Houzz- Eric Reinholdt’s ideabooks

By | cool stuff, good web sites, Uncategorized | One Comment

I’m becoming a fan of Eric Reinholdt’s Houzz ideabooks. His writing and editing is a cut above plus he has very similar tastes to my own so I look forward to each new ideabook. He also worked for one of my favorite firms in Maine – Elliot and Elliot Architecture.
His Houzz page is HERE

And here area few of his ideabooks:


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Blog: Coffee with an Architect + Rural Studio

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Coffee with an Architect is a blog that has really gotten rolling. Why is it suddenly everybody does this way better than me? In any case what caught my eye recently was some lovely photos of the rural studio work at Auburn University So I followed the link and found a treasure trove of beautiful images of projects completed in the Rural south.
A bit of background on the rural Studio from the website

In 1993, two Auburn University architecture professors, Dennis K. Ruth and the late Samuel Mockbee, established the Auburn University Rural Studio in western Alabama within the university’s School of Architecture. The Rural Studio, conceived as a strategy to improve the living conditions in rural Alabama while imparting practical experience to architecture students, completed its first project in 1994. In 2000, Andrew Freear was hired as thesis professor, and upon Mockbee’s death, succeeded him as director while continuing to teach thesis. Under his guidance the focus has shifted from the design and construction of small homes to larger community projects.

They have created a huge portfolio of community projects and 20k houses. Here are a very few photos grabbed from the website:

Tiny Houses in Vermont with Peter King

By | cool stuff, good blogs, good web sites | 2 Comments

I am a big fan of tiny houses. When I was a teenager I built a 12 x 16 cabin on my parents land and lived in it during the summers for more than a decade. It is still standing thanks to a tree that grew up right next to it. My mother in law is a fan as well and turned me on to the TinyHouseblog website which is fun to poke around in. There I discovered Peter King in Northern Vermont building some lovely little houses and holding workshops. This could have been me had I not gone to architecture school. His website is HERE

build blog

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Along the lines of; How I spend my time when surfing the net, I spend some time every week looking for what’s out there in the architectural world with focus on residential and small scale projects.
Here is a Firm whose website is great, the work they do is inspiring and they have a great blog that fosters thought and conversation. They are located in Seattle.

TED:Ideas Worth Spreading is a collection of talks and presentations that help me keep the world in perspective.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.


also GoLogic homes in Belfast Maine is worth checking out. They have some great prototype small passive house designs. When I look to the future of my own firm, This is a great model for one possibility. Although if I were to go this route I would worry that it closes me off from being the small town architect for lots of people and doing more non-residential projects.

A client’s addition/renovation process blog

By | good web sites, working with a builder, working with an architect | 2 Comments

http://musingsfromdave.blogspot.com/
Here is a process blog from some folks I helped to design an addition for last winter. It was the sort of project where having an architect payed off (if I remember some of the early schemes they came to me with). We were able to phase the project, and with the help of some very thorough pricing by the contractor, make some big decisions before starting construction. The original house was not unlike my own in size – bigger kitchen and only one bedroom though. They wanted a sunny spot to soak up morning sunshine. I gave them four and labeled them as such on the plans.
rear view

fivecat’s squidoo lens

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I give up! I can’t compete! Mark Lepage, a friend from college, has created this most useful page for my clients to use which contains, well, everything.  I can only assume that Mark has discovered ancient techniques allowing him to sleep only once per week. or less.  Guides, books, websites, blogs, organizations, magazines, architects,… I think Mark has minions.  I need minions. oh well.  here is the link:  Fivecat Studio’s squidoo lens

more on solar hot water – no boiler

By | environment, good ideas, good web sites, links, products | No Comments

An article by Alex Wilson of Environmental Building News in the local newspaper Brattleboro Reformer on solar water heating with some good local links.  I have done a couple houses now with solar hot water backed up with a propane or electric heating element right on the storage tank to boost water temps when needed to serve as heat (radiant) and hot water.  No boiler!  Marathon Water Heaters are how you do it.

see also passive house institute for more information trickling to this country from Europe about how to build carbon neutral-zero energy-heatyourhousewithacat homes

Also Coldham and Hartman architects have done something similar with a number of houses in the Northeast involving upgrading the shell of the house enough to be able to heat with a single space heater such as a through the wall gas space heater in the main living area.

