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  • Tom Cavan

THE ART OF ILLUSION WITH FUNCTION

All too many times I see properties with walkways and driveways having modular pavers as the surface application. And all too many times I see accent banding and patterns that are either too busy, nonsensical in regards to the resident's architecture or lacking interest and inturn making no sense of the grandure and expense.


When looking to modular pavers and flagstone for design inspiration do not start with the product, just because its the latest or greatest or on sale, start with the overall dimensions and potential shape (this impacts cost) then imagine walking the walk or vehicles interacting with the space.


Next the architecture of the building (this imapacts style and design). Then ask yourself, what would really create interest,compliment the building and of course the surrounding landscape profile, whether it is existing or to be designed in conjunction with? Don't create something that is overbearing and complicated.


Stand out on the street and imagine the curb appeal, how will it draw the eye in the direction of the location to park and enter, imagine driving into and parking, or better still get in your car and go through the motions; thats what designers do when we arrive. Ask yourself what obstacles hinder the path of least resistance, slope, trees, hydro poles, gas meters ie. any utilitarian object?


Create a design that will provide the path of least resistance, create a space that is inviting, not confusing and busy (we get enough of that elsewhere in our lives).

Then establish the reason for choosing quality products over lesser expensive alternative surfaces like asphalt, loose aggregate or pattern concrete. Does it make sense to invest in something that both works and will inspire you each and every day? Absolutely!!


CASE STUDY: DRIVEWAY AND PARKING

Upon entering the driveway you see the garage and area (minimal) to park, but the trees are directly in the path of least resistance. The slope in front of the garage is severe and slippery, the client actually slides into the trees on a regular basis. The area provides no place for vehicles to maneuver.


The trees and organic matter where removed making way for a proper aggregate base and gentle grade to install a modular paver driveway and parking area.

The design was created to both function and provide a visual impact that compliments the architecture and wows both owner and visitors.


Symmetry with clean lines and contrasting colours draw the eye and compliments the architecture. Design inspiration: the architecture!


Gentle slope is established with directional lines and depth perception that guide the client to the garage for easy access . This project was approved by all family members and now lots of room to maneuver, no more backing into trees in winter!


Inspired by the modern clean lines of the residence the steps where integrated with the banding design and spaced to create the illusion of the driveway transforming into a staircase when walking up to the front door.


CASE STUDY 2: WALKWAYS

Existing visitor's entrance with loose curb stones and narrow stepping stones along a flat 30' walk to the front entrance, evidence of a long overdue need to improve daily access.


With the use of contrasting colours and geometric segments this long flat area is transformed into an inviting path with the illusion of a staircase. This walkway does'nt look so long, it is inviting, guides the eye and challenges the mind.



As you approach the front, it is spaceous and the narrowest segment 4' width


And as you leave the building its leaves the same impression. The riverstone bed is the designation for all the drainage installed and in the future will achieve a natural setting once the area dries up and the ground can breathe again.


The employee access was even longer and more formidable with multiple obstructions and drainage problems along this flat area



With improved drainage and off-set landing areas that create the illusion of a staircase employees will enjoy walking to work.


And the return, once the gardens and grass recover this will be a very enjoyable way to and from the office to the out-buildings


The front entrance is now simple and clean, open and inviting.


Yes now I just need to remind them to water before the heat of the day.

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