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A collection of random thoughts, kudos and useful resources for home and business owners looking to do architectural work -additions, renovations or new construction- to their home or small business.

Wednesday
Nov132013

breaking the "fast house" habit

What is Slow House?

A slow house cannot be a standardized, mass produced commodity. While any good design will attract our attention, and ignite our desire, it will also add true value to the neighborhood, and provide long-term benefits to the homeowner.

In describing the problem of poorly designed houses across North America, Slow Home Studio points out, “…like fast food. A fast house is a standardized, mass produced commodity that has been designed to attract our attention, ignite our desire, and give the illusion of value as much if not more than its been designed as a place to live. This lack of attention to the fundamentals of good design makes a fast house difficult to live in and hard on the environment.”

They go on to describe their findings from their survey of design quality of over 4600 new residential properties in nine North American cities, they discovered 57% were badly designed fast houses. Even more unsettling was their finding that in the single-family house category 78% would be considered fast houses.

The slow home attempts to break the “fast house” habit by offering equally compelling but different standards for the homeowner to use in making future housing decisions.

“We believe that homes are too emotionally significant, have too large an environmental footprint, and represent too significant a financial investment for this kind of institutionalized bad design to continue unchecked. A Slow Home is the antithesis of this too-fast mindset.”

Friday
Oct112013

5 reasons architects are worth the money to redo your home

Came across this article in Popular Mechanics by Joseph Truini: 5 Reasons Architects Are Worth the Money to Redo Your Home If you’re like most homeowners, you probably dream of one day completing a major home-remodeling project. And I’m not talking about retiling a tub here. This is the once-in-a-lifetime renovation—the kind that dramatically changes how you live, energizes the entire household, and makes all the neighbors really jealous. Perhaps your dream is to build a two-story addition with a family room below and a master bedroom and bath above. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to expand the kitchen and install French doors leading to a wraparound deck. Regardless of what your dream entails, all major remodeling projects can benefit from the expert design help of an experienced, licensed architect. I know what you’re thinking: Architects are way too expensive and only necessary when building multimillion-dollar homes—and last week’s economic roller coaster isn’t helping any. The truth is, architects are well worth the extra cost on large remodeling jobs because with thoughtful evaluation and design, they can meet—and often exceed—your expectations. In fact, depending on the size or complexity of the remodeling, calling in an architect might be the only way to get the project off the ground, and to ensure your dream comes true. Here’s why you consider taking the plunge if you’re gung ho about a large-scale redux on the house.

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Wednesday
Oct022013

what renovations have the best value

Found a great infographic, simple and easy to understand and apply

what renovations have the best value

 

Saturday
Sep282013

Wednesday
Sep252013

old audels, new audels, no audels

I came across this great blog by a builder, Tedd Benson, who still refers to old builder handbooks in his own work, and his precise description of their decline over time… Old Audels, New Audels, No Audels One of those seminal events was the discovery of a volume of books known back then as “The carpenter’s bible.” When I came to New England, I discovered that my carpentry apprenticeship in Colorado wasn’t a good calling card. In fact, “Colorado carpenter” was a common phrase used by East Coast builders as a contemptuous epithet to describe any hack with poor skills and a bad attitude. …. One of the first indications that New England builders were different was their sense of pride about their profession. Those guys liked being carpenters and were challenged by its demands. They cared. And they had skills. I knew I had a lot to learn and asked them if they had any ideas about how I might do some off-work hours learning. There was a quick answer: “Just get a copy of the old Audels and start reading.” It turned out the “old Audels” was a four volume set that had been out of print for about 20 years at that time. I would have to search old bookstores to find it. In the meantime, one of my workmates brought a set in for me to see what the fuss was about. I turned to the first page of the first volume and what I read I had a big affect on me. It still does.

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