Monday, May 28, 2007

Vermont Plat House - future accessory building

The owner of the Vermont Plat House and I have worked on a small out building that will serve several purposes. It is to be located along side the the pond on the property. This small out building will contain a screened in porch, a small deck for dipping a rod in the pond, a small barn for storing yard care equipment, and above the barn an overlook deck accessed by a stair coming off the deck. There is a lot going in this small structure! We wanted this to sit well with the main house, but not necessarily ape its design. Its more of a mid-century garden folly if you wish. Here are some development sketches. In the overview below you can get a sense of how the upper deck is integrated into the design. It is hidden in the other views. Originally we discussed using a palette of inexpensive materials which would further distance the design from the main house. I have a feeling that we are not done tinkering with this though, so we'll see where it goes. I'll update this when I know more. I'm not sure of the schedule. We may not see this go in this summer.

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A Virginia Plat House - another site photo

Another image of the site for an upcoming Plat House in Virginia. The owner informed me that the body of water visible in the previous photo is a creek which eventually drains into the Potomac. There is of course wetlands surrounding the creek, and a transition zone for the wetlands which the house must stand off of. Looking back from the spot where the last picture was taken, this photo shows the site clearing on the wooded lot. There is a fabric barrier fence that you can see in the image which is the general location of the house. Sigh.... I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep my jealousy in check while I cover this one in the blog!

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Vermont Plat House - interior finishing

I have been getting some great pictures of the interior of the house as it comes down the final stretch to completion. Today I'll show you the fireplace surround and the kitchen cabinets. I've shown a few photos up to now of the rough framing for the fireplace. It has two parts, a vertical shaft corresponding to the flue, and a horizontal mass that stops short of the ceiling revealing light from the high windows in the gallery space. This horizontal section will eventually hold a flat panel video screen for the living area. Truely the modern hearth, fire on one side, a video feed to the world on the other... The horizontal volume is being clad in wood, seperated by bands of aluminum - a great treatment. The wood is actually a prefinished flooring product. Being that it is so sturdy there was no need for a plywood backing. The t&g planks are able to be mounted directly over the studs. The hearth is not in yet - I'm expecting some stone, but we'll see what the owner rolls out for us here. On the other side of the room the kitchen cabinets and countertops have been installed. Yes, for those of you keeping score, these are Ikea cabinets. And the countertops? Concrete? no. Quartz composites? nope. Just good ole' plastic laminate! I love that. The window beyond in the second photo is a pass through to the screened in dining room. The owner moves in to the house in a matter of days. No doubt there will be more loose ends, but we will see it almost done very soon.

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another great modern house blog

Here is a great blog for those aspiring to a modern home. The Do Research blog is a personal log book of ideas and projects for a Minnesota couple. It serves them to collect the ideas and thoughts about their own future house, and it serves us to look in at what they are finding. As of late they are living for a period in England, and hence are being exposed to wonderful European examples. This site is great food for thought for anyone planning for their own modern house. Discovered on the Future House Now blog - thanks John.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Virginia Plat House

I got word from a customer in Virginia this week that their Plat House will begin construction very soon. The site is ideal for the Plat House, a flat clearing beside scenic pond with heavy growth on all sides for privacy. The owner has forwarded a photo of the site to me. He says that this will be the view from the window side of the house, and the decks which are on the same side. The owner said that the layout on site for excavation should be done next week and he said he will take photos that show the position of the house. I recall from our earlier correspondence that they would be making some mods to the floor plan, and perhaps consolidating some of the window units into simpler combinations for the sake of economy. I am eager to see these variations on the original design play out on this wonderful site. Please, come along for the ride! My thanks go out to all of our customers who have shared their projects with us here.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Vermont Plat House - vestibule wraps up

The finished cladding went up on the vestibule of the house at the end of this week. In my last post I described how the fascia above the vestibule roof was going to be clad in the roofing panels, and at that point I had completely forgotten that we had decided to clad the vestibule in the same material. Sorry folks, my brain is full. It looks sweet though, and along with the bright door it calls out the entry of the house as you approach. The steel beam got a coat of grey in this last shot.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Vermont Plat House - loose ends

Today the roofers were back to complete the metal roof. The fascia above the front door is clad in the same standing seam panels as the roof, as was the chimney earlier. This fascia spans between the two sloping roofs that form the butterfly profile of the house. What is going on here is that we needed to create positive drainage (meaning sufficient slope) on the roof surface between the main roof of the house and the roof of the garage. Snow fall can be great here, and with a ton of melting snow on the roof its always better get gravity on your side in convincing it to leave quickly when the party is over. I also wanted to avoid draining this out at the front door as it also collects a great deal of the water coming off the garage and the house. So the decision was made to have it slope one way, towards the far side, which meant there would be a ridge, or high point above the door. Visually this would work against the butterfly profile, so it was clad in standing seam material to make it "of the roof" and not "of the wall". Cladding complete. And the house from a distance.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Vermont Plat House - a few more shots

A few more shots from the owner arrived. Here is a closer view of the long strip of windows on the entry side of the house. The electric meter will get an enclosure. The meter went up early in the construction and the owner and I corresponded about it. Its on the end wall, right where you approach the house, it seemed like a unfortunate location to me. But the owner had explained that the wire had already come some number of hundreds of feet at some great expense, and it was a hard decision at all to spend for that but the option was having the wire come in to the house via a series of poles. He did not want to spoil the site with an aerial wire and so he spent for the trenching. But he had to limit it to the nearest corner of the house. In that context the placement of the meter didn't seem so bad. Design and construction is often a series of compromises. At times we say its all about the details, its true. You just can't get lost in them. The guest bedroom side of the house. The crew takes lunch on a siding table. This porch was to be enclosed with screening, which I believe is still to come. The posts are yet to receive cladding which is why we see the framing connectors at the tops. But in the meantime the edge of the slab makes for a fine bench! I can see it done now.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Vermont Plat House - nearing completion

While we've had our heads down working, the Vermont Plat House has been making time. Estimated completion is 4 weeks. Many loose ends coming together now, but you can get a very good sense of the completed house. Here is the entry side of the house. The metal fascia above the vestibule, and the vestibule itself is not done, but the rest of the exterior is complete. The windows are Eagle, aluminum clad wood with an anodized finish. The owners choices have been very nice. The house definitely feels 2007, yet the characteristics of the house that evoke mid century have been played up successfully. Here is the interior gallery hallway. Concrete floors, and horizontal drywall trims all of the owners work. This is the summer dining room just off the main living space. And a ceiling fan in one of the bedrooms.

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