My own house (900 square feet, 1970, poorly insulated cape) has a modern woodstove and electric radiant heat in the ceiling which we use primarily when we are away in the winter.  We heat water with a plain old electric water heater.  The presence of large sugar maple trees prevents us from utilizing the sun.

Perry Road Press

By | affordable modern, ego, good web sites, links, press | No Comments

The Brattleboro Reformer ran an article on the Perry Road Project today “LEED-ing the Way” For those who have been keeping tabs on this project, we will be holding several open house tours during and after construction.  Stay tuned here for dates and more information.  Also my college friend Mark LePage put an entry relating to me in his new blog Entrepaneur Architect It has been interesting to watch Mark’s firm as it grows and his internet activities expand. Very inspiring, Now I am trying to inspire other classmates from architecture school to follow suit.

Building Science.Com

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Building Science.com – I am ashamed at my oversight. This is an amazing organization. They are central to the residential building industry and if one were to manage to read their entire website, one would have received quite an education. I have referred to them for years when I have a question or need a good explanation for a client but forgot to add them into my links in this blog.

Slow Home movement

By | affordable modern, good ideas, good web sites | No Comments

is an international movement devoted to bringing good design into real life. It takes its name from the slow food movement which arose as a reaction to the processed food industry. The sprawl of cookie cutter housing that surrounds us is like fast food – standardized, homogenous, and wasteful. It contributes to a too fast life that is bad for us, our cities, and the environment. In the same way that slow food raises awareness of the food we eat and how these choices affect our lives, Slow Home provides design focused information to empower each of us to take more control of our homes and improve the quality of where and how we live.

1. GO INDEPENDENT

Avoid homes by big developers and large production builders. They are designed for profit not people. Work with independent designers and building contractors instead.

2. GO LOCAL

Avoid home finishing products from big box retailers. The standardized solutions they provide cannot fit the unique conditions of your home. Use local retailers, craftspeople, and manufacturers to get a locally appropriate response and support your community.

3. GO GREEN

Stop the conversion of nature into sprawl. Don’t buy in a new suburb. The environmental cost can no longer be justified. Re-invest in existing communities and use sustainable materials and technologies to reduce your environmental footprint.

4. GO NEAR

Reduce your commute. Driving is a waste of time and the new roads and services required to support low density development is a big contributor to climate change. Live close to where you work and play.

5. GO SMALL

Avoid the real estate game of bigger is always better. A properly designed smaller home can feel larger AND work better than a poorly designed big one. Spend your money on quality instead of quantity.

6. GO OPEN

Stop living in houses filled with little rooms. They are dark, inefficient, and don’t fit the complexity of our daily lives. Live in a flexible and adaptive open plan living space with great light and a connection to outdoors.

7. GO SIMPLE

Don’t buy a home that has space you won’t use and things you don’t need. Good design can reduce the clutter and confusion in your life. Create a home that fits the way you really want to live.

8. GO REAL

Avoid fake materials and the re-creation of false historical styles. They are like advertising images and have little real depth. Create a home in which character comes from the quality of space, natural light and the careful use of good, sustainable materials.

9. GO HEALTHY

Avoid living in a public health concern. Houses built with cheap materials off gas noxious chemicals. Suburbs promote obesity because driving is the only option. Use natural, healthy home materials and building techniques. Live where you can walk to shop, school and work.

10. GO FOR IT

Stop procrastinating. The most important, and difficult, step in the slow home process is the first one that you take. Get informed and then get involved with your home. Every change, no matter how small, is important.

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houzz interior design ideas
Robert Swinburne in Brattleoboro, VT on Houzz

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bob@swinburnearchitect.com 802.451.9764 72 Cotton Mill Hill Brattleboro, Vermont 05301