Whole Earth Summit

Head on over to Whole Earth Summit to listen to some inspiring visionaries!
Replays are available at http://wholeearthsummit.org/replay/

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Passive House in 90 sec.

Learn about Passive House in 90 seconds with this neat video by the people at http://pinwheelbuilds.com/

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Kaslo Water Street Plan Approved


At last weeks’ council meeting (Dec 10, 2013), the above redevelopment plan of Water Street has been approved.

Curb and paving is set to happen in 2014, walkway and landscaping the next year.

Council had asked me to modify option 1 plan that the 2011 Water Street committee – in which I was involved – had proposed, reversing the parking on Water Street and incorporating safety recommendations of the June 2012 ICBC Road Safety Audit.
Also for safety reasons the parking pattern on 4th Street has been changed – to parallel parking.

The wide sidewalk, as a result of the parallel parking on 4th street allows for the installation of a few trees, which will cut down the wind that often blows up from the lake, and enhancing the view and streetscape simultaneously.

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Smart Stairs

Recently I had the pleasure to return to a set of stairs I designed about 7 years ago, when I just started out with my own design studio.

Then the Cathro family, expecting their first child, wanted to create a way to get into their basement from inside the house to feed the fire, instead of having to go around the outside (Who wants to do that in winter? -Let alone when the baby is crying!).

But there wasn’t a lot of room…

Snake Stairs

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Why you want to pay premium for design.

A recent conversation with a fellow dog owner the beach, on one of my morning walks with our puppy Shagga, prompted me to re-post the following ‘Designer’s Open Letter to His Future Clients‘, written by my friend and fellow Kaslovian, Blair Enns, a high profile marketing consultant for design firms.

He (the fellow dog owner on the beach) told me, after he learned I was ‘the Architect’ in town, that he would like to drop by and check out my work, as he was gearing up to renovate his house and that he had hired someone else, because he had heard I was very expensive…

“The more I charge you, the more pressure I put on myself to perform for you.

“The client who grinds me on price is the least satisfied. He gets less attention from me and is most likely to be pissed off at me. And I don’t really care, because to be honest, I resent him. The very fact that he is on my roster reminds me that I’m part prostitute. For him, I’m doing it for the money and as it isn’t very much money I’m not troubled by not doing it well. He pays me a paltry sum, I perform poorly, he gets angry and I resent him. We can have that type of relationship if you like.

“The client who pays me the premium gets my best work. He’s the one I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about, wondering if I’m doing all I can to earn his money. When he calls, I jump. Hell, I call him first. I take pride in moving his business. I try to make myself indispensible to him. I imagine that he winces when he opens my bill (he doesn’t say), but he thanks me for all I do for him. He’s the one I worry about.

“I’m great at what I do, but if someone hires me without giving me the resources (money, time, access) to do a great job, it’s easy for me to rationalize poor performance. When a client gives me everything I ask for, he removes all the obstacles to a high quality outcome. There’s no way for me to rationalize anything less than perfection.

“There is no greater pressure than the pressure I put on myself, and the only way you can add to my own sense of pressure is to pay me well. Yelling won’t do it. Neither will threatening to pull your business. My deep sense of obligation comes from you paying me well enough to dispatch all of the excuses. Then I have to prove to you, and, more importantly, to me that I am as good as I say I am.

“So, I’ve given you my price and it’s the price that I need to charge to bring a deep sense of obligation to the job. Will I work for less? Probably. Can you negotiate with me? Sure. We can have that type of relationship if you really want me to be that type of designer and you want to be that type of client.

“Let’s just understand each other before we get started.”

See the original letter on Blair’s website here.


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the Ridge: al.most.finished!

It has been a couple of weeks since I visited the site and took these pictures… The Ridge is almost finished!

Last week I heard the parging was being applied to the foundation. Would be nice to see that blue skin covered up!


the Ridge

view from the water


entry window inside



deck detail

see-through reflection

An architect friend of mine once said: great architecture is made possible by great clients. – Thank you F. and K. for being great clients!

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Passive House is Sexy!

Passive House is sexy!
This cheeky video by Plate-forme Maison Passive in Belgium proves it:

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The Ridge: week 32

It’s been already a month now since I’m back from vacation (a 2 week visit to the Netherlands, and a short tour of Europe, of which I am hoping to show some pictures here in the near future) and it’s been almost 2 weeks since I visited ‘the Ridge’.
A lot of things had happened there!
My apologies- since I came back, I have been so busy, I haven’t had a change to post these pictures…

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Post & Beam Barn = Climbing Wall 2

Rob Wilkes has added some more braces to the barn… and then a climbing wall! Great idea to add some fun to this working building!

Wbarn-front climbingcleats Wnarn-climbingwall1
Again, my thanks to Sarah Evans for taking and sharing these pictures!

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Post & Beam Barn II

Nine foot knee braces, eight inch diameter. Tight joinery.




Posted in Local building materials, Log Barn, Log building, Natural Building, Projects, Timber Framing | 2 Comments