Monday, February 15, 2016

The Manor Houses of Hunt Club Woods

A few years ago I shared one of these designs on a blog post of favourite plans in south Ottawa. At first blush the houses do not seem to fit in with the mid-century modern and 1970s aesthetic that this blog celebrates. Yet, upon further inspection, they represent a turning point in housing design in Ottawa between the open-concept spaces of the modern era, and the return to more traditional (and more formal) layouts that had became more common in the 1980s. The houses are almost like on last "hurrah" before tastes changed in housing design.
 On the outside the houses look like on large manor houses, but each building is made up of three attached units, each with an attached garage and separate entrance.
 All of the plans have formal separate dining rooms, but the excitement in space unfolds upon entering the living rooms, with two-storey spaces and a second floor loft that overlooks the room below. Often the fireplace, and sometimes the staircase, becomes an integral part of the architectural volume of these spaces. 

Although architecturally-unique, it appears that some of the houses were not built with these open to above spaces and loft, and instead a bedroom is located above the living room. Perhaps home buyers were given a choice to have an additional bedroom instead of a loft. Interestingly, the end unit plan with the largest garage (a 2 car garage) is actually a 1 bedroom house, plus loft.

 There are 3 basic plans, but with slight variations in room sizes and window placement depending on the facade of the house. Likewise, entrances to the garages and the driveway placement varied as per the siting within the neighbourhood. In each manor the middle unit has a visible front door on the front of the house, while the other units doors are tucked around the side, keeping up appearances that the house is one large dwelling and not 3 units. Likewise, in most cases, only one set of garage doors is visible from the front of the house, with the others tucked around the side.

 In the Beaverbrook area of Kanata, one builder essentially copied Campeau's manor house designs in the mid-1980s, but instead of two-story living rooms with lofts above, the houses have 2 or 3 bedrooms on the second floor. The designs have other slight variations, but are essentially the same as their predecessors. 

To better demonstrate the similarities, here are larger versions of the two plans below - the original above:

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