Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Although our firm designs mostly custom homes, we design homes for builders and developers too. This type of home is by its very nature less specialized and more generic but our stock home plans are all designed with many of the same design principals as our custom homes.
We have designed entire sub-divisions as well as individual homes for a special infill lot. The important difference is the home is not designed for a specific family or couple. This presents a great design exercise for our office as we design homes in all sizes and price ranges to meet the requirements of each specific market or neighborhood.
Typically when we design a whole sub-division, we will design 4-6 floor plans with two differing elevations for each plan. So this way, it appears that the development has a variety of 8-12 different homes. This makes for a wonderful streetscape as the homes each have an individual look to them.
The cost for our stock plans is also much less as the plans usually simpler and less detailed. This is a real advantage to a developer or builder as they can purchase plans for their development for less cost than a custom home. They often use the same finish specifications for millwork and cabinetry and even the fireplace mantels so we often do not take the time to draw these details for production housing.
Unlike most stock plan services, we do not charge a “use fee” for our plans so many of our clients use our more successful designs in more than one development. If one plan is a huge seller, we often will be asked to develop different elevations or floor plan variations so a developer can get more use out of a runaway best seller.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Ahh summer! What a fun time of year. For us in the Pacific Northwest we spend a lot of time waiting for summer to finally "happen". While our climate is pretty mild in relation to the rest of the country, we do get a lot of days where the weather just doesn’t cooperate with our plans for getting outdoors. For some, the solution is a gore-tex coat, for others, the Outdoor Living Room is a smarter option.
What a wonderful place, just a few steps from the kitchen but it seems to be miles away. A great respite from the pressures of work or a place to gather and entertain your friends and family.
We design this type of space for more than 80 % of our custom homes. But every one is different as there are many important design considerations for this type of space. The space you see in this picture, doubles as a sound barrier to stop unwanted traffic noise from a nearby freeway.
If the space is going to be attached to a home, then it is important to understand how this space can affect light and view from inside the home.
If capturing an extra special view is really important, we sometimes situate the outdoor living area on the side of a home.
This gives people who are inside the home as well as those in the outdoor living area an equal opportunity to enjoy the view. This option does not block any sunlight from the home either.
For our Juneau Alaska home, sunshine and view are so important that we used a glass roof for the outdoor living room. That way, rain or shine, wind or snow, there is still a sheltered spot outside to go whenever the owners want a bit of fresh air. From their protected perch, they can enjoy watching the neighboring eagles feasting on their latest catch.
For our project in Sedona Arizona, we have an outdoor space that opens directly up to the home. But if the wind comes up, then a series of doors quickly slide closed to provide protection. When the weather allows, there is no place on earth more beautiful than a moonless night as the stars dance across the sky.
Sometimes, the view is not out and away to a distant mountain but from the house to the outdoors ... and from the outdoors back into the house. Just a few quick steps away but Oh so different! After a brisk swim in the endless pool, why not relax out on the covered deck and let the birds lull you into an afternoon nap.
What a great addition to any home.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
The real issue is today’s homeowners entertain from and around the kitchen. When these homes were built, guests were not even allowed into the kitchen.
Today, we live, work and entertain from the kitchen. The real issue is the stairs are right in the middle of the house. This is the most efficient way to lay out the upper floor bedrooms as it reduces the amount of wasteful hallways but on the main floor, it is right in the way of things.
This is not an impossible issue, it just requires some creative design to provide for a more modern floor an. The solution is to move the dining room out to the existing living room area and push the living room into the sun room area. This helps in two ways. It allows for the dining room to work as a “buffer” area between the living room and the kitchen. It also allows for a large spacious dining room that is directly visible from and to the kitchen.
An added bonus is the living room is now a “dead end” room that no longer has traffic flowing through it so it effectively is now larger and provides for easier furniture layout.
The rear entry door now has a larger entry vestibule with a convenient coat closet to provide for a place to hang coats and store boots and shoes. The Kitchen is larger and more open with a gracious island to provide a great place for guests to gather. The seating is great for a quick meal with family or for a great place to work on schoolwork before dinner.
