More at High Road Gallery March 31, 2010
Steel Container House! March 23, 2010
There is a surging interest in steel container houses. Yes, steel shipping containers that are put together to form a dwelling. Surfing the internet, there are many companies that sell the containers. And now several architect/designers creating homes. These containers are really one-way transport for goods—so they arrive here and sit. Steel boxes, in various sizes, waiting for creative use.
Adam Kalkin is one such creative spirit. He has created a steel container pre-fab called the Quik House. It is a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath family home. He is an artist/architect whose vision is both engaging and amazing. As with all artists, the thought process is the most amazing thing to see. Below is an approx. 4 minute video that outlines Adam Kalkin, his ideas and a little walk-through of the quik (here it is the “quick”) house. produced/recorded by Dwell Magazine.
The Quik House
What is it? The Quik House website explains it as follows:
The Quik House is a prefabricated kit house designed by Adam Kalkin from recycled shipping containers. It has three bedrooms and two and one-half baths in its 2,000 square foot plan. The shell assembles within one day at your site, you will have a fully enclosed building. From start to finish, it should take no longer than three months to complete your house.
Wow. The site answers a lot of questions. One is cost. The basic estimated cost of the Quik House, which includes, excavation, slab foundation, utilities, interior cabinets, finishes, lights, doors–is $184,000. Now this doesn’t include any customization, differing labor costs, land, of course, or other site specific customization. But still, very cool. Check it out !
following from Columbus Board of Realtors, March 23, 2010
Home prices on the rise in central Ohio
Inventory increases as homebuyer tax credits set to expire
Central Ohio saw a healthy 12 percent increase in the average price of a home sold in February 2010. The 1,106 homes transferred last month sold for an average of $149,498 which was 11.9 percent higher than the average sale price in February of 2009 and 2.4 percent higher than homes sold in January. The average sale price for the first two months of 2010 is $147,682, a 9.1 percent increase over the same period one year ago according to the Columbus Board of REALTORS®.The number of homes for sale increased as well last month. There were 3,429 homes added to the market in February, which was slightly higher than the previous month and 17.8 percent higher than the number of homes listed for sale in February of 2009. “The rise in inventory doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Sue Lusk-Gleich, President of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®. “The home buyer tax credits set to expire in April of this year are a substantial incentive for home owners who have been considered selling their home. Further, the credit for existing home owners to sell has attracted more homeowners interested in moving up into the market. And those owners are buying more mid range properties.”
Art Fun For All March 17, 2010
Bedroom and Bath Fab 5 March 15, 2010
Well the chief economist for the American Institute for Architects is seeing a stabilizing real estate market.
“It’s still too early to think the residential market has fully recovered, but there are two encouraging signs—overall business conditions are far better than they were a year ago at this time, and we are seeing improvement in those housing sectors that need to lead a broader improvement in the housing market: remodeling and alterations of existing homes, and at the entry-level of the new construction market,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist of the American Institute of Architects. Baker said homeowners are making improvements thoughtfully, not banking on recouping the entire cost at resale or over-improving with upscale features as they might have several years ago. And projects are typically smaller in scope these days. “The mentality is evolving that bigger isn’t better for my home, from an investment perspective,” Baker said. (RISmedia, march 15,2010)
Homeowners are realizing that not all improvements are recoupable when it comes time to sell. The key is to make improvements that make a great “livability impact”; changes that appeal to most buyers. But I think it’s best to make the improvements and enjoy them BEFORE it’s time to sell. There is a lot of value in enjoyment.
A survey conducted amongst architects has these ideas below as the most popular 5 improvements for bedroom and bath:
(reprinted from RISmedia)
For the most part, kitchens are being upgraded with practical improvements and features to make the space more usable. “A lot of the upscale stuff, like double appliances—two dishwashers or two refrigerators—or over-the-top appliances seem to have disappeared,” Baker said.
The five most popular kitchen products and features, according to the survey include:
-Recycling center, a designated place to put cans, papers, etc., which could be in the form of a nook or even part of the lower cabinetry
-Larger pantry space
-Renewable flooring materials
-Renewable countertop materials
-Computer area/recharging stations, dedicated to such tasks as recharging laptops, cell phones and PDAs.
The same desire for practicality and less glitz can be found in the bathroom. People are moving away from steam showers and towel-warming drawers and racks, and instead focusing on features that will help them better control their utility costs, Baker said.
The five most popular bathroom products and features include:
-Radiant heated floors
-Accessibility/universal design, or features that are adaptable and allow homeowners to age in place
I have to say that I am feeling a little validated that I am sticking with my desire to have heated floors in our master bath…..
Cool Reuse March 12, 2010
Transform a home with these 6 eco-friendly repurposing ideas.
