Posts Tagged ‘remodeling’


Never too small to be great.

July 23, 2012

Bunk Bed Room

With a little careful planning an architect can squeeze one of these bunk bed rooms into a really tight space.  The payoff for anyone having a lot of company, especially kids, is big.  With some extra planning it can be “Mruphied” up to convert into storage space when not in use, or it can go the other way and actually be retrofitted into an already existing closet.  This is especially practical when the closet is adjacent to hallway.  However one chooses to do it, this is one of those “never to small to be great” type of projects that are a whole lot of fun.

Find more bunk bed rooms here.


Rethinking what a house ought to be.

July 19, 2012

Heating, Cooling and Day Lighting in a House by Nakae Architects, Kanaishi, Japan

If we were really energy and environmentally conscious, newly built American suburbs would consist of house that looked more like this one, and I don’t mean stylistically.  Many architects wait patiently to be handed a project with energy efficient heating, cooling and day lighting as main programmatic drivers, often cringing when asked to design with the likes of expansive south facing glass in a Texas development or rows of houses with rooms over unheated garages in a New Jersey subdivision.  Instead our housing markets are too often driven by the likes of granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and revivals of the revival of some historic style, and that does not even begin to mention too rigid building codes.

Is it possible that the current drop in home values is the result of more than failures in government and banking.  Is is possible that we have hit the saturation point;  that we are tired of the poor performing money pits that take more from our quality of life that they give?  If so, there is an army of architects out there waiting to help home owners rethink what exactly a house ought to be.


Reporducing an amazing body of work.

July 13, 2012

Moravian Pottery & and Tile Works Museum, Doylestown, PA, USA

This is a piece of Americana from “the Mercer Mile” consisting of  three early examples of site cast concrete building.  Ironically these building were engineering innovations by American Henry Chapman Mercer who thought that industrialization was damaging American society.  The Mercer Museum, Fonthill, his home, and the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, house collections of American turn of the century decorative arts, especially ceramics and tile work, influenced by the “Arts & Crafts” movement. I plan to make a visit soon.

I have a more compelling reason for offering this post, though.  The tile in the photo immediately caught my attention for its artistic quality, which is what lead me to examine its source.  I found that it is barely a scratch in the surface of an amazing body of work that is actually being reproduced in the still functioning tile works.  These tiles can be purchased for installation in modern building projects.  I am not one to believe in a bucket list,  but the possibility of installing some of these tiles in a yet to be designed residential project is going a long way toward changing my mind.


Thermally Treated and Acetylated Lumber and other things architects can’t live without.

July 12, 2012

Cable Rail

I have found that many architects love lists.  I think it comes from all the years most of us have spent cranking out construction documents, which could be the mother load of all lists.  In any case, AIA  recently publish in “Residential Architect”  this very astute list of essential building products.  If you are building or remodeling a house there is a good chance that at least a few of these are going to show up in your project, and if they don’t you may want to look into why not.  My personal favorites are spray foam insulation and high performance windows.  The complete article, here, is short and worth a read for anyone thinking about building.

Thermally Treated and Acetylated Lumber
Cable Rail
Light Quartz Based Surfacing
High Performance Air Conditioning
Fiber Cement Siding
Engineered Structural Products
Low VOC Paint
Spray Foam Insulation
PolyCarbonate/Resin Panels
Energy Efficient Appliances
Tankless Water Heaters
Low Flow Plumbing Fixtures
Energy Efficient Lighting
High-Performance Windows
Radiant Heated Floors

Escapee from the remodeler’s un-improvement.

June 14, 2012

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Is there such a thing as an “Endangered Species Act” for houses?  If so, this place should be put on it now.  How rare?  A 1950’s vintage retro house that has miraculously escaped the home remodeler’s un-improvement.  A family of 5 could move into this house “as is” and live comfortably by all of today’s standards.  Whoever buys the place might want to meet with an architect to see about returning some of the finishes to their original design.  Check out the ceiling light in the kitchen.  It has to be original.  Here are some ideas for furnishings.

House photos courtesy of Weichert.

Not “Belmont Mansion” but definitely somone’s castle.

May 25, 2012

After the last post – and considering that this blog is about real people – I thought that it might be a good time for a dose of reality.  This project is now under way in my office;  not exactly the Belmont Mansion, but definitely someone’s castle.  The problem started when painters, hired to do the entire house, neglected the front porch saying the structure was unsafe and not worth painting.  The home owner, being far away, not wanting to spend a fortune, and not knowing whether to repair, or replace came to me for help.

Many thanks to Gilberto Moldanado, a master at fixing old houses on a budget. There will be updates as the project goes forward, in the meantime, if you are really that interested you can take at the look at the construction drawings here:  Porch


Random acts of architecture?

March 5, 2012

MLS/Web ID: 205728

Is there such a thing as a random act of architecture?  Judging by this house I would say it is possible.  No one who did not love architecture would work this hard to fit so many different historical references on the front of a single house.  With so much enthusiasm, just think what could have been managed had they actually hired an architect to guide and edit?