Stair & Railings

We are in the process of designing and fabricating the stair and railings for the house.  We knew that we wanted to convey a sort of industrial sense in some of the interior finishes, and steel seemed like the appropriate material for both the railings and the stair.  The steel will be a nice contrast to the concrete on the first floor and the plywood on the second floor.

Essentially, we want both the stair and railing to convey a sense of openness and reinforce the open space in the house.  As a result, we are doing a horizontal cable railing and the stair will be an open riser stair.

The metal has arrived and all the metal for the stair has been cut.  We are having the metal cut for the railings and then we will proceed forward with fabrication.  Stay tuned for photos of the process and some sketches/digital model of what the end product will look like.

Cedar Fence & Rainscreen

We have a feature on the Southwestern corner of the house where a small section of cedar rainscreen siding extends off the face of the house and becomes the railing for the balcony and also a privacy fence for a portion of the backyard.  We introduced a series of gaps in the siding, to begin to create a sense of erosion and play with the sense of privacy along the fence.  Further, it allows for a more dynamic visual experience, almost implying a sense of movement.  Much of the cedar has been installed.  Here is an elevation to give you a sense of what I am describing.  I will be getting some photos later and will post them after I do.

Cedar Fence & Rainscreen Elevation

Siding and Rainscreen Details

I thought I would take a few moments to share a few of the details for the siding installation, as most of the fiber cement has now been installed.  We were stepping slightly outside the normal bounds of siding installation (especially for the builder) and I wanted to share how we are achieving the results.  We wanted a simple pallet of materials that still allowed for an interesting end result.

The primary exterior cladding for the home is fiber cement.  However, we did not simply want to install fiber cement lap siding in a traditional fashion.  We wanted a vertically oriented pattern, to contrast with the horizontal nature of other features of the home (overhang, cedar rainscreen, etc) but did not want to simply do this through the addition of a batten on top of 4×8 fiber cement sheets.  As a result, we decided to reorient lap siding vertically.  We took 12″ lap siding and ran it vertically.

Further, we know the value of a rainscreen system for cladding a home and wanted to incorporate this design element into the house.  The basic concept of a rainscreen is to allow for an airspace behind the cladding material, allowing the cladding to breathe.  If water penetrates the outer cladding layer (which it almost always does at some point), the air space behind the cladding allows for the water to exit the system and to also dry out faster because of the movement of air within this cavity.


We have achieved the air space behind the fiber cement lap siding by running fiber cement furring strips vertically at every joint, spaced 12″ apart.  We then chose to leave a 1/4″ reveal between each of the 12″ vertically oriented lap siding pieces to express the joint and to create a subtle shadow line.  We noted the use of caulk at the joint between the lap siding and the furring strip to ease the worries of the contractor, though we believe this is overkill as the system is designed to breathe and dry out.  You can essentially think of the design as a reverse board and batten system, with the batten beneath the seam instead of on top of the seam.

Fiber Cement Parapet Detail

Fiber Cement Horizontal Joint

I have to say, it has been quite a challenge convincing the builder of the feasibility of the design and also the merits of it.  In the end, though, I hope he understands the value of the system, both aesthetically and also fucntionally speaking.

*Will post some pictures of the actual installation soon.

Vertical Siding

Vertical Siding is going up!

(Sorry for the quality…getting dark)

Will post a few details in the next day or so.

Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC

Most of the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work has been done on the house.  The roof is in the process of going in, drywall should go up this week, and we should also see the installation of the exterior cladding start to go up this week as well.

Look for some pictures later and a little discussion on each.  There are a few unique components related to these elements, including the Verve Living System as a part of the electrical system and also the use of mini-split units as opposed to a central heating and cooling system.