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Posts tagged ‘architecture’

demolition day 3

June 13, 2009

zora naki

i was thinking about subtitling this post ‘mishaps and misdemeanors’, as i have encountered both. the demo continues apace, i managed to scrunch my car on friday (distracted by reno thoughts – but thankfully no one was hurt), AND the contractor turned off the power to my freezer at some point, unbeknownst to me, which led to a horrific hour this afternoon. imagine the stench of defrosted fish that has ripened over three days of very warm June weather, in combination with thawed raspberries/strawberries from last summer’s harvest. now combine that in two inches of liquid sitting in the bottom of your freezer, and enjoy the clean out! yuck.

thinking positive thoughts. we got through the dvd of godfather 2 tonight (mr. naki didn’t fall asleep this time), we finally have our stuff out of the old house (save for a trip to the dump), AND i skipped a belt at my karate grading (i’m up to green now – yay!), so while i am not deadly, i am at least partially lethal.

photos. master bedroom before.

master bedroom before

master bedroom after day three:
master bedroom after day 3

kids’ bedroom before:

kids' bedroom before

kids’ bedroom after day three:
kids' bedroom after day three

this was the view down the hallway after day two:

hallway towards living room, end of day 2
and this was after day three:
view down hallway after day three

looking at the north wall of the living room after day two:

end of day 2

and after day three:
north wall of living room after day three

a new beam was installed that spans the living room entrance wall (please do not attach any significance to the numbers on the beam) – it will help to support the new second floor. This necessitated two holes cut into the roof.

hole in roof

I harvested a bumper crop of strawberries from my strawberry bed today – 250! i think we’re on track to beat last year’s harvest. i have noticed that some plants habitually produce deformed (although still tasty) strawberries. Should i cull these or not?

bumper crop of strawberries

home reno: basement plans

November 20, 2008

zora naki

basement plans

At long last, the plans for the reno are finished (fingers crossed). I’m just starting to meet with contractors to get quotes on doing the work (fingers crossed). These are the plans for the basement – currently an uninsulated concrete shell filled with boxes of our belongings.

We are dividing the space (approx 1000 square feet) into a shared bedroom for the boys (14 x 18 feet), add a bedroom for my daughter, a bathroom, a laundry/mud room and an office (we both work from home and our corporate headquarters has been squatting in our dining room for the last three years).

Because we are trying to turn a basement-level space into a habitable, light-filled expanse of pleasurable living, I’ve tried to plan accordingly. If we go ahead and raise the house, then we’ll have 9-foot ceilings when all is said and done. We are limited in the windows we can add, due to by-laws about set-backs and things, so we are sacrificing windows in the (existing) laundry room and the stairwell in order to add/enlarge windows elsewhere.

I’ve used pocket doors for most of the rooms to make it more seamless, and the two doors at opposite ends of the hallway (to office and to boys’ bedroom) are pocket doors with a glass insert, to light the hallway from both ends.

I was unable to resolve my stair issues in any way other than sacrificing a room on the main floor. The existing stairs are narrow rickety and steep stairs that run down from the kitchen. We’ve ended up planning to use the existing kids’ room on the main floor as the stairwell. The advantage of this is that the stairwell becomes a central spine to the house, promoting “flow” (which the architect tells me is very important).

Most of the windows will still be in wells, which isn’t my preferred thing, but our basement is set rather low into the ground. We have gotten rid of a few – there will be a window added for the bathroom that won’t have one. Also, the window in the office that faces the backyard has already been broken once by kids playing and the well is currently covered with plywood (to prevent small people from being swallowed up by it), so i’m getting rid of that one.

We have these massive wood posts in the basement, and we’re planning to reuse them – extend concrete footings upwards, saddle bolt the posts to the concrete and then feature the wood as part of the wall. Ditto for the chimney in the office.

There are a lot of decisions yet to be made about the mechanicals (especially heating) and the finishes (cost), but we’re getting closer!

The one advantage to the current economic climate is that contractors seem to be more available in these parts – the timeline for availability has shrunk to about 3 months now. Of course, then we’ll have to actually move most of our belongings out of the house (and find somewhere to live while the work is being done). But i’ll worry about that later…

home reno: modern exterior ideas

September 13, 2008

zora naki

I’m in the midst of finalizing the plans for our upcoming home reno (yippee!), and I would love to give the outside of our house more flavour.

This is the front of our house (well, the bushes look worse now, but you get the idea):

I really like the wood cladding you see on a lot of modern houses, and i’m trying to figure out some ways to incorporate it onto our house. The trick is to do it without it looking too weird, or plonked on. Here are some of the photos I’m using for inspiration:

growing a green wall

June 30, 2008

zora naki

Green walls are glorious. Take the technology for green roofs and put it somewhere everyone can enjoy it. Regardless of any environmental benefits that may result, just think about how great it would be to coat your entire house with succulents!

The designer that everyone seems to watch is Patrick Blanc – read an interview with him here. He does these fabulous wall sculptures with plants. A steel frame is mounted onto the face of the building (leaving a gap between the frame and the wall), PVC sheets are attached and then felt is used as a rooting medium for the plants. His soiless system uses hydroponics (water with nutrients) to irrigate and sustain plant life.

Most green walls use some type of grid planter system using a frame, cells and irrigation channels. If soil is used as a potting medium, the cells are generally 2 – 4 inches deep and a lightweight moisture-retaining mixture is used. The home gardener can order cells that are slanted, to help keep the potting mixture in the wall.

There are lots of great examples of commercial applications – particularly in Asia and Europe, where green walls are used for company logos. With careful plant selection and planning, the walls can thrive most places – indoor and out.


It doesn’t have to be a full wall either – some designs use green panels like architectural punctuation. Here’s a recent article in Met Home about a garden wall installation.


Interior installations look like art. I wonder if it would give your living room that steamy conservatory smell?


People who sell supplies and install green walls:

G-Sky (Canada)
Alive Structures
(USA)
Elt Living Walls (USA)
A Green Roof (USA)
Green Roof Plants (USA)
Green Wall Australia (Australia)
Green Fortune (Sweden)
Indoor Landscaping (Germany)

here is another post on more wall gardens.

And finally, yesterday’s (horizontally grown) harvest:

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