skip to main content


David Baker + Partners overhaul of Shift in San Francisco

David Baker + Partners is just the type of architecture firm you like to hear about. They are active in urban development and they turned this sad building into a great live/work space for Baker.

The home also has an impressive list of environmental features:

2.0K solar electric system generating over half of electrical power on site.
Solar domestic hot water collection system providing over half of water heating needs.
Digital dimming lighting controls on all lights to reduce consumption and extend bulb life.
Small-scale appliances: under-counter refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher.
Passive solar design: high thermal mass, polished concrete floors, and south-facing clerestory warm the living areas.
Casework and wood doors made from rapidly renewable material: bamboo plywood.
Walls insulated with ground recycled denim batting.
Rain garden system diverts roof water runoff from city sewage system and into local aquifers.
Permeable infiltration garden and pavers in city public sidewalk intercept storm water runoff in public right of way.

Freeman and Feldmann House, Houston TX

Dwell recently featured the Freeman and Feldmann house in Houston, Texas. It’s got a good handful of ideas/resources and even if you’re not remodeling now, it might be worth taking notes for any future projects.


Home made from shipping containers (two 40-foot-long containers and one 20-foot-long unit in the main house).
Redwood shade screen to keep the house from overheating (shown lower right).
Geosystems FilterPave porous pavement driveway used (made from post-consumer recycled glass, water passes through super fast and sparkles a little in the sun).
Wall around the master bedroom made from Enduro Systems fiberglass, giving a nice glow when lights are on (lower left).

Source: Via

Hi Tension Wire as Fencing

Recently at my home I’ve been having a design dilemma and related to finding a cost effective way to deal with my current hedge/fence situation. A little background: The house I live in was a foreclosure and at one time it had a lush hedge surrounding the property, but after being empty for 9 months the hedge is mostly dead and terribly unattractive. My plan has been to replace the current hedge with a more drought tolerant plant, and after thorough research on hedges in my neighborhood, I’ve finally decided on the podocarpus plant. It makes for a very tall, thick and lush hedge, and my neighbors who have a particularly nice one have had it about 4 years and only water it 15 minutes a week. Perfect.

But my next problem was deciding what to do while the hedge filled out. I didn’t want to just have empty spaces between each plant as I waited for it to grow–but any money spent on building a wood or other high dollar fence would essentially be wasted because it would need to be removed when the hedge properly filled out. So I needed a fence that provided security at a low linear foot price so I could invest more in older, more mature plants. Also, I wanted to be able to leave the fence there so when the hedge filled out entirely it would still provide security and keep my dog in the yard.

Then it occurred to me: ranchers use hi-tensile fences to enclose thousands of acres. And I remember seeing it used a long time ago in the Ocean 1.7 Better Shelter homes built in Orange County, CA a few years ago. They’re perfectly modern and not going to break the bank.

[via Ocean 1.7 Photos]

Source: Via


In Eric Rasmussen’s home, the material Skatelite was used in several areas, which got me thinking about cost and availability. If you search for it online, you get a myriad of skateboard ramp suppliers, but as far as getting your builder to install it as a exterial cladding/countertop/flooring/screen (some of which are shown above), I’d recommend some further research.

Skatelite is made of plastic-impregnated wood fiber. During its manufacture, the contents are heated hotter than the seven hills of hell, at which point the wood and plastic molecules flow together. Once cooled, they form a super-strong sheet material perfect for ramp surfaces. Available in two types, Skatelite Pro costs about 150 dollars per sheet, and regular Skatelite retails at 95 dollars per sheet. The former is used for pizza trays, and the latter is what you’ll find on most skateboard ramps. –

Skatelite Pro is an eco-friendly material made primarily of paper from certified managed forests in the U.S. Between 98-99.3% of the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) involved in the Skatelite manufacturing process are captured and destroyed. –Skatelite

Pictures shown above, via

To inquire on further pricing/availability: Buy it here.

More information:

View Skatelite here

Piso “biombo” (Folding Screen Hallway)

Whoa, take a look at this kick ass hallway. Folding doors are located within the walls that swivel open in different directions depending on the privacy needed. I also really like the way they handled the exposed brick and white columns.

Reforma de piso
Architect: Alfredo Sirvent
Photographer: Santos-Díez

See it here.

[via materialicious]

[posted by katie]

Capitonné Tile by Rex Ceramiche Artistiche

Why, hello there you lovely tufted tiles. How much are you and how long is your lead time?

Available in 14 colors (both a matte and glossy finish).

From Rex Ceramiche Artistiche.
To request quote: Buy it here or here.

