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Monday
Feb242014

building affordable modern: dave and chad

Special Thanks to dave, eCommerce brand director—and his partner chad—for this submission.

Chad and Dave with Oscar and Wilbur As a kid I remember sketching house designs and floor plans—day-dreaming of being an architect. So when the opportunity arose to design and build a home with my fiancee Chad—it was literally a dream come true.

Our ultimate goal was to create a modern, small, affordable, and fun home. With the help of our dear friend, architect Scott Delano, we designed and built a 1600 sq. ft. house that met all of our needs—including maintaining a budget of $140 / sf.

Chad and I both have a modern aesthetic—with slight variations on the final touches. I prefer simple, clean designs mixed with vintage while Chad’s style is a little more industrial—Scott’s design successfully balances both our styles.

Throughout most of 2011—with the help of our architect and our realtor Joaquin Calle, brother of CB2’s very own Marta Calle—we viewed quite a few potential lots and Scott developed about 20 house designs for strong contenders.

In December, we decided on a lot near Andersonville, a neighborhood we loved and wanted to establish roots in. Since our team had done extensive prep work—we worked through a lot of scenarios and felt really comfortable with our final answers—together, we were able to take a design from idea to documents suitable for construction permitting in just 14 days.

We were approved for a loan from the Federal Housing Administration’s 203k acquisition and renovation program that allows buyers to combine a mortgage and repair loan—one of the conditions is that you have to work with an existing foundation.

Since the house was abandoned, it was actually in the legal court process heading towards demolition. Thankfully the seller partnered with us and we were able to convince the court to lift the order so we could get clear title, buy the property, and demolish it by choice.

This was key because we could save the foundation and fit the requirements of the loan—build off it pretty easily—and it saved a lot of the budget for the house itself.

We wanted a simple house with no fuss—that would be dog-friendly for our extended family: Oscar, a Boston Terrier, and Wilbur, a French Bulldog—so everything went very quickly. We closed in January 2012 and demolished the old house in February. Armed with building permits issued in April, new construction took place in the spring and summer and we moved in September 30th—start to finish in 9 months.

Although each part of the demolition and build was thrilling—the real fun really began when Scott took us through a few exercises to bring together our ideas and needs for the house. This gave him the opportunity to understand our visions and goals visually—and to dig out those we couldn’t communicate verbally.

Since the house is only 40’ long—and the garage another 20’—we were left with nice size backyard on the 108’ long lot. Mimi McKay designed a modern garden off the spacious patio—equally important, she worked in a dog run on the side of the house. Overall, the backyard was transformed into a peaceful oasis and we’ve had a lot of fun learning to garden.

Synergy Construction Group was a big part of our success. They installed all the cabinets we assembled—making them look more like built-ins—and executed the clean, overall look precisely; including a stunner of a fireplace.

Once they finished, we filled the house with a mix of modern, vintage and industrial furnishings from eBay to CB2. In preparation for all the recent photo shoots, we just put up removable wallpaper from CB2 which added another layer with modern graphics and colors.

It’s still a work in progress but we are thrilled to be living in the house we designed from start to finish, bottom to top, inside and out. First Floor Second Floor

Overall, what we’re most proud of is that the house was built on a budget of just $140 / sf.
Here are just a few of the ways we were able to do it:

size matters
At 1600 sq ft—but with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a generous backyard—it’s all the space we need.

create a liveable outdoor space
When the weather’s good, the house feels bigger with the usable exterior space—and it gives us all more room to breath.

eliminate the basement
Bonus is that we got the concrete floors on first level that we wanted and we shored up the integrity of the foundation—which resulted in slab on grade foundation. Rather than adding the cost of covering it with hardwood, we stained the freshly poured concrete with a water-based dark grey stain.

no fussy details
Simple and clean was our motto and it permeated all the design details so we eliminated extras like crown moldings, window treatments, etc. Finishing details like tile, faucets, trim, etc had to come in on or below budget—which actually made selections easier because we had less options to choose from.

use stock cabinetry that requires assembly
We saved quite a bit on the initial cost—definitely on the labor. So while the house was being built over the summer, we staged 200 boxes in the garage and assembled all of the kitchen and bath cabinets ourselves.

no bespoke anything
We used mostly standard materials and fixtures. For example, to achieve the modern / commercial window look we were after, 3 standard size windows were ganged together and repeated throughout the house. The bonus—the windows are practically ceiling to floor allowing lots of natural light to flood the house.

stick to an aggressive budget—together!
We can’t tell you how many times one or both of us were enticed to blow the budget—test your relationship and talk through every detail. In the end, it made a house our home.