It’s all about functional design with these eco-friendly items.
From salvaging antique floors to transforming denim into insulation, reusing items in new ways helps the environment as you spruce up a home. Repurposing personal or industrial objects offers both functionality and aesthetic appeal. Here are five ways to incorporate repurposed elements into a home:
Give a Home Some History
Antique floors dating back decades—even centuries—can add historic charm to a new or remodeled home, while saving quality wood and tile from demolition. Tom Campbell, owner of Connecticut-based Old Wood Workshop, started salvaging floors, paneling, cabinetry, doors, and stone from buildings in his rural farming community in the early 1990s. Home owners have become increasingly interested in repurposing architectural elements, he says, and last year was his best in 20 years. “I love selling to clients who appreciate the products,” says Campbell, who sees his job as saving pieces of history from a bulldozer. Salvaged flooring can be used in restoration projects and to create a one-of-a-kind look. Cost: approximately $12–$16 per square foot. www.oldwoodworkshop.com
Every person has an attic, garage, or storage space filled with items that can serve a dual purpose, says Bob Eckstein, an interior design blogger in New York. Do you have old bottles or scientific beakers? Fill them with different flavors of mouthwash for a splash of color in the bathroom. Come across an antique bedpan? Use it to hold sponges or potpourri. How about that old wooden ladder in the garage? Turn it into an outdoor trellis. “No one should feel intimidated by interior design,” Eckstein says. His philosophy costs nearly nothing—ideal for home owners feeling the economic crunch. It’s about using what you already have in new and interesting ways. Cost: free. www.smartassideasforthehome.blogspot.com
Warm Up to Cotton
Old jeans are finding new life as home insulation material. Bonded Logic of Chandler, Ariz., manufactures UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber insulation, which is made from 85 percent recycled denim and cotton fibers. The Class A insulation contains no VOCs or formaldehydes and doesn’t irritate skin. “It’s very healthy and a great recycled product. Made from denim waste, it’s given a second life,” says Sean Desmond, director of sales and marketing at Bonded Logic. The insulation is treated with a 100 percent natural borate mineral solution that is mold and fire resistant. UltraTouch receives the maximum insulation performance rating and is sold at retailers nationwide. Cost: $0.50–$1.50 per square foot. www.bondedlogic.com
Wash Where You Flush
Toilets are one of the biggest water hogs in the home. Seattle-based ecohaus has addressed this environmental challenge by promoting the Caroma Profile, a bathroom fixture that is part sink and part toilet. Users wash their hands in the toilet tank (cleaner than you might think). That water is then repurposed for future flushes. Its dual flush component reduces water consumption by an additional 40 percent to 70 percent. The toilet and sink combo is a great space saver in smaller bathrooms. Cost: $499.99. www.ecohaus.com
Bottle the Light
U.K.-based artist Sarah Turner turns plastic bottles into lampshades that are modern works of art. The shades are individually designed and handcrafted, and each is typically composed of 10 to 30 bottles. Turner started repurposing bottles as a university student a few years ago when it struck her that she and her housemates were discarding used bottles at an alarming rate. Turner’s recycled ReDesign line includes shades for various lamp styles, from floor to ceiling. Her signature “Cola 10″ shade is made from ten plastic Coca-Cola bottles. Cost: $420. www.sarahturner.co.uk
reprinted from REALTOR magazine written by Erica Christoffer | February 2010
Realtor.com founder makes wine builds prefab March 9, 2010
Three of my favorite things: real estate, wine and prefab construction! Realtor.com made this guy a boatload of cash, my assumption of course. Once again the wisdom of good timing and a great idea makes for a success. He seems quirky and fun too! I guess most entrepreneurs are quirky.
The following was written by William Lamb, reprinted from Dwell magazine online– March 5, 2010 issue.
Ask Roger Scommegna about the inspiration for the Aperture House, the eye-catching weekend retreat that he built on the sloping, grassy banks of Moose Lake, Wisconsin, and he cites an improbable source. The idea, he explains with a straight face, came from a squat, screw-top jug of inexpensive red wine.
In 2001, Scommegna cashed in his earnings from Realtor.com, an online compendium of real estate listings that he helped launch during the dot-com boom, and invested in a pair of vineyards in Mendocino County, California. A year later, Scommegna’s fledgling Signal Ridge Vineyard scored an unlikely hit with Three Thieves, a screw-top zinfandel with a bright red label and a retail price of $9.99.
The surprising success of Three Thieves gave the 42-year-old Scommegna an idea. If a good wine could be mass-marketed in an unassuming package at an affordable price, he reasoned, perhaps the same could be done with architecture. A narrow, 50-foot-wide lot that Scommegna purchased at Moose Lake, about 25 miles west of Milwaukee, would serve as the proving ground.
