Posts Tagged ‘windows’

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. 


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Here is the happy client in his kitchen:


John Mcbride was the builder for this project. Here are a few more photos and the floorplan:

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colors in the afternoon

With this many bright colors, it will be hard not to take note of where the sunlight is falling throughout the day and year.

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This is my South Berkeley remodel & addition project before:

Sometimes before shots are like low hanging fruit

Sometimes before shots are like low hanging fruit. Shutters that are way too small to cover the window are one of my pet peeves.

new window

Not finished yet, but this little house now has some dignity!

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diningroom 6

diningroom 2 diningroom 3

DiningRoom 1 diningroom 5

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mondrian tract house

I was recently in Bend, Oregon where they are building a lot of new houses. This one is part of a large housing development with a variety of builders and architects. It shows an interesting way to resolve the age old problem of making the windows work for the rooms on the inside and also look good from the outside. The pattern of windows, siding, and trim, kind of reminds me of a Piet Mondrian painting  (minus the primary colors and black and white….maybe thats coming next.) What an unusual solution for this style of house!

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I saw this house on a visit to Comanche, Texas a couple of years ago. I like the curved roof and the entry porch with the door and window with pointed head trim. I like the proportions of the attic vent. Most of all I like the tasteful paint job. Siding, trim, and windows, and foundation are all painted white and there is one accent of black trim. I am curious about the person who lives in this house in small town central Texas.  Clearly an artist exercising great restraint and minimalism.

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Photo courtesy of Forrest Fennell

My clients in Fairfax are close to buttoning up the exterior of their addition. Pictured here are Serious Materials 725 Series fiberglass windows (well above average R-value for a window: R-6-R-7, depending on the type.) and wood siding over Homeslicker plus Typar to create a drainage plane behind the siding.

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fibercement mitered corner

hobbit lurking in the sun

A bit of redwood siding after all that fibercement

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The city of San Francisco is close to passing new regulations for new or modified buildings to reduce danger to birds. This document outlines the hazards and some solutions.

The most dangerous buildings are those next to lush parks with a lot of windows facing the park.  It might seem like a hard sell to eliminate windows facing parks for the sake of a few birds, but the solutions are things like screens and external shading devices…and less glass….which are all good things for many other reasons.

It is also important to reduce light pollution because this can disorient birds flying at night. Less light pollution is also a good general practice.

Read more about the San Francisco Planning Department’s Progress on the issue here.

The New York Times published an article on this topic today.

I once had a dove crash into my living room window. The neighbor saw the incident and claims that the dove was being chased by a hawk.  It was very sad to find the little bird dead on the window sill.

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I went on another tour of a couple of passive houses under construction in the San Jose area. The two were very different from each other.  The first is a remodel, designed by Thamby Kumaran with energy modelling by the owner-builder, Scott Heeschen.  It uses a lot of salvaged redwood for the rainscreen siding, a mixture of Marvin Integrity and Serious windows, and rainwater catchment.  Clearly architecture was a priority, since attics and flat ceilings make it easier to maximize insulation. (Compared to this beautiful vaulted ceiling)

Thamby Kumaran and passive house tourists

I am curious how the long strip of south-facing clerestory windows will perform in summer with such a minimal overhang.

Nabih Tahan and several other visitors on the back deck

Casement, awning, and fixed windows were chosen for their air tight seals.

Marvin Integrity casement windows

Several large water cisterns in the side yard

The other house I had already visited in the fall of 2010.

Cottle Zero Energy House

This one is more of a standard high-end spec house, but it seems to be quite technically competent on many levels.

Presentation to eager passive house enthusiasts.  Note the open web joists above. These make for easy routing of ducts and plumbing

“Ladder blocking” allows for more complete insulation of the exterior envelope

Insulated concrete form on display

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In the fall of 2009 I visited this Passive House on the south side of  Chicago, Illinois.  I didn’t really know much about Passive houses at the time, but I was impressed by one thing in particular.  The homeowner opened a window on the first floor and there was no rush of cold air. In fact there was no perceptible air movement at all. This was because The house is very “tight” The air didn’t rush in because there wasn’t anywhere for it to go.  I won’t go rambling on about what a passive house is here. Follow the link to my article on the topic, or just Google “passive house” or passivhaus.”

More information about this particular house:

Green Building Advisor

Interview with one of the owners

I need some more information about how it has been performing since commissioning. Perhaps the owner will make a comment on this post.

Beyond its Passive house status, the house has many fine recycled details such as these vent covers made from 100 year old soffit:

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