Sunday, October 27, 2013

Open House Party on November 2


Come celebrate the completion of Banks St with an open house party on November 2 from noon-4.  330 Banks St, one block off Cortland.  

And while nothing beats sipping champagne in the garden, George Limperis of Paragon Reality did a fabulous job of capturing the vibe of the space with his listing site at  www.contemporarybernal.com

Quite a few people have been asking me to post before pictures. First two are front facade and side garden. Second two are lower floor where the kitchen is now. Last two are upper floor where the bedrooms are now.


Banks St Construction Journal


October 2013





What we like to call the succulintels went up at Banks St yesterday thanks to Ken at the Succulence on Cortland who snapped this pic.  So that means Banks St is done. Well final punchlist and done. Oh and it is on the market, so I guess that means it is done.  First open house today.

It is not often an architect get's the chance to design a project exactly as they want but on Banks St, I pretty much had that chance. For that I have my client Aaron Gordon Construction to thank.  When he decided to make the project for resale instead of his family, I got to "pretend" to be the target market. Sometimes I forgot to pretend, and the house is pretty much designed with a certain collection of mostly my furniture and tchotchkes in mind. Pictures below show some I own and some I covet.  


I'd like to give a big heartfelt thank you to Chad Greensberg, the foreman, who really supported the vision the entire way through. He both added countless refinements and respected my judgement when it was different than his. Also a shout out to Brian and the entire crew.  I could not have asked for a better team. Thank you. 



August 2013




For the love of panelling....Banks St is getting close to done.  We all assumed it would be done by now and it would be about time to post triumphant finished photos.  But we are not quite there yet.  Almost, and god is in the details.  For Banks St the details are in the panelling.  The panelling covers all the interior walls and second floor ceiling, echoing the wood siding, making the indoor and outdoor space feel unified as one organism.  The panelling with it's special and precise white paint coating to both allow the rustic wood grain to come through and give a clean bright modern vibe to the finished space.  The panelling with it's better than you could ask for finish carpentry.  The panelling which will lend a living quality to the final house aging gracefully showing patina like a calf skin boot.  The panelling, you have been worth the wait.

Paint Sample Mock Ups










The tools of finish work



Feb 2013
I really love the Banks St project. I got carte blanche to design the space for resale but showcase quality craftsmanship. My client is a contractor named Aaron Gordon who is growing his business and capabilities. Given the relationship, I'm even getting to make tweaks during construction without going through change orders. So really it couldn't get more ideal. It is a teeny tiny house. 17'-1" wide stud to stud. I even love that.  

I have sorta been holding my breadth while it is being constructed. I know I loved the idea of it in my head. I really did get the chance to get my idea out there and built as I imagined it without any unreasonable compromises. I have been feeling this really pregnant sense of "Will I love this child, will it be what I imagined?" 

Today I began to settle into to it. I know that I will have hindsight is 20/20 moments... but today I kinda felt like it had a soul.

One of my non-change orders is adding glazing above the door to the master bedroom which you can see framed out below. One of the crew remarked how nice it will be to see the different pools of light the skylight will cast in the bedroom throughout the day with the glass transom. Gotta love a crew who gets it.  





Nov-Dec 2012
The roof got buttoned up before the rains came.  First the new skylight locations were set.  Since they align with the edge of interior partitions the locations had to be just so.  The walls will run right up to the skylight giving the light a surface to reflect on. One benefit of a small house is we are allowed to have a skylight at the property line, since we are under 1,000 SF a floor.  This will get us a pool of light right at the stair landing and a feeling of height where the roof would otherwise comes down a bit  low. Notice no ridge vent.  AGC's foreman Chad costed out rigid insulation verses adding a ridge vent and edge vents for the cathedral ceiling.  Turns out rigid insulation was cheaper in this application.  (Don't you just love that shingle color Aaron?)


We have a great engineer on the job, Toft DeNevers and Lee.  In order to remove the collar ties we hung a new ridge beam and sistered on new roof joists from below.  This gave us maximum ceiling height without changing the exterior envelope. Below is the roof framing just getting started.  All of the horizontal supports will go away once the new shear walls are in. 



