Design | Remodeling

House of the Month: Kent House by Gray Organschi Architecture

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A second home in Connecticut features an earthy materials palette that is detailed to look clean and contemporary.

Architect Alan Organschi’s experience as a cabinet maker and carpenter colors his firm’s thoughtfully detailed designs, which celebrate materiality. He believes this hands-on approach has set the ethos for his practice, Gray Organschi Architecture, which he founded with partner Lisa Gray in New Haven, Connecticut. The duo has designed a range of institutional, commercial, and residential projects, such as the Kent House. The design of this home exemplifies the unique balance the firm has achieved between functional and bespoke.

Alaskan Housing Competition

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Jimmy Prokopeuff, like many Alaskans, needs to replace his outdated wood-frame home, which is ill suited to the rigors of Alaskan weather conditions. The Cascadia Green Building Council, in partnership with the Aleutian Housing Authority, plans to help.

The Living Aleutian Home Design Competition challenges architects and engineers to design a “creative, livable, affordable” three-bedroom, one-bath, single-family home. The home must be between 1,150 and 1,350 square feet and must have a construction budget of $400,000 or less. The challenge may sound simple enough to a seasoned architect or engineer, but there is a catch—the home must be environmentally sound and be able to withstand Alaska’s roughest conditions.

Green Home of the Month: English Residence by ZeroEnergy Design

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This month’s featured Green Home is an Energy Star-rated, LEED Gold-certified single-family home in Orleans, Massachusetts, with a minimal footprint, exceptional energy-saving features, and thoughtfully designed outdoor living spaces.

The cozy and beloved summer cottage near Cape Cod had been in the English family for two generations. Built in 1958, the little cottage served as a centralized gathering spot for family and friends, even those coming from abroad. Although other homes came and went throughout the years, the little cottage in Orleans was the place that most family members considered home. The location was perfect for relaxing, bird watching, and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors… and it was absolutely perfect for Teresa and Dan English’s full-time residence upon retirement.

Remodeling Magazine’s 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report: The Rise and Fall of Home Improvement

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What home improvement projects will offer the best return on investment (ROI)? As the economy continues to falter, enhancing curb appeal is still your best bet … however, the ROI of a few projects that made Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value list this year may surprise you.

Every year for the last quarter century, Remodeling Magazine has published the results of its survey comparing the cost of home improvements with the value of those improvements at resale. Remodeling 2011-2012  Cost vs. Value Report examines 35 popular projects ranging in scope from under $1,500 to over $225,000, and, in drill-down fashion, provides national, regional, and city averages on how the projects fare as investments.

House of the Month: A Crystal in the Desert by Circle West Architects

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Old is made new again – and made greener – in this Phoenix-area home, designed by Circle West Architects.

Is an architect's toughest client himself? Not when he has a crystal clear vision for his family’s home. Phoenix-based architect Peter Koliopoulos, AIA, founder and president of Circle West Architects, drew on his Miesian training at the Illinois Institute of Technology to transform a 30-year-old concrete block and stucco home in the residential neighborhood of Paradise Valley into a modern crystal that rises from the revegetated desert landscape.

Small Spaces: Seven Ways to Live More Graciously

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Oversized homes are going out of style. Check out these seven ways to live more graciously in a small space.

Are you ready for a pop quiz? True or false: it’s easier to live better when you have more.

Conventional wisdom would have us believe it’s true, but it’s 100% false, says designer John M. Stephens, ASID, owner of John M. Stephens Design in New Orleans. Living well is a way of being in your space and caring for your things. “Gracious living is living in the best possible way no matter what your circumstances are,” he says. It’s about taking the time to make the small details special, from how you display your favorite pieces to how you make guests feel welcome. “It’s really taking all the small pieces of your life and putting them together so they make the whole better,” Stephens says.

Green House of the Month: The Ellis Residence by Coates Design

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A Bainbridge Island home represents a marriage of modern aesthetics and sustainability.

When Ed and Joanne Ellis decided to build their dream home on Yeomalt Bluff on Bainbridge Island, Washington, their wish list was threefold: they wanted to create a luxurious yet comfortable space, achieve a high level of sustainability, and help to educate the community on the feasibility of building green without sacrificing beauty.

Paint vs. Primer

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Understand product basics: what a primer is, what functions it serves, and how the marketing hype underserves the consumer.

The latest trend in the paint industry is "paint and primer in one," and it has proven to be quite the controversy. Technically, the only newness about it is the hyper-marketing aspect. The phrase "self-priming" has been a line item on some paint labels for decades. Indeed, some products are formulated for application directly over bare substrates, such as floor enamels and some concrete products. Given the variety of products available in the wider market of general, non-specific paint finishes, it is impossible to say which ones employ precisely which technologies. However, it is possible to understand product basics: what a primer is, what functions it serves, and how the marketing hype underserves the consumer.

House of the Month: Vandeventer + Carlander Architects’ Lake Union Floating Home

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Building a house over water can be challenging, but floating homes offer a unique way to connect with the landcape.

When Vandeventer + Carlander Architects, LLC were asked to create a Lake Union residence, it was assumed that they would be thinking outside the box, but oddly this time their thinking was required to be within a box. The Lake Union Floating home, located in the heart of downtown Seattle, is not the only residence of its kind, although it is far from being a commonplace building type in the United States. The landscape in the Seattle region is interlaced with waterways and has a long tradition of floating homes that take advantage of the area's gorgeous scenery. However, construction of the Lake Union Floating home presented challenges as well as advantages, and Vandeventer + Carlander Architects’ design navigated the site’s limitations while capturing its many assets.

Green House of the Month: A Respectful Retreat in Celo, North Carolina

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A mountain home is gracefully sited to work with the topography and with the needs of its neighbors.

Located downslope from a steep ridgeline in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this month’s featured green home was selected because of its respectful and diligent site placement, conscientious construction process, energy- saving features, water conservation features, and use of regional materials.

Applying Finishing Touches to Concrete Foundation Walls

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Adding a finished surface to your basement wall will make it feel more like a "real" room. Learn the how-to steps here and find out what material choice would work best for you.

An unfinished basement can be a dark and damp place that is rarely used for anything other than storage. Although the basement is commonly left unfinished when a home is built, at some point during the life cycle of the home the residents usually require additional living space; the square footage of a basement typically provides ample space for a family room, home office, or even a playroom. A key component to finishing a basement is applying finishes to the exterior foundation walls. Understanding what types of finishes are available will assist you in creating a fully habitable, comfortable, and healthy living space.

House of the Month: 700 Palms Residence by Ehrlich Architects

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An urban infill project in Venice, California, provides an example of flexible home design.

Multi-functional spaces have been receiving attention in the design world lately, as homes become smaller and every room must do double – or triple – duty. The 700 Palms Residence was designed by founding Principal Steven Ehrlich of Ehrlich Architects to have a modest carbon footprint and to fit into an existing residential community, so creating flexible spaces was key.

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