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Custom Home March/April 2012

Inside:
Custom Home
Outdoors
see page 43

2012 Kitchen & Bath Design Guide

www.customhomeonline.com

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26

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Inside:
Custom Home
Outdoors
sseee ppag
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PHOTOS: ROB KAROSIS (TOP); ADAN TORRES (BOTTOM RIGHT)

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32

20

Features
16 Your Move
Smart diversication is helping custom building companies boost business
during the downturnand build bridges to the post-recession market.

19 Once Upon a Time Right Now / 2012 Kitchen & Bath Design Guide
Money is tight and the economy still a bit uncertain, but these kitchens and
baths are effortlessly weaving traditional function with timeless style.

Departments
7
11
12
32
36
40
55

Editors Page
Custom Market Watch
Master Class / Fluid Dynamics
Kitchen Products
Bath Products
Last Detail
Ad Index

Volume 22, Number 2. CUSTOM HOME (ISSN: 1055-3479; USPS: 010-543) is published six times a year (Jan./Feb., March/April, May/June, July/Aug., Sept./Oct., Nov./Dec.) by Hanley Wood, LLC, One Thomas Circle,
N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005. Copyright 2012 by Hanley Wood, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited without written authorization. CUSTOM HOME is sent free of charge to qualied readers
involved in the custom home building and design industries. Publisher reserves the right to determine qualication. Nonqualied annual subscription rates: U.S. and possessions and Canada, $36; all other countries,
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On the cover: Albertsson Hansen extended this kitchen 18 feet into the yard, doubling its size. Photo: Adan Torres.

March/April 2012 / Custom Home / 3

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Editors Page
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Under the Bus


This magazines readership includes both custom builders and architects. For the
most part, the two disciplines get along without bloodshed. But buy a member of
either group one too many sips from the tap, and the stories about demon architects
or builders come out. Although the details
are often different, the central theme is usually the same: one badmouthed the other to
the client, souring the trust and relationship
for the rest of the job. In short, someone got
thrown under the bus.
Why would one team member do this to
another? Usually to cover a mistake or to distract a volatile client on the warpath. Its really not surprising. In fact, its human nature
to blame others when things go wrong. The
snafu may in fact be the fault of the other pro on the job. Still, its bad form and
ultimately bad business practice to try to turn the client against a key member of the
team. From a short-term survival standpoint, you may even nd the tactic backres
and the client sides with the other guy, making you look bad. Now you have to hold
your tongue for the rest of the project or sound like a whiner. Very unpleasant.
The long-term ramications are even more toxic when you discover at the end
of the job that youve lost everyones recommendationthe clients, the other
pros, and anyone elses who got looped into the dispute. Even if you were the party
in the right, you may nd a bad taste to everyones word of mouth. Sure, your clients goodwill is important, but the other pros may prove even more critical to your
stream of future work.
Of course, you have to consult the client if you discover dangerously incompetent work, but lesser offenses should be addressed directly with the other pro and
a compromise worked out. Its called professional courtesy and it makes everyone
look good. You dont want your clients to have to referee squabbles or choose sides.
They decided on both of you and youve got to nd a way to work well together.
Sometimes this means dumping heavy baggage youve picked up along the
way. If your bad experiences have you painting a whole profession in a dark light,
then the fault, to paraphrase Shakespeare, may lie in yourself. You have to nd the
faith again. Yes, there are honest, dedicated builders out there. And yes, there are
architects who can design a buildable plan. Really.

S. Claire Conroy
cconroy@hanleywood.com

For reprints, call 717.505.9701, ext. 128.


For a media kit, contact Janet Allen, jallen@hanleywood.com.

www.customhomeonline.com

March/April 2012 / Custom Home / 7

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Custom Market Watch By Shelley D. Hutchins

h National
he
N i l Ki
Kitchen
h & Bath
B h Association
A
i i (NKBA) recently
l polled
ll d nearly
l 500 kitchen
ki h
andd bbath
th ddealers
l andd ddesigners
i
ffrom across N
North
th America
A i to
t gauge their
th i generall nancial state and divine upcoming trends. The results point to an exciting year for the
kitchen and bath industry.
The NKBAs Kitchen and Bath Market Index estimates market expectations for the upcoming quarter based on predictions made by member dealers. During the nal quarter of 2011, the
index surged from +9 to +32, showing a steep increase in optimism for spring 2012 based on
client inquiries and showroom visits. Signicantly more than half of the dealers surveyed believe
increases will occur in spring 2012 in several major economic categories including showroom
visits (70 percent), kitchen remodeling sales (73 percent), bath remodeling sales (62 percent),
and combined kitchen and bath revenue (68 percent).

The NKBA also polled designers about emerging trends. Similar


to the dealers, designers foretell
some big changes in kitchen and
bath design. For the rst time
since the NKBA began tracking
annuaal design trends, traditional is
no loonger the most popular type of
desiggn, states the NKBA report on
surveey results. Requests for traditionall kitchens and baths both fell
moree than 15 percent at the end
of 20011 and what the NKBA calls
transiitional designa blend of
classiical detailing with more modern ddesignrose to the top spot
with nearly 60 percent of responses. C
Contemporary design requests
climbbed to just above 50 percent in
both kkitchens and baths.
Other envisioned trends include
O
darkeer wood nishes, the return of
polished
li h chrome, and gray color
schemes. And LED lighting, pull
out faucets, and medicine cabinets
are a few anticipated product choices. While glass surfaces have been
strictly a niche market, 52 percent
reported clients requesting glass
backsplashes, hinting at a more
widespread use of the material in
unexpected ways.

