Thinking About the Front Porch

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A friend sent me this video from Matt Risinger on the exterior details of a house they finished 5 years ago.  It’s a testament to how thinking things, though, and getting the details right can affect both the aesthetics and function years later. And it got me thinking about the value of a front porch.

The use of natural materials in the right applications is right out of the design school curriculum.  Unfortunately, those of us who did automotive design so find that natural materials are not practical when you manufacture products by the million.  But the philosophy stays with you, and when it comes to designing or building a house, there is ample opportunity to put it to work.   (more…)

ASH: Starting the Design Process

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Where to start the design process for creating an Awesome Small House? I’ve already discussed the philosophy of what we’re trying to achieve in a previous post. That post defines the difference between an ordinary and perfectly livable house, and a home that is truly awesome. A place that appeals to the soul.

If my years of designing automobiles taught me anything, it’s that the big ticket items are all about emotion. If you want to build an energy efficient, green and sustainable house, it’s about more than just about hitting the numbers. Specifications are important, but it’s the intangibles that will make it worth the effort. (more…)

ASH: The Awesome Small House Concept

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Image Credit: Aerogel

ASH, or Awesome Small House, is my concept of what a dwelling in the twenty first century should be. The premise is to abandon the bad practices of building temporary and cheap dwellings and move to a more sustainable paradigm. In order to accomplish that, our attitudes need to change. We need to understand that conspicuous consumption is a vice and not a virtue. We are not bigger and more important because we generate a monstrous carbon footprint. We need to reduce the level of toxic chemicals in our environment, and especially in our homes. We need our homes to be efficient, to use resources wisely. Our homes should be both comfortable and secure. A home should make us feel like we’re living in harmony with nature, not building a fortress against it. (more…)