The Cool House: construction
Showing posts with label construction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label construction. Show all posts

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Escape to another island

There's always a point in a construction or renovation project when you feel yourself snapping - maybe months of backorders have put you over the edge or the carpenter being a no-show six times in two weeks has you raging incoherently about his work ethic. At this time it's good to have friends who call with offers of wine and a shoulder to cry on and others who invite you to take an inspirational break and go see what the pros are doing.

So it was with great joy, after the most frustrating day on the kitchen renovation front, that we packed up and headed to the South Shore for a site visit to three new homes on Captree Island.

Bouler Design Group had been commissioned to build this group of houses for an extended family to enjoy. Stylistically each house is quite different but with their rough-hewn cedar shake roofs and siding they form a cohesive whole. The largest house is a Cape Cod shingle style with a wraparound porch and the signature James Bouler barrel roof - this time with swoop reminiscent of a Dutch girl's bonnet - a nod to the Dutch colonial architecture of a neighboring home.

The centre property has a craftsman feel, its deep porch with double posts on solid pillars invites you to sit and spend long days watching the ducks in the reeds and the boats bobbing in the water.

The third home is the original beach house, now an extended rambler with a simple two-storey addition. It has an organic feel, as if it grew to meet the changing needs of past (or future) occupants.

The three homes have been designed to take advantage of the amazing situation. Although the lot is relatively small, the position of the properties along the waterfront feels spacious and open. From the upper decks the residents will be able to take advantage of glorious views (360 from the roof deck of the Cape Cod style), drinking in spectacular sunrises and beach sunsets, or watching the egrets and plovers on the marsh.
To read more about this unique project and see some great interior shots visit Bouler Design Group's blog. Thanks to James and Nadine's hospitality (and their kids too!) we relaxed immediately and could have stayed on this island forever... in fact The Guy felt so attached to this project that he left a little piece of himself behind...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Geodesic Dome House

At the corner of two perfectly ordinary suburban streets in Eaton's Neck, Long Island between the ubiquitous ranches and two-storey homes is this geodesic house. We were taking advantage of a really beautiful day to drive out and revisit some of the properties we had seen when we were looking to buy The Coo; House four years ago. Turning down one residential street we were confronted by the dome house. It fits so well into the neighborhood that we'd actually driven past it in the other direction and not even noticed it.
The striking thing about this home, apart from the design of course, is that it is so well maintained. It looks very similar to the Fuller Dome Home in Carbondale, IL, the residence of Bucky Fuller, the architect and inventor who poularised geodesic domes, and his wife Anne. That dome is currently undergoing a major preservation effort.
Although the high point of their popularity was the 1960s and 70s, residential domes are still being made today and, as this GeoSphere video shows, are relatively simple to construct. What may be more challenging is outfitting them to meet the various state and town building codes. But given their energy-efficiency and relatively low build-cost, maybe it's time for a resurgence of this distinctive building model.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


new house
Originally uploaded by modernemama.
This is the new house being built further down the road, close to Nathan Hale Beach. This time last year there was an ordinary 1970s cedar clad detached home here with a definite beach feel to it - blue-grey clapboards, deck overlooking the pond and waterfront, picture windows to take advantage of the view.

Then we heard it had been sold and the new owners wanted to bump it out a little. Turns out the "bump" was more like total demolition. For a few months we had an uninterrupted view from Vineyard to Lloyd Neck when we walked the dogs. Then the big plant arrived and dug the foundations and the view disappeared under a wall of earth. Now framing is underway and we are waiting to see what the new house will look like.

Although it hasn't happened as much as in neighbouring villages I guess we will see more houses bought for their land value, torn down and replaced with larger newer models. I only hope they don't all look like post-modern "Victorian" McMansions. I like a little individuality in architecture, especially when it references the surrounding landscape.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


north east side
If you live in a twelve-sided house, one of your walls is going to be off, probably by a lot. That's a given, and today we found out which one. Of course it's the boys' bathroom wall, the one that you see as you come up the landing. And the bigger the tile the more obvious it will be. And that window in the middle is going to complicate things too. I'm beginning to understand why the original owners went for a busy broken pattern - it's much easy to hide the flaws that way.
The tiler is attempting to mitigate the problem right now, which involves a lot of "oh, c'mon" and "gee whizz", both of which he apologised for. If I were tiling that wall it would be more like "@#!&" and "%~/*". In fact just thinking about it makes my language more creative. And I'm resisting the temptation to run upstairs every five minutes to see how he's getting along, which is also very stressful. I've got a serious case of remodeler's remorse. Right now I can't remember why we started this remodel, the old tiles looked fine didn't they?
At least we've come up with a creative solution for the window frame, involving the accent tile. I think it's going to look ok, of course I hope it will look fabulous, but I'll settle for straight and tasteful.