Architect
Referrals
Can Boost
Business

Matt Risinger moved to Austin, Texas, seven years ago to start a custom home building rm. I practically didnt even know what an architect was, he chuckles. Now, Risinger estimates that 90 percent of his business originates from architect referrals. We decided to focus on an architect-driven
business model in 2008, he says, and weve been growing sinceeven during the downturn.
Risinger, whose company has expanded to nine full-time employees, strongly feels the architectdriven business model could work for other small custom builders. Reach out and nd those architects that you t well with both personality-wise and
in terms of building science philosophies, he suggests. Early on, Risinger joined the
Congress of Residential Architecture to build relationships with architects in the Austin
area, which worked to his advantage. Demonstrating that you wont override the architects design or undermine them with the clients also is key, he adds. Show that you
Number of houses in
can build to a high quality and respect their design intent. Once youve been through
New York slated to be
a project and treated them as an equal team member, it goes a long way toward referrals and repeat business.
powered by the countrys
Working with an architect is an involved process, but the benet is that from the beginning you can help clients
rst licensed tidal energy
meet their budget goals without taking away from the design. The result of forging and maintaining these relaprogram by 2015
tionships has been a reliable source of income for the company. Its fun and incredibly rewarding, Risinger says.
SOURCE: DOE
Were doing houses that address quality and detail, and where the feel of the space is much more satisfying.
M t
Mat
Ma
Rising
Rising
Ris
ingger
er

PORTRAIT: COURTESY RISINGER HOMES

9,500

www.customhomeonline.com

March/April 2012 / Custom Home / 11

Master Class
By Bruce D. Snider

For Rex Bost, as for most custom builders, the past few
years have been a crash course in managing change. In
the mid-2000s, Bosts Raleigh, N.C.based company was
generating upward of $12 million in annual volume, most
of it on new houses that averaged more than $2 million
each. By 2010, its volume had dropped to less than $3 million. Its average new home now tips the scales at less than
$1 million, and 60 percent of its volume is now in remodeling. But a lean business modelthe company has only
three employees, down from six before the recession
has allowed Bost to scale back relatively gracefully. And
while coping with a difcult present, he has kept an eye on

Fluid Dynamics
Rex Bost balances business
with a sustainable sideline.

the future as well. In addition to


Bost Homes, he runs FreeRain, a
company that provides rainwater

harvesting systems to residential, commercial, and institutional clients.


Bost installed a rainwater storage system on his own property in
1985, but his rst for a client was a dozen years ago. In 2000, the

rates for getting a meter set for irrigation in this one municipality just skyrocketed, he says. And after gaining the
necessary expertise, we started offering it as a green option on our custom homes. While not every client values
sustainability, those who do feel strongly about it. They want to do it as green as
Bost Custom Homes

FreeRain systems direct rainwater from a surface sourcetypically building


downspoutsto a subterranean tank, where it is stored for irrigation, running air
conditioning chillers, ushing toilets, and other non-potable uses. In commercial

www.bosthomes.com
Type of business: Custom
building/remodeling,
water harvesting systems
Years in business: 25
Employees: 3
2011 starts: 10

situations, thats 90 percent of all water used, Bost says. Even in residential set12 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

www.customhomeonline.com

PHOTO: BILL FLEMING

they can, he says, and water harvesting is part of that.

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tings, he adds, very little of the water used is for drinking. But without rainwater harvesting, 100 percent of it comes from municipal water supplies.
With stormwater management regulations and impervious-soil restrictions,
it just makes sense to collect the rainwater and use it.
In 2006, we started getting more and more requests from our clients
friends and other builders, says Bost, who began to view rainwater harvesting as a potential stand-alone business. After learning that state codes
required rainwater to be treated as graywaterdisinfected and dyed before
use inside a building, even to ush toiletsBost submitted a brief to the
state building code council and got the code changed. You still have to use
a disinfectant deviceanything from chlorine to an ultraviolet chamber
but you dont have to dye the water, Bost explains.
Since its launch as an independent business in 2007, FreeRain has installed some 40 systems for residential, commercial, and institutional clients. Were establishing ourselves in this region, Bost says. Little
by little its gaining some momentum. The recession has been a drag on business, as have relatively low
municipal water rates in the area, but statistics tell us were going to run short [of fresh water] and rates
are going to skyrocket. Bost has kept overhead low, using local engineering rms for system design and
a landscape contractor (and FreeRain stockholder) for installation. As the market improves, our plan is to
bring in some investors and do a regional marketing campaign and then a national campaign to get it
in front of the architects and engineers who are specifying these things and give them a turnkey solution.

