Progress on our Shaker Style Kitchen and Home Reconfiguration

We really love working on old houses. This arts and crafts style house in Oak Park is very special and would make Bob Vila proud. Our relationship with our client began when we looked at the house and advised him through a short sale. The house has some incredible woodwork and amazing custom trim. It has braod eaves and Louis Sullivan-inspired plaster capitals. It also had an addition that did not merge well with the original home.

So we went to work with our clients...

There was a staircase to the basement that cut throughthe U shaped kitchen and broke up what could be a really efficient plan. (See the before photo and the perspective.)

So we moved the staircase and wove the kitchen back together. Here’s a few photos and we’ll post more after the final inspection.

#shakerstyle #oakpark #oakparkrestoration #oakparkrenovation #highlandpark #millwork #custommillwork #fortsheridan #customkitchen #fortsheridan #lincolnpark #oldtown #historicpreservation #historicpreservationlincolnpark #historicpreservationoldtown #historicpreservationhighlandpark #historicpreservationwinnetka #winnetka #glencoe #kenilworth #riverforestrenovation

What does a sustainable house look like?

More importantly, how does it perform?

The look or expression comes from the performance.

This is the first in a series of posts about sustainability and architecture.

What does a sustainable house look like?

But the real question is how it performs.

First, siting a building matters. Passive heating and cooling techniques are foremost. Second, the building section aims to the “perfect” building section where control is maintained, moisture is limited and drained when needed keeping the section dry. Third, the garden merges with the interior. I posted a photo of a great example in an inner suburb of Sydney by the brilliant architect duo of Neeson Murcutt   

Masonry is out as an exterior material. It’s in as one the harvests the winter sun’s rays to radiate back at night.

Standing seam metal or soshugi ban – charred cedar – is the new exterior rainscreen of choice. More on rainscreens later.

Everything is about the expression of layers now. And many times that looks different than architecture today.

#Alignment #passivesolar #BiolclimaticChart #FLWright #ArchitectsAddValue #Anthropocene #oldTownChicago #LincolnPark #HighlandPark #Winnetka #Glencoe #OakPark #PalosPark #Palos #Crete #modern #midcenturymodern #modernarchitectchicago #modernarchitect #modernarchitecthighlandpark #modernarchitectevanston #modernarchitectwinnetka #modernarchitectwilmette #modernarchitectcrete #keckandkeck #modernarchitectglenview

Per the US Census 10% of Chicago's 3 million homes are unoccupied

We have a housing crisis in Chicago. We have unhoused people and they exist across the socioeconomic spectrum. It affects poor people and working people, migrants and long time residents. We think there is an opportunity here. How can we renovate and bring zombie properties back to life?

The Cook County Land Bank is one. Cook County Land Bank   

The County Land Bank is selling off homes and trying to get them into the hands of rehabbers and homeowners and neighbors who are trying to answer the question:

“How do we work together to make a better Chicago?”

Photo of Amanda Williams’s project.

#Alignment #rehab #cookcountylandbank #housingshortage #housing #affordablehousing

Orienting your home to the sun saves money, energy and creates a warm environment

Most homes are placed in the center of their lots. The relationship with the sun and local wind conditions is generally not considered. Is there a better way to site a home? Are there any passive heating or cooling strategies that can make a warmer, cooler and more livable and beautiful home?

Human comfort revolves around our body temperature and the humidty in the air around us. We sweat and moisture evaporates from our skin and this process–evaporative –helps us maintain our body temperature. A place to begin thinking about this architecturally  is the bioclimatic chart. A bioclimatic chart is a device where the average highest monthly temperature is plotted on a graph against the average lowest relative humidity and vice versa. The passive possibilites are bounded in the areas outlined on the graph.

FL Wright has always been one of our favorite architects. At his best, his interiors are warm and light filled. His interest and expression of passive solar in terms of siting and the building section is timeless and independent of his stylisitic preferences. There’s a lot there to learn. One of these houses is even open to the public. Wright designed it for a disabled WWII veteran. Check it out!!! 

FL Wright Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois  

#Alignment #passivesolar #BiolclimaticChart #FLWright #ArchitectsAddValue #Anthropocene #oldTownChicago #LincolnPark #PalosPark #Palos #Crete #modern #midcenturymodern #modernarchitectchicago #modernarchitect #modernarchitecthighlandpark #modernarchitectevanston #modernarchitectwinnetka #modernarchitectwilmette #modernarchitectcrete #keckandkeck #modernarchitectglenview

What does “Millworker to provide samples” mean?

Perhaps you have seen this note on a set of architecture drawings?
Millworker to provide samples for client/architect approval

What does it mean?

Aren’t the architect’s drawings sufficient?

Architecture is a team endeavor grounded in a set rules. In a classic tripartite scheme, the client has separately contracted with the architect to create the design and then the general contractor to execute the design. The general contractor then subcontracts with a millworker to fabricate the millwork. The millworker creates drawings and makes samples to ascertain that his work fullfils the original design intent. Sometimes the millworker makes suggestions improving the work. WE LOVE THAT!!!! The architect then looks over the samples and drawings, approves them himself and/or consults with the client to make sure they are satisified and then approves them.

On average, the millworker’s drawings may require a revision or two or, sometimes, three. The millworker makes the final field measurements and then updates his drawings to make sure that the millwork will fit perfectly into the the space–usually between the drywall–and they fulfill the design intent.

These top and bottom rail samples were beautifully fabricated for an addition to a patio and garden at the former Fort Sheridan Army Base in Highland Park.

There were approved and the last photo shows them stained with the historic Fort Sheridan colors. #highlandpark #millwork #custommillwork #fortsheridan #customkitchen #fortsheridan #lincolnpark #oldtown #historicpreservation #historicpreservationlincolnpark #historicpreservationoldtown #historicpreservationhighlandpark #historicpreservationwinnetka #winnetka #glencoe #kenilworth