Monday
Feb242014

spring favorites: sara

supra bed
I love combining traditional materials with modern forms and his bed has such a warm and feminine look—with an edge which makes it really unique.
marble floor lamp
a simple floor lamp with a beautiful solid marble base, it looks more like sculpture than lighting.
sterling side table
a beautiful statement piece in solid polished aluminum—and functional as a table or stool.

Thanks to sara, product manager, for this submission.

Friday
Feb212014

artist profile: brian farrell

Where was your favorite place to live?
I have enjoyed all the places life has taken me.
I was born in Minnesota, raised in Rome Italy, and lived in NYC for the past 10 years. I recently moved to Southern New Jersey and I am really enjoying it.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
The kitchen, my mother always said that food has been important to me since a young age. In my family it is a room were people come together. Now my wife is a baker, so I am always roaming around the kitchen trying to “taste test”.

What are your interests outside of design?
Skateboarding, fishing, flea markets, wrestling, records, zines.

What is your personal decorating style?
It is still evolving, I like color and patterns. I definitely have a ton of small objects that I collect and keep around. Items that are nostalgic to me.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Dumpster dive.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Adventure, experiences, the universe, skateboarding, scientific illustrations, typography, textiles, and so much more.

Who are you design icons?
Alexander Girard, Ernst Haeckel, Sven Lukin, Raymond Pettibon, Barry Mcgee, Dan Funderburgh, the list goes on.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
Right now I am going to say the vinyl record. Music plays a huge part in my day and my creative process. I have been around the house and studio a lot lately and always try to keep a record in rotation.

Form vs. function?
I think they go hand in hand, but I find in my own work form comes first.

What do you drive?
A skateboard and a Jeep Grand Cherokee when I have to get supplies.

What’s your favorite possession?
My grandfathers custom made wrestling robe. It is purple and gold velvet with a sequin belt. He was a pro wrestler in the 1950s. My interest in his career has only grown over the past few years.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
My vinyl record collection. I am always ready to go to the record store to find something new.

What one item do you wish you owned?
Some crazy record player like the Clearaudio Statement Turntable or the ONEDOF Turntable.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
“Either you evolve with time or you dissolve with time.” —Dave Ortiz

To see all of Brian’s current works for CB2, go here.

Thursday
Feb202014

spring favorites: curtis

taurus coat hook
being a Taurus, I’m naturally attracted to this fun piece…which I’m putting
on my front door.
marque chindi rug
love the texture of this rug with a
nod to chevron.
vapor neon chair
incredible how it appears to be lit at certain angles, it would be fun as a home office chair.

Thanks to curtis, CB2 creative director, for this submission.

Wednesday
Feb192014

artist profile: kelly puissegur

Where was your favorite place to live?
Right here in Los Angeles—mainly because of the weather. I spend a lot of time outside so the mild temperatures are great. There’s also tons of places to take my dogs. I often take them hiking and to the beach.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
The living room, It’s full of windows and has the best light. I usually paint on the floor and I can still hang out and watch movies with my family while I’m working.

What are your interests outside of design?
I spend all my free time walking and playing with my dogs. I’m kind of obsessed with them. I also enjoy hanging out with family and friends, running, and eating cookies.

What do you drive?
A super sexy 2003 Honda CRV. In ten more years it’ll be a classic.

What are your sources of inspiration?
I’m inspired by animals, movies, music, strange characters on the streets,family,friends,and anything that makes me laugh.

Who are you design icons?
David Shrigley, Craig Atkinson, Marcel Dzama, Margaret Kilgallen, and David Fullarton to name a few.

Form vs. function?
A little of both, thank you very much.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The donut. That hole in the middle is genius!

What one item do you wish you owned?
A house with a huge backyard and lots of trees. Also a nice pair of loafers.

What’s your favorite possession?
I’m extremely cheap and don’t like to spend money on anything but I do have a decent collection of art books and my album collection is a slow work in progress.

What is your personal decorating style?
I like an eclectic look. a little vintage and modern mixed together.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Every morning I get a 32oz iced Americano from the coffee shop near my house. It’s very large and ridiculous looking—it looks like a big gulp—but I love it so…

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Be honest. Make what you like and someone on this great big planet might like it too.

To see all of Kelly’s current works for CB2, go here.

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