Salvaged Building Materials (Examples from Phoenix Commotion)

I know that some salvaged building materials don’t exactly ‘fit’ the look of a modern home, but often times they can add more character to a room than something brand new (plus, you know all about how saving items from the landfill is a good thing, so I won’t lecture you on that). NYTimes recently featured an arcticle on Dan Phillips and his construction company, Phoenix Commotion, who together build low-income housing out of salvaged items. Not all of the ideas are applicable in your own home, of course, but it might get your brain thinking about alternative materials for your next remodeling project.

photos (all by Michael Stravato for The New York Times), left to right, top to bottom:

Wood-burning stove from an old ship installed in a new home.
Wine Bottles function like stained glass in a Dutch Door.
Countertop made from slices of osage orange wood, a local East Texas material.
Scrap wood for siding.
Old shingles, arranged by color, reused.


Source: Via

Maison Flottante (Floating House) by Bouroullec Brothers

Seeing as I posted the Slow Chair today and mentioned this houseboat, I might as well give you the pics too. While not all of us can live on the water, the Maison Flottante does give inspiration for a minimal aesthetic. In this particular case, a few curated pieces allows for more visual space while large windows center attention on the view.

The Floating House is a studio for resident artists and authors invited by the Cneai, national contemporary art center for publication. Initiated in 2002 by a public commission and finished in 2006, this habitable barge was realized in collaboration with the architects Jean-Marie Finot and Denis.


See it here. (click 2006, floating house : interiors)

Beach Bungalow (Brown/Saide Residence)

The main thing that struck me about this particular residence was the front facade. Lush landscaping almost completely obscures the structure while natural grasses and gravel disguise what seems to be the edge of the drive. I love how the landscaping comes across as very natural and easy to maintain, and (don’t shoot me) but I also really like how the architecture is sort of hidden because of it.

Residence was designed by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz in collaboration with architect Brian E. Boyle

View it here.

[via loftlife]

Cottam Hargrave: Ranch House

I remember seeing this on one of Fine Living’s Dwell series (do you remember them?) a few years ago. Located in central Texas, this ranch is miles and miles away from its nearest neighbor which allows for huge glass walls and uninterrupted views of the landscape (I think I remember the owner saying he sometimes wakes up to a cow looking into his bedroom wall/window). The large overhang roof provides much needed shade during hot summers, and as I remember, there’s a central brick structure that anchors the home and retains temperature*.

visit Cottam Hargrave’s site for more.

[via 2Modern Design Talk]

*please correct me if I’m wrong on any of this

Casa Blair Road by Ong & Ong

I’m currently in the planning stages of working on the landscape on my home, and since I’m in Southern California, I’m lucky enough to have nice weather almost year round, so one thing I’m striving for is a way to have indoor spaces which can easily transition to outdoor. I’m loving the Casa Blair Road house by Ong & Ong, which is simply stunning. The outdoor space feels like an extension of the home, and conversely, the transitional room feels like it’s outside.

[posted by kris]

Viola Park

Rejoice all you soon-to-remodel-your-kitchen people, rejoice, for the new Henrybuilt venture that is Viola Park has now officially opened its doors and is ready to take your order. Priced at around $15,000, it’s still not beating any IKEA pricing, but it sure looks snazzier. It’s way less than Henrybuilt’s custom-made/fit kitchen, but features the same soft close mechanism and is made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood.

Viola Park is an innovative new company, owned and operated by the Henrybuilt Corporation, offering well designed kitchen systems at an accessible price. Created as a collection of interchangeable components, Viola Park can be configured to meet a wide range of architectural styles.

Full component guides and pricelists are available upon request.
Current leadtime is 10 weeks from date of order to ready-to-ship.

More information:

View Viola Park here

Penny Floor

I’m sure I’ve seen or heard of this before, but these pictures are worth a look. Notcot did a post on The Standard Grill’s (left) floor with some commentary (including a how-to and legal tender issues) that led to a link of Paul Smith’s boutique (right) in Paris with the same idea on the walls.

[via materialicious via notcot]

Cinco Camp, Roger Black’s Texas retreat recently ran an article entitled Self-Contained in Texas which shows Roger Black’s Texas retreat. Made of five 8-by-20-foot containers, each one houses its own particular function and is joined by a walkway with a small deck and integrated grill.

“The opening on each compartment is fitted with sliding glass doors and screens to keep out stinging, biting and otherwise menacing creatures, and the rooms all face west so Mr. Black and any guests can watch the spectacular sunsets as well as distant locomotives toting the same kinds of shipping containers used in the home’s construction.” –By Kate Murphy

See NYTimes article for more.
All photos by James H. Evans for The New York Times

Matsudo Mansion by Bakoko Design and Development

The owners of Bakoko Design and Development recently undertook remodeling their post-war Japanese apartment down to painstaking detail. Walls were removed to create more of an open living plan and little gems of usability are hidden throughout the apartment. My favorite is the shock of pink on the walls hidden in the work compartment. I also really like the small vanity seen here.

[posted by kris]