Ludwig Mies van der Rohe stated that “God is in the details”.

But, I want to add more to it. All things have details; clouds, wood, bricks, trees. When one looks at veins of a leaf, they see things they normally never notice. Houses use and need details that leave a person knowing that the space is enjoyable, but with the wonder of what it is.

This is what I have learned and feel during my architectural education and my work experience with both custom designers and production builders.

Finally, I feel that to better sell and build a product, you need to know what, how and why we do certain things to our homes.

Setting-the manner, position, or direction in which something is set.

One of the many items that I always see with houses is setting. I don’t mean setting as driving down Peachtree and seeing an adobe house, but setting as how a particular house sits on a site or even more specific, the foundation. There are so many examples of homeowners and builders, but more likely designers, that forget this important aspect in design. A well thought out design is more than what is contained inside the walls of the structure, but what is just as important is how the house sits on and interacts with the site.

Setting is the technique of placing a house, or elements of a house, to give better presence from the street.

I want to talk about setting a house. Like you would set a table with the dinner fork next to the plate, the dessert spoon across the top and the glass in the upper right hand corner, a table setting is all about presentation. A house is no different. As any sales person could tell you, you need good street presence to get people inside the house for the sale.

A house has the same characteristics as a column as it relates to setting. Just as a column has a base, a body, and a capital; a house has the same components so that they have similar scale and proportion. They are the foundation, body and cornice. The foundation, when used as an element and not just a structural piece causes the house to sit up from street level giving it a more glamorous look.

Placing a house in a particular position on a lot also presents the setting of the home. The approach to a house has a great deal with the well being of the individual of person driving up to it. It sets the mood for the individual as he arrives. A well placed setting of a home will cause a sense of ease and pleasantry to the person; while a poor setting will not only deter from a pleasant experience but could also cause the oppo- site to an individual. The roof, set up higher will give room above the window for trim and ornamentation.

This house sits directly on grade. The landscape already dominates the front of the house and will soon hide this house’s first floor from the street.
This house shows a good example of setting a house on a base with while the cornice (roof) tops off the body of the house.