The new American Dream: 100K(+ 20) | Starter Home

Compact Stairs
October 27, 2008, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Material/Building Systems | Tags: ,

Ee-Stairs makes a really tight stair; the 1m2 takes up just one square meter of floor space (thus the name). They do look a little steep for my elderly target client, but somebody might have a use for them.

Millenia Wall Solutions
September 29, 2008, 3:45 pm
Filed under: Material/Building Systems | Tags: , ,

I came across an ad for these at work today.  They look decent for a faux stone system and claim to be made of recycled materials.

Millenia Walls stone wall coverings

Millenia Walls "stone" wall coverings

Kick Lighting
September 24, 2008, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Kick Lighting makes a bunch of neat LED stuff. The one product I’m interested in is an LED ribbon light. It comes in 16 foot lengths and is only about 1/2″ wide. The ribbons can be linked in to form a longer ribbon (up to 55 feet per run) and they can be trimmed at every 3rd LED. They put out 5 watts per foot. A 16 foot roll costs 400 dollars, but when you consider what four- four foot flourescent fixtures and bulbs cost, and considering the LEDs should last 100,000 hours, and the flexibility of a 1/2 inch ribbon, the price is pretty fair. The pictures above were in my room with the lights off. They wouldn’t be a primary source of light, but would be a nice accent.

September 10, 2008, 8:16 pm
Filed under: precedents | Tags:

I have two books on my desk that are nice to look through. One is on compact houses and the other is on affordable homes. Unfortunately they do not say how compact or how affordable they are, but they give a nice idea of how spaces can be arranged and common materials can be used in a more interesting way. They will be on my desk until next tuesday.

gus wustemann: white nights
September 3, 2008, 5:03 am
Filed under: precedents | Tags: ,

I really like the aesthetic of this project. It is glacier inspired and the simple OSB and white lacquer looks great in my opinion. And the OSB look can easily be obtained with the use of SIP panels. This project was done on a $150,000 budget, but is a larger scale, however it was an interior renovation so there is much less costly structure involved.

White Nights

Zen Kaya
September 3, 2008, 4:54 am
Filed under: precedents | Tags: ,

ZenKaya is a South African prefab affordable housing company. Their units are simple, inteligently arranged, and appealing.


Chicago: 60653
September 3, 2008, 4:32 am
Filed under: Social / Cultural Issue | Tags: , , , ,

The 60653 zip code/Oakland neighborhood has the highest percentage (28%) of single parent residences and one of the higest impoverished elderly populations (13.4% over the age of 65) in Chicago. The neighborhood is predominantly African American, but it was once a flourishing white protestant neighborhood. Chicago’s black population was historically “limited” to what was known as the “black belt.” As their population grew they needed to expand beyond the “black belt” and into the neighboring white communities. With the popularity of the automobile in the 50s, the whites fled to the increasingly popular suburbs. This is known as “white flight.” The impoverished African Americans were left behind, industry left, and the neighborhoods entered a state of disrepair. Today, the African Americans are leaving as well. The population decreased nearly 26% between 1990 to 2000. Today it is literally littered with vacant lots, and there is some developement. It is these conditions and its proximity to schools, parks, public transportation, and the lakefront, as well as the improvement of surrounding neighborhoods which make it a great candidate for urban renewal by creating architecturally smart and appealing homes for the elderly and single parents.

History of Chicago’s South Side

Precast concrete insulated/framed foundation walls
September 3, 2008, 4:11 am
Filed under: Material/Building Systems | Tags: , , ,

If the diamond piers are not an option, these may be. Superior Walls manufactures the Xi precast concrete foundation panel. It includes insulation and galvanized nailer studs. It is poured monolithically with low water concrete reducing the need for a moisture damper and is reinforced with steel and polypropelyne. I have inquired as to pricing and wether or not these panels could be used above grade as an exterior wall. I have not heard back regarding pricing and I don’t see why they couldn’t be used as an exterior wall.

Superior Walls

Diamond Pier pin foundations
September 3, 2008, 3:15 am
Filed under: Material/Building Systems | Tags:

These are great if they will meet your local codes. They simply are put in place, then a team of two can drive in the pins which spread out in 10 minutes. They eliminate the need to dig foundation walls or piers and pouring concrete which can be time consuming and costly. they have anchor bolts embedded on the top to accommodate a metal bracket for wood columns or grade beams. If necessary the pins can be removed to relocate the structure. For a unit with 50″ pins (pins are available in several lenghts) it costs $96 plus installation.

DiamondPier Pin Foundations

Soy based spray in insulation
September 3, 2008, 3:00 am
Filed under: Material/Building Systems | Tags: , , ,

BioBased Insulation makes a spray in insulation that is soy based. It is environmentally friendly, healthy, VOC free, pest resistant, water based and acts as a vapor retardant. I figured a house that was 20′ by 50′ with 2×6 framing and 2×12 roof joists and got an estimate of $7,800 which seems a bit steep. And with an R-value of 13 with standard 2×4 framing, it isn’t that impressive for the price either considering you can get an R15 out of your typical 3.5″ pink fiberglass insulation.

BioBased Insulation