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John McBride and I have two projects on this years tour. A strawbale accessory dwelling unit and a stick framed accessory dwelling unit. We are proud of both projects and put a lot of extra heart and soul into them. The tour is free. you just sign up HERE. I’ll be there to answer questions.

I was admiring the artistic way these rafter tails wrap around the corner at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley when I noticed the dark sky protection measures they implemented very economically with cut off black plastic waste bins. (and look at that black sky!) I recently updated my education on dark sky protection. I already knew that bright exterior lights are annoying to neighbors and that it would be nicer to see more stars at night, but I learned a few more reasons to avoid light pollution. So many nocturnal animals have their normal patterns disrupted by bright night time lights. Birds and insects in particular. I have a new love for curtains on windows to keep the interior lights from lighting up the outdoors. I had considered curtains mainly for privacy and keeping the sunshine out, but hadn’t worried about all the light that can spill out of a house when lights are on at night. Because LED lights use so little electricity the Earth’s light pollution problem is getting worse. It doesn’t cost very much to leave exterior lights on all night and this sometimes seems simpler than fancy lighting controls. Now I will be thinking of the nocturnal creatures as I plan my architectural lighting.

I was hunting for these pictures from 2018 and realized I never saved them to my blog. Super inspiring redwood shingles and other custom details in redwood and metal. (love the lights)

Botanical Handrail

Ive been meaning to get a better photo, but I want to have this piece in my journal. Shawn Lovell made this for us a few years ago. It makes the steps safer and complements the garden nicely. (The steps were made in 2005 by Matt Hornby out of concrete rubble from our foundation replacement. )

closeup
another closeup

Music Studio again

This was a remodel and tune-up of an existing music studio and adjacent decks and stairs

Bent copper rooflet and extra large craftsman sconce
The builder (for scale)
pathway lighting
Stone steps to lower deck (In process)

Music Studio Lighting

I went up to check out the lighting installation at the little music studio. Cable lighting can look very 80s…but sometimes it works well and allows for a very flexible solution. Exterior lights are large arts and crafts lanterns. No photo of the pathway lighting…stay tuned for a few more photos soon.

Recent ADU Kitchen

It turned out nicely. I’d like to have a drying rack/dish storage hanging over my drainboard sink too.

Whimsical Addition

This one makes me laugh…but with the house, not at it. I’d love to meet the owner.

I never managed to get any photos of this project….but it was a tiny addition and rearrangement of the south end of a house on two levels to better connect to the yard and maximize the south light. The centerpiece was a stair with botanical railing and thick wood treads. The blacksmith, Shawn Lovell recently gave me some progress photos that she took. Thanks Shawn! I’ll take a photo of the organic handrail she made for our place and post that next.

First here is a 3d model we built as a schematic design tool. A few things changed and not all the details are there, but you can get a sense of the overall layout.

This one was a rebuild of an existing garage. (We had to rebuild it to meet the energy standards for habitable space, but we had to keep it the same as the garage in footprint, height, and roofline. ) The owners wanted to keep it simple…and kind of traditional. We think it turned out well.

The heating is a Fujitsu minisplit, the insulation is beyond code including slab edge insulation, lighting is all LED, high efficacy, & high CRI. A spot HRV keeps the air fresh even when the owners are out of town.

Big doors to the patio open wide on a nice day

We kept a flat ceiling and a traditional attic for simplicity
A wall of cabinets on the property line side…120 Volt LED track lighting
McBride construction planned ahead and added flat blocks for mounting all the exterior electrical and plumbing
Very durable solid oak counter and painted cabinets and shelving
Kitchenette – induction cooktop with a toaster oven and microwave covers most cooking needs..and a remote fan in the ceiling
The back side patio
The electrical panel got a little roof and side screens
efficient full bathroom
My helper, Éowyn, enjoying the cool tiled shower

Concrete Windowsills

I’ll just share the McBride Construction Photos of the sandy colored concrete sills on the strawbale:

www.instagram.com/p/COfuDyWH_s_/

photo (& sill) by John McBride