Scommegna pitched the idea to Vetter Denk Architects, the forward-thinking Milwaukee firm he had hired in 1995 to design his primary residence in Brookfield, an upscale Milwaukee suburb. “I said, ‘I want to build a home like this wine,’” Scommegna recounts.
“‘Simple packaging, and nothing fancy, because this is a screw-top jug. But I want good design, and I want it to be a surprise when someone opens up the wine or comes in the house.’ I just kind of wanted it to be quiet on the outside, big surprise on the inside. And then I left them with this bottle of wine.”
With Three Thieves, Scommegna set out to debunk the conventional wisdom that wine can only be good if it’s corked in an expensive bottle. The challenge that architects John Vetter and Kelly Denk set for themselves was to prove that a house could be quickly constructed from prefabricated parts and still be tasteful and architecturally daring.
Ten days later, Scommegna returned to Vetter Denk’s downtown Milwaukee office and was shown a cardboard model that, he says, “looked like three shoeboxes stacked on top of each other. As always,” he continues, “I needed to process it for a minute.”
It didn’t take long for the architects to sell Scommegna on the idea. Vetter and Denk planned the house along a regimented, four-by-four-foot grid that helped keep construction simple while allowing for limitless variations that could be adapted to any site.
They hired a local carpenter to create the 8-by-20-foot exterior wall panels from prefinished cedar plywood. The exterior panels, flooring components, and Parallam support beams (not unlike a plywood I beam) were all manufactured offsite and hauled to Moose Lake on flatbed trucks in March 2002. The building’s shell was assembled in less than 48 hours.
“The concept was to use prefabricated technology that for the most part has been used only to achieve low cost,” Vetter says. “Prefab has a negative connotation, a stigma. This is an opportunity to shift the paradigm and use the same technology to do these nice little pieces of architecture. That’s what the Aperture House is all about.”
The filmic designation of “Aperture House” came from the patio doors framing panoramic views of the lake. Vetter, Denk, and Scommegna worked hard to keep the house free of clutter and not to interfere with those views.
Bathrooms were relegated to the basement and upstairs. There is a full-size refrigerator, but it’s hidden in the basement utility room. A mini-fridge and matching freezer sit unobtrusively beneath a kitchen counter, and food and drinks are carried up from the basement as they are needed. “The whole concept was to be able to walk in the front door and see through the entire house to the lake,” Scommegna says.
Because the Aperture House was conceived, in part, as a dry run for a national effort to bring affordable, high-end architecture to the mass market, Vetter and Denk had to find innovative ways to keep costs down without sacrificing taste.
The interior walls, doors, and cabinets, for example, were made from finished medium-density fiberboard, a material that typically is hidden beneath drywall. Instead of having large, floor-to-ceiling windows custom-made at great expense, the architects framed the views of Moose Lake in conventional sliding patio doors.
Similarly, the floors were done in utilitarian concrete, covered here and there with shag rugs. Using a process called “integral color,” the concrete company added colored powder to the mix, infusing it with a sandy tint that complements the house’s earthy decor.
Scommegna says that, too, was part of the concept. “I’m hoping that when you are sitting here you get the feeling of simple, that you don’t get the feeling of fussy,” says Scommegna, who spends most weekends at the Aperture House with his wife, Pamela, 42, and daughters Nicole, 17, and Krissy, 14. “We don’t want to be fussy here. We want the kids to walk in with their Aqua Socks, drip water on the floor, and sit right at the picnic table here, and I sincerely mean that. It’s literally designed not to be fussy.”
Last May, the Aperture House earned Vetter Denk an honor award from the Wisconsin chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Since then, the firm has forged a partnership with a leading manufacturer of modular homes, and they are in the early stages of an ambitious plan to bring the Aperture House concept
to the suburban mass market.
The Aperture House itself, which cost more than $300,000 to design and build, is more “tweaked out” than its progeny is likely to be, Vetter says. The idea is to get the list price near $199,900. Scommegna calls that price the “sweet spot,” a term he also uses for the $9.99 price tag of his wine.
“We still have to fit in people’s heads,” Scommegna says. “I don’t think this home fits in people’s heads for mass production. But the concept is there and our partner is going to be there, and the design will be there.”
Vetter is confident that the concept will translate easily to suburbia. “It’s a little house,” he says. “It does everything you need it to do. It does it humbly, with nature, and it’s fun. You don’t need anything else. It’s perfect.”
Experience Art March 6, 2010
We all have busy lives. Work, family, friends—all require our attention, time and dedication. We all know that we need to exercise our bodies for a good quality of life, a knowledge completely known to me intellectually. I think, though, that we don’t acknowledge, in action, how creative experiences can enhance and expand the enjoyment of our daily life.
