I can't imagine the lengths I'm going to have to go to to convince Erin that this should hang in our living room. It's awesome. Made to look just like the sprue that connects all of the parts of a plastic model car kit. From these guys: http://www.jellio.com/turbo/turbo.html#


Modern pattern

I really like this carpet pattern. That's all I have to say about it.



Originally uploaded by japunto.
Floor tiles made of cork are another strong contender. They're warm, quite, resilient and soft to the step. And, they now come stained in a variety of colors. We're thinking of using it in the bedrooms.



I didn't realize Linoleum had left, but apparently it's now back. It's supposed to be relatively inexpensive when compared to hardwood, warm and soft when compared to polished concrete, and eco-friendly when compared to everything.
This one is a tile based system called Marmoleum.



We met with James today (Erin's in Cincinnati, so she web-cammed in) and he said that the surveyors didn't come up with anything to be worried about. We do have to push the north side of the addition in by four inches, but that won't be a problem.

It's astounding how fast things are moving -- James is getting the structural engineer to look at the plans already. We're very excited about the designs and solutions Leanarch is providing -- they are proactive like you wouldn't believe which is just terrific. Neha found some beautiful pieces of furniture to place in the two hallway circulation nodes -- I'll post pics of them soon.

And then there is Varia. James brought this happy little box of material samples from a company called 3form that he wants us to consider for the sliding doors on the activity room. They laminate all sorts of designs, textures and materials between sheets of ecoresin (no, I don't know what "ecoresin" is either) and they look highly awesome. I'm crazy about the typographic one called courier.


Reading room

We love our peace and quiet. Or, at least, we imagine that we'd love it if we got to know it. Toward that goal, we proposed to James and Neha that the balcony overlooking the courtyard be redesigned as a small reading room.
This certainly won't further our other goal of lowering the cost of the addition. And I worry that enclosing that section will hurt the overall design, but we'll see what he thinks.


The Third Dimension

I've been working up a 3D model of the addition using Maya and rendering it with mental ray. Here is a view of the rear of the house as if you had displeased a knotty old witch, she had turned you into our garage, and you had opened your eyes and looked to your left a little bit. (What'd you say to her anyway?)


Construction begins

Not really. This is a photo of a house being built with giant styrofoam/particle board ice cream sandwiches. They're called Structurally Insulated Panels. They are built at a factory to measure and then assemled on site -- no need for traditional framing. We're looking into this because we've heard that they can save on construction time/cost, as well as being very energy efficient.

Everybody Wow

James and Neha (designer on the project) came over on Friday to show us the plans. In three words: Greatly Exceeded Expectations. We are in awe of the design they developed. I'm going to post cleaned up versions of the plans and elevations based on the CAD files soon, but here's a grainy, stitched-together scan for now.

I love the incorporation of the existing house with the modern style of the addition. Clean lines, lots of light, tons of added functionality.

Everything on the left-hand side of the image beyond the chimney is new. Two steps down from the (larger) living room take you to the activity room, laundry, storage closet, small bathroom, and the guest bedroom. The guest bedroom will have a rear wall made of sliding glass doors that pocket into the wall, allowing for indoor/outdoor living. Please sign up early to stay with us in these lovely accommodations.

I'll write more about the interior once I post images. I'm also busy building a 3D model of the plans so I can shoot some QTVR movies or a flythrough to put online.

I recall James once saying that "this is the fun part" of doing a house addition, and I couldn't agree more. I'm sure the heady excitement we feel now will be neatly counterbalanced by the realities of construction. And paying for it. But for now our only job is to request small design adjustments here and there and start researching materials, finishes, hardware and colors. Yay us!


The plans

James is coming by today to show us the plans he's drawn up for our addition. To use the vernacular, w00t!


Park Oak House

This is another house recently completed by our architect, James Meyer. Maybe we can scrap the whole addition idea and just move into this place. It's in the Hollywood Hills, so it shouldn't cost much.


Vladimir's mosaic

Originally uploaded by japunto.
My friend Vladimir at thinkforward.org has written an algorithm for generating a variety of beautiful mosaics. This is my favorite.


Erin's screens

Here is the quick model I did of the type of screens we were thinking of getting for dividing the living room. I'm not sure what kind of materials we'd go with, but maybe some kind of dark wood frame with a plexiglass-made-to-look-like-rice-paper interior would work. That or chicken wire.


Just some pretty pictures

Originally uploaded by japunto.
I'm uploading some scans of a house I like. We've got to get off our butts and call the architect to see how the plans are coming. Hopefully that'll make for more exciting news than this lazy post.


The gift of speed

I saw this posted on daddytypes.com and knew I had to have it. Or, rather, get it for my son's second birthday, that is. So I did. Can't wait for it to arrive. It's called likeabike.


3D Shape Wallpaper

I saw these 3D wallpaper tiles over on Mister Shape's blog, and am going to make the full court press with Erin to get some for the living room.



Lofts always get the coolest partitions. Must be a side effect of living in a big giant cube. We'd like to consider sectioning off the project room into two areas with some sort screens or sliding walls.


