Well, it's been quite some time since I've written on this blog--a year and a half. What have I been doing? I guess 2016 was a busy time and 2017 hasn't been much different. I've kept my head down and tried to stay active. Thrasher Works has been consulting with other architects while also cultivating new client relationships. There have been some exciting projects which I hope to share in the near future.
My obsession of the 'small house' continues. I can only hope it's becoming a bit more refined. Taking influence from the neighborhood we live--an historic area full of bungalows and prairie style homes--I'm trying to reimagine the small cottage home with a contemporary flare. And why do subtle when bold, clean lines can create a real dialogue?
These images are one of a few concept sketches Bart and I developed for a client who needed a little 'eye candy' for a planning and zoning presentation.
The idea was to organize the core building utilizing classic facade rules while invoking the bungalow style. Intersecting the building is the modern touch. It intersects the interior circulation to both organize the space and bring in light.
More development is needed, of course. Baby steps. Stay with me. Plans, elevations, sections, and materials to come.
I have been fortunate these past 6+ months to work on a wide variety of project types--both commercial and residential. As I look back on recent blog posts, I realize the only thing I've shared is from the residential project type. Oh Well! Though it's not my professional forte, I've been blessed with working with a great range of folks which have given me great opportunity to design and imagine.
Here is the latest. While still in the very infantile stage of design, I share with you the most recent design of the home renovation/addition which includes a new master suite, total kitchen renovation, formal dining room, and a 2-story office/guest quarters addition. Excuse my SketchUp skills please...I think I at least get the point across, no? Fill this up with luscious landscaping and a proper cocktail? Sign me up, please.
Thrasher Works recently had the opportunity to put our design chops to the test for a local development: The Villas, a small group of custom built homes located on the hill overlooking the historic Belmont Hotel and skyline of downtown Dallas.
I was brought in to assist in the tweaking of a design which had been presented to the design review board. It is a three story, 2-unit condo set on two lots. Unfortunately, while all the usual components of a contemporary design were present, the facade couldn't mask the fact that it was an awkwardly proportioned box which was out of scale to the neighborhood and severely lacking in a coherent facade organization.
After a few attempts to save the design, we all came to the same conclusion: one must start from scratch. Of course, I won't show you where we started from, but what do you think of how it turned out?
I spent the weekend trying to design a backyard shop/office for myself and Bart. I came away feeling very uninspired and defeated. I guess I just wasn't feeling it. But let's face it, Bart won't be happy until every last corner of that yard is used for shop space.
So, I switched gears. I still had a creative bug to kill and graphic design wasn't doing it. Hence, the Mustard House. I'm really trying to wrap my head around the tiny-house movement and have realized: it's a process. This is the first step. While I'm still tweaking the plans, it's shaped to have an open living/dining/kitchen area with two bedrooms in the back. So far it