Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reaching for Reclaimed Wood

Going with the Grain

Spring is about reinvention, which makes me think about reclaimed wood. I am reminded  of the timbers reclaimed from urban forests that the remarkable Zen priest Paul Discoe mills and then shapes into furniture like his Tenon Bench,

Paul Discoe, tenon bench, redwood IMG_4597where the joint becomes a simple but sculptural gesture of connection and  Continue reading

New Ranch House, New Fire Pits

Lining Up with the View

Houseplans.com’s architect Nicholas Lee recently gave me a tour of his most recent design, a contemporary 4 bedroom ranch house built on a 2+ acre site in Sonoma, California. As you can see, the single story house is long and

carriger exterior view

linear and offers views east to the Mayacamas Range and west to Sonoma Mountain. The newly planted rows of saplings and sweet peas reinforce the farmhouse/ranch house esthetic.  Huge picture windows flanking the fireplace  Continue reading

Walking On Wine: Mondavi Floor Boards

It’s All in the Oak

At the Home Builder Show in Las Vegas I met winemaker Rob Mondavi, Jr. (grandson of the legendary founder of Napa’s Mondavi Winery) and his wife Lydia, who are launching a new venture in partnership with Georgia-based Authentic Reclaimed Pine Floors this spring. The name of the product is “Barrel Reserve,” which refers not to a chardonnay blend, but to the wood that might have encased it. The limited edition interior wood floor collection is made from Continue reading

Road Testing Your New Home

Try Before You Buy or Build!

Syndicated Washington Post real estate columnist Katherine Salant recently gave an insightful talk to our Houseplans.com office about how she “road-tested” two developer homes. This is a splendid idea — contemporary cultural anthropology in action, and it reprises a field work technique she developed in Nepal while living with families and village architecture.  She lived with a family at Libertyville, Illinois, in the new School Street community of row houses. And she  spent several days and nights in the model unit of a townhouse development in Mosaic District, near Washington, D. C. Her revelations are fascinating.

At School Street, she found that there was a strong sense of community even though the development was very new; that every owner wanted his or her own Continue reading

2014 New American Home in Las Vegas

Suite Upgrades

The 2014 New American Home demonstration house in Henderson, Nevada, sponsored by Builder magazine, debuted during the big home builder show (IBS) in Las Vegas last month. I expected over-the-topness. At 7,440 sq. ft. — including a three-room master suite, “VIP” guest suite, in-law “carriage suite,” casita-office, outdoor bar and grill, lap pool, and extensive roof decks – it wasn’t as

TNAH exterior large 1-27-2014

as lavish as some, but did not disappoint. Design-wise, it’s “Desert Modern.” Aging in place was a priority — hence the secondary ground floor master suite and an elevator to the “carriage suite.”As I have mentioned before, despite the name, Continue reading