Look no eaves.  That copper gutter sticking out is not a mistake.  Though the crew keeps asking if it is.  There will be a chain drain coming down and a rain barrel in the front yard.  Rain will be a fun event at Banks St.


Fall 2012
Client is contractor.  Contractor's business is growing. Aaron Gordon Construction, really good, look them up.  Crew pulled from his own development project to work on other people's jobs.  Very slow going.  But when it does go it goes really well.  The building inspector saw me on another job and told me how much he liked the work on Banks St.  


June and July 2012 
These months are best described as the big dig.  Opening up two walls of a building without adding a moment frame, means we have strong walls and the concrete equivalent of the keel of a sailboat in the ground as ballast.  We also excavated to fit in a complex system of pipes and materials to evacuate water from the building.  Though dry as a bone right now we observed this ground through the winter when every exploratory demo hole filled with standing water.

 





June 2012
New floor height set.  Sigh of relief.  The new floor height upstairs feels good for the scale of the rooms.  Downstairs feels like a real place.



May 8 2012
Setting new floor height.  Our drawings measurements are spot on at the front of the building.  Not so much at the back where the roof framing falls 4” in a few feet.  Solution lift roof joists.  But at the middle of the building where the stairs come up we are still 1-1/4” off.  Not much but every inch counts.  We need exactly 7’-6” from the landing to new ceiling.  Solution more excavation below.


February 2012
Finishing construction documents.  Selected glue down cork floor for second floor.  It is thin.  Every inch counts. But how to deal with the transitions from the cork to the tile at the bathrooms?  Don’t want a threshold.  We have a plywood diagphram on the second floor.  If we remove that and thinset the tile no threshold.  Call to Kevin our structural engineer at Toft De Nevers and Lee.  Kevin we want to remove the plywood at the guesat bathroom and master bathroom on second floor.  Guest bathroom fine.  Master bathroom hits exterior walls.  What about adding straps around opening?  Straps under the cork will telegraph through and you will see a bump in the cork.  Solution add them at the underside of the plywood.  These details need to be tight-in the good way.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

P-CYCLE : The Urine Diverting Porta Potty Prototype

We received so much great feedback about the concept behind P-Cycle.  We also received these lovely specimens.




 



When approached to design a ‘green’ porta potty surround the one week race for a respectful take on a sustainable porta potty covering began. The initial research probed us to think about what role our bodies play in larger ecosystems and something unexpected happened...we got a bit obsessed with pee! 




Urine accounts for only 1% of human waste but up to 80% of the nutrient content.  The nutrients in urine are quite harmful to dump in oceans, but they can be extremely beneficial if used in agriculture. Urine is composed in large part by phosphorous and nitrogen, which are elements plants need in order to grow. Thus, urine is a great natural fertilizer! We found some exciting precedents including Hyphae Design Lab’s (Oakland based) PPlanter which is a public urinal and sink that uses bamboo bio filters to treat waste water; French design studio Faltazi’s Straw Bale Urinal, L’Urinatoir, that leverages the nutrients in urine to transform crisp new hay into great agricultural compost; as well as neat projects including drinkpeedrinkpee which turns urine into a solid fertilizer to be sprinkled on edible salad varietals.



P-Cycle is Red Dot’s Studio first Urine Diverting Porta Potty prototype. This project takes the previously explored and tested concept of rerouting urine so it does not cause harm (think ocean algae blooms and dead sea lions) to where it can actually do good (think beautiful flowers and greenery). However, RDS attempts to design this concept so that it can plug into existing systems, recombining common building materials.*  The quantity of urine being diverted is only 8-10 gallons per 200 uses, but with urine it is the quality of the nutrients rather than quantity that matters.  We are designing a way for porta potties to change the role our bodies play in larger ecosystems.

Here are some pictures of the two day set up/build up including a mini getting stuffed with soil and compost bags(what a smell!), some dirty hands, the hog water holding and dosing tanks, tons of lava rocks, pretty plants, framed poly carbonate panels, four guys pulling it square and getting it together...



Not bad for our first prototype! Next time we want more polycarbonate and thinner trim. We want to get more of the polycarb glow with the faint color of the teal porta potty and the green hog water holders.



