Posts Tagged 'Dwell'

Extra! Extra!

Metropolis - Jul/Aug 09 | Thicket - Sept/Oct 09 | Dwell - Oct 09

Metropolis - Jul/Aug 09 | Thicket - Sept/Oct 09 | Dwell - Oct 09

Too quiet here… on the blog. In real life, not so much. It’s been insanely busy at 1133 since our move-in last May. Rest assured, more content to come.

In the meantime, some late summer reading…

Auburn’s Rural Studio graces the cover of the July/August issue of Metropolis (take that Tavern on the Green!) with a feature by Suzanne LaBarre on the program eight years post-Sambo (that is, after the death of co-founder Samuel Mockbee in 2001). Be sure to pick up a hard copy to learn more about this important program… and to marvel at 1133 design-builders Will Brothers and Matthew Finley’s magnificent thesis project—the Newbern Firehouse—which gets a full spread (with photos by Timothy Hursley). Kudos Green Bottle gang!

And our own 1133 gets some ink in the September/October issue of Thicket as part of the “Homes We Love” section in the Home Idea Guide (with photos by Jason Wallis). Read all about it (and watch a little video starring Liane, Will & Matthew) after the jump.

[Update—September 15: See also the latest issue of Dwell (October 2009) for a story on Rural Studio’s $20,000 House… thanks Messr. Lambert!]


Real Good Barstool

Blu Dot's Real Good sit.

Blu Dot's Real Good sit.

Hard to believe, but Minneapolis-based Blu Dot has been at it for more than a decade now… that’s ten years and then some to you and me.

Born in 1997 out of the goal to “bring good design to as many people as possible,” Blu Dot has managed to do just that, along the way creating “useful, desirable and affordable” future classics such as their award-winning Modulicious line.

Blu Dot’s latest, the Real Good Barstool (reviewed in the current issue of Dwell magazine), is, like their Real Good Chair, a single piece of laser-cut, powder-coated steel that ships flat and is, then, easily folded into the lovely piece of work pictured above. Sleek and sturdy (and comfortable!), it’s available in aqua, ivory, satin black or glossy red (an optional cushioned faux-leather seat pad is also available for $39). And, at $199, it’s easily the most affordable, durable, modern barstool that we’ve managed to find thus far (we’re planning to get three or four for the island in the kitchen).

Real Good height.

Real Good height.

For more on the Real Good Barstool, check out the equally good Blu Dot site. And while you’re there, be sure to watch our good pal Bob Shea’s movie Eric’s Really Good Idea (featuring Andy Keep!). It’s one of four short films that comprise the Blu Dot Short Film Series—films that “celebrate and discover design in everyday life.”

Oh, and after that, be sure to hop on over and say “Hi” to Bob at his site.

[Ed. note: If you’re planning to be in the Chicago area this Thursday, November 20th, the founders of Blu Dot will be at I.D. (3337 North Halstead Street) at 7 pm to unveil their latest designs.]

A little Sol

“As architects, we have a responsibility to take a longer term view of development and conceptualize more holistic, sustainable models.” — Chris Krager, KRDB

I'm a Sol plan. ©KRDB

I'm a Sol plan. ©KRDB

Architect Chris Krager and his firm KRDB are one of the country’s leading Design/Build practices. We first learned of Chris and KRDB’s noble and ongoing mission to create “extraordinary buildings that are financially accessible” through an episode of Dwell on the Fine Living channel in July of last year. In fact, prior to our discovering Manhattan and Green Bottle Workshop, we’d even considered (and hotly pursued) purchasing the plans for one of their amazing Cedar Avenue homes to build right here in Birmingham (we soooooo owe Chris for his helpfulness and patience).

Recently, KRDB launched a site for its latest project—a green Austin, Texas neighborhood development called Sol.

An acronym for Solutions Oriented Living, Sol is “the first net-zero energy neighborhood of its kind… representing the intersection of affordability, quality design, and environmental responsibility.”

To learn more on this pioneering project, go here (there’s also a Sol blog). And for more of KRDB’s work, you can check out their site here.

Up to speed

Will Brothers and Matthew Finley of Green Bottle Workshop.

Will Brothers and Matthew Finley of Green Bottle Workshop.

Ladies and gentlemen, heeeeeeeeere’s the timeline! Or should we say, the T.M.I.-line. If you can get through it, you just may feel you’ve lived through it too. Enjoy!

July – Roy first learns of the Rural Studio—Auburn University’s Design/Build program founded by D.K. Ruth and Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee) while at Lewis Communications in Birmingham during an “off-the-beaten-path” tour of Alabama for the Bureau of Tourism; Roy moves to New York to work for Razorfish

October – Roy moves to Boston to work for Stoltze Design

October – Roy attends lecture by Eames Demetrios (grandson of Charles and Ray Eames) at the AIGA Conference in Vancouver; Demetrios shows part of his 2002 film on the Rural Studio: Lucy’s House

October 31 – Liane joins Roy in Boston (finally!) and works at Selbert Perkins Design in Arlington, MA

October 1 – Roy and Liane are married

February – Move back to Birmingham, AL

May 14 – Begin house-hunting (for kicks), primarily in Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Cahaba Heights, Hoover, Bluff Park, Crestwood, Forest Park

mid-July – See “Form and Function” episode of Dwell on Fine Living channel featuring KRDB’s “affordable modern” Cedar Avenue Houses in Austin, Texas

July 22 – Roy begins a series of emails with Chris Krager at KRDB to inquire about purchasing plans for the 1406 Cedar Avenue house

September 6 – Find 900-square foot house on 1.25 acre lot on Holly Road in Hoover; look into purchasing/demolishing for building Cedar Avenue house

September 11 – Begin house-hunting (in earnest) begins with RealtySouth agent (and dear friend) Jonathan Thompson; among the listings are Pullman Flats on 1st Avenue designed by Krumdieck A+1 Design Inc.