WATER FROM DOWNSPOUT


OR SIMILAR SOURCE

IRRIGATION
CONTROLLER

SEDIMENT CHAMBER

MANHOLE
ASSEMBLY

PUMP
CONTROL
BOX

FINE
PARTICLE
FILTER

TO IRRIGATION
SYSTEM OR
OTHER NONPOTABLE USE

ates more than $250,000 in annual


volume and a modest prot. Perhaps
more important, it gives Bost and his

SUP
UPPPL
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LE
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MEN
NTAL
TA
TA
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WAT
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BAC
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WASH
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In the meantime, FreeRain gener-

employees another leg to stand on.


While they remain devoted rst to

OV
OVE
VER
VERFL
RFL
FLOW
FL
OW

TRASH SCREEN

building and remodeling homes, he


says, it does increase our peace of

Rainwater Harvesting System

SUBMERSIBLE PUMP

mind a little bit. Its about survival,


and diversication is part of that.

14 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

www.customhomeonline.com

PHOTO: BILL FLEMING; DRAWING: COURTESY BOST CUSTOM HOMES

In this Craftsmaninspired custom


home, Rex Bost exploits the potential
of water for recreation and relaxation
(above). His rainwater harvesting
systems help owners
cut their municipal
water use by collecting runoff from their
roofs for irrigation
and other non-potable uses (below).

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Your Move
Change course to jump-start your business.

By Bruce D. Snider
16 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

www.customhomeonline.com

agging volume, anemic margins, brutal hours, stress.


Its a scenario thats faced
countless custom builders for
long enough now to present
a growing hazard of demoralization and
burnout. But what to do about it? Many
custom builders have taken smaller jobs
and shifted their project mix to include
more remodels, but one suspects theyre
still hoping theyll wake up tomorrow and
nd its 2006 again. Some have taken a
bolderand perhaps more realisticapproach, fundamentally altering or expanding their business model to seize new opportunities. Those who have succeeded
provide inspiration, and evidence that custom builders have better options than praying for another housing bubble.
As the storm clouds of the market
meltdown were gathering, Mark Braunsdorf, owner of Delaware, Ohiobased
Compass Homes, did something that
may have looked crazy at the time: He
built a model home. Aided by advantageous terms from a developer, Braunsdorf
moved down-market from $800,000-andup custom homes to semi-custom projects
in the $500,000 range. Stocking his design
department with newly available talent,
he produced a portfolio of customizable
plans and went toe-to-toe with high-end
production builders. We gured out how
to build the houses more cost efciently,
he says. We show the classic American
shapes but keep the roofs simple and keep
the offsets to a minimum. And we hold
the design in house to keep it from getting
out of control.
Compass still builds million-dollar
custom homes, Braunsdorf says, but to
grow its volume, the company had to venture below what he calls the BMW level.

ILLUSTRATION: ARTHUR GIRON / GERALD & CULLEN RAPP

www.customhomeonline.com

In comparison, he says, our [smaller]


houses are Acuras. We had to adjust to
the market and still be custom. The result is a company that has grown smartly
for each of the past four years. I attribute
that to the fact that we went out and marketed, Braunsdorf says. We turned into
the wind, if you will. We invested into the
downturn, and thats helped us sell.
For Portland, Ore.based design/build
rm Green Hammer, the summer and fall
of 2008 tracked the perilous fortunes of
the industry. In July we had 300 percent
of our 2008 revenue booked for 2009,
says Green Hammer founder and president Stephen Aiguier, and between October and December, we lost 100 percent
of those bookings. Rather than shrink his
business, though, Aiguier doubled down
on its core competency: green building.

that are the basis of the companys revived


new-home business. Like Braunsdorf,
Aiguier diversied in a way that not only
averted an immediate crisis, but also positioned his company for growth.
Such stories represent the silver lining
of the recession, says Jim Schug, a senior
consultant with the construction industry consulting rm FMI. One of the best
things weve seen to come out of downturns is that organizations become more
adaptable, Schug says. With their technical and communication skills, client and
subcontractor relationships, and design
sense, custom builders are well positioned
to diversify into a number of high-end,
high-touch elds: tenant improvements,
churches, even medical facilities.
Theyve got some good strategic
options, Schug says. The questions to

You need to know your business really well


and know where youre making money.
Stephen Aiguier
I spent the prots that we did have on an
insulation truck and home performance
equipment, says Aiguier, who also invested in training his crews to do home-performance assessments and energy retrots.
Before the crash, he had interviewed two
designers. One of them had a Building
Performance Institute certication, he
says. I hired him.
Expanding into energy services kept
us in the game, Aiguier says. And now
its become a value-added part of the business. It feeds our standardized weatherization jobs, but our crews are also trained to
do state-of-the-art new buildings, including the Passive Housecertied projects

ask are Wheres the market? and What


are our strengths? Chief among those
strengths should be personneland not
only in technical skills. Every employee
is in business development, Schug says.
Everyone knows somebody. Everyone
should be thinking, How do we turn that
into new work? Companies that have been
successful have invested over time in their
people and their leadership. The goal,
he says, is not merely to weather a rough
patch, but to build an adaptable company.
Maybe you need to hire new talent; maybe you need to start a new division. But
I think the outlook is positive for people
who are willing to invest in that change.

