We’re ready! Today marks the official launch of our new cabinet shop. Several months ago BUILD LLC created a partnership with a master woodworker, acquired an industrial shop space and set up “Special Projects Division LLC”. Since then we’ve knocked out a couple of sharp, modern cabinet packages and the website is ready to go public – check it out here. Those of you on our twitter feed got a sneak peak last week.
The cabinets are designed and constructed to be cost-effective – so that normal people can actually afford nice modern cabinets. The packages range from single stand alone cabinets to entire house packages.
There are a couple of supplements on the website you should know about:
We’ve got a section of smokin-hot details that show how the cabinets are outfitted with stainless steel custom pulls, organizer drawer units, countertops, sinks and appliances.
Our materials category includes photos of over 30 different wood species from Alder to Zebrawood. Note to architects & designers: you can download these images for use in your 3-d modeling programs.
The sawn lumber diagram page has straight-forward diagrams of how wood is sawn and how it looks depending on the method of cutting.
We figured, as long as we’ve got a cabinet shop with all the cool tools, we might as well crank out some furniture too. So we’re designing a line of furniture which includes modern benches, coffee tables, chairs, rolling bars, and shoe racks. Stay tuned, as we’ll be revealing the designs very soon.
In the furniture designs you’ll notice our BUILD developed joinery which uses a system of aluminum kerf plates and pegs to join a variety of woods – found only in the SPD furniture line. We’re also developing a line of cabinets from re-used wood products which is even better and more earth-friendly than recycled products.
So go take the tour and let us know how we’re doing. If you or anybody you know needs cabinets or furniture – you know where to go.
We’re currently in the middle of designing a modern, timeless kitchen for a single family residence and it’s an exciting time in the design phase to do a bit of window shopping. Because kitchens are technology and appliance driven, kitchen design seems to evolve more in tune with necessity and function as opposed to fashion. We like that. As we see it, an important part of sustainable design is simply designing in such a way that it’s not going to be replaced in 5 years because it fell out of vogue. So at any rate, we re-familiarized ourselves with some of our favorite kitchen websites and, two or three drinks in, we came up with a list of 10 emerging details in kitchen design. Some of these details have been around for a while – it’s just that they’re becoming more prominent and refined. Some of these details are more timeless, more sensible than others but each seems to be emerging in exciting ways with the designers we admire most.
Kitchen islands for sitting + storage that look good. Typically a kitchen island does one or the other and looks good, rarely both. Lately we’re seeing some hybrid designs that integrate the two functions in clever ways. The Poggenpohl Plusmodo line below uses a symmetrical cantilevered island – the storage underneath makes a change of material to clearly differentiate its function. Overall the addition of storage to this island creates a more dramatic appearance and adds to the function.
Plane change = material change. It just looks better when the two happen together. The Snaidero Kube kitchen below uses a stainless wrap at the range extension and a glossy white laminate at the raised bar seating to differentiate from the planes of wood.
The Snaidero Sintesi kitchen below uses a wrapped granite work surface to enhance the plane change from the laminate cabinets.
Tool walls and movable storage racks. Henrybuilt has done a nice job with their movable storage racks which either mount to a “picture rail”, hang from steel brackets or can simply sit on the counter.
The Boffi Grand Chef kitchen below has a sleek, integrated stainless steel bar for hanging utensils.
The Bulthaup System b3 uses a series of recessed rails (similar to picture rails) to hang hooks and racks from.
Pockets of intentional display. It’s probably best that most of the dishes and coffee mugs stay hidden behind doors. But those Iittala tumblers you just bought deserve some attention. The Henrybuilt island below creates an intentional display area for just such items.
Wall splashes. Like a backsplash but taller. In the Henrybuilt design below, the termination line of the stainless steel tucks under the cantilevered shelf. The backsplash material has a greater prominence within the material palette and the break occurs where there is already a material change.
Integration of hardware. The Boffi K14 series incorporates mitered door and drawer faces for grasping. The finished look is sleek and minimal.
The Bulthaup System b1 series uses a similar method. As it turns out the ultimate minimal cabinet hardware is none at all.
The Henrybuilt unit below includes full length steel pulls that integrate so nicely into the cabinet composition that it wouldn’t look as good without them.
Register grills as textures. In the Bulthaup System b1, below, the heat registers are integrated into the toe kicks – thereby concealing the grills and making for a nice modern texture at the toe-kick.
…and the same for the Boffi Case 5 system which goes the distances by keeping the material consistent between the cabinets and register toe-kicks.
Extended / framed cabinet boxes. Henrbuilt has developed a nice detail which brings the box of the cabinet out slightly proud of the hardware. It creates a clean modern look and keeps the hardware from sticking out too far.
Bending the countertop. The Snaidero Venus system below uses a simple bend in the plane of a countertop/bar for some pleasing drama. We’re not sure how we feel about the practicality and build-ability of this detail – but we’re impressed with the overall visual.
The idea can get a bit out of hand like in the Snaidero Acropolis system below. But face it, any of us modern design fans would love to saddle up for a drink at this bar.
Contrast between highly engineered glossy surfaces and earthy wood grains. The Bulthaup System b1 uses the constrast between the end grain of maple “butcher-block” stock and the clean, glossy white cabinet faces. It’s a clever idea as nature is doing so much of the design work.
The Poggenpohl Integration system creates a sharp look with the horizonatl wood veneer grain surrounding a bank of stainless steel.
The Snaidero Sistema Zeta below pairs warm wood grains with high gloss white veneer – the rough stone also plays well with the composition.
