Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

I am a big fan of special architectural details.  This sidewalk is a perfect example.  It takes just a bit more work… but it is so much more fun in the end.    Don’t just do something like it has always been done… make it something special.    Every aspect of building can be made special in some way… and the more special details you have… the better you will love what you build.  This sidewalk took a bit of form work… and some extra acid washing… but just look at it!  It is awesome.


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There is a quality of patina… that is impossible to describe.  The effects of weather, of chairs sliding on the floor, of cracks in the concrete, edges worn by use, stains from the wine bottle, and the worn area on a threshold from thousands of visitors footsteps.  I love this quality.

It is often difficult to convince people of this beauty.  But this quality took decades to acquire.  It can easily be erased with a careless restoration.  What is lost is truly the soul of a thing.  While a new restoration creates a facsimile of the old structure… all the experiences and acquired character are lost if you rebuild the patinated areas with new. The story of a place is in its flaws.  You remember the time that the wine spilled… the day your brother crashed his bike into the wall… and the day your dad scribed your height onto the closet doorjamb writing your name and the date next to the pencil line.  Can you imagine painting over all those height marks… from your youth?

Be careful when you restore things.  Try your best to notice what is damage… and what is life and history and soul.    The difference between an historic design… and a brand new design… is only the character of time that has been imprinted on something.  If you eliminate this character of time… you have destroyed the context of the thing.

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I saw this on the side of the road for sale… in Moss Landing, CA.   It is the wheelhouse from an old fishing boat. Now it is haunting me… it wants me to buy it and make it into something fun.  I could stick it into the roof of something perhaps… or build it into a shed in an ocean of long grass…

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This is a napkin drawing idea I have for a steep “tv dinner tray” type hillside home…  a simple white modernist box on powdercoated orange steel stilts… with huge powdercoated steel webbed feet on the bottom of each stilt, orange painted deck out front and two round blue glass windows.  It could be called birdHaus, duckhaus or maybe quackMod.  I have to build this someday… just to make people smile.  I call this style “storybook modern”.

Don’t worry… I’m not actually gonna build it…

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I like the look of this old storybook house in Cambria CA… mostly because of the really long green stained shingles.  It sure would be fun to restore.

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Here’s a few more spanish colonial revival details from downtown Carmel by the Sea.  Notice the haphazardness of the roof tiles in the first shot… coupled with the same roof tiles being used under the eave as arched details… also notice that the bricks are set at an angle under the eaves… for a tad more detail


The drain scupper off the upstairs balcony… is a single upside down roof tile.  Nice plaster work under that scupper too.  Beautifully stacked bricks make the balcony railing detail

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Here is the model for a small guest house we never built over our driveway in Santa Barbara … in the trees.    It was designed by Richard Warner.  Our house was up the hill just a tad.   Ignore the colors of the model… this was just a massing study built from misc left over foam core bits.  (that’s Richard… holding his hand on his head in the background!)

this is the view we would have seen of this structure from our house.

shots of the original main house.  a classic International Style house designed by Peter Edwards of Edwards and Pittman Architects in the 1950’s.

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