Meeting Today

James (the architect) is coming by today to talk with us about the design direction. We've been clipping out pretty pictures of houses from magazines to show him, as well as these photos online. He's also going to take measurements of our house and lot -- I wonder if he'll use some high-tech sonar/laser based device. That'd be neat-o.



Originally uploaded by japunto.
We signed the contract with our architect, and put it in the mail. This makes it feel official, and I'm glad to have forward movement.

This is a nice exterior, with a mix of natural and modern that I like. If I recall correctly, it's the house that contains the stylish staircase below.


Exoskeletal Staircase

backbone stairs
Originally uploaded by japunto.
So, we've gotten our questions answered by the architect about the proposal and we're signing it. Scary bags.

Here is a staircase I really like. A lot. As in, I'm going to find this house and burgle them of it. It looks like the spiny exoskeleton of some benevolent giant bug alien.



A couple I know are also doing an addition here in Burbank. They're a year into the process (having stalled for a while when they ditched their first architect). I get to hear all sorts of scary stuff from them about local regulations. For example - if you move your garage back you also have to move it five feet away from the edge of your property and into your yard.

Another -- if you increase your square footage beyond ~50% of your original home you have to install fire sprinklers in the ceilings of your home and your garage. Apparently the fire department does this for you and charges a lot to do so. Yikes.

Notes to self: Don't move the garage. Add < 50% to sq. footage.


Proposal is in

We got the proposal yesterday, but I barely had a chance to look at it. I did read ahead to the ending wherein the author tries to kill off the homeowner with the cost. It was very exciting!


Cool v. Cold

Originally uploaded by japunto.
I've been looking at modern architecture lately. For my tastes there is a line you can cross where cool looking houses turn into cold looking houses. As you cross this line residences start to look like small museums.
This house in this photo has cool shapes and ideas but is still warm enough to feel like a house. I think color and material have a lot to do with it. Polished, white, sharp and sterile just don't feel like home to me.


Waiting stinks

My Dad once told me a phrase they used a lot in the army: Hurry up and wait. That's what doing a home addition is like. The initial excitement is tremendous. You run out and buy an armload of architecture books! You pretend to be an architect and draw up your own little blueprints using software that isn't really meant to do that! You start a blog!! Shouldn't the house be built already?!

No. Now you wait for the actual architect to make a proposal. I hate that. Me no want wait. So instead, here's another inspirational photo of the day, scanned from one of the aforementioned books. It smells like progress, don't it?


Blank canvas

So, here is a photo of our house, taken during landscaping. I'll post a photo of the back later. I'd love to post a satellite photo from Google or TeraServer, but that's just begging for some nut-nut among the tens of readers out there to track me down and ask me to babysit her cats. I'm much too busy for that.



The freakout

I was waiting for this to happen. We were out walking the dog/strolling the child last night when Erin flipped out about the cost of doing the addition. I enjoy the benefits of being oblivious to the daily financial operations of our household. So I get to place my head firmly in the clouds and fantasize about brushed metal gutters and suspension bridge-like staircases. Meanwhile she's wondering if we should start looking into selling our house and buying a bigger one. I suspect this may have something to do with the six- to eight-month construction hell we're facing.
By the end of the walk we had wheedled the addition down to painting the door a fun new color. Well, not quite, but we've got to definitely watch out for feature creep. The ninja training center is right out.

Inspirational photo of the day:

This bedroom uses ropes and pulleys to reveal storage areas.

Neatly glossing over Erin's freakout, here are some additions to the wish list:

  • Paint the house
  • Fix up the sheds in the back yard
  • Move the washer/dryer, turn that area into a pantry
  • Gutters so snazzy that I'll weep whenever I behold them


Our first meeting with the architect

We met with an architect, James Meyer of Leanarch, today to talk about our home addition. He seems like exactly the kind of guy we're looking for. As Erin puts it, he's a proponent of the holistic, big picture approach. Someone who'll help us turn our small house into a slightly bigger, much more functional one. Oh, and with a dash of style and a pinch of modernity. Here's an example of their work that I like:

Our house is a 1939 three-bedroom, one-bath
~12oo sq.ft. bungalow. We've owned it for five years and in that time we've remodeled the kitchen and bathroom, added central air, new roof, new pipes, rewired it and a few other things. None of that changes the fact that it's a bit too small for our growing family.
Here's our current wishlist:

  • add an entry way with coat closet
  • new fence and gate for the front yard (Erin wants to have a place for our son to play during the lengthy construction process. Stay-at-home moms are clever like that.)
  • blow away the wall / fireplace to make the living room bigger, better, faster & stronger; maybe adding built-ins for TV and related parasitic electronics
  • add a project room for computers, filing, making stuff, romping, etc.
  • add a small bedroom for some as-yet-unconceived (I think) child
  • staircase going up to the...
  • ... master bedroom/bathroom/reading nook/walk in closet/ninja training facility/deck
We'll add and subtract to and from that list as time goes by.