March/April 2012 / Custom Home / 17

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2012 Kitchen & Bath Design Guide

In times of uncertainty, we often seek out safe havens of


solidity and permanence. Dollars are scarcer and so we wish
to spend them more wisely, investing in items of enduring value and timeless elegance. No one would do without the creature comforts we've come to expect in our kitchens and baths, but everyone delights in materials that transcend trends
and eeting fancies of style. That simple black dress, cut just right and paired with grandmother's strand of pearls.
Classic, lovely, and thoroughly modern all at the same time. By Meghan Drueding and Cheryl Weber, LEED AP

www.customhomeonline.com

March/April 2012 / Custom Home / 19

The existing kitchen in this 1920s house lacked size, natural light, and a logical connection to the outdoors. So, as part of
a larger renovation, architect Todd Hansen opted to more than double the rooms square footage by extending it 18 feet
into the backyard. The St. Paul, Minn., home sits very close to the property line on its west side, but Hansen managed
to bump out part of that wall by 11 inches, gaining enough width to t an island into the kitchen. He also added on a
generously sized mudroom that helps organize clutter and improves the overall connection to the yard.
By emphasizing the kitchens long, narrow shape, Hansen turned its unusual proportions into an asset. We tried to
play up the length with things we did in the design, he says. All the horizontal elements are exaggerated. At 12 and
a half feet, the island is longer than usual, as are the kitchens drawer fronts, cabinet handles, and 12-inch subway tiles.
And a 10-foot-long piece of steel afxed to the east wall acts as a magnetic frame for childrens art.
Throughout the kitchen and its surrounding areas, this theme of framed objects continues. Open shelving and glass
cabinets provide display space for housewares, while bookshelves and ceiling panels line the rooms two major entrances. Wall and ceiling panels also set off the tiled bay along the west wall. And painted molding outlines the breakfast
nook, turning it into another framed element in this skillfully knit composition.M.D.
20 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

www.customhomeonline.com

Project Credits: Builder: Harry Jensen Construction, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.: Architect:
Albertsson Hansen Architecture, Minneapolis; Structural engineer: A.M. Structural Engineering, River
Falls, Wis.; Living space: 319 square feet (kitchen);
Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer:
Adan Torres. / Resources: Ceiling fan: Fanimation;
Dishwasher: Bosch; Fittings/xtures: Blanco;
Hardware: Top Knobs; Microwave: Sharp; Paints:
Benjamin Moore; Range hood: Vent-A-Hood;
Refrigerator: Jenn-Air; Stove/range: Viking; Tile:
Royal Mosa; Windows: Marvin

A paneled, bookshelf-lined opening


leads to a storage-friendly mudroom
(opposite and left). The kitchens
mostly white color palette acts as a
backdrop for displayed housewares,
and a sunny breakfast nook (above)
occupies the end of the space.

www.customhomeonline.com

March/April 2012 / Custom Home / 21

Situated on a promontory overlooking Maines Boothbay Harbor, this 1915 house had good proportions, a protective rooine,
and a view over the water. So architect Rob Whitten winced when the owners asked him to winterize it and add on. Many
such cottages have been brought to their knees by people wanting to turn them into four-season residences, he says.
What the clients received instead was a separate master quarters that can be used year-round (see pages 26-27). He kept
the main cottage simple, stiffening it structurally and insulating from the outside to retain its interior character. Pushing out
the wall 6 feet in the kitchen made space for an island on one side of the room, plus a 5-foot-by-5-foot pantry tucked in a
corner. He also enlarged an opening to the dining room, which got a new bay, and cut a passageway between the kitchen
and the living room. A rened-rustic material palettewood-paneled walls, recycled heart pine ooring, a farmhouse sink,
and cherry cabinetsimparts a sense of comfort and shelter. A simple band of windows rounds a corner over the sink.
Rigid foam insulation in the walls and spray foam in the attic help extend the season by a few months. The main cottage
can be used from May to mid-October, Whitten says. At that point you should give it up; summers over.C.W.
22 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

www.customhomeonline.com

Project Credits: Builder: Knickerbocker Group, Boothbay, Maine;


Architect: Whitten Architects, Portland, Maine; Living space: 267 square
feet (kitchen only), 2,040 square feet (whole house); Construction cost:
Withheld; Photographer: Rob Karosis. / Resources: Dishwasher: Fisher
& Paykel Appliances; Doors and windows: Marvin; Kitchen ttings
and xtures: Kohler, Rohl; Microwave: Viking; Range: Dacor

A post marks the kitchens original boundary (opposite page). Pushing out the wall 6 feet made
room for more graceful proportions and an island.
The old cook stovea similar model to the original
that once stood in this spotuses propane and
warms the house or keeps stews at a low simmer.
Whitten opened space between the kitchen and
dining room and added a bay (left).

