BUILD build-out
February 26, 2009, 11:35 am
Filed under: Architecture, BUILD LLC, Seattle, Urban Architecture

It has taken us 17 months to finally finish our own office here at the Park Modern, but that gave us a little time to focus our industrious nature on the task.  Through our good buddy Chris, we were able to obtain some unused perforated metal material that was going to be scrapped from a local project.  Keeping this in mind, we employed the same tricks we use to keep our client’s budgets reasonable on our own space- finding reusable or discounted materials and finding a way to turn them into elegant compositions (in our humble opinion).


Here’s the material breakdown:

BUILD build-out materials breakout

1. Homasote display board attached to vertical slats
2. 1½” x 2” vertical cedar slats at varying lengths
3. Track lights concealed above cedar slats: Juno T12W Trac-Master w/ T359W w/ basic mini universal heads
4. 1 1/4” x 8” cedar slats @ 6”oc (composed of laminating (2) 5/8” slats).
5. 4” deep x 1 ¼” metal flashing “champagne” to match corrugated steel soffit
6. Corrugated, perforated steel panels (off-cuts provided from nearby large project).
7. 4’ long fluorescent lights, boxed out with flashing to match soffit
8. Conference table by SPD; solid laminated Anigre top with steel base
9. Concrete slab floor with clear sealer
10. Maple plywood cabinets with exposed edges and clear sealed
11. 4’ long fluorescent light boxed out with cedar trim
12. 6062 “Boeing” aluminum alloy, steel plate wall hanging
13. Track lights: Juno T12W Trac-Master w/ T359W w/ basic mini universal heads
14. Orange acrylic panel mounted to wall
15. Corten steel sheet panel mounted to wall
16. Cork panel wall mounted
17. 3-Form Drift Green panel wall mounted
18. Solid fir plank, clear sealed and wall mounted
19. Chalk board panel wall mounted with inset Mockett pull for chalk holder

The construction process vid

The quick cost summary looks like this (in round numbers):
free    perforated metal panels (salvaged and reused)
$350    210 lineal feet of matching edge metal (fabricated)
$225    improperly milled clear cedar material (mill unable to sell conventionally)
$1150    additional lumber, cedar, hardware and materials for ceiling assembly
$1200    additional track lighting, heads and lamps
$1250    conference table base; top was salvaged anigre laid-up by our shop, SPD
$75    homasote panels
free    6062 plate (salvaged from Boeing Surplus many years ago)
$35    acrylic panel, cut to size
$95    corten steel panel
$35    cork panel on multiply base
free    3-Form panel (salvaged)
$295     fir plank (bought from reclaimed supplier)
$85     chalk board panel
$300    general consumables

$5,095    project total

Now granted, the labor was our own.   If you factor the labor in at our normal billing rates, the $5,095 balloons up to $14,000.  This makes our office improvements a tidy $22/ square foot, everything included.  An industrious budget by an industrious group in times that call for industrious solutions.

Cheers from your friends at BUILD


The Irreplaceable Quality of the Architectural Model
February 25, 2009, 12:22 am
Filed under: Architecture, BUILD LLC

There is something about physical architectural models that digital renderings will never be able to reproduce. Don’t get us wrong, we’re no luddites; we use a variety of 2D and 3D software to explore form and to present our ideas. But for each project we design, if we don’t build a physical model there is a dimension of the exploration missing from the process. So today we’ve decided to post some of the physical models that have been produced around the studio lately. While rendering techniques come and go, the basswood and cork architectural model seems to be a timeless method of representation and exploration. These are just a few from our studio – there are some amazing examples of physical models out there, let us know about your favs.

