The builder, Steve Coleman,  just sent me these snapshots of an almost finished 2-story addition in Oakland.  The high window faces east and morning light streams in.

The large room contains kitchen, living room, and dining area.

The roof has a pitch change at the eave (matching existing early 1900’s house) that is carried through to the interior.

Steve’s snapshot video of the white ceiling fan that disappears into the white ceiling:

Nice Garage

Contemplating the ridge beam

Garage from down the driveway

Rafters in and half the T@G 2×6 sheathing


Melissa Macdonald Metalwork fabricated these two nice powder-coated steel awnings for us. They will protect the big window and backdoor from the weather.   Hopefully, they will install the third one on my house soon.  Photos by John McBride

RoofletRooflet 1

Solid Oak Dining Booth


The cabinetmaker, Xylo Interiors in Oakland and McBride Construction’s Oscar, did a nice job on this one.

High Triangle in Oakland

Photo by the contractor, Steve Coleman. We are pleased with this simple triangular window in a big room with a vaulted ceiling. (Trees block the view on the closer side, so he had to go around the block.)  More interior photos soon, but here and here are some older ones during construction. It has beautiful cedar horizontal truss chords.

North Oakland Addition East Window

Salvaged Fir Trestle Table

XYLO Interiors is fabricating this trestle table for my Rockridge cottage project out of the fir framing wood salvaged from the cottage during the remodel. It’s looking good! (See progress photos below sent from the shop)



Morning Site Visits Today

Complex cabinetry coming together in a Rockridge Cottage

Roof framing in Temescal speeding along in advance of the forecasted rain


This very small house in South Berkeley just sold. I remodelled it and added a small additon back in 2012.  The realtor, ABIO Properties,  and photographer Peter Lyons generously shared their photos with me.

I was very proud of the solution I came up with on a very tight budget to add a second bedroom in existing space and a big living room at the back  This way the bedrooms both were close to the bathroom and the living area at the back got a great connection to the garden.

Berkeley Craftsman managed to skillfully execute the design within the budget.

Old Floor plan




I was also excited about the subtle art deco stucco details.

I didn’t invent this stucco window detail. I copied it from a few 1920s houses in Berkeley, but I was quite pleased with its enhancement of what was a very plain front façade. The window sill is clear cedar stained dark.

3246 Idaho 3 front window

We did something similar at the back around the 8′ wide glass doors One simple detail goes a long way on a small house

You can see more shots and the interior on Zillow. 


Mexico City Architecture

Last year I spent a week in Mexico City with my aunt, a retired Mexican history professor. What an architectural treat! I’m finally getting a chance to share a few of the highlights.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Palacio de Bellas Artes- Inside this recently restored, golden-topped, art nouveau building are several spectacular murals by Diego Riviera

Casa de los Azulejos

Casa de los Azulejos- This is the dining court inside a department store in the Centro Historico. The mural wraps around all sides of the light-filled courtyard. I don’t have a photo of the outside of the building, and old palace covered in blue and white tiles


Bold Facade in Centro Historico

Bold red-orange facade in Centro Historico

More Facade Decoration

Another facade in the Centro Historico, this one a bit less flashy, but has a variety of artful details

UNAM Giant Sundial

Aunt Susan at the giant sundial at UNAM


Approaching the Biblioteca Central UNAM

Approaching the Biblioteca Central UNAM – This walkway seemed a bit out of scale, but the shade was nice

Biblioteca Central - UNAM

Biblioteca Central – UNAM – The Central​ Library at UNAM was built in 1948, a collaboration between artist and architect Juan O’Gorman, and Architects​ Gustavo Saavedra and Juan Martinez de Velasco. The exterior is covered in murals depicting the history of Mexico and made out of stones collected from around the country.

Biblioteca Central - UNAM

Around the Biblioteca Central was a grid of grass squares and concrete pathways that seemed like they could be a giant board for a game.  The simple white painted arrows on some of the paths direct bikers properly through the maze.

Grid of lawn squares and concrete paths

Grid of lawn squares and concrete paths

Bike Path Arrows

The graphic simplicity of bike path through UNAM


Zona Rosa Art Deco Industrial

Zona Rosa Art Deco Industrial

Zona Rosa Green

Zona Rosa greenery

Zona Rosa

Zona Rosa Glass and Steel

Fuente de la Diana Cazadora

Fuente de la Diana Cazadora

Amber Dome- Museo de Arte Moderno de Mexico

Amber Dome- Museo de Arte Moderno de Mexico

Living Roof - Jardin Botanico, Chapultapec

Living Roof – Jardin Botanico, Chapultapec

National Museum of Anthropology

National Museum of Anthropology Fountain Column

Marquee - Polanco

Marquee – Polanco


Mural and Fountain in Los Danzantes Coyoacan

Mural and Fountain in Los Danzantes Coyoacan



Steve Coleman is installing the big cedar roof trusses on our North Oakland project this week.

Dover Trusses

I returned to see more of the roof framing. Very exciting!


The little supervisor enjoys the view from the new second floor


These are the clear cedar bottom chords for the last two big trusses. very pretty.

cedar truss chords

From the Field

I am pleased with the way this bathroom is turning out!


Photo by Alex Wein

Recycled glass and ceramic tile from Fireclay.

New Window Seat in the Trees