Net Positive Studio Designs Casework for the St. John Prototype

The decision of the studio was to build custom casework for our design project.  Since we are designing a residence with a very small footprint, we were faced with providing storage in a home in which it is essential to utilize the square footage efficiently.  We strived to provide a place for people to not only store their belongings but also to have places to display things while keeping the casework itself very minimalistic.  We worked to provide bookshelves, closets, and built-ins to alleviate the need and desire for homeowners to fill up their living space with unwieldy furniture.  We focused on many things from functionality to aesthetics to ease of assembly while accomplishing this goal.

As the entryway provides the first impression of the house, it was imperative to present a clean, uniform, and minimalistic design.  Being in rural Kansas, we wanted to provide an entryway hall that doubled as a type of mudroom.  The storage requirement for coats and shoes close to the front door was incorporated into a bench area that provides ample flexibility.

To continue with a clean and uniform design and to be adaptable to changing technology space requirements, the entertainment casework in the living area was designed with maximum flexibility in mind.  This was accomplished by providing an area that can easily be reconfigured to meet the users entertainment desires and equipment while maintaining the uniform design flow of the house.

When designing the kitchen we were faced with the challenge of how to make a functional kitchen in a very small space, while meeting the needs of the user.  Multiple iterations during the design project explored various options in an attempt to provide sufficient continuous usable counterspace.  As the appliance arrangements must provide a workable flow, we quickly came to the realization that counterspace and utility were difficult to achieve.  This led to placing the appliances and sink in the best location and then adjusting the cabinetry around it to provide a smooth and continuous appearance. To take advantage of the natural light, the cabinets and counters close to the window and sliding doors are at a lesser depth to allow maximum light to illuminate the area.  To finish the clean design, the additional depth of the refrigerator was utilized by creating cabinets that provide additional pantry storage without taking away from the overall kitchen space. 

To compensate for the lack of continuous counterspace and workable surface area, the remaining open area in the kitchen needed to provide both counterspace and storage.  We felt the solution to this was an island.  As the space in a small kitchen is often dynamic and needs to be adaptable for different occasions, a fixed island would have been limiting.  By having a movable, multifunctional kitchen island the homeowner can position it according to the situation and get the most out of the space.

With the goal of uniformity throughout the casework of the home, we wanted to provide for storage and enhanced entertaining in the dining room while eliminating the need for space consuming furniture.  This was accomplished by designing a wall storage piece with an accompanying bar area that could be used for any entertainment situation.

Once again, to provide a clean and uniform design throughout the habitat the bedroom casework is along the lines of Scandinavian wall furniture.  This eliminates the need for the user to find and place appropriately sized furniture within the limited square footage.  By having specifically designed casework for each room the space is efficiently utilized while exceeding the storage capability of a traditional closet. 

Placing the casework strategically allows for the ambient or natural light to be unobstructed throughout the rooms while at the same time reducing sound transmission between rooms.  The design, though minimalistic, resulted in an efficient potentially cost-saving design for the future user.

Construction of Casework

Throughout the fabrication we will be using standard cabinetry construction practices.  Unique to this project is the selection of ½ inch furniture grade plywood when able and the elimination of traditional facia boards.  To ensure a clean design, the doors of the casework will be designed to give a flush front appearance with minimal gaps utilizing European style hinges.  Certain sections will be joined using dado and pocket screws for additional rigidity and strength.  With this construction practice, we are able to customize while at the same time reducing the costs and providing a truly eye pleasing product that will enhance the living environment.

The proposed casework efficiently utilized the limited square footage of our design.  We provided a place for storage and display while keeping the casework very minimalistic.  By building closets, bookshelves, and built-ins we alleviated the need for the homeowner to fill up their living area with space consuming furniture.  We were able to incorporate stunning aesthetics, reasonable cost, and ease of assembly all while maintaining a high standard of quality.

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