It is currently 64 degrees in Kansas City! Fall is here! It is invigorating to finally have cool air arrive! Even better is the chance to be outside enjoying it. Happily I spent Saturday morning outside. While a tad bit warmer than today is was helpful to have the heat. The sunny morning was devoted to walking with clients throughout their Kansas farm looking at potential places to site their new home. Their beautiful land provides a variety of wonderful locations from a wooded meadow, to open farm land to quiet hillsides. We walked, explored, looked at views, topography (the shape of the land) and felt the wind. In Kansas there is almost always wind. Varying between a gentle breeze and a howl so loud you can’t hear yourself think. One spot had a terrific view while another did too yet this spot was suddenly much warmer. There was little air movement as it was tucked between two older treed wind breaks.
Farmhouses built on the Kansas or Missouri prairie a century or more ago had their first floor off the natural level of the earth a few feet. It made digging a basement easier but it also allowed better ventilation. Midwest weather can be delightful as it today or brutally cold or sweltering hot. Catching a breeze for ventilation years before electricity and decades before air conditioning was critical to comfort. Doors and windows aligned from side to side of the home allowed free air movement in those hot summer months where it can reach over 100 degrees in the shade.
Winter breezes tend to come more from the north which makes a wind break vitally important to keep potential piles of snow stacking up. Vestibules to keep the wind out were common. Trees including evergreens were thoughtfully placed to block the harsh northern wind.
After spending a few hours walking the land what did we discover? We know where the views are, and where the wind is. With this in mind plus the program of desired rooms including exterior outside entry porches, decks screen porches will all come into play while designing this custom farmhouse. There are many factors to consider when developing the design of a home. Not just the layout but what does it look like and how does it relate to the exact piece of ground it will be anchored to. Site impacts the design! Site impacts the design! Yes it is in there twice it is that important! I have spent hours driving back roads of the Midwest looking at old and new houses. There are some dazzling older farmhouses that are a faded white but have a timeless appeal as they are nestled in trees anchoring a ridge and telling a story just by their silhouette. Designing a farmhouse is a treat for me. I love walking the land, thinking about the rooms and how they will be used and where they need on this unique piece of land.
Check back for updates on how the design for this Kansas farmhouse evolves.