Friday, October 29, 2010

Haunted House

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd show this crazy 'haunted house'. This is the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. It was constructed by Sarah Winchester, the wife of William Winchester, heir to a rifle fortune. Legend has it that when Sarah's infant died, she became depressed. This depression got worse when her husband passed years later. She saw a medium who said that she and her family had been haunted by the spirits of the dead who died from the rifles her family made. The medium told her the only way to get rid of the spirits was to build a house for them and never stop building it. As long as she kept building, her life would be saved.

She moved to San Jose and for the next 38 years, never stopped building the Winchester House. The place is enormous. The house is built with mazes, dead ends and secret passageways. It was designed this way as a means for the spirits to get lost. When she died, the house was spread out over six acres and included 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 staircases, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms and kitchens. Are you kidding me? The house is a tourist destination now and is supposedly haunted. Such a crazy story.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Corrugated Metal

Here is a cool application for a covered porch if you want something a little different. Corrugated metal roofing with the exposed rafters. It could turn into a love/hate thing too depending on where you live and how you use it. I'm referring to rain. It can get loud so get ready. It comes new but you can easily find some great salvaged materials if you want a little more of a rustic look. They also did a nice custom job with the gutters in this photo. It's a nice touch, but not necessary. Again, it's about making it work for you and how you want to utilize the space.

photo via Design Studio Modern

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Building & Architecture in the Utah Desert

This is Design Build Bluff and it was started by Hank Louis at the University of Utah School of Architecture. It's about designing and building sustainable, low maintenance, cost effective houses in the Navajo Nation in Southern Utah. I love it and think it's brilliant. It started as a project to promote hands-on experience in building and architecture back in 2000 and totally took off.
The program involves 22 grad students (they built the model in the photo above) who live out in Bluff, Utah for a semester and build a home for a member of the Navajo Nation. So crazy. I think it sounds amazing. Now before they head out to the desert to build, they spend the entire previous semester selecting a family in need of a home and then work closely with them to customize it to fit their specific needs. It's such a cool program and the stories behind the families are so good. It's worth checking out.

Design Build Bluff

Hank Louis

photos via Design Build Bluff

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Italian Restaurant Remodel

This is the Santa Marta Restaurant in Mazze, Italy. It's a historic chapel dating back to the 18th century that they restored and converted into this restaurant and bar. I like the contemporary, edgy feel to the space. The brickwork and the vaulting of the original ceilings, however, are what make the space. So crazy, yet so normal for that location and time period. I'm sure the food is amazing too. Italian food. Italian architecture. So good.

photos via Arch Daily

Monday, October 25, 2010

Custom and Efficient

Is it about quality of life or is it about square footage? I feel as though people are starting to really evaluate that question more and more. There has been a ton of talk lately about the demise of the McMansion. I agree. It's dead. Don't get me wrong, people will still build large, bad ass homes - no doubt. And I'll gladly help you do it. However, I feel the mind set it totally different. When I think of building for the quality of life, I immediately considered it a custom home. It makes no difference how big or small. It's about how you will use the space, and being efficient in how the contractor and designer will bring it all together.

If you're interested, the New York Times has a unique article about the smaller more efficient home.

photo by Tim Capaldi

Friday, October 22, 2010


This is Slows. It's this sweet BBQ place in Corktown, just outside of downtown Detroit. I read this article yesterday in the New York Times and immediately was inspired. If you're not from the area, you should still check out the article.

This is the Michigan Central Station. It's also in Corktown, almost right across the street from Slows. I posted about abandoned buildings in Detroit and I probably will again sometime soon. It's not because it's an easy target. It's just because I believe in this city.

photos via Metromode (Peter Schottenfels) and Big American Night

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Local and European Farmhouse

This is a sweet little weekend/vacation farmhouse in Vermont by the Boston-based architectural firm Albert, Righter & Tittmann (AR&T). It's actually not that little but I think the character of this place is so cool. The owner wanted the house to feel like it belonged in Vermont yet also wanted to give some love to his German heritage. As you approach the house you have that farmhouse feel with the white clapboard siding, the pair of green shutters, the square porch posts and the eaves without flat soffits.

On the rear of the house they brought in some of the European elements with the bracketed overhangs and the tall french doors.

Then you throw in this red barn that is linked to the main house with locally hand hewn, rustic cedar columns. So well done. They really did an amazing job linking the history and tradition from the owner to the architectural styles. Very cool.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Amazing architecture pretty much in my backyard and I often take it for granted. It's the Cranbrook Educational Community (a National Historic Landmark) in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. We used to have design studio there back in architecture school. You would just pick a spot anywhere on campus and sketch as much as you could for 4 hours. Those 4 hours never went so fast. The detail is killer.

