Craftsman Homes Seminar this Saturday!

Julie will be giving a seminar this Saturday, October 6th, at 1:00 at the Wallingford Historic Homes Fair!

Craftsman Homes in the Modern Age: Craftsman homes were traditionally, and intentionally designed to create a cozy hand-made retreat; a sanctuary that would provide connection with nature and sustenance to the soul. This lecture will illuminate that original design rationale to guide you if you’re planning to remodel an existing home, or build a new Craftsman style home.

craftsman home architecture details

Close up of a craftsman home in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle.

 

For more information, visit https://www.historicwallingford.org/events/homes-fair-2018/

poster for wallingford historic homes fair

Seattle Architects perform Mid-Century Magic! – Part 3

Part 3 of the series featuring Julie Campbell, one of the Architects at CTA Design Builders Inc., focusing on Mid-Century design and architectural history. She has given lectures on this topic around the region. This series of four articles will discuss strategies for remodeling your Mid-Century home in ways that respect the original architectural intention, capture the contemporary appreciation for Mid-Century design and integrate those classic elements with today’s modern lifestyle. With a little contemporizing and a healthy respect for Mid-Century style, you can give your home another 50 great years!

 Remodeling Strategies for Mid-Century Homes: The Kitchen

 The first two issues gave some architectural history behind this radically different housing style known as Mid-Century design, and an overview of typical architectural features. We went on to offer suggestions for appropriate exterior and interior improvements. This issue will focus on Kitchens. CTA Design Builders remodels many homes of this style, so we’ve become very familiar with the issues typically encountered, and truly enjoy breathing new life into these classics!

Almost every client comes to us with the same challenge: “Open up the kitchen so it creates a larger family gathering space and becomes the real ‘heart’ of our home!

A typical strategy is to remove a wall or two to open the kitchen up to the living/dining area and make it even more of a “great room.” As we mentioned earlier, these houses typically are well built, so removing walls is often very easily accomplished. But opening up the kitchen requires a lot of attention to the details…

Problem #1: Open, but not too open.  One particular challenge of creating any open “great room” space incorporating the kitchen is how to conceal the reality of kitchen mess, keeping it out of view from the adjacent spaces. We know everyone loves to gather around food prep, but when all that’s left of a lovely evening are the dirty dishes…

Solution #1: Screening elements. A good trick to achieve view protection against kitchen mess and other “necessarily cluttered working areas” of open space living is to create a screening element. We have found that a raised bar on the living room or dining room side of an island works very well to temporarily hide those dirty dishes.

Problem #2: Space – is this a great room or a bowling alley? Just opening up an area without considering visual and contextual continuity can create a feeling of cavernous uneasiness, not unlike sitting at a bistro table in a warehouse. It is our belief that you should never hear your friends say “oh look, I see where you ripped out that wall.”

Solution #2: Selective cabinetry for continuity.  Cabinetry that is open on one or two sides creates a feeling of some separation from the living-dining area, yet at the same time preserves the feeling of connectedness to the rest of the great room space. As there is so much cabinetry in a kitchen, it helps if other smaller pieces of the same cabinet style are also placed in the living and dining areas, such as a dining credenza, sideboard or window seat. This creates an overall feel of continuity in the larger overall space, filling it with the warmth of wood. And of course, adding windows in the kitchen and wherever else you can enables the now-bigger room to feel lighter, more airy, and better-connected to the outside. Put in doors to a deck – the bigger the better!

Here are some examples:

Look for the raised bar in both these kitchens. The beam above is where a former wall existed. Big new windows or doors to a deck create great light and connection to the outdoors.

Richlite kitchen Design CTA DEsign Build

Dwellized Dining Room 2 | CTA Design Builds

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two kitchens incorporate cabinetry that is partially open to living areas, creating a greater degree of screening, but still allowing for a sense of openness and connection. The non-kitchen side of the cabinets is designed for display or media functions on the living area side!

Urban Basecamp 3 | CTA Design Builds | Seattle ArchitectsMid-Century Sanctuary 4 | CTA Design Builders

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the Mid-Century remodel design goals of CTA Design Builders is to simplify the architecture and express the structure wherever possible. We suggest keeping the selection of materials and finishes to a minimum, as this will enhance the feeling of continuity throughout the house.

Next up: CTA Design Builders’ Mid-Century Magic – Bath and Storage Solutions!

Seattle Architects perform Mid-Century Magic! (PART 2 of the mini-series)

Part 2 of the series featuring: Julie Campbell, one of the Architects at CTA Design Builders Inc., specializing in Mid-Century design and architectural history. She has given lectures on this topic around the region. This series of four articles will discuss strategies for remodeling your Mid-Century home in ways that respect the original architectural intention, capture the contemporary appreciation for Mid-Century design and integrate those classic elements with today’s modern lifestyle. With a little contemporizing and a healthy respect for Mid-Century style, you can give your home another 50 great years!  

Remodeling Strategies for Mid-Century INTERIORS
Previously, we discussed how Mid-Century homes are enjoying a great surge of renewed appreciation these days; many home-owners are remodeling in a very contemporary manner, but keeping the mid-century “bones” intact for their inherent architectural appeal. This is the second article of four that will discuss strategies for remodeling a Mid-Century home. So what is it about these houses that made them so popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and now again today?! Well, back then for the first time in housing design, the floor plan was “opened up.” Interiors were suddenly more spacious and allowed for a completely different way of inhabiting a home. No longer did separate enclosed rooms divide the house up into small spaces; living, dining and kitchen areas were more connected, which encouraged a more communal family lifestyle. That was a HUGE shift that had repercussions in many other aspects of our culture, like cooking becoming entertainment! Other features that emerged – and stayed… Large windows allowing for more light in and great views out;

  • Simple palette of materials + lack of ornamentation = less maintenance and  more personalization
  • Less expensive building details meant the cost per-square-foot of a home was cheaper, so you could do more with less.