The Stairs are still in the center of the home but instead of being “in the way” they provide a little buffer area that makes the open plan seem more organized with different spaces for the kitchen, dining area and Living room. While these spaces are all connected, they have a series of openings give each room the comfortable cozy feeling that is such a wonderful part of the craftsman style.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Antique tools are a great inspiration for our architectural designs. They are useful in many ways. First and foremost, many of the molding profiles and shapes can be traced back to Greek or even Egyptian times with surprisingly little change over the centuries. The most dramatic source for change is the materials we use for moldings and the tools we use to make them. Instead of just stone or wood, we can now produce moldings from concrete, stone, wood and even plastic. They all achieve the goal of providing interest and pattern to our designs. Often accentuating a window or providing more visual interest to a room or space. So our antique tool collection offers an insight into what wood moldings looked like say 100 years ago. In addition, the limitations of these tools offer lessons for why molding shapes and profiles are shaped the way they are.
These tools come from a time when a craftsman was judged by the tools he used so they are often very beautiful. Here is a great example of how to make a simple bull nose plane look rich and interesting. A great lesson in simple relief ornamentation.
The wonderful tiger maple handle on this huge jointer plane was the inspiration for a set of bookshelves that we built for one of our projects. The original finish was probably just simple linseed oil and then burnished by years of use and a sweat from the hand of the craftsman.
For our bookshelves, we used shellac finish instead of linseed oil. this finish is a little more durable than the linseed oil but it is susceptible to damage from alcohol so the owners need to be careful that no one leaves their cocktail sitting on the shelve or it will leave a white ring in the finish.
Moldings for these bookshelves were patterned off profiles from our antique hand planes. They were great resource for the traditional detailing used for this design.
This matched plane used to produce a tongue and groove joint in the edge of boards is pretty boring to look at. But the wonderful patina in the wood is another great inspiration for some wood cabinets. For now, we do not have a client who needs a period correct craftsman cabinet but when we do, the rift grain oak used to make this plane will be a great starting point for a future family heirloom.
Friday, August 31, 2012
|Ice and water shield has been installed behind the finish panels to provide a waterproof sytetm.|
|This trellis does not actually penetrate the building wall so we do not allow water to enter the wall cavity.|
Friday, August 24, 2012
Today, architects have a variety of tools to communicate their design ideas to clients. Many architects have left the color sketches and renderings and gone the route of computer generated 3D models. These models are not really Three Dimensional as they are presented on a 2D computer screen. For many of our clients this is a difficult way to visualize the final product. More often than not, this is not an effective way for us to communicate our ideas to the client.
For this reason, our office often produces quick "study models" these are cardboard models built to scale to show our design ideas to our clients.
Models can be simple or complex just like our projects. The beauty of this technique is the client instantly can grasp the design concepts. It is rewarding to see our clients faces light up when they see their model for the first time and watch their smile broaden as they begin to understand what the finished product will look like.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
To provide some order to the room and to help define the spaces, we added a timber frame truss to the ceiling. This truss was built by New Energy Works http://timberframe-postandbeamhomes.com/ and is another example of their great quality and craftsmanship.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
view more at www.dona-arch.com
It seems like everyone is working hard to pinch their pennies to try to make the money go as far as possible. So why not just hire a contractor directly and eliminate the architect from the equation? Well the first issue is DESIGN. Just take a drive around your own neighborhood and you can easily spot the homes and remodel projects that were not designed by an architect. If your project is really simple, going directly to a builder may be your best choice. More often, our experience is the homeowner think they have figured the best way to accomplish a remodel or design their dream home but they simply do not have the expereince to draw from to provide them with a good variety of solutions to the design.
|The doors open up to let the sun shine in!|
This can be really frusturating as the client often does not have a varied experience and background to draw from so they often come to our first meeting with a less than successful design solution.
|This is a "Nana Wall" in shown closed|
They vary in size (and price) as each application is different. Another way to open up a wall for the cost concious is to pair sliding doors or french doors. this will not allow the entire wall to be "opened up" but then again this solution is almost 1/10th of the cost too.
As you can see, each one of these applications is very different. Differnt locations, different views and different price ranges too.
This illustrates the advantage of working with an experienced architect as they have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from to provide your project with the best possible design.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Because by building smaller you can make it that much better.
Since this is such a small home, no furnace is needed, the heat is provided with a gas fireplace. There is even a gas fueled wood stove in the master bedroom to help on winter nights. Whether entertaining a crowd or as a quiet respite for one, this little cottage does it all.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
view more at www.dona-arch.com
If you have been following my blog, you have already seen the huge spruce log that makes up the center of the spiral staircase in our project in Juneau Alaska. I am posting an update because the progress is so exciting that I really want to share it with everyone. As can been seen from the photos, the wood treads have now been added but the railings have yet to be fabricated and installed. Each wood tread is attached into the spruce log and gracefully cantilevers out like a series of tree branches. The end result is pretty breath taking especially when seen from above.