The campus is just phenomenal. The architectural style is the Arts and Crafts Movement which originally started in Europe. The chief architects were Eliel Saarinen and Albert Kahn.

photos via Flickr and PBase

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Duxbury Yellow

It's a 1930's Greek Revival and the color is Duxbury Yellow. A sweet renovation, and one of my favorite projects. It was on my mind since I talked to the owner that we did this renovation with yesterday. Actually it was two different renovations. I think that's a great honor when you can say that you've completed multiple projects with the same client.

There were a couple of challenges on this project. One was that the owner had a shade of yellow in her head, but couldn't find a match. The shade of yellow could only be found on a home in Duxbury, Massachusetts, where they had a summer home. We ended up calling he local hardware shop owner of Duxbury, having him drive to the house, match the shade, custom mix it, and Duxbury Yellow was born. Another challenge was matching the exterior molding detail. We had to fabricate the crown, the dental and the corner pilasters to match the existing. A ton of hours and some patience to get it all just right. Actually, I take that back, these weren't challenges, they were little details that took a little time, but made all the difference.

photos by Tim Capaldi

Monday, October 18, 2010

Architectural Details

I was looking at architectural photographers over the weekend in search of some design ideas. Brian Vanden Brink has a ton of cool images from various residential projects. His site also features some historical and abandoned buildings. I find it's a great way to spark your imagination and then incorporate various design elements based upon the challenge. For example the subtle front porch setting off the powerful symmetry of the two steep gables.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Seattle Sis

Big Sis is in town from Seattle for just a couple days. It's kind of a haul either way so we don't see much of her or her family. Anyway, it got me thinking about Seattle architecture (she's a sucker for cool architecture and is always emailing me links) and I came across this space that this Seattle architect utilizes for his office. Perfect little home office.

It was once a single car detached garage. I thought he did a sweet job bringing in the natural light with the large french doors and the skylights. A cozy little space but he did a nice job with custom shelving and built-ins for all his collectibles and references. I can totally see this on a rainy Seattle day.

Have a good weekend.

photos via Seattle Homes & Lifestyles magazine

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hand Hewn Beams, Spanish Style

This Spanish Revival is sweet, however I did find an interesting little design element that you may not expect with this style of architecture. Hand hewn beams.

They put on this master bedroom addition and gave it more of a rustic, modern contemporary feel. It's pretty unique and semi risky in my opinion.

And, if you look close enough at the ceiling line in the photo above (couldn't find a closer shot), you can see how the beams are truly structural. That's the real deal. No false contrived header here.

Photos via Dungan Nequette

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Outdoor Materials Indoors

Why not bring some of the exterior elements inside? There are a ton of opportunities and styles to choose from. In the case above, the building was just originally constructed in that manner but one can certainly incorporate it in today's building standards. This has that rustic farmhouse feel with old hand split stone on the walls and the oversized blue stone walkway that they continued all the way in. It's a sweet little entry way.

You can get crazy on a more modern level too. This is a newer house in Dallas that brought the king sized masonry brick inside. They did a nice job giving the space some warmth too by bringing those brick in. The white drywalled fire chase then softens the overall mass.

I feel like people get a little nervous about these applications because they seem so permanent. I've always said, if you love it, do it. You can always put a coat of paint on brick and transform it, so try not to think of too many reasons not to do something, if you are really into it.

Photos via Tim Capaldi (Blackberry Farm) and Life of an Architect

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Design Inspiration, Karim Rasid

I enjoy pulling inspiration from all kinds of different design styles. This is a new restaurant inside the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas. It's called Silk Road and it was designed by Karim Rasid. The Contemporist posted Karim's comments about the space as well a ton of photographs. It's Vegas so it is a little on the crazy side but well worth a look. The wife and I had the opportunity to listen to him speak and meet him at an event in Detroit a few years back. He was collaborating with Jenn Air on some kitchen design. He was super engaging and had a ton of creative energy. I can appreciate his sense of architecture and how it relates to space. Inspiring.

Monday, October 11, 2010


They boast pure design and pure craftsmanship. I love that. Wetstyle is a manufacturer of premium quality bath furnishings and they're based in Montreal. Handcrafted and custom-made to order. The photo above features a father and son team. They're artists. They oversee the quality of the product.