www.customhomeonline.com

March/April 2012 / Custom Home / 23

Its easy to almost miss the fact


that this rened, pale-green
room in Washington, D.C., is a
kitchen. The appliances blend
into the background, and the
cabinetry

seems

more

like

built-in furniture. This effect is


entirely intentional; architect
David Jones clients asked him
for a great room that combines
a kitchen, living room, and casual dining, without having the
kitchen dominate.
Jones applied several strategies to downplay the kitchen
while still making it a functional
space. The cabinetry and counters surrounding the oven are recessed into a niche. That made
it seem a little bit less aggressive in the room, he says. Jones
discreetly tucked the microwave
into the island, which also holds a dishwasher
and two sinks. And he included a butlers pantry
between the kitchen and formal dining room to
handle extra storage needs. When youre creating a large family room and the kitchen is part
of that, its helpful to get as much of the kitchen
as possible out of the room, he says.
The color and materials palette, too, serves to
24 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

www.customhomeonline.com

mute the kitchens presence yet engage the senses. A light green-gray shade of
paint poses a subtle contrast to the homes mostly neutral hues. And a marble
backsplash and counters pick up those green and gray tones. The idea of the
marble was to be interesting without jumping out at you, Jones says. The same
could be said of the entire kitchen.M.D.
Project Credits: Builder: Jeffco, Rockville, Md.; Architect: David Jones Architects, Washington, D.C.; Living
space: 600 square feet (casual dining/living areas, excluding pantry); Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Anice Hoachlander/Hoachlander Davis Photography. / Resources: Dishwasher: Miele; Fittings: Hansgrohe;
Fixtures: Julien; Lighting: Circa Lighting; Microwave and range: Viking Range Corp.; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero
www.customhomeonline.com

The kitchens simple, elegant forms and colors


keep it from overpowering the rest of the
great room. A marbletopped island can serve
as a food prep surface,
a casual dining area, or
both. A separate butlers pantry holds extra
dishes and cookware.

March/April 2012 / Custom Home / 25

A glass porch leads from the original Boothbay Harbor cottage (see pages 22-23) to its master quarters. Rather than an
addition, architect Rob Whitten created a separate suite, allowing the owners to heat a small space economically when
they visit off-season. The master bath is comfortable and
timeless, its painted plank walls a foil for the Carrera marble
subway tile, countertops, and shower, with its pebbled oor.
The room is roughly a square with two white porcelain
vessel sinks along one wall and an oval freestanding tub
on another. A third leg contains the elegant shower and a
pocket door opening to a windowed water closet.
Facing away from the water and closer to the road, the
baths windows are high. Whitten added a big dormer with
an operable window on top that funnels in sunlight and air,
and the lighting scheme is a mix between contemporary and
old-fashioned. The xtures are consistent with the original
cottage, but are used in a modern way, he says.
Nothing evokes coastal Maine like wood, but here the
detailing is unexpected. The tongue-in-groove ceiling has a
clean nickel gap, and the wall boarding has an extra groove,
not exactly on center. The 2-to-3 proportion of the board
gives it more character and a little energy, Whitten explains.
The new bath is separate but feels like part of the cottage. With iconic, well-loved buildings,you have to be a
good steward because they belong to everyone, Whitten
says. We knew wed be held accountable.C.W.
26 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

Project Credits: Builder: Knickerbocker Group, Boothbay, Maine; Architect:


Whitten Architects, Portland, Maine; Living space: 151 square feet (bath only),
972 square feet (whole house); Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer:
Rob Karosis. / Resources: Bathroom ttings: Grohe; Bathroom xtures:
BainUltra, Vitra USA; Doors and windows: Marvin; Lighting: Landmark
Lighting, Lightolier
www.customhomeonline.com

Simple but strong materialssubway tiles,


marble countertops, a radiant-heated heart pine
oorimpart cottage-style comfort. A skylit dormer brightens the room, and reveals in the wall
board create an irregular, eye-catching pattern.

The clients for this Seattle project diverge in their stylistic tastesone prefers traditional design, while
the other leans toward a modern look. Stuart Silk Architects designed a bath for their remodeled Georgian
Revival house that would appeal to both parties. We kept the traditional bones but introduced some
contemporary elements, says principal architect Michael Troyer.
The space containing the bath originally had been a bedroom, so the architects were almost working
from scratch. The clients asked them to keep the original window conguration, which ended up dictating
the location of major pieces. A makeup table, for example, sits along the east wall, in front of a window, to
capture morning light. And translucent glass panels supply a double dose of privacy and natural light for
the toilet and shower zones, which occupy the north wall.
Original window moldings from the rest of the house were duplicated for the bath, a move that lends
the space a traditional feel. But the sleek xtures and ttings are decidedly modern, while the clean-lined,
Project Credits: Builder: Roberts Wygal,
Kirkland, Wash.; Architect: Stuart Silk Architects, Seattle; Interior designer: NB Design
Group, Seattle; Living space: 230 square
feet (bath); Construction cost: Withheld;
Photographer: John Granen. / Resources:
Fittings: Duravit; Fixtures: Dornbracht,
Hansgrohe, Victoria + Albert
28 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

Shaker-like white cabinetry ts somewhere in the middle. A wheat-hued


tile oor brings everything together and continues into the shower,
where the same 24-inch-by-24-inch tiles were cut down into 6-inch-by24-inch rectangles. The clients wanted the space to just ow together,
Troyer says.M.D.
www.customhomeonline.com

Abundant storage within and just outside the bath helps


prevent it from feeling cluttered. Plenty of mirrors reect
as much light as possible, and a chandelier over the tub
adds a touch of glamour. Replicating the window moldings
from the rest of the Georgian Revivalstyle house helped
maintain a sense of consistency.

www.customhomeonline.com

March/April 2012 / Custom Home / 29

In this coastal master bath,


a glass tile mosaic pattern
adds interest underfoot.
The southern exposure
brings in extra sunlight,
which is amplied by the
rooms soft hues.

