Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Modern A-frame Cottage

This cottage (or lake house) reminds me of a modern take on an A-frame style house. We see a ton of them in northern parts of Michigan with the amount of snow that can accumulate in those areas. The traditional A-frame with the steep sloped roof helps to keep the snow from piling up on the roof over the course of some long winters.

On the interior they used all plywood and just painted it white from the floor to the walls. It's simple and low maintenance - cottage all the way. Throw in an old school wood burner, grab some local wood and you have your heat for the winter.

The cottage has the large glass wall (shown in the top photo) opening up to the lake which I'm sure provides a sweet view. I also think that it's important to take into consideration which direction the natural light will come from and how much shade you will have. These few things can go a long way in helping determine finishes and how you heat and cool the place.

A cool use of exterior materials with the cedar shake and adding color to the few windows in this place. A nice way to make a little statement or add that pop when it seems as though the winter months can bring not just snow but a ton of gray. It's so low maintenance using the natural cedar shingles, perfect for a cottage on the water.

photos by Jens Rotzsch via Arch Daily

Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Bath Little Details

I really like how they utilized some subtle accents in this bath. They take the white pebble mosaic from the shower floor and carry it through as a border in the rest of the bath - nice. Also, I’m not usually a fan of tile base in a bath but this I thought was badass – the tiny line of pebbles in the tall base.

Two more things I’m all over in this bath. The built-in warming drawer (usually seen in the kitchen and to keep food warm) instead of the towel (bar) warmer and if you look close you can see they used a wall mounted faucet and filler for the tub. Little things. Different things. Creative things.

photos via House Beautiful

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Old Building New Home

I like the idea of taking buildings or structures not often thought of as homes, and turn them into homes. This was a sweet idea in a super cool space. It's an former general store in Argentina. The designer did such an amazing job salvaging a lot of original materials from the store and transforming the rest of the space into something livable.

In the top picture, you'll see an iron railing and cable in the foreground. That's the set of stairs in the photo above which originally lead to the cellar. It is now converted into an office. A vision and a little inspiration can go a long way.

Photos via Design Sponge

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Old Barn Library Hayloft

This is an original barn hayloft converted into a library. It is a sweet open space with a really cool color contrast and a great collaboration of rustic materials with modern finishes. A nice touch with the sleek horizontal metal cables serving as the railing, and I like how the dark beams against the white walls give a the room solid depth.

This I thought was a cool shot of the original barn flooring. Old school and crafty. Each step utilizes a different thickness and the risers run both horizontally and vertically. I’m a sucker for small, custom details.

Photos by Stacy Bass via Rosemary Hallgarten's Blog

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coastal Farmhouse Cottage

This place is bad ass not only because it has water on both sides but it also really makes a statement with the crisp simplicity of some of the exterior details. They call it Faraway and it's located on the island of Captiva, Florida. Clean lines and sweet color contrast. If you were to take away the exposed rafter tales and the rust colored metal roof you'd still have a cool little coastal cottage but they took this place a step further. They brought some Farmhouse style down to this tropical island. I thinks it's genius.

(photos by Tim Capaldi)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Architecture

To cap off a weeks worth of posts on architecture/building relationships, I thought I'd end on this note. A good architect knows how to take existing components and create something truly unique. So how do you take it to another level? You need more than just mechanics, and there is no way to build with just one craftsman. The architect/builder relationship plays such an important role in the ability to identify solid resources, gather the necessary parts and build something that matters.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Builder/Architect Collaboration

Earlier this year, we partnered with the Michigan Design Center in an event called Buy, Sell or Stay. It was an opportunity to show the public available real estate in the area and how you could utilize properties based on your particular lifestyle. Our task was to partner with an architect (Patrick Dyke Collaborative), take an existing home that was for sale in the area and detail what could be done within a predetermined budget. It was a great experience and really showcased to the audience how the two parties (builder and architect) worked together to put out an economical and state of the art product. The collaboration hinged on communication and an understanding of ideas and experiences. It was also a nice little way to show people out there how a builder and architect can work together from the ground up.

photo via Just Luxe

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Historical Architectural Styles

Ruard Veltman Architecture is a firm based in Charlotte, NC. They have a great sense of style and understanding of their project. All are great qualities you want from your architect. And they are an architecture firm that is still doing all of their work by hand. I love it. I've come across their work various times while researching ideas, and they have a great range on classic historical styles from english craftsman to dutch farmhouse.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Earl Young and the Mushroom House

This is an example of a Mushroom house in Charlevoix, Michigan. The "mushroom" style seems to just evolve right out of the ground and their roofs take on the shape of a mushroom. The craftsmanship in these homes is bad ass, especially coming from a guy with no formal architectural background. His name is Earl Young. The emphasis of the design is based on handcrafted materials. The style is influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement. This particular remodel was by Dufner Heighes architects, the builder is Glenwood Custom Builders. Both the architect and builder have some really good interior shots on their sites.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Architects play a vital roll in our business. You must have a solid relationship and be able to communicate and share ideas. The relationship is crucial to the entire process whether the architect is hired by the owner or the general contractor. I've been following a residential architect by the name of Bob Borson, he writes a blog called Life of an Architect. In addition to the insightful, humorous and whimsical posts he puts out, he's currently running a series on 'Selecting a Contractor' and I really think it's so well written and beneficial for anyone looking to start a project. People need to do their homework. Check these out. Here's part I and part II.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gulf Coast Architecture