These 10 details are just a quick study of what we see emerging in cabinet design, we must have missed many, many more concepts, details and materials. So don’t be shy with that comments button…
Living, working and blogging in Seattle, it was only a matter of time before we felt obligated to post on floating houses. In doing our homework we spoke with Dan Wittenberg, president of International Floatation Systems Inc. (IMF), who was gracious enough to give us a bit of his time and expertise. In addition to designing and building floating homes all over the world, Dan previously lived in a floating home for 11 years. Here’s a bit of our conversation:
Are there any common misunderstanding that architects have about floating homes?
Many architects think that we build hulls or vessels, but that’s not true, we build floating platforms. These platforms are solid construction made with a concrete shell and a Styrofoam core. The platform has positive flotation and will not sink under any conditions, whereas a hollow vessel can fill with water and sink. The technology is comparable to a cork in that it won’t sink regardless of how many holes you poke in it.
What are the material options with a floating platform?
The floating platforms are only built with concrete and Styrofoam; this is a common construction method that insures they won’t sink. It is possible to build a shell which offers interior space (like a basement) but since it’s possible for a shell to sink, insurance companies look at the situation differently. It is still an engineered product but has a different risk factor.
Is there maintenance necessary for the platform floats?
There is no maintenance necessary below the water line.
Are the hulls made in Canada and brought down by tug boat?
For a floating house in Seattle, yes – we build them in Vancouver B.C. and bring them down by tugboat.
Are the houses always installed on the platforms after shipment?
Actually 90% of our residential projects are built on the platform prior to shipping. Some of these homes are finished all the way down to the furniture being installed. We have literally handed owners a key to a move-in ready home at the dock upon arrival.
Does IMF typically build the house as well as the platform?
We certainly can, we are also a general contractor for the homes on top of the floating platforms.
What are the maximum sizes?
For a two story structure the minimum width and length is typically 20’. For a three story structure the minimum width and length is typically 25’.
There is no maximum size limit as the platforms can be constructed piece by piece or poured on site.
The largest floating platform we have constructed is in Holland and is 90,000 square feet. We have also completed a platform on Lake Powell in Arizona which is a one piece construction of 27,000 square feet.
So the platforms can be shipped in 2 or more pieces and connected on site?
Yes, it’s common. We are currently doing a project in Richland which involves 8 separate pieces to be connected together.
What is a common depth?
Five feet is the common depth of the platform, although they only require 3’ of water to float. The platforms are designed to float with 3’ of draft in the water and 2’ of freeboard above the waterline. The 2’ above the water line is the reserve buoyancy. These platforms are designed for a live load of 100lbs per square foot plus the effect of wind on the platform and house.
How far can you ship the platform?
We typically only ship them by water as far as Seattle. Further than that, other means are more cost-effective. We recently delivered a floating platform in several pieces to New York via truck. We also build many of the floating platforms in place. We have built floating platforms as far away as Holland.
Is the means of transportation ever taken into consideration for the design of the floating platform? For instance a triangle would have less drag in shipping and would save on fuel charges.
The amount of fuel it would save wouldn’t add up to much given the overall costs of a floating platform. We have built a triangle platform but for other reasons.
Is there a rule of thumb for pricing?
The base pricing ranges between $50 – $60 per square foot. This does not include plumbing, rails or what we call the ‘jewelry’. This pricing only relates to the floating platform itself.
What is the market telling you about floating house design?
That maximum square footage is more important than privacy. Years ago floating homes were designed with porches and covered outdoor spaces, now the footprint is always maximized for interior space.
The mortgage and insurance industries have changed for the better regarding floating homes. It used to be that neither group recognized floating homes as real-estate. Mortgage companies now see the surface of water as real-estate and insurance companies will now cover floating homes because of the advances in floating platforms.
What are common mistakes made by architects in designing floating homes?
When the floating platform is complete, it is just as functional as a slab on grade. The slab can be clear sealed and used as the finished floor or the finished floor can be installed directly on top of the slab. Architects commonly design the house to use joists at the ground level which is unnecessary.
Radiant heat can also be installed in the platforms we build. It actually makes a lot of sense because there is 5’ of insulation below, making it a very efficient heat system.
Often architects do not take into consideration that all 4 sides of a houseboat have the potential for great views and light. Most of the time we see typical house designs simply plunked down on the floating platform.
All too often architects don’t take into consideration the reflected light from the water. The light on the ceiling of a floating home is much more dramatic than typical residential design.
How can architects best prepare for designing a floating home?
In most cases it is wise to bring the floating platform designer on board early.
Are there design options you would like to see further explored with floating homes?
I would like to see round platforms explored. This would allow rotation of the platform for better views and maximum sunlight throughout the day. It also has applications for solar panels and rotating the panels to best align with the suns rays during the day.
Are there other challenges involved with floating houses?
Securing moorage is difficult as there are only about 500 spots in a place like Seattle. But typically the home owners have found moorage by the time they select their architect and begin working with us.
For more information about floating platforms visit IMF’s website. A huge thanks goes out to IMF, when we land that houseboat project we know who to call.
The following photos show a range of floating houses in a variety of locations by different architects and engineers.
Scandinavian Archipelago Villa in Villa Helmi by Marina Housing
Floating house in Seattle by Vandeventer + Carlander
[Photo by John Granen]
Floating house in Seattle, does anyone know the architect of this one?
Floating house in Denmark
Modern Marine Homes in Sweden by Strindberg Arkitekter
SeaSauna, Originally by Ari Leinonon now prefabricated by Modernliving.se in Sweden
Floating house in Australia by Drew Heath
Office by Aero11 Design
B-Type floating home by Floatinghomes in Germany
[Photo by Klaus Frahm]