The Park Modern

Bainbridge Island Residence

Magnolia Residence

Bainbridge Guesthouse (unbuilt)

Medina Residence

Whidbey Tractor House (unbuilt)

Residential Construction Cost Cheat-Sheet
February 8, 2009, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Architecture, BUILD LLC

Here at BUILD, we pride ourselves on being industrious- we establish reasonable project costs very early in the design process with our clients and then stick to those costs till the physical construction is complete. We work diligently to maintain the budget, and when circumstances chosen by our clients or brought to us by the nature of custom construction cause impacts to that budget, we are forthright and manage those circumstances immediately. In our spirit of transparency, we’ve devised the residential construction pricing guide below- around the BUILD community we’ve been calling it the BUILD Cheat Sheet. We believe our industry has done a fantastic job of misquoting and/ or poorly enumerating what the actual construction AND overall project costs of a project are going to be. Many of us have experienced something like… “oh I didn’t know that wasn’t included in the construction costs before” or the dreaded “I read in a (fill in the blank) article that they built the (fill in the blank) for $110/ sf.” What is in that number? Who’s uncle was the electrician? Were the appliances and lighting free? Does it include the cost of the cabinets and finishes? Was it built with student or prison labor? Who verified the number anyway? So, in response to these and other pressing questions, we’re giving the guide away below for free. We hope its valuable as you’re looking at your options for the design and construction of your dream house. And if you want more of the straight scoop, feel free to contact your friends here at BUILD LLC.


The PDF download can be found here.

Special Projects Division Cabinet Shop
February 2, 2009, 12:46 pm
Filed under: Architecture, BUILD LLC, Design, Seattle, Trades

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.


Mid-Century Modern Remodel
January 16, 2009, 10:22 am
Filed under: Architecture, BUILD LLC, Seattle, Suburban Architecture, Technical Posts


BUILD LLC recently completed the design and remodel of a mid-century modern home in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood and has some valuable information to share.   As with many of Seattle’s mid-century residences, this home was overdue for considerable updates.  The “bones” of these structures are typically very solid; the concrete and framing can be surgically retained and, oftentimes, featured for their richness and texture.  Efforts and funds can be directed toward reorganization of the space planning as well as the kitchen, bathrooms, cabinet package, surfaces and systems (heating, plumbing, electrical).

Mid-century modern plan Model (1)

As with any project, a great final outcome can be directly attributed to extraordinary clients.  This family understood the value of their mid-century modern home and put an importance on smarter space rather than more space.  The team was able to maintain the mid-century modern character of the home and, at the same time, fully renovate the home, site and pool for the current era and many years to come.

With several mid-century modern residences in our portfolio, we’ve developed some good strategies for cost-effective remodels and updates to these homes.  The cost of the house remodel was $150 per square foot including hard costs, tax and builder fees.  The technical information can be found below and a photo-montage video of the construction process can be found at the bottom of the post.


1. Existing light well upgraded with new roof and Milgard aluminum windows
2. Galvanized steel channel frame at chimney cap
3. New single-ply roof membrane over new rigid insulation
4. Existing brick stained deep caviar
5. Hardie-panel siding painted pewter
6. Existing brick planter boxes
7. Clear finished fir door with reeded glass panel
8. Milgard aluminum window package
9. Fleetwood aluminum sliding door package
10. Galvanized steel handrail verticals with Feeney Cable-Rail components and ipe top rail
11. Ipe decking and fascia
12. Stained clear cedar slats with vertical cedar posts (code required pool enclosure)
13. Open risers with precast concrete treads by Diamond Concrete Products


14. Raumplus sliding glass doors with laminated glass
15. Original T&G refinished decking, over original roof joists painted deep caviar
16. Original sandstone masonry left untreated
17. Eurotech Lighting ET-2 cylinder pendant lights
18. Custom steel firebox and hearth inserted into original fireplace
19. Original oak floor with new ebonized stain
20. Shoemaker AFP series aluminum floor register
21. Custom dining table with steel frame and anigre top by Special Projects Division
22. Honed Raven Caesarstone countertop and anigre cabinets by Special Projects Division
23. Kohler Ladena undermount porcelain sink with Whitehaus Luxe single hole faucet
24. Stainless steel backsplash
25. Solid core door with Omnia 025 passage lever
26. Fisher Paykel RF201ADUX stainless steel refrigerator
27. Porcher Newson Vitreous China 6’-0” freestanding tub
28. Fisher Paykel OS302 stainless steel wall oven
29. 12” x 18” Porcelain floor tile
30. Gaggenau AH 900-791extension hood
31. Miele KM3484 gas cooktop
32. Anigre custom cabinets with full length stainless steel pulls by Special Projects Division
33. “Floating” anigre shelf with integrated Seagull ‘puck’ lights, satin chrome finish.
34. Custom stainless steel countertop with orbital finish and integral sink, extended to exterior for bbq platform.