My docent touring day is Thursday. I often show up to the museum to give a tour a bit harried. The needs of a client, my two teenagers, my husband –my life-make me at times question my volunteer commitment. We are all busy. But I get there. I put my phone away (the crazy life enhancer) and I seem to take a deep breath. There are many times i can actually say i feel renewed. Ok, not EVERY time but often, if not continuous, renewal is nothing to scoff at.
Experiencing art through conversation can produce amazing insights—no art history, artistic ability required. I don’t have a background in either one. The Columbus Museum of Art’s slogan, mission statement really, is: ART SPEAKS. JOIN THE CONVERSATION. But, good conversation can only happen if people really LOOK at a piece of art. We tend to react to art first and move on based on sort of a visceral like or dislike reaction.
There is a great adult tour offered currently at the CMA called Drawing in the Galleries. No artistic ability required! Putting pencil to paper, drawing lines, shapes, requires some serious looking. Works that are even familiar take on some new context. It really is an amazing opportunity to “look” and “see” and have some great conversation.
The next two scheduled tours are on Thursday March 18 at 6:30 and Sunday March 21 at 2pm. Here’s the bit from the CMA website:
Experience CMA in a new way and see art from a different perspective. Join us for Drawing in the Galleries where visitors explore the basic elements of drawing while also developing observational skills and a deeper appreciation for the artistic process. Visitors should be prepared for surprises and should count on learning as much about seeing as about drawing. Program cost is $12 for nonmembers and $4 for members with a running time of ninety minutes. Reservations suggested, please call 614.629.5947.
Looking forward to more conversation.
High Road Gallery March 4, 2010
Great place to become familiar with some local artists working in a variety of mediums. Hours aren’t super convenient—Saturday afternoon seems the most doable. Note Sunday March 7 open house!
below submitted by High Road Gallery
ARTS ALIVE IN TECHNICOLOR is the exciting title that the Worthington Area Art League has chosen for its SPRING show at High Road Gallery, 12 E. Stafford Ave in Worthington. Joining the all member exhibit of a variety of media including pastel, oils, drawing, photography and watercolor will be Glass Axis artists with a varied and colorful complement of glass vessels, sculpture and jewelry. Show chairs are Jeannie Auseon and Ron Porta.
The show dates are March 3 to March 27. The free artists’ reception is Sunday, March 7th from 2-4 PM and all are invited to meet the artists and enjoy the awards ceremony.
Gallery hours are 12-4 Wednesday through Saturday. Gallery phone is 614-395-3867. The website is www.highroadgallery.org
Ok, very excited about the design, and green, possibilities of bio-fuel fireplaces for indoor, and more exciting to me, outdoor uses. Depending on design, these fireplaces can hang on a wall like an art piece or be part of a custom installation. Renewable, eco-friendly fuel –and the fireplace emits heat, unlike the silly electric fireplaces, which by the way, aren’t very green and don’t do much. Why not turn on the tv? Anyway, do a search on “bio-fuel fireplaces” . There are several companies that offer these. AND there is some eligibiltiy for a tax credit of up to $1,500 based on the application of this type of fireplace. Can’t wait to get one!
Below is an excerpt from a website that i think explains the bio-fuel fireplace pretty well.
Fireplaces have indeed come a long way. Homeowners today have a lot of choices. Although they can still choose to have a fireplace built permanently in their homes, those with smaller spaces can opt for the portable or wall mounted and eco-friendly fireplaces. These new styles of fireplaces are equally beautiful than the traditional ones and are capable of providing sufficient heat to families as well.
One type of fireplace ideal for smaller homes such as apartments and condos and smaller areas such as bedrooms is the biofuel fireplace. This is best for people with allergies. First made popular in Europe, biofuel fireplaces are now growing in use among homeowners in the U.S. and other countries.
The difference of biofuel fireplace from the traditional type is the absence of a chimney. Unlike the wood and gas burning fireplaces, this type burns biofuel instead. This means that it is an environment friendly alternative to the more expensive fossil fuels.
Biofuel is now a well known renewable form of fuel that does not pose hazards to the environment. The reason is that biofuel can be produced by using agricultural crops such as fruits, grains, potatoes, sugar beets and corn. And because the ingredients in producing biofuel are readily available locally, there will always be a steady supply going forward. You may be aware by now that biofuel is also popularly used to run vehicles. Apart from being environment friendly, biofuel has many other advantages.
Biofuel fireplaces normally come in a box type design with cover and can be moved from one place to another. There are also the wall mounted models ideal for areas with no extra floor space. Being movable, they are therefore more convenient to use.
Homeowners can also choose among the different materials for the firebox such as stainless steel or a combination of wood and steel. If none of the models available in the market suit their taste, you can always have one customized.