The same benefits are being rediscovered today, but with a 21st century twist! In our last 10 years of remodeling mid-century homes, the design challenges we receive from our clients are similar in nature: kitchens are still too small, not enough bathrooms, the front entry is narrow and tight, and never, ever enough storage. A typical strategy would begin with removing a wall or two to open a kitchen up to the living and dining area and make it even more of a “great room.” Enlarging the kitchen and incorporating an island or bar counter often is all that is necessary. For the most part, Mid-Century houses are well built, so removing a wall or two is often very easily accomplished. Check out this eye-opening transformation with just the removal of a wall:

Before and After

Dwellized Dining Kitchen | CTA Design Builds

We constantly look for opportunities to add more windows or openings to the outside in an effort to increase connection between indoors and outdoors. And getting more light into the house is always a good thing!

Before and After

Blue Ridge Living Room | CTA Design Builders

In our remodels we strive to simplify the architecture and express the structure wherever possible. We suggest keeping the selection of materials & finishes to a minimum, as this will enhance the feeling of continuity throughout the house. In a house where there is lots of open, contiguous space, this goes for color palettes as well.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Mid-Century Magic: Remodeling Strategies for The Kitchen!

Blue Ridge Dining Room Remodel | CTA Design Builders 2

CTA Design Builders Presenting at Historic Seattle’s 3rd Annual Building Renovation Fair

We are excited to announce that one of CTA Design Builders, Julie Campbell, is giving a mainstage presentation at Historic Seattle’s 3rd Annual Building Renovation Fair on April 13th at Washington Hall.

According to the press release announcing Julie’s (of CTA Builds) presentation “Remodeling Strategies for Mid Century Homes“:

Seattle enjoys a wide array of older architectural housing types, from early 1900’s Arts & Crafts styles to the 1950’s and 60’s “Mid-Century Classics”. You can probably think of many cases where interim home-owners “updated” their homes in ways that were insensitive to the original style of the house, requiring later remodeling once again.

Based on experience working on many homes of different vintages, including those designed by Northwest School Architects, Campbell discusses how you can enhance your home’s historic style, yet in ways that work for today’s more open and demanding lifestyle… and in ways that won’t look dated or out-of-context in years to come!

Join us on April 13th at the fair, and come say hi after the presentation!

You can read the full press release by following this link.

New Home in the San Juan Islands: Ready for Living!

New Home in the San Juan Islands: Ready for Living!

We love our new home!

We spent a lovely day last week visiting our Island Cabin and celebrating its completion with the contracting team and very happy owners. This new Northwest style home is virtually ready for move-in; the construction process has gone exceedingly well and has taken a little under a year from start to finish.

Our role in this project has been as architect only; as Seattle Design Builders, the distance was too far for us to build this new home as we normally do. Instead, Marion Speidel of Mud Bay Builders provided construction services.  What a fantastic job she and her crew have done! Have a look at the photos below to get an overall idea of the architecture and interiors, and the level of craft and detail!

Check out the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau

Before Architecture can help

Architects Without Borders: Before Architecture Can Help

We’re Seattle architects working on a new school project in Haiti, in a particularly underserved community. As part of the Architects Without Borders team, we itch to get started designing, but we realize that we live such a different life here we must know what it’s like living there, to work there, to go to school there.  We don’t want to design a school for North America and plop it down in the middle of a different and unaccepting world.  So as we learn, we begin to see that we have to back up, way up, to the point where the basics are not what we’re used to, they are survival:  we have to understand such things as where the CLEAN water is going to come from, what to do with human wastes, how we can provide electrical power, how and by whom the school would get built, etc.  As idealists, we think of municipal services providing water, not digging a well on site, away from contaminants; we think about composting toilets, but we have never cleaned one; we think of photovoltaic electric not realizing how much cheaper a generator and some gasoline is; we think the community will pitch in with their sweat equity, but we’re not working earning $7-12/day and having to decide whether to feed our family or build a school… First things first, and as we solve these problems, we’ll move on to designing a school.

Here is a great article about our experience: Haiti Rebuilding Effort – AWB

Island House Update March

Island House Update March

I had a wonderful visit to the island house this week and was thrilled to see such exciting progress on our new house design. The construction crew is a terrific team of skilled craftsmen, and exudes real enjoyment in their work. The owners are living in the tiny original cabin right next to the new house site, so they keep the carpenters happy with coffee and treats every morning. Can’t beat that: along with an exquisite view from their workplace, who wouldn’t want to have that job?!

We walked through the house interior with the electricians, deciding on exact locations for lights and switches. The interior is in a state of open stud walls right now. All the rooms are there, but you can see through the studs! In a few cases, framing required that we lay out our lights a little differently than the plans showed, but overall we were quite happy with the results. Laying out the lighting on-site like this is a critical step in the construction process.

The next few weeks will see the electrical and plumbing rough-in work completed. After that, insulation goes in and we can look forward to sheetrock. That will REALLY look and feel different!