Southern Gothic - a Halloween Post / by J.C. Schmeil


It was a dark and stormy night, the wind howling outside the studio as I hunched over my drawing board.  A faint "tap-tap-tap" broke my concentration, and I looked up to see two spectral figures illuminated by the gaslight outside the front door.  I recognized them as neighbors and welcomed them inside.  After a restorative toddy, they related their tale of woe...

They resided with their two sons in a South Austin bungalow that had seen better days.  The ceiling was falling into the kids' bedroom, and to use the bathroom was truly to commune with nature.  They needed more room and a drastic remodel of their house was in order.  Could I help? 

 
It was a perplexing riddle, until I became aware of the clients' deep and abiding adoration of Halloween.  To these neighbors, All Hallows Eve was like Christmas, the 4th of July, and Thanksgiving combined.  One word was all the inspiration I needed: Beetlejuice!


We decided to give the non-descript bungalow some Southern Gothic style.  One of the goals of the project was to add a couple of bedrooms upstairs for the boys.  By giving the roof a steeper pitch and adding some dormers, we were able to gain space on the second floor without building an entire second floor.  The stairs would go inside a tower with a widow's walk above it.





 It was an enjoyable project to work on, and Melynn Mayfield (my intern at the time) had fun with the renderings.  Alas, funding became an issue and the design was put on hold.  Hopefully someday we'll be able to see the project through construction... until then, Happy Halloween!