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they’re kind of like those ultrasound photos, if Google made the ultrasound software

February 10th, 2011 by

Here are the latest gestational images of Fred (Click on the images for a larger view).

Barring any unforeseen calamities, we can say with great certainty that this will probably be the general overall shape of the house, give-or-take some moderate changes. How’s that for locking in the design? We’re nothing if not decisive, after all.

Well, at least somewhat decisive, in a flexible sort of fashion. But enough about us…

We really like the way the house is shaping up. It was challenging getting to this point, as a few weeks ago, we found ourselves kind of stuck. There was a previous conceptual design that we were working with, and we kept trying to modify it to overcome some issues we had with it. Some parts just weren’t working, and it wasn’t flowing together. In short, it just didn’t feel right, but we weren’t really sure what was wrong with it. Everyone was getting a little frustrated, so our design team came up with a good exercise that helped break us out of our rut.

Instead of focusing primarily on the form of the house, they did a reset, and mapped out how Laura and I would use the house. One of their primary realizations shouldn’t have been much of a surprise to us, but we kind of missed it previously.

Fred needs to be a 24hr house. The team mapped out our typical daily activities on a timeline, and when we saw it all charted out, it showed that the house really never sleeps. (Note: I’m writing this at 2:21am; this may provide the keen-eyed reader with some insight into which one of us has the slightly atypical schedule.) That revelation became a key driver in the redesign of the house. By positioning the various elements in such a way as to avoid disturbing the currently-sleeping party, the whole floor-plan just kind of fell into place.

The team just hit “reset” and started fresh, and came up with the results you see above. We’re still doing some moderate tweaking, but the overall design now feels right. We can easily envision ourselves living in it, as opposed to just occupying it, as it is designed to fit the way we truly live.

And, of course, we think it looks great too. Who knows, someday I may even see it in daylight!

a mock-up of a preview of a sketch of a concept

May 14th, 2010 by

So, assuming we get to build Fred on the piece of land that my beautiful bride fell in love with, what is it going to look like? Well, perhaps nothing like these pictures but, just maybe, a fair bit like these pictures.

(Click on the images for a large view)

These are the very first conceptual sketches that our architect has shared with us. Our main motivation right now is to understand the potential price of a certain type and size of building, how the building might fit on the aforementioned land, and to check all of that against our budget. It will be interesting to see how much the final design—which we probably won’t settle on for at least a few more months—varies from these very preliminary SketchUp renderings.

BTW, I love SketchUp, so I was really psyched when I found out that our architects used it for these quick conceptual renderings. Now I just have to keep myself from “improving” the drawings that were done by folks that actually have architecture degrees and certifications. Yeah, whatever.

With that being said, SketchUp is pretty easy to learn, and there are tons of tutorial videos on YouTube. The price of the software is the ever-popular “free to you from Google”, so there’s not much risk in trying it out. If you ever want to play architect for a few hours—and don’t feel like dropping $10k+ on AutoCAD—you can do some amazing work with SketchUp, especially when you start downloading all of the house components that they have in the 3D Warehouse.

Anyway, back to Fred! We probably want a few more windows, and we really haven’t figured out all the internal spaces yet—these are just shells so far—but the single story, courtyard style is definitely on the right track.

Assuming that we build on that piece of land. Stay tuned for updates on that!

making a commitment

January 22nd, 2010 by

So today we’re really there.  Still saying we might buy a house, but that’s a façade only we believe (and we don’t).  Mostly me.

We wrote a check—and signed our names and the date to the agreement to have them do the study.

So we’ve committed.  To having a design/build firm start working on our “program,” which for some bizarre reason is architect-speak for the plan to build our house.  I have a strong hunch that we’re both about to learn a whole new corporate-speak language, much like “new paradigm” and “facilitate” and “iterative” crept into every conversation at work in the 90’s now we’ll learn why they call it a “program” and probably whatever the modern architect’s words are for floor, ceiling, and airy open space.

To get to this point, we have been through several epiphanies—some of them painful—and a therapist, with me learning to deal with the stress of what’s certain to be about two years of uncertainty, and with Kevin learning how to relax and let me approach this home-building process my own way.  Though he still wants me to read all the books he has collected on how to work with an architect, how to work with a builder, how to work through the way the architect works with the builder and why the builder hates the architect while the architect condescends to the builder.  (Good thing we’ve already let our architect know we have a lot of books.)