Photo-montage construction video

[All photos, images, videos, diagrams and drawings by BUILD llc]

A Statement on Sustainability by BUILD LLC
November 16, 2008, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Architecture, BUILD LLC

As designers and builders deeply concerned with our collective future, we’re overdue to renew our basic premises regarding ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’ practices.   Having thought long and hard about the need to do more to ensure a high quality of life for future generations, Build LLC offers the following principles of honest, sustainable design.

Durability make sure stuff works and is built for future generations.  Outsmart and outlast both designed and perceived obsolescence.

Sensibility continually assert discipline in size, scale and program.  Know when to subtract and streamline.  Beauty and comfort result from intelligent solutions, not the reflexive addition of  features.

Density incorporate the most people and activities that can sensibly be sustained in a given volume.  There is a healthy balance between lawn covered neighborhoods and asphalt encased towers.

Regionalism use local resources: architects, contractors and materials.

Timelessness understand what forms and innovations will last; reject fashion, pretention, and conscious efforts to attract attention.

The best ‘green’ features disappear into a building: the structure works better and enhances the inhabitant’s health and enjoyment.  We start from these basic, common-sense sustainability practices.  These are core to our practice, like our desks and pencils.  We don’t brag about them- we build them in, naturally.  And when we don’t, we’re honest that we didn’t – and, this just means we can’t go waving the banner of sustainability around.

Technology will improve and our mindsets will continue to evolve.  While we’re developing usable ‘cradle to cradle’ products and processes, our best alternative is to use these five principles to guide our actions to achieve the most sustainable outcomes possible.

If these principles seem basic, that’s the point.  They are fundamental and instinctual.  Let’s get them right wherever we can while we sort out the emerging technologies.

Young Architects Day Recap
November 6, 2008, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Architecture, BUILD LLC, Seattle

On Wednesday November 5th BUILD initiated the first YAD event.  Young Architects Day is an afternoon/early-evening event in Seattle that allows for some cross-pollination within the architecture industry.  We like to keep a pulse on the new talent in town and the occasion allows young architects to see what our design-build practice is up to.  By kicking the tires on a couple of our projects we have the opportunity to spread some good knowledge; the excellent questions and comments we get help us refine our process and keep us open to new ideas.  Overall it was a great success and a good time – thanks to everyone who participated.  On the agenda was an office and Park Modern tour, a tour of a project in process and a completed project.  We wrapped up the afternoon with refreshments and eats at our recently competed Picnic food & wine boutique on Phinney Ridge.

To the architecture firms and employers in the industry: this is a group of highly motivated, sharp young architects.  They gave up an entire afternoon of their busy lives just to check out some architecture and discuss the profession – outstanding.  Drop us a line if you’d like some highly recommended candidates to interview for your firms.

To the rest of the young, ambitious architects and students of architecture out there: keep a pulse on the BUILDblog for future YAD events, we’ll be getting another one on the agenda in the coming months.

Here’s a photo recap of the event:

Throwing some darts at the BUILD process of design + construction.

Kevin Eckert of BUILD leading an office tour and discussing the correct way to hold a handgun.

Taking in the view and discussing the do’s & don’ts of deck design.

Kevin Eckert and Andrew van Leeuwen of BUILD on how to correctly drink Herkimer coffee.

On the jobsite discussing panelized siding, landscaping and whether or not to paint the stone…

Andrew using made-up words like “horizontality”.

Great food, wine and discussion at Picnic

Kevin leading a demonstration of his famous hand-shadow giraffe

more food and drink…



Thanks again to everyone involved – the effort, time and discussions were greatly appreciated.  It was fantastic to meet everyone and overall a pleasurable way to spend our Wednesday afternoon.