A sweet little Seaside, Florida coastal design by Robert A. M. Stern. Here's a smaller lot that makes a crazy statement with the design and detail throughout. Nice work too from the tile and hardwood to the softer, warmer tones. The custom woodwork from floor to ceiling is killer. I'm pretty sure every ceiling in this place is finished in wood and has a crazy pattern.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Ford Plantation Saved

This is a late 1920's board-and-batten farm cottage just outside of Savannah, Georgia that was once owned by Henry Ford. It was to be torn down and the couple that purchased it had second thoughts. They did a sweet job preserving and renovating this little historic nugget. I love places with history. Check out some of the photos.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Santorini, Greece

The wife and I went to Santorini, Greece a few years back with some friends. It was amazing. The architecture is crazy because it is so rich in tradition and so unique. The houses and buildings were all white washed. Cooler colors = cooler temperatures. This house is completely white inside and out. And, the driftwood mirror below is pretty bad ass too. Mythos anyone?

(photos via Home Away)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Costa Rica

My wife Allison and I went to Costa Rica a few years ago. It was pretty crazy laying on the beach with monkeys overhead. The weather was amazing, the setting was unreal and I would definitely go back. This house does a great job at blending the outdoor with the indoor. A must if you are lucky enough to have a home in a place like this.

(photos via Home Away)

Monday, November 8, 2010

San Miguel de Allende

I am lucky enough to be on vacation this week with my wife, Leo and her entire family. We never get to see them all at the same time, so it is a blast. In honor of the vacation, I'm going to post about some bad ass vacation homes this week. Short and sweet posts, so enjoy.

These pictures are actually from my wife. She used to go on photo shoots with her job and she went on one in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. It's actually in central Mexico and even though there is no lake/ocean, it is a pretty sweet looking place to vacation.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Muddy Boots

Here they are back in the day when I was still pushing the broom around and Dad and Grandpa were getting all flashy on us. This old advertisement hangs in my Dad's office and I think it's a great piece because even though it's 30 years old, our company still lives up to every detail. The funny thing is, this literally might be the last advertisement we ran. We decided quite a few years ago to go referral based and not advertise. This conscious decision kept us centered and helped to guarantee that our goal was to give our customers such amazing and personal customer service, that they were compelled to tell their friends. It's worked for us and has definitely kept us grounded, honest and passionate about this craft. I'm not telling you this to give myself a pat on the back, I'm just proud to be part of this business and carrying on a tradition started so many years ago.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Dog Shower

I was reminded of this job earlier in the week and wanted to post about it. A super exciting (and at times challenging), fun, project and not to mention a great client. It was an addition/renovation that all started around a dog shower. Oh yeah. A custom dog shower with some locally hand made tiles. Sound crazy? It's sweet. This is one of the coolest "specialty" projects we've completed. The idea and design just seemed to evolved as we got deeper and deeper into the project. They had 2 dogs. They wanted a mud room with a dog door and a place to hose them off. The result was this collaboration of some really talented artists, craftsmen and a customer that just has a huge heart for their two labs. Talk about spoiling your dogs. We even heated the floors.

photo by Tim Capaldi

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Burnt Salvage

I came across this yesterday via Core77 and thought it was definitely worthy of a post. Not only because it looks like such a cool project, but it's about Detroit's oldest neighborhood, Corktown. If it sounds familiar, I recently made mention in a previous post. The photo above is the work of architect Catie Newell. It's basically her spacial creation of burnt, charred wood. It's super cool and looks pretty sweet at night too.

The wood is from this arsoned home that was destined to be torn down. She created this 'landscape' and really brought the space back to life in a way. The project is part of a nonprofit group called The Imagination Station. They are renovating two abandoned houses, one for a community media center and the other for an art studio. Catie did this cool little video on their site where she talks about the construction challenges as well as the unique charred surfaces. You should definitely check it out.

photos via Core77

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Retractable Screen

It just got cold where we are in the Midwest. Not a total complaint because it's been pretty nice but it seems like with a lot of our projects we are working on outdoor spaces. I can't say that retractable screens are my favorite but they have certainly come a long way. Phantom Screens is putting out some pretty cool products. They have a newer line with more versatility on the market and if you can incorporate and conceal the housing then you could end up with a system like the photo featured above. The screen comes right out of the ceiling and glides right down the track that's been recessed right into the stone pillars. It's a sweet little operation. And, if you're hooked up with some home automation you can sync directly to the system. It will then react based on climate conditions or time of day.

Phantom Screens
photo via Residential Design & Build Magazine

Monday, November 1, 2010

Work with the Fireplace

A lot of times the fireplace is the focal point of the room, or the house for that matter. In this particular Washington D.C. home it runs through all 4 floors. They did a really nice job embracing the fireplace here. It's always going to make a statement so work with it not against it. The size and feel of the archway between the two rooms along with the taller wainscot and detailed trim molding help to soften the mass of the fireplace. The open feel of the hallway and this sitting room is perfect and allows great natural light. I also like the transition of hardwood to blue stone flooring.

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