Restraint played a key role in the design of this seaside master bath. The bath belongs to a guesthouse thats part of a
Cape Cod, Mass., beach compound, and it exudes a serene, airy simplicity. With a master bath, youve got to be careful
you dont overdo it, explains project manager Kevin Dauphinais of Hutker Architects.
A glass tile oor mosaic created by interior designer Eileen Peretz and the client serves as the rooms focal point.
I wanted the tile to have a soothing effect in terms of color, Peretz says. Thats why we used glass. Everything
elsethe surrounding white oor tiles, the freestanding tub and sink, the light-blue wallssubtly retreats to let the
mosaic draw the eye. Glass doors separate the shower and the toilet from the main bath, and smaller mosaics enliven
those spaces. Crisp, white-painted wainscoting ties the entire room together.
Project Credits: Builder: Rogers & Marney,
Osterville, Mass.; Architect: Hutker Architects, Vineyard Haven, Mass.; Interior designer: Eileen Peretz
Interiors, New York; Living space: 142 square feet
(bath); Construction cost: Withheld; Photographer: Dan Cutrona. / Resources: Fittings: Kallista;
Fixtures: American Standard, Kohler; Lighting:
Restoration Hardware; Tile: Artistic Tile
30 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

South-facing casement windows above the tub gather natural light and sea
breezes. At the foot of the tub, a storage niche sits right on top of the chair
rail, so its almost like another window, says principal in charge Charles Orr.
The overall impression is of a bright, comfortable bath thats received just the
right amount of thought and care.M.D.
www.customhomeonline.com

Go to http://chome.hotims.com for more info

Kitchen Products
Eternal
Glow
Designed as an energyefcient replacement
for recessed architectural downlighting,
the Adjustable EcoDownlight lasts 50,000
hours and uses only
16 watts, according to
the company. A rotating heat sink allows
the LED xture to t
in insulated ceilings
and airtight applications. CSL Lighting.
626.336.4511. www.
csllighting.com.
Crafted from brushed aluminum and high-pressure laminate, these pulls
blend with the metal accents and appliances in modern or Europeanstyle kitchens. They come in myriad lengths to accommodate many door
and drawer sizes. Hfele America Co. 800.423.3531. www.hafele.com.

Record
Lows

Reverse Play
High-speed
g p ribbon elements in the 36-inch Electric Cooktopp heat upp fast and
provide precise and even temperature control, while the SuperSimmer element
prevents overcooking via ultra-low temperatures. The dark ceramic glass surface is easy to clean. Fisher & Paykel. 888.936.7872. www.sherpaykel.com.
32 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

The Beside collection of porcelain stoneware probes


a new concept in Italian tile design: the back side.
The squared texturecommonly seen on the reverse
of ceramic tilesbecomes the main face, imbued
with glazing colors and effects. Ceramiche Ren.
+39.0522.99.04.99. www.ren-ceramic-tiles.com.
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Trick Tile
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Dont be fooled by the 3D look of the Ebb & Flow stone and glass mosaicsthe interior/exterior wall tiles are smooth and easy to clean. The collection includes nine sheet-mounted color blends in square, stacked, and
linear mosaic designs. Crossville. 800.221.9093. www.crossvilleinc.com.

Co
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shellvingg for the 1950,
1951, orr 1952 refrigeratoor m
models adjusts
to acccom
mmodate either
1
a /4 kegg or 1/6 keg.
Elm
mira S
Stove Works.
519..6699.1281. www.
elmiirasttoveworks.com.
34 / Cu
C sto
stom
t m Home
H
/ March/April 2012

The 30-inch Renaissance double wall oven offers


six cooking modes, including both convection and
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switches the oven to warm when it senses the food
is done. Dacor. 800.793.0093. www.dacor.com.

Street Style

Avenue kitchen systems feature 18-centimeter-thick chipboard


panels that come in 40 matte, gloss, and metallic colors, and wood
or lacquer laminate. Rubber strips on the cabinetry reduce noise and
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Bath Products
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Paper Delivery
Crafted from Duralight, an acrylic-based composite,
the Paper collection tubs slip comfortably into any setting. Designers can congure the tubs in a variety of
ways, such as freestanding in the center of the room,
sunken ush with the oor, or showing one to three
side panels. Teuco. +800.270270. www.teuco.com.

To Elle and
Back Water

Finding
Mimo

Laufenn no
now
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has a li
has
line
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aucet
ets to complete its ceramic bath furniture
collections such as Mimo, a whimsical take on a modern model. The double
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p
has xtures with joystick
j y
controls set at a
jaunty angle
angle. Laufen. 866.696.2493.
866 696 2493 www.us.laufen.com
www us laufen com.
36 / Custom Home / March/April 2012

The Elle oor-mount single or double


washbasin units unite the sink with table space,
towel holders, and storage. Below a basin
molded from an easy-to-clean synthetic material, the waste pipe sits laterally on the right
or left to leave room for shelves and drawers.
Rapsel. +0039.02.3355981. www.rapsel.it.

www.customhomeonline.com

The Link House | Pound Ridge, NY


Architect/Designers | Carol J.W. Kurth, FAIA, LEED AP, Christine R. Lent, AIA
and Alan Melting, FAIA, ACIP
Photo | Peter Krupenye

Fires That Inspire


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A single-control actuaator,
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Sento, a line of lavatory faucets stripped of all but the basics,
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The raised relief on the Coimbra Bronze Vessel recalls Portuguese artistry of the
15th and 16th centuries
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The bowl comes in traditional or white satin bronze nishes.
Kallista. 888.452.5547. www.kallista.com.