September 17 – Find neighborhood in Vestavia with a number of mid-century houses (on/around Great Rock Road—specifically 2201), none of which are for sale; start letter-writing campaign to owners

September 27 – Contacted by Jonathan about a listing that “he knows we will love;” the newly renovated 1920s cottage at 1629 Manhattan Street in Homewood is well out of our price range, but we decide to go see it anyway… and are smitten; learn that the sellers of 1629 Manhattan are also its renovators—Green Bottle Workshop, a design/build partnership of Auburn University/Rural Studio graduates Will Brothers and Matthew Finley

October – Find 1.25-acre lot (for-sale-by-owner) at 1133 Shades Crest Road in Bluff Park; contact owner David Adderhold to find out lot is exactly 100K outside our budget

November – More trips to the still-listed 1629 Manhattan Street house and subsequent number crunching to determine that house is solidly outside our budget

December 4 – Begin corresponding with Matthew at Green Bottle to offer our praises and to inquire about the feasibility of employing them for a renovation or design/build project within our budget

mid-December – While looking at a foreclosure on Pioneer Lane in Bluff Park, find lot for sale on Linda Avenue

January 1 – Meet with Green Bottle for the first time (over Gia’s Rice Krispies Treats®) at the Manhattan House; determine that budget is not outside the realm of possibility

January 3 – Decide to put in an offer on Linda Avenue lot, only to find it off the market

January 8 – Now focusing search on Bluff Park and Crestwood, ask Green Bottle to offer opinions on Pioneer Circle house, as well as lots on Pine Lane and Ashland Drive

January 15 – Will and Matthew look at lot on 8th Terrace in Crestwood

January 17 – Find 2-acre lot on bluff side of (lesser) Shades Crest Road; Green Bottle evaluates site for building

January 23 – Meet with Will to further discuss building on bluff side lot; review site-specific concept sketches of “our” house and discuss design fees; before making an offer, Will and Matt will do some research to determine the engineering costs

February 7 – Receive good faith estimate from Sammy Noto at New South Federal Savings Bank on financing construction costs and purchase of lot

February 8 – Abandon bluff side lot after it is determined that engineering site preparation costs would be excessive

mid-February – Find for-sale-by-owner listing on cul-de-sac lot on Pioneer Lane; flyer indicates that seller is willing to sub-divide

February 22 – Seller of Pioneer Lane lot property accepts verbal offer; indicates lot cannot be officially subdivided until April 14

early March – Informed by Jonathan that seller of Pioneer Lane lot property has accepted a higher offer; Jonathan shows us a potential renovation property on Rosemary Lane in Vestavia—a former walter filtration station owned by the city of Birmingham

March 15 – Look at listing (a house) on Shades Crest Road (1044); make same-day offer

March 16 – Offer on 1044 Shades Crest Road house graciously declined; during a drive that afternoon to look at 1044, notice that lot at 1133 Shades Crest is still for sale (5 months after our initial inquiry); contact seller, David Adderhold, and find that the asking price is now much closer to our budget

March 17 – Meet with Will and Matthew for lunch at Jackson’s in downtown Homewood to discuss 1133 Shades Crest lot

March 18 – Will and Matthew give their seal of approval on the 1133 Shades Crest lot; contact David Adderhold to accept his offer

March 18 – Meet with David Adderhold at his home near Mt. Laurel to write up a draft contract for the property on 1133 Shades Crest

March 26 – The contract on 1133 is signed!

March 28 – Meet with Will and Matthew to sign contracts/formalize commission/pay first design fee…design begins!

April 14 – Lot is surveyed (111′ x 200′)

April 22 – Meet with Will and Matthew at Manhattan House to look at first round of design—this includes rough models, various floor plan scenarios and 5 elevation drawings (4 single-level options and 1 multi-level option);learn from David Adderhold that adjoining neighbors have a deed to 10′ of lot on the right side (as well, a chain link fence is erected)

April 24 – Meet with Will and Matthew over lunch at Village Tavern; decide to proceed with multi-level plan; pay of second design fee

April 29 – Meet with Will and Matthew at Manhattan House to view second round of design

May 2 – Lot is re-surveyed (101′ x 200′)

May 8 – Sign loan application with New South Federal

May 12 – Meet with Will to view third round of design

May 14 – Signed revised loan application with New South Federal

May 18 – Meet with Will and Matthew to view final round of design; 2 options are presented that vary in the square footage of the main living area and the orientation of the staircase; option B is chosen (2,137 square feet)

May 21 – Receive final plans from Green Bottle/pay final design fee; deliver plans to Sammy at New South for appraisal

May 27 – Receive appraisal from New South—plans appraise for 24K less than project cost (design + construction + land); discuss obtaining a second appraisal with Will at Green Bottle and Sammy at New South

June 2 – Retain the services of Terri Ferguson at Gill Johnson Appraisal for second appraisal (Terri had done the appraisal for the Manhattan Street house); appraisal comes higher, but still 11K less than project cost (we will have to pay the difference to secure financing)

June 20 – Closing day…we’re landowners!

July 9 – Groundbreaking at 1133…construction begins!

week of July 14 – Pine tree comes down, shed demolished (“You’ll be sorry.” – Roy Burns Jr.); footings poured; first blog post

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