Friday, May 29, 2009

A section view - XHouse2

A cut through the stair at the center of the house shows how the levels are connected.

I think having spaces that you use day to day at the stair landing level makes the house feel larger, and also makes the floors feel more connected.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Look Mom, no porch posts - XHouse2

Making much progress on the schematic house model. The entire house is blocked out now, and we will be adding more detail next before we begin painting surfaces.

Porch posts are the last big piece here. We are still missing the big steel frame from the XHouse2's daddy the 3030 house, but we are trying to bring out a bit of finesse rather than the brute strength of its progenitor.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Design Prints in production - XHouse2

The new house plan set based on the 3030 House design is now under production and we'll be updating the creation of the Design Prints moving forward right here in the blog.

Looking a bit like a wooden puzzle here, this is the interior spaces without the shell of the house exterior. Windows and doors are not punched through the walls yet.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Carpe Diem - Why you should build your modern/green house now

We all know why you don't have the modern or green house you've always wanted. None of the usual suspects build them - developers that offer them are few and far between. Building them custom costs a premium you can't afford. And construction prices had gotten high, high, high - about as high as they have ever been. You have to wait. Wait until you were making more money, had more saved, or till the kind of house you wanted was more widely available. And on top of all that you felt pretty powerless to do anything about it. Only if you could just go out and find/buy the kind of house you liked. But you couldn't. Its just not out there. You were powerless to change the status quo.

And then it all busted, prices went through the roof, loan qualifications became ridiculous, and suddenly everybody was fearful about the near future. Insecurity does not breed long term commitments to construction projects. In case you haven't noticed there is not much happening with housing right now. Builders fat from the past 5-10 years are sitting on their hands waiting for things to turn. Developers left with bloated McMansions are trying to clear them out.

But where does that leave you? There's no 12 month supply of modern and green houses on the market, is there? That has not changed. But what has changed? Well what has changed is the collective housing market is on its knees from the greatest gut kick in history, and the opportunity to remake the industry, or at least our little corner of it is at hand. We just have to take it. Continues after the link:

Here is why you should be building your modern or green house now.

Number one: there are a lot of builders out there that 2 years ago would have passed on your "crazy" project or screwed you with high pricing just to avoid venturing into the unknown, happy to just keep doing what he's always been doing. That same guy today is likely happy to build your project, with great attention and customer service, with a lower profit, and in some cases no profit just to keep men busy. I'm not saying you should take advantage of somebody when they are down. The lack of projects in the market is creating this and you don't want to hire somebody to go down the drain in the middle of your construction. But the gist is the time has never been better, whether that means more house for your budget, or an infeasible budget is now workable. Its not going to get any better than now.

Number two: lending has begun to return to normalcy. Of course normal means its harder to qualify than it was during the balloons hey day, but better than the scared to loan terms that came about near the end in 2008. Smaller lenders who were not caught up in the crazy lending policies were never in trouble, and have been lending throughout the crisis. Many of them are hungry to lend now because all borrowing has slowed down. Other lenders are returning to the market and looking for candidates. Rates are low, maybe not record low, but reasonably low.

Number three, and this is really the big one: this is your chance to be empowered to do something about the housing market, to reshape it to your vision. Remember earlier when I said how before we were powerless to make change. Well now you have the power to make change, and if you are passionate about seeing the housing industry begin to offer the kind of housing you want, be it modern, or green, or both, now is the time to shape the future of housing. If everybody out there who ever hoped, dreamed, pined for a modern/green house got a project underway then modern green houses would suddenly be the majority of what was being built in housing. And you can be sure that everybody in the market would take notice. Builders and developers would see that this was something that was selling while nothing else was. People who never even had modern or green on their radar screen before would take notice, and be exposed to this new kind of house. Some will not care, but many more will come on board. And all this will combine to carve out a segment of the housing market for the kind of houses we love, so that in the future its not such a pipe dream to get a modern or green house. And even after the market recovers we can have staked out our part of it now.

So even if you don't build the house that you wanted for ever and ever, you can build an interim home that will have value moving forward, and if I dare to speculate those of you that build it in this down market will do well later when you sell it to build your next modern green home, the forever one. And if nothing has ever been green enough for you, your standards are higher, even you can see how an interim house now will build the momentum of green building, be it new or renovation. And you will find a home that does meet your standards will come faster than if you just wait it out.

I know everybody is worried about the future, security, their jobs. But this is a self fulfilling prophecy, and it can just as easily have a self fulfilling solution. If we build modern green homes in numbers it will help the recovery, and money flowing in home building spreads to all other corners of the economy. If you are passionate about these issues and want to see change, not just lip service, its time to stick your neck out. The more who do it, the less risk each of us will take.

So can we make a movement of this? Can we spread this through all of the channels through which we exchange ideas? You big blogs that read here - yeah you, the ones with thousands of page views per day - will you spread this to your readers? And you, the home owner doing their own house project now and blogging it, will you post this to your readers, all the ones watching you and hoping for their own house to happen some day. Can we push this idea far enough that the dinosaurs in old media pick up the story? That's what I call the ReModern Movement.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

3030 House - making progress

Hand rails have been installed inside and outside of the house now. The owner is contemplating LEED certification which may delay the closing in of the interior walls. This will be our first EcoSteel project to under go LEED evaluation and I'm eager to see how the steel construction falls within the criteria.

LEED certification best done from the outset of construction, really from the conception of the design, but in any case for work built and in place the walls need to be open so the construction methods and materials can be verified. This means that the close in with wall board and the installation of other finishes will be delayed until the audit can be completed.

More progress photos follow after the link.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

its a wrap - XHouse1 posted to the catalog

After messing with the images for several weeks it was just time to get this show on the road. Design Prints are done and available immediately.

The XHouse1 at

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