The Green Builder in Little Rock, AR

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Home Design / Custom Build / Live in a Green World near Little Rock, AR

Posts Tagged ‘residential’

Wineroom excavation in the Heights

Monday, August 8th, 2011

How best to use a basement?  Make it a wineroom of course.  One client in Little Rock, Arkansas is taking full advantage of his basement to store his wine at the correct temperature and provide a relaxing place to taste it.  The house is stone, so the wineroom’s walls will be of similar mass and color.  We have played with various floor finishes such as Italian marble and brick pavers.  The grande descending stair has gone through transformations of steel and glass to castle stone.  In the end, it will all be lit with high end lighting to display bottle, stone and Chihuly.

Schematic sketches for the stair and ceiling.

Glass front cabinets display wine by fiber optic lighting in the wine tasting area.

The wine storage room is highly temperature and humidity controlled and includes a work table for opening crates.

Wine dinners

An option for a wine dining room.

The before shots of a major renovation near Pinacle.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Shop now. Master bath to be.

Garage and shop now. Family room to be.

I love the beginnings of a project.  The existing conditions tell you nothing of what the remodeled space will look like.  You have to squint and imagine.  I scratch out plans and show them to the clients, but the project tells the better story.  Piece by piece, we remove the old structure.  Element by element, we weave a new architecture.  We plan on a warm contemporary feel.  We want to choose green materials and energy strategies.  Still, the reality of the project is the actual work. Only the studs and openings feed back to our sense of space.  They inform us on what to do next.  They lead my design in new directions.  I can’t wait to see how the story progresses!

Mod Backyard Garden Pavillion Remodeling

Friday, July 1st, 2011

The rental apartment behind the house does not have to be second hand architecture. Here is one design that takes the small living space of an apartment attached to the garage, and makes it into a modern garden pavilion.

This was behind my house in Houston.  Originally, the apartment was dark and dank. I wanted an architecture studio and guest house that was green and lush.  We opened up the bathroom and kitchen with floor to ceiling windows and wrapped it with a fenced garden. Now, light pours through the windows onto the shiny new materials of the bathroom and filters through the sleek kitchen into the open plan living room. On the floors we installed cork to make the space warm and soft and cozy. In the bath, we installed black tile to contrast the brightness and in the shower, we used polished river washed pebbles to massage the feet and give you more of a feeling that the bathroom is outside and spa like.

The quarters were upgraded with new privacy fences made from cedar and Brazillian cherry culls from another construction project.

The studio has cork flooring and an open plan.

 

The open kitchen is mostly from IKEA.

River wash pebbles line the shower floor.

Rennovation and update of Georgian House in Houston

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

EcoHouse has just finished a remodeling of a brick home in Houston, Texas. It needed some updating and general repairs and some basic painting. The old windows were leaky and needed badly an energy upgrade to Low-e Argon filled vinyl windows and the doors needed weather striping. We insulated the attic and made a variety of weatherization improvements. Mostly, we gutted the kitchen and bathrooms and built new kitchen and bathrooms. The quarters or garage apartment needed serious work. We gutted the entire apartment and added a new kitchenette, fenced yard and fully glassed bathroom.
The house is for sale now . See listing.

 

We added a stone path and all new EnergyStar windows and peach paint to reflect the peach and apple orchard up front.

 

The whole house was refreshed with Sherwin Williams antique white wall paint with no VOCs. French doors were added.

We gutted the kitchen and job-built cabinets and laid granite tile counters. A new French door leads to a new covered patio.

New stainless steel appliances and a wine rack.

Glass front cabinets on either side of sink allow for display.

Full pantry cabinets and a powder room are off to the side.

We cleaned up the brick and replaced old square windows with full arched windows to open up the sunroom.

Both upstairs baths were gutted and retiled and refitted with cabinets and fixtures.

Martha Stewart provided the mirror over new, real granite counters.

The soaker tub was replaced and crema marble added.

 

Couple makes designs for sustainable living.

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Now here is a fun project. An Army barracks?  No, a prospective home. The inspiring couple behind this idea want to make all the right housing choices to utilize green ideas and educate others on how sustainable and green one’s house can be.  They have purchased a 40 foot by 80 foot Quonset Hut from SteelMasters. These can be used as airplane hangers, storage buildings, or emergency structures.  They intend to live simply and comfortably in one as their home.  The Quonset Hut will come to the site ready to be lifted in panels onto the foundation to form the structural shell of the house.  These panels are developed from the World War II units that were used throughout the war effort and are still used today.  EnergyStar has approved these structures as an exemplary building material and method.  Its galvalume finished steel shell is reflective as a radiant barrier and is made of mostly recycled material that in the end can be reused or recycled again for that cradle-to-cradle effect.

The couple has come to EcoHouse to make their simple living choices  as effective for being green as for sharp looking aesthetics.  There are many ways to use the panels to configure a home and we will be exploring several to find that perfect site placement and solar orientation.  The site is 11 acres in the Mountains of Arkansas near Russelville.  They were careful to find land with good soil for landscaping and a great view from the top of a gentle ridge.

We will be busy getting the design together and exploring systems and material choices to achieve strength, tightness, health and responsible living in their new home.  Look forward to design sketches.

Hillcrest guest house remodeling

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

A client in Hillcrest has a very special guest house that needs a little updating.  The lead paint on the siding is special indeed and will require special handling according to EPA standards.  EcoHouse will remove and rebuild the guest house on the same foundation to preserve the yard and the oak tree roots.

Look for design sketches and progress pictures as we remodel.