Suspended
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38 / Custom Home / March/


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House Boat

The Arts and Craftsinspired residence Folly Cove overlooks the shore in
Gloucester, Mass., and the custom tub in its master bath looks as if it might
have arrived under sail. Designed by Steve Batiste of Bath in Wood of Maine,
its form is a composition of stems, sheer lines, gunwales, and transoms. Of
course, Batiste says, I was building a 33-foot dory at the time, so that helped.
Design/build architect Rob MacNeille made a home for the sturdily built vessel by matching its mahogany planking in
the rooms vanity cabinet and trim. Its the centerpiece of that bathroom, he says. Its what you see when you walk in
from the bedroom, so we worked the room around that tub. The tub works, too. Assembled with high-grade marine epoxy
and sealed with 16 coats of penetrating nish, its hull is deceptively tough. More than three years since its christening,
MacNeille says, we havent had any callbacks or maintenance issues.Bruce D. Snider

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The Green Outdoors


ah Mah Lah, a LEED-Platinum
home on 2.7 acres in Portola
Valley, Calif., has a bio-ltered
swimming pool, native plants,
and an irrigation system that
uses treated blackwater and rainwater collected in a 50,000-gallon cistern. But you
cant see most of the features that make
this a truly regenerative landscape. It was
designed to respond to the natural patterns
of wind, water ow, and wildlife pathways,
and the cut-and-ll construction process
was almost surgically balanced to avoid
disturbing the ecosystem and the waste of
hauling away leftover soil.
The residence is one of 155 projects
invited to participate in the Sustainable
Sites Initiative (SITES) pilot program.
Launched in 2009, SITES is a joint venture of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird
Johnson Wildower Center of the University of Texas at Austin, and the U.S.
By Cheryl Weber, LEED AP
Botanic Garden. The new certication
program mines the possibilities for creating a restorative landscape, whether its a
custom home, corporate headquarters, or
large-scale development.
Aiming to ll gaps in LEED, the
SITES premise goes beyond a do no
harm ethic to helping landscapes actually
improve their capacity to clean the air and
water, reduce the local heat island effect,
provide critical wildlife habitat, and reduce
ooding. Its meant to guide decisions
about how you design, construct, use, and
maintain the site so that it doesnt just protect natural resources but also enables the
landscape to be better than it was before,
says Elizabeth Guthrie, ASLAs manager
of professional practice programs.
This net-zero LEED Platinum house
Tah Mah Lahs owners, Silicon Valley venture capitalists, were going for 110 percent, says
extends its earth-friendly ethic to the
project landscape architect Thomas Klope of Thomas Klope Associates, Palo Alto, Calif. For
landscape. A pilot project of the Sustainexample, the irrigation piping is high-density polyethylene rather than PVC, and a sod company
able Sites Initiative, the 2.7-acre site was
developed a special native blend that uses 80 percent less water than conventional sod grass.
designed to respond to natural land forms,
But the project also received credits for basic construction measures, such as protecting trees
vegetation, hydrology, and wildlife patterns, and a specially developed sod grass
and shrubs with fencing, implementing an erosion control plan, and using excavated foundation
is targeting 80 percent water reduction.
soil to backll the lawn and pool. We thought about it before we started, says custom home
builder Michael Martuscello, owner of MGM Construction in San Francisco. Our cut will be this

Higher
Ground

44 / Custom Home Outdoors / Spring 2012

PHOTO: TIMO MACINTOSH

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many yards; youre not overexcavating or underexcavating.

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projects. Irrigation piping is high-density polyethylene,
an eco-friendly PVC substitute. The landscape, including the organic food garden, will be irrigated exclusively with treated blackwater from the house and a
50,000-gallon rainwater catchment system.
46 / Custom Home Outdoors / Spring 2012

A Collective Impact
If those guidelines sound a bit
like LEED credits, there is indeed some overlap. SITES director Danielle Pieranunzi says
the committee plans to align
with LEED where it makes
sense. Likewise, the USGBC
hopes to incorporate some of the SITES
credits into its rating system, to offer
transfer points if youre going after both.
Klope says that while SITES needs
some tweaking to make it more userfriendly for small lots, were taking
what we learned and applying it to projects where people want to be green but

not over the top. If builders can implement 75 percent of what weve accomplished, theyd achieve signicant gains
in landscape-regenerative building at
little or no extra cost.
SITES is a feature builders can embed
in their practice or market as a niche, Pieranunzi says. Many of the benetslowering maintenance and utility costs, enhancing wildlife habitatpass directly to
homeowners. The pilot projects are asked
to track costs, and Pieranunzi says certication will be less expensive than LEED.
Theres also a monitoring credit.
Builders could come back yearly to make
sure things are working and take what
theyve learned to the next project, Pieranunzi says. Its one of our highest credits
because it takes a long time, but a builder
could create a side service to do that.
Long-term sustainability is our goal.
The SITES feedback period ends in
June, and the program will roll out in
2013. (To download the guidelines, go to
www.sustainablesites.org.) The biggest
thing youre doing is educating people
that they should be thinking in restorative
terms, Martuscello says. The onus lies
on a handful of good builders. Millions
of people building one home at a time
can make a big impact.

