Archive for Saturday, June 19, 1999


June 19, 1999


Scripps Howard News Service

Children make a lot of changes in a couple's life, architect Scott A. Kinzy, a professor of architecture at the University of Tennessee, found not long after daughter Kelsey, 8, began pattering about the house.

When he designed and built a home for him and his wife, Dr. Judith Kinzy, a physician in internal medicine at the university, they were newlyweds.

He had purchased an "affordable" 1/3-acre lot on the side of a wooded ravine that he found while jogging. He felt it had been passed over because of the challenging topography.

Instead of turning him off, the challenge offered by such terrain intrigued him. He bought the lot and set about creating a home inspired by his love of nature, Japanese gardens and an appreciation for the arts-and-crafts styled, shingled American bungalow.

The plan he devised was for a contemporary home that embraced the features he most respected in the traditional bungalow: architectural detailing; low, cascading roof lines; dominant front porches; and pergola-style outdoor rooms.

The original house was built in seven months.

"That was accomplished because it was a depressed period in the building industry; labor was easy to obtain, and we didn't have to wait on everything we ordered.

"We were definitely on a budget, and I designed the house without a family room, which I didn't feel we needed," he looks back. "I thought living rooms should be designed for living and not merely as a showplace for guests."

Kelsey and a second daughter, Corinne, born four years later, pointed out the error in such thinking.

"Our bedroom ended up being cluttered with toys. It became the playroom for the children, making it quickly obvious some changes were needed in the house."

The architect in him rose to the challenge.

A thousand-foot addition to the existing home soon was on the drawing board and, after almost a year in construction, solved the problem. The addition provided a master bedroom with fireplace, additional closet space and bath (accounting for 700 square feet) and freed up the former master suite for a new role as the much-needed family room.

The renovation also allowed for a guest bedroom with private bath and entrance (at lower-yard level), plus a workroom.

This was accomplished, he explained, by pushing out the garage/master bedroom wing into the backyard and using a bridge connection to maintain an existing deck and an outside stairway, resulting in a covered patio at the lower level.

"As in the main house, the addition utilized half-height first floor walls to give a more intimate outside scale and to create interior spaces that feel like cozy rooms tucked under traditional bungalow dormers," says the architect.

Kinzy had visited Japan and was inspired by the interrelationship between Japanese houses and gardens. He adapted several techniques they use to seamlessly marry interior and exterior spaces in his own house plan. By adding a seating alcove with 12-foot high window walls adjacent to the sleeping area of the master bedroom, the Kinzys now look into "borrowed" landscape -- their neighbors' wooded ravine -- adding visual dimension to their own smaller circular garden. Inside the alcove space, windows are trimmed in white oak from an area sawmill.

Reminiscent of many bungalows, continuous horizontal window and door trim bandings unify the alcove and room proper. The ceilings are a smoky blue, matching the tiles on the wood-burning fireplace.

The room is furnished with arts-and-crafts furniture made by the Stickley Company.

The master bath, sheathed in redwood, features a spa with custom-made arts-and-crafts style tile, low awning windows and two large skylights over the spa (for a total of six in the house) to provide ventilation and privacy.

Two French doors by the fireplace lead onto a pergola-covered outdoor deck that runs the length of the addition, eventually weaving into the existing home's rear deck.

The architect turns a hand to construction as well. He built the brick-walled stairs that lead down the hillside, and the gardens, creating artistry in the nature viewed from all the windows of the home.

The kitchen is the domain of both the architect and the physician. They both love to cook. He does Italian pasta and some wonderful Japanese dishes. She specializes in chocolate chip cookies, brownies and other favorites of the girls.

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