They also use an eco-friendly natural stone composite called WETMAR in all their bath products. Their contemporary style can be found in numerous hotels as well as many luxurious homes throughout the world.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Different Kitchen and Sink

This is the kitchen sink...

This is the kitchen.

They are close but not what you would expect. This is an old European kitchen that was remodeled and I just thought the location and the style of sink were unique. My wife and I were just talking about different ways to breakdown the kitchen space. It's probably not for everyone but it's different and I'm cool with making the space work for you and your lifestyle.

Photos via Living Etc.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Abandoned Architecture

It's great architecture that at one time was filled with a ton of love I'm sure. I saw this post yesterday and it made me think that as sad as it is that these buildings will most likely be torn down (hopefully salvaged to some extent) we can still take some of the passion and pass it on. These houses definitely speak to the craft of building and architecture. The details may be masked by a lack of upkeep, but I can promise you that the craft lives on. This photo was taken from a site called 100 Abandoned Houses. It's an interesting site. I guess you could say it's bittersweet.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kitchen Balance

A new house with amazing craft. I was in a kitchen yesterday discussing a face lift renovation and all I kept thinking was how monochromatic everything appeared. I came back to the office to do a little research and stumbled on this sweet gem. This design team did a great job with balance and texture in this kitchen. So you have the smooth lime washed oak floors complimenting the washed painted finish of the cabinets. Then you have the cypress (running just three quarters of the way) up the walls and picking up the texture in the hand hewn beams in the ceiling. The play on blacks and whites with the counter tops, pendants and paint just finishes it all off. You can pull it off with similar colors. You just need to get creative and find that balance which they totally did in this example.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tree House

Oh yeah. We'll build you a custom designed tree house. I have a client that came to me from this sweet friend and decorator, Amanda. He recently purchased a house on this killer lot with a ton of trees so we're in the process of getting the design finalized and approved. We started with the sketch above and when we're not filling out paper work for the township, we're getting ideas together. Stay tuned. There are some pretty sweet tree houses out there but this one will be unique in it's own way.

Delightful Blogs

I just received word that we made it on Delightful Blogs, a great site devoted to great blogs. Pretty cool. They claim to 'cut the blog smog' but showcasing blogs that they think are amazing. And, I'm honored to be part of the directory.

If you are enjoying Craft1945 and want to rate the blog, I'll buy you a beer or just really appreciate it. And, check out the other sites on Delightful, they do a great job.

Thanks so much,


Monday, October 4, 2010

The Fire Pole

It's Fire Prevention Week just in case you were wondering. As a builder and remodeler I'm a total freak about smoke detectors too. Anytime you renovate your home you're required to comply with that code and I'm all for it. Anyway, my sweet wife found out about an Open House at the Fire Station so we took the little nugget and both sides of the family and had a great time.

It got me thinking though about the fire pole and how we could incorporate it in the next house. This particular station did not have one but I think it's one of the coolest things. We did a couple different renovation projects for a badass athlete (now retired) a few years back. His father was a firefighter back in the day and one thing he wanted for sure when we were planning the project was a traditional fireplace - no prefab here. He knew how to build a fire and was proud of it. We also kind of joked about a fire pole but it just never made it into the plans. Obviously not the safest item if you have small kids but it would be sweet if you could sneak it in somewhere. Maybe a closet or even in a Library.

Look for an open house if you have the opportunity this week and give these guys some love. They do an amazing service to the community, they're extremely proud and it's educational for everyone.

photos via LAFD Museum and RDT Ventures LLC

Friday, October 1, 2010

Santa Lucia Preserve

In 2008 we attended the wedding of Brooke and Paul, friends from college days who we don't see often enough. The wedding was at the Santa Lucia Preserve outside of Carmel, California. They had an amazing wedding including a relaxed family style rehearsal dinner, a ceremony under a natural cathedral of Redwood trees and the reception was in a bad ass barn (top photo).

The Santa Lucia Preserve is an exclusive private community that is 20,000 acres and has 300 homes. I was going through some old pictures and started researching the actual houses on the property. They are all unique and have sweet architecture.

This one takes on a more modern look as opposed to the farmhouse style of most of the common buildings on the grounds. There's a really nice blend of indoor and outdoor living with the large window wall that opens up to the kitchen. And I like how the metal fireplace chase makes a statement. It works so well with the crisp lines and pewter colors of the exterior materials. The outdoor living is a total must if you are lucky enough to reside in a place like Santa Lucia.

(top images by Tim Capaldi, last image via Santa Lucia)
Related Posts with Thumbnails