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My challenge was to find a way to change or conceal the awkward proportions at the front of the house, show how new wood siding could look, and provide a better sense of enclosure and shelter on the windswept backside all within a reasonable budget.

To visually recede the dormers, I "padded out" the gable end fascia by 6", keeping the eye-popping white trim. Dark stained vertical board siding adds to the effect. My next move was to extend the front porch, shading and concealing the too-small windows below and putting the focus on the timber posts and beams.

The shed roof, topped by a 1x6 bandboard, takes up wall area, making the triangular window above a better fit in the remaining space. A further help are wide frieze boards under soffits and trim boards around windows that reduce siding areas and thicken edges for a more substantial feeling. Natural finish wood shingles in gable ends add texture. From the backyard, the many-windowed wall presents a friendlier face with the addition of a pergola.

Dappled shade invite chairs to be pulled out from the lower level rec room, and help with late afternoon glare inside. From living room windows above, looking out over the pergola adds interest and lends a sense of scale to the ground plane. Trim bands corral windows into groups, where different siding types and colors can be modeled.

For now, we are choosing barn red shiplap boards. Stay tuned for the final design. The workshops are excellent, the vendors are informative and helpful. Visualizing with Sketchup click on link to download PDF explains how to use the free computer program to design passive solar features as a 3-D model. I take you step-by-step from contour map to dolled-up exterior with examples of window sizing, shading devices, and the pattern light casts on thermal mass.

My fears have turned to excitement and opportunity" "She was great! She has expertise applying Sketchup to architecture and showed us lessons learned along the way" From Napkin Sketch to Blueprints click on link to download PDF explains how to go from blank piece of paper and vague ideas to preliminary sketches to construction blueprints.

I use lots of great graphics andmake time for questions. Thank you so much! Presentation easy to follow and understand. Narrow lot, no garage, dilapidated "summer kitchen", miserable basement stairs. The list goes on. This house type is the easiest style for me to work with. It can handle jigs, jogs, bump-outs, and all manner of assymetrical massing.

The steep roofs offer convertable attic space. Trim details are consistently well-proportioned and a joy to copy.

The first go-around fit in everything the owners wanted, including a master suite tucked under a shed dormer. However, preliminary contractor estimates proved daunting. My revision kept the good lines, but pared down to essential spaces. We are now awaiting final estimates. A reminder why taking the design in phases is a good idea. When I first meet with a client, I want to know the budget.

Thus, two basic approaches: 1. Put everything in. Get a quote. Experience sticker shock. Design small, with simple shapes. Avoid tempting luxuries or complicated details. Be pleasantly surprised.

Add a bit more room or splurge on something. As your design muse, I prefer 2. Though with this project, we made a successful transition to something smaller, while keeping the good materials and all the details that make the addition fit the original. I was charged with replacing the shallow bay windows with a french door leading out to a new patio. I resisted answering machines when they first came out. I generally deplore gadgets or anything overly complicated.

And after 30 years, I was pretty good at it. I managed to graduate from school without taking a single CAD class, because back in it was an elective. The firms where I worked were transitioning, meaning they still needed someone to handle the manual drafting while others tackled the new-fangled technology. But the economic crash in left me with plenty of time, so I applied myself to Sketchup , a software program for modeling objects in 3D. The learning curve was steep. By January , I was ready to make the Big Switch.

While I still noodle at the drafting board, my drawings for clients are now produced with SketchupPro. The drawings rely less on arcane architectural symbols and conventions and more on easily grasped visuals, full of color and texture. Small, exquisite spaces designed for creative people who are just bursting with ideas and the urge to fashion raw material into something beautiful and useful!

I love helping woodworkers, painters, and gardeners figure out a functional layout with good light and easy access to their tools. Simple in plan, but wonderfully complex in three dimensions. The roof is vaulted on all sides, with diamond windows facing the cardinal points. This airy space will fill with daylight for optimal color-matching and textural contrast. The cross beams will help the weaver drape yarn when setting up the looms, and later for hanging finished pieces.

We love it. On a brilliant day last fall, I finally saw the Seth Peterson Cottage. Wright at the age of 90, one year before his death. Stepping out to the side, under the sheltering eave, is a stone patio where one can take in the view less obliquely. The patio nests within the plunging stone wall.

A stone tower anchors the other end. Inside is as rustic as out, with a similar dichotomy of soaring and sheltering. I especially like the couch built into the low back wall, with fireplace nearby. The cottage is open for tours monthly and is one of the few Wright homes you can stay in overnight.

If you go, think about how he fit a large living room, kitchen, mechanical room, bathroom, and bedroom in square feet. The project was written up by the Huffington Post. Thanksgiving found me in Washington D. Boneyard Studios occupies a wedge of land deemed unbuildable by the city. The folks who live here get their mail elsewhere. It looked like a lot of fun, and when we visited the owners were relaxing around a campfire after one of their monthly open houses. Again, the press were all over it.

Lucky me, I was in the Bay Area for December. At lunch one day, I happened to pick up the San Francisco Chronicle and was just amazed to find a front page, above-the-fold, big picture spread of Jay Shafer, the tiny house guru. A text message renewed our connection, and he invited me to attend his upcoming workshop in Berkeley. Folks there were fired up, and we all learned a lot. Back home, I learned about Occupy Madison. These good people are working very hard to provide shelter for the homeless.

This magazine is the pinnacle of cool for people in my profession. I recommend these new tours: The Landscape Tour winds around the estate, with a good long look at Midway Barn. Farming at Taliesin has a storied history, and the red buildings hugging the middle hill are picturesque, clever, and quite decrepit. There are several majestic oaks, and I hugged one that may be years old. As we sat in the fabled tea circle, we were challenged to put our observations into words.

This tour is about sharing ideas. I left feeling invigorated. The Preservation Tour led us down dank stone steps into the bowels of Taliesin. Fascinating for anyone in construction. What I call "Summer Camp for Adults" Workshops of all kinds, food carts, vendors of the latest model Prius to solar ovens to macrama belts.

Live music each night, inspired dancing, and Central Waters beer. You did a great job. I appreciate how well you selected the information and how you supported it with examples. I really appreciated your thoughtful tips on how to focus on what you really want, how to stir up creative solutions, and how to modify a design to incorporate energy efficient and passive solar design. So many points you made struck home as useful ways to process our dreams for a new home into reality.

You gave so many helpful points.



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Westerman Modular Sectional with Ottoman by Winston Porter


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