Friday, April 29, 2011

MoTrad House - rails

You know you have an owner dedicated to design when in the course of the schematic design they travel, not once, but twice, to far reaches of the country in order to go on home tours in places where he will see recent modern houses. And so now that the details are beginning to come together we are starting to see the fruits of the inspiration he took from other houses he has visited. The stair began with an idea this way, and now the rails.

These are 2" square tubing, with tabs off the posts to support tempered glass panels. The small extensions you see protruding from the top will support a wood handrail at the proper railing height. A great combination of wood and glass and steel. Its always satisfying to see a house plan customer do a great job finishing out their house, to see them make great material choices, and to see them realize the dreams and inspirations they have gotten from reading their favorite design magazines or blogs. Here the same thing is happening as the owner gets to make real the small parts and pieces of the house in a special way, as he saw in the houses he toured.

This is a big deal to me. It validates for me the whole premise of offering modern house plans. The customers for my house plans were always assumed to be design savvy, to be able to tell the difference between an inspired design and a mcmansion with a nose job. For the cost of house plans its not possible to provide the custom and personalized details that you would get with a custom designed home. But the modern house plan customer is smart, resourceful, and they can make these details happen for themselves. And in the end when they make these things happen for themself it makes the house take on more meaning for them and builds a closer tie to their home. I've seen it in a dozen house builds by my customers, and the MoTrad House proves it out again.

A few more railing photos after the link below.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MoTrad House - covering those floors

And in a blink of the blog's eye those dusty plywood subfloors are gone, and finish flooring rolls out in its place. Stained bamboo in the living area, planks recycled from the original kitchen in the office, and carpet upstairs in the bedrooms. I know there is still a lot of finishes to complete, the bathrooms for instance, but this place is starting to smell like Done.

Construction momentum is an amazing thing, and this project has had it. Every week the house took a significant step, even when mother nature was throwing everything she had at them. So its looking very done, but the baseboards and other trim are not in, and the kitchen as you see still needs to be assembled. None the less, an amazing transformation over the past few weeks.

As always more photos after the link.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

MoTrad House - exterior all but finished

The weather broke, just for a few days, and the stucco men and siding hangers rushed in and finished up outside. Given how much snow and how much cold we had this past winter this house pushed through the foul weather and made great progress.

I thought this owner GC'd build would move more slowly, but I was wrong. A determined owner has kept the work moving, including the tasks done himself. Looking back the owner did the bulk of the demo, including salvage for reuse, excavation, and some of the footing work, he has built the stair, and will install the cabinets and much of the flooring and interior trim work. Good inspiration for my other customers who plan to have their hands in their construction work as well. More photos of the completed exterior after the link below:

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

USA New Wall - an update on my work on a new wall system

So much has happened since I posted my concept for this wall system back in Jan11. I've had dissatisfying discussions with fiberglass insulation makers. Very positive contact and support from Mineral Wool insulation maker Roxul, I've visited Bensonwood's facility in New Hampshire and seen their wall systems and their fabrication process first hand.

Regular readers know I have proposed this wall system as an easy first step towards high efficiency for builders who have not tried green building before. The goal was to make a wall design that performed significantly better, yet used the same materials and techniques as status quo walls. The idea is that builders can use the same subs they already have relationships with and the same suppliers they get materials from. They don't have to try new materials which they are unfamiliar with, new subs they have not worked with before, nor estimate time and cost with unfamiliar process. All deal-killers for getting status quo builders to try something new.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

MoTrad House - circling the wagons

Well, circling the kitchen cabinets actually.

Installation of the kitchen cabinets has begun. A few more photos after the link below.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

MoTrad House - the finish begins

Its time - all the rough work in the house is complete and its time for finishes to begin.

The drywall work has been painted, at least a base coat of white to begin. The owner has moved in the kitchen cabinet boxes, which are actually being re-used from the original house. He built these himself for the original house, so he dismantled and salvaged them for the new house, and we made sure they would fit in the new location in the addition portion of the house. I suspect he has some new pieces to fabricate and some existing ones to alter, but its still largely ready to go.

Other finishes in the house will begin in earnest soon as well, and we've actually entered the last major phase of construction. More photos in an image browser after the link below.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

MoTrad House - the owner builds a stair

The owner buckled down and got to work this past weekend and built his own stair. With some inspiration from our friends at PostGreen Homes, developers of the famous 100k house project, the MoTrad House owner fabricated his own dual stringer stair, made from oriented strand beams.

He had priced out a custom made single steel stringer stair, for which he would still have made the thick wood treads. But alas the price for the steel was outside his value range. Thats a polite way to say it was too much. So confident, and industrious, and with a good role model, he forged ahead and made his own. He did still source a custom steel bracket to support the stringers at the top, but the rest was by the work of his own hands. And power tools.

More photos after the link below:

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