyor had to spot all the wells in the neighborhood because of the septic tank. According to Miami-Dade County, a water well cannot be within 100 feet of a septic tank.
Except for the issue of having to apply for a variance for the existing encroachment into a setback and getting the approval for the septic tank, which is a complicated process, this project had no issues getting approved by Miami-Dade County. Unlike Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County does not require an approval by an architectural committee. The process is much simpler. Once the construction documents are ready, they are simply submitted to the county, and they are approved within a reasonable time after the review fees are paid. Once the review is completed, the general contractor pays the permit fees and gets the permit issued in his name.
VIEW OF THE NEW REAR ADDITION BELOW WITH THE MASTER BEDROOM SUITE AND COVERED TERRACE
VIEW OF NEW TRELLIS BELOW WHICH IS THE ENTRANCE TO THE IN-LAW QUARTERS
This trellis is a lovely wood trellis designed for a bougainvillea plant to grow on it. It hides the wall of the garage and provides a beautiful entrance to the in-law quarters.
"BEFORE" PHOTOS OF THE FRONT AND BACK OF THE HOUSE BELOW
As you can see here in the "before" photos, this was a pretty ugly, plain box, with nothing particularly attractive about it.
EMAIL OR CALL
If you would like your house redesigned, call Maria Luisa Castellanos, the principal of the firm, on her cell at 305-439-7898, or email at MLC@UnitedArchs.com