Springtime porch with movie

Friday, May 6th, 2011

We developed the springtime porch design.  This Federal styled house demanded a rear porch that followed its symmetries and simple grandeur.  A seating area and outdoor fireplace was centered on the interior living room, one corner is canted back to allow for vehicular traffic, while double columns resolve the geometry to center the door.  Detailing with stained  concrete, matching brick and herringbone chimney caps gives the addition a sense of belonging to the original house and tries to uplift the original design with openness and dignity.

 

Outdoor fireplace in porch addition.

Porch addition seen from backyard

Want to see the design in motion? Welcome. See the movie on YouTube. Come on up to the porch and have a seat beside the fire. Coffee?

Also, you can look back to the original design sketch.

 

Simple trim carpentry for a Craftsman Bungalow

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Door header trim detail

We are trimming out a bungalow in the Capital View neighborhood of Little Rock and want to keep the original and traditional trim style, but want to use the economical and green materials of modern construction.  The proportions of a simple trim for a window and door gives the openings their elegant appearance.  We place a 1×4 on the jamb casings, a ledge trim and a 1×6 header casing.  The change in width of material gives the doors and windows a taller look.  The edges are square to give a more strong, less frilly look. The ledge trim hides the joint between materials, and allows the eye to overlook minor imperfections in an old remodeled wall.  Trim carpenters have always sought to make the best of aethetics with the most economic means and materials.  Being green follows the same historical trend.

The difference between age-old and modern trim carpenters, besides their awesome tools, is their use of modern manufacturer’s materials to help in the process.  Instead of consuming large stands of old growth forest to harvest high grade wood to make the door jambs, smaller rapidly renewable trees are used for smaller pieces of wood that are finger joint cut and glued together.  This conservation practice is both green and economic.  The casing trim is even finer bits of wood compressed into medium density fiberboard, MDF.  It has the benefit of not warping or having knots.  It takes the intended paint very nicely.

We have installed traditional 3/4″ wood hardwoods to match the existing front rooms.  The boards are laid first, so that the trim and doors are placed precisely and level.  We will come back later, after the painters have cleaned up their mess, to sand and finish the hardwoods.  Overall, we will achieve a handsome traditional look to match the historical neighborhood, without much fuss or unnecessary expense.

Craftsman wood carpentry details

EcoHouse Architects’ latest bungalow design under construction

Friday, March 4th, 2011
Hillcrest Little Rock bungalow remodel designIn the heart of the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock Arkansas, a bungalow home is being restored, remodeled and enlarged.

Hillcrest of Little Rock has always been a rich neighborhood full of art, music and enterprise.  One local musician is restoring a bungalow right near her haunts in Hillcrest on N Palm St. But before she could move in, the entire house needed work.

The structure was in good shape and the rooms proportioned well, but time was cruel to this house.  It badly needed restoration, energy upgrades and a new second story addition.  Rather than making a big box house according to the pervading style of inner city development, the owner decided to keep the lines of the original roof.  Two bedrooms and a family room with barrel vaulted veranda were proposed upstairs.  New insulation, windows, doors and cement siding have already been added to replicate the original style.

You can see the original sketches for the design on here: EcoHouse youtube channel

Progress is well under way on the interior.  Designs for another second story house addition have just been completed nearby on N  Spruce St.

Step One to Good Design is Programming

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Tea room with books and art

Real estate is one of the highest costs to a family, so it is a Designer’s responsibility to use it wisely while merging aesthetics and function. Function being the more important of the two. It doesn’t matter how nice a house looks, if you can’t live productively and comfortably. It is very important to learn the intricacies and culture of a family before you start the space planning, so a home may be created; not a track house. To gain the detailed information needed, a trusting relationship with the family must be developed. Clients need to believe through programming, they will gain a more livable and aesthetic pleasing home.. Designers have to merge the requirements of the family members and bring an atmosphere that aligns with their lifestyle and image, providing them with a safe, productive, and beautiful home.

Clients want to feel like they are getting a custom home they helped design and create. Unfortunately, too many Designer’s approach a project with their own agendas and personal style. It is important to sit down at the first meeting and learn more than just how many rooms, bathrooms, and style. How a family unloads from a trip to the grocery store, where homework is done, who creates the most laundry, etc. are equally important and will produce a home that is pleasant and supports the family. They are receiving not only a Designer, but also consulting from an experienced professional who specializes in providing layouts that take into consideration work flow and processes.

There are several ways a Designer should look and inquire about a family’s needs. There’s the family as a whole, which would include things like number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and budget. Equally important is individual interviews with all family members, asking a six year old how you can help him keep his room clean and how many matchbox cars you need to make room for, not only makes everyone feel included, but also makes for a better design. Knowing what their needs are as individuals and a group, the Designer can begin to understand how they fit into the big picture of the way the home should operate. When visiting their existing space note areas that seem to be overwhelmed with clutter. This is usually a sign of space that is not working for them. There may be ways to reshape a laundry room or add tools that would make it functional. Other things to consider is finding out what gets abused, broken, what are their cleaning regiments, how long do they plan to stay in the home, and who seem to be the hardest on their area. This gives clues to how accommodations can be made for a home that will last longer and maintain its look.

Knowing and understanding the requirements of all the family members within a home and how they fit together is valuable information. The Designer achieves a level of understanding in overall operations and needs of specific space which is applied throughout the duration of the project. When the Programming Guide entailing all this data is given to the family it is usually the first time anyone has stopped to think about how they work together and therefor, should sit together. It helps the Designer to lay out the space and create a house that works more efficiently and smarter. Being thorough in programming is well worth the time invested and has measurable success in positive information that creates a custom space plan based on requirements and creativity, achieving more effective home.