Monday, February 21, 2011

Motrad House - roof on, windows in

Its official, the roof is on, the windows are in, the interior work will now commence in earnest.

Seems like just yesterday we were trying to imagine what the house would look like when the roof was framed, and here is all shingled up, all those wall holes filled with windows, and looking all very housey.

Well we have some treats for you today, because if you follow the link below not only will you find the usual selection of further images of the progress of the construction, but also two wonderful videos that the owner has made of a short walk-thru of the house. Its still all just framing inside, but there is no better way to finally understand the collection of rooms and spaces shown on a floor plan than to take a little stroll through them. So click on dear reader..

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USA New Wall - so called Advanced Framing

So called Advanced Framing has been promoted as a technique to improve efficiency and energy performance for house walls. But it also seems to have been designed to ensure that nobody adopts it.

First we should cover the basics - what is Advanced Framing? It is a "system" or practice of house framing that endeavors to reduce the amount of wood going into the wall, and as a result reduce thermal bridging and increase energy efficiency. It is also interchangeably referred to as Optimum Value Engineering or OVE which perhaps speaks more to the process that came up with this. Value Engineering has come to be a euphemism for cutting costs. In this case, cutting out everything but what is essential to frame a house.

Before we look at exactly how Advanced Framing accomplishes these goals let me just air my gripe. The details of the AF framing techniques are smart, efficient, and dare I say common sense. Yet taken as a whole "system" it is overly rigid, inflexible, and lacks resiliency. To follow a strict application building elements must fall on the proposed modular grid. This limits possibilities, and dooms existing house plans to significant redesign. Its lack of resiliency means its advantages can be quickly overcome by deviation from its strict use. And while it can save up to 20% in material, it really does not go far enough to create a high performance wall system. I feel this combination is a barrier to adoption that will prevent it from becoming the de-facto method for framing houses in the US. Yet many of the individual details are easy to implement, and many builders have already taken this hybrid approach. With the help of this diagram lets look at some of the key aspects of AF, the ones that are easiest to adopt.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

0970 Lagom House - Design Prints for new northside Lagom House are ready

Today, on the occasion of the official introduction of a (sort of) new house plan design - the northside version of our Lagom House - I thought it would be worthwhile to review the design in its entirety to make clear how this relates to the Lagom House we've been looking at for the past year.

This new version of the Lagom House features the same smart plan layout. At just under 1500sf, and with 2.5 baths and 3 bedrooms, it delivers an open living/dining room with separate but connected kitchen, a small home office area, and a homework area for the kids. It is a very family friendly yet very compact home. This is a house that is small enough to be a first home, a "starter" home if we can still use that term in today's world, but lives large enough for a family of four.

read on for the complete history of this house design

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Motrad House - house shell all framed up

The framing of the shell of the house is now done. There is a little bit more of partition framing going on inside, but soon the Electricians, Plumbers, and HVAC men will be on the job installing the guts of the house. Finish work to follow.

I'm very pleased with the how the house is coming out. The progress photos line up very nicely with the design sketches which is very gratifying. And best of all its shaping up to be one very cool house!

And after the link we have a photo browser with more pictures - enjoy!

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

0970 Lagom House - northside version underway

If you recall any of the details of the 0970 Lagom House that was entered in a green house design contest last year, you may remember that there were to be multiple versions. The initial version posted to the catalog was configured to be on the south side of a street, with the roof facing south for solar exposure. Soon we will also have design prints available for the north side configuration.

The south side version faces the sloping roof towards the back yard, while the north side version faces the sloping roof towards the street.

Once this second versions design prints are ready we will move on to prepping the Construction Prints for this efficient house design. This will be the first plan set to be documented to use our New American Wall system for high energy performance.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

MoTrad House - snow does not let up

And neither do the carpenters. The roof is way along now, the front more so than the back, but we can see the massing of the house now. Its no longer overshadowed by its neighbor.

And after the link we have a photo browser with more photos.

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