Geoff Piper's picture

Energy Retrofits.... and Surprises

It’s an unfortunate reality that many of the homes we live in are not very energy efficient. In Seattle, much of the older single family housing stock was built in a time when energy was of no concern at all. There was abundant fuel right outside your door for the taking. As a result, these older homes were built with little to no insulation and their exterior envelopes are extremely leaky (energy wise).

Geoff Piper's picture

Plywood floor - thoughts and experiences

This is one of the topics that pops up fairly frequently with clients during design discussions and we thought that we would share some of our thoughts. With the right material choice and the right finish, plywood as a flooring material has a modern feel but still carries the warmth of wood and is usually significantly cheaper than hardwood. We have used plywood as flooring in two of our own projects and recently we have been talking with other practitioners who have used it in order to decide if we wnated to use it again. After careful consideration our final verdict is.... maybe.

Geoff Piper's picture

Tierra Nueva

This is one of those posts that has been sitting in the edit bin for a while. Not because we didn't want to get it out there but because.... Well, everything kept changing. And it still is. Changing that is. But after a while we thought we would just throw it out there as it might be instructive to show how uncertain things can be in the global development world.

In early 2011 we returned from the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua where we had been working on a master plan for another new Agros village. The only catch was that instead of a new 30 household village, which is what we had done for the last three, we were working on a new 150 household village. Needless to say we encountered some scale issues.

Geoff Piper's picture

The backyard cottage as a tool for historic preservation

We recently had the opportunity to be involved in an interesting project. A homeowner approached Bruce Parker, a good friend of ours and the owner of Microhouse, with an interesting proposal. The homeowner had a beautiful little house that she had spent the past years restoring to its original early Seattle ‘craftsman’ glory. Unfortunately, this house had the misfortune to be small and located on a lot that was zoned L1, making it a prime target for redevelopment.

Geoff Piper's picture

New office!

When is the best time to move offices? Obviously it is a couple of weeks before you are expecting your new child to enter the world. Well, maybe not. Maybe that is actually the worst time to move offices, especially if it requires a non-insignificant amount of build out. Well, everything is better with a deadline, right?

Geoff Piper's picture

Skagit Cabin

We were recently asked to design a cabin on a large rural site for a client who envisions this as the first part of a complex of structures to house family and friends. Future plans call for orchards, a fish pond, trails, guest cottages and maybe even a distillery. What’s not to love? On top of that, the cabin is going to use passive solar design and use rainwater collection for potable and non potable uses. Right up our alley.

Below are a couple of early design images. More soon.....

Geoff Piper's picture

Mid Century Modern Kitchen Remodel

We recently had the pleasure of remodeling a kitchen in a mid century modern house here in Seattle. Sometimes we work on a whole house remodel but partial remodels are more common (although occasionally these end up as whole house jobs anyway). Usually the task is to bring the kitchen or baths up to date with modern appliances, fixtures and layout.

Geoff Piper's picture

So you want to convert your garage....

You need more space. Your mother in law is moving in to torture you and/or help with child care and there isn’t any space in the house. Or maybe there is space but there isn’t enough ‘space’. Or maybe you are finally ready to go out on your own and start that software company. As it really is customary to do this in the garage you are all set as you a have an underused one sitting out back. The problem is that we don’t live in California and working in the garage in winter is less than ideal. Wouldn’t it be great if you could convert it to a nice heated office? It would! But……

Stephanie Ingram's picture

Open Source Architecture? What’s that?

We’ve recently being seeing quite a lot of mention of the idea of “open-source” architecture, and thought maybe it was worth a little exploration.  It seems to be a topic that defies clear explanation but it also seemed to us to be a good opportunity to talk a little bit about what architects do.