PHOTOS: TIMO MACINTOSH; SITE PLAN: COURTESY THOMAS KLOPE ASSOCIATES

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Tournesol Siteworks. 800.542.2282. www.tournesolsiteworks.com.

48 / Custom Home Outdoors / Spring 2012

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Case Study

Shades
of Green
Situated on the Sea of Cortez,
a garden with a sculptural ramp
ups the ante on accessibility.
By Cheryl Weber, LEED AP

50 / Custom Home Outdoors / Spring 2012

single dirt road leads to Cabo Pulmo, a


sandy shing village at the spectacular
southern tip of Mexicos Baja Peninsula.
Here in this dry-tropical landscape, San
Francisco architects Cathi and Steven House created a remote outpost that makes accessibility an
art form. Their client, an author of the Americans
with Disabilities Act, asked for a house and garden
based on universal design principles. She started
her career as an orthopedic surgeon, but when she
developed a problem with her eyes she realized how
few considerations are given to people with disabilities, Steven says. She and her partner dont need a
wheelchair, but were thinking of their friends.
Cabo Pulmo is off the power grid and on the
path of hurricanes and tropical storms that sweep the
lower peninsula. So the architects employed a host
of environmentally savvy measures: large openings
in the house for cross-ventilation, palapa-shaded
concrete terraces for passive heating and cooling,
solar panels, and a rainwater cistern stored under the
garden ramp. The construction crew lived on site in
tents, building everything by hand.
The two-story structure reuses some of the
walls and foundation of an existing house that

A concrete wheelchair-accessible ramp


leads to the main living
spaces on the second
oor. Large doors open to
curving terraces covered
in palapa, or palm fronds,
tied down with sh netting. Color cues came from
the desert landscape and
the luminous Sea of Cortez.

Case Study Shades of Green

Shadows cast by the ironworks seashell and wave motifs animate the ground plane.
Flanked by spiky agave and sculptural railings, the ramp becomes a stroll in the garden. Transparent hurricane fabric protects the houses glass openings and solar panels.

was in bad shape. Guest quarters are at


ground level; main living and sleeping
areas are stacked on top to take advantage of panoramic viewsof the Sea
of Cortez to the east and the Sierra de
la Laguna Mountains to the west. The
165-foot-long outdoor ramp makes these
upper spaces reachable by wheelchair.
Interwoven with spiky agave in terraced
planters, it sweeps up to a 10-foot-by-

10-foot patio, then switchbacks up to a


larger lookout before crossing a bridge to
expansive terraces outside the house.
The ramp is positioned to draw
people, Cathi says. They naturally go
up that way even if they know theres a
stairway inside. Its a meandering stroll
in the garden.
Many of the outdoor design details are
based on natural motifs, like the abstract-

ed outlines of seashells and waves on the


railings and the indigenous vine-wrapped
tree-trunk posts. Colors, too, complement
the sites vegetation. The clients said they
hate green, yet it is used to great effect
with yellow and red. This rocky landscape is shades of dusty gray and green,
and the house wanted to be green, Cathi
says. I took them on a journey about color and they came to the same conclusion.
A deeper journey also occurs: an alternative view of how to live beautifully in a
world that welcomes everyone.

SECOND
FLOOR

K
LR
DR
MBR

TER
ERRACES AND R
RAMPS
IN
NDICATED IN OR
ORANGE

Project Credits: Architect: House + House


Architects, San Francisco; Builder: Roberto
Chamorro, La Paz, Baja, Mexico; Photography
and plans: Courtesy House + House Architects
52 / Custom Home Outdoors / Spring 2012

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PHOTOS: COURTESY SHIFT SPACE DESIGN

Drop Box

Rainwater trickles from the downspout into the 58-gallon tank of the Fitzwater, a sleek
stainless steel collector that sources runoff to pots, planters, and watering cans. Leftover
stainless steel from the Fitzwaters manufacturing is enough for the company to make
the Wallace, a 12-gallon gravity fed tank popular for use off decks.
Architect Mario Gentile, founder and CEO of Philadelphia-based Shift Space Design, updated the polyethylene
blue barrel standard for rainwater collection and created an elegant system that ts high-end exteriors and tight urban backyards. We can get really custom, Gentile says. We designed an 8-gallon rain tank on the front of a historic
home, powder coated the stainless steel a historic brown to match the gutters, and laser cut a leaf motif into it. In the
winter, theres a lever that closes off the collection and bypasses rainwater right to the overow pipe.
Stainless steel is the perfect medium for handling freeze-thaw cycles, Gentile says, and gives this green innovation
a much-needed modern makeover. Next, Gentile plans to create a collector that puries rainwater so the tanks tap
potable water. Shift Space Design. 215.221.4840. www.shiftspacedesign.com.Evelyn Rabil

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