And while we were setting up the P-Ccycle we noted our progress on the Banks street residence; we are pretty excited:




Thursday, June 27, 2013

CNC Machines

CNC machines are a beautiful thing. They have really changed the game on what you can design and fabricate affordably. We are lucky enough to know Eric Olson who moonlights from his architecture job and teams up with his wife Sarah Olson an industrial designer to make great furniture.  Check out these photos of a work in progress.  Shelves installing this weekend.






Here is what the shelves look like in progress, with Eric kicking back to take a photo.  They will be painted white.




Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Behind the Walls

Really you just never know what you will find behind the walls when you renovate.  I once gave a client housewarming present of all the stuff we unearthed arranged in an apothecary case.  It included milk bottles and prohibition bottles, dog tags and a communist manifesto.

This portrait, hung next to all their family photos, was found in the bowels of a building we affectionately call Lady Liberty, pictured below.  They say since they hung the portrait there is no more creaking in the attic.





Job Site Graffiti

My kids came to a job site meeting.  The foreman was prepared with sharpies and crayons and set them to work on the shear wall and temporary protective wrap.  You just never know what you will find behind those walls when you renovate.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Red Dot Studio - California Home and Design Home Tour


One of my favorite editors at California Home and Design, Mary Jo Bowling, really captured the essence of our Sanchez St project.  Check it out on their home tours link attached, A Twisted Victorian in San Francisco:

Banks St Construction Journal

Feb 2013
I really love the Banks St project. I got carte blanche to design the space for resale but showcase quality craftsmanship. My client is a contractor named Aaron Gordon who is growing his business and capabilities. Given the relationship, I'm even getting to make tweaks during construction without going through change orders. So really it couldn't get more ideal. It is a teeny tiny house. 17'-1" wide stud to stud. I even love that.  

I have sorta been holding my breadth while it is being constructed. I know I loved the idea of it in my head. I really did get the chance to get my idea out there and built as I imagined it without any unreasonable compromises. I have been feeling this really pregnant sense of "Will I love this child, will it be what I imagined?"  

Today I began to settle into to it. I know that I will have hindsight is 20/20 moments... but today I kinda felt like it had a soul.

One of my non-change orders is adding glazing above the door to the master bedroom which you can see framed out below. One of the crew remarked how nice it will be to see the different pools of light the skylight will cast in the bedroom throughout the day with the glass transom. Gotta love a crew who gets it.  






Nov-Dec 2012
The roof got buttoned up before the rains came.  First the new skylight locations were set.  Since they align with the edge of interior partitions the locations had to be just so.  The walls will run right up to the skylight giving the light a surface to reflect on. One benefit of a small house is we are allowed to have a skylight at the property line, since we are under 1,000 SF a floor.  This will get us a pool of light right at the stair landing and a feeling of height where the roof would otherwise comes down a bit  low. Notice no ridge vent.  AGC's foreman Chad costed out rigid insulation verses adding a ridge vent and edge vents for the cathedral ceiling.  Turns out rigid insulation was cheaper in this application.  (Don't you just love that shingle color Aaron?)



We have a great engineer on the job, Toft DeNevers and Lee.  In order to remove the collar ties we hung a new ridge beam and sistered on new roof joists from below.  This gave us maximum ceiling height without changing the exterior envelope. Below is the roof framing just getting started.  All of the horizontal supports will go away once the new shear walls are in. 



Look no eaves.  That copper gutter sticking out is not a mistake.  Though the crew keeps asking if it is.  There will be a chain drain coming down and a rain barrel in the front yard.  Rain will be a fun event at Banks St.


Fall 2012
Client is contractor.  Contractor's business is growing. Aaron Gordon Construction, really good, look them up.  Crew pulled from his own development project to work on other people's jobs.  Very slow going.  But when it does go it goes really well.  The building inspector saw me on another job and told me how much he liked the work on Banks St.  


June and July 2012 
These months are best described as the big dig.  Opening up two walls of a building without adding a moment frame, means we have strong walls and the concrete equivalent of the keel of a sailboat in the ground as ballast.  We also excavated to fit in a complex system of pipes and materials to evacuate water from the building.  Though dry as a bone right now we observed this ground through the winter when every exploratory demo hole filled with standing water.

 







June 2012
New floor height set.  Sigh of relief.  The new floor height upstairs feels good for the scale of the rooms.  Downstairs feels like a real place.




May 8 2012
Setting new floor height.  Our drawings measurements are spot on at the front of the building.  Not so much at the back where the roof framing falls 4” in a few feet.  Solution lift roof joists.  But at the middle of the building where the stairs come up we are still 1-1/4” off.  Not much but every inch counts.  We need exactly 7’-6” from the landing to new ceiling.  Solution more excavation below.


February 2012
Finishing construction documents.  Selected glue down cork floor for second floor.  It is thin.  Every inch counts. But how to deal with the transitions from the cork to the tile at the bathrooms?  Don’t want a threshold.  We have a plywood diagphram on the second floor.  If we remove that and thinset the tile no threshold.  Call to Kevin our structural engineer at Toft De Nevers and Lee.  Kevin we want to remove the plywood at the guesat bathroom and master bathroom on second floor.  Guest bathroom fine.  Master bathroom hits exterior walls.  What about adding straps around opening?  Straps under the cork will telegraph through and you will see a bump in the cork.  Solution add them at the underside of the plywood.  These details need to be tight-in the good way.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lucky Seven Party February 1

We had a really great party.  Thanks to Lauren Venell for letting us join her show.  A huge thanks goes to Brian McHugh, a great friend and client.  He made an interactive art project for the party -an 8' long see-saw balanced precariously with building blocks highlighting Divisadero Street old and new.  Our job was to keep the see-saw in balance.

Brian playing with the blocks.






Seven years in business and I feel lucky.  Lucky to have started when construction was booming.  Lucky to have made it through when it was not.  Lucky to have clients trust me with their homes, their businesses and their savings.  Lucky to have developed a great team of contractors and consultants to work with.  Thanks to all of you who have made me so lucky!

Please come help me celebrate Lucky 7 on February 1, 2013 from 6-9  at 600 Divisadero St. x Hayes.
The party is in the Rare Device store.  Our office is located in the loft space at the back of the store.

As an added bonus local artist Lauren Venell will be showing her work and a curated show called Sustenance about the history of place that is 600 Divisadero Street.


Lauren's show description: 600 Divisadero Street has provided nourishment to everyone around it for over 150 years. Since 1876 this piece of pasture has housed an orphanage, a neighborhood meat market, and now, Rare Device and Red Dot Studio. Each of these institutions has fed the community--sometimes with food, and sometimes with more spiritual sustenance, as a place for neighbors to gather and feel at home. The community also feeds 600 Divis, much like tributaries feed a river. Generations of San Franciscans have flowed through here, sometimes stopping and spending time with the people, goods and spaces that have grown and changed here over time.





Thursday, January 3, 2013

Nantucket



We spent a week in Nantucket. The beaches were  beautiful. The town was charming. Fun vacation but I wouldn't want to live there.  Not because it is a sleepy town in winter with 12,000  residents which swells to 50,000 in August. I love sleepy abandoned winter beach towns. No for me Nantucket is just too Nantucket.

Our house was near town- gray shingle  with white trim- Classic Nantucket.  Actually all the houses are gray shingles with white trim.  It is part of the charm which comes at the cost that even a blue door seems  like a subversive act. I can't help but think of the planning and zoning codes that have emerged over time to keep it just so- preserve Nantucket. It also reminds me of our west coast version, Sea Ranch, where shed roofs and brown shingles have been codified.  It leaves me with an uneasy feeling both understanding the impetus of master planning seeking to keep a place defined apart from the sway of cheap  construction  but leading to a stylistic conformity.  For me the real charm of Nantucket isn't in the architecture but in the 75% of the island in land trust- limiting development and preserving the coastline. Ultimately that is what will keep me charmed with the island.

Photo is by Alison Seger.  

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Last year I got a paper-shredder for Christmas.  Just what a small business owner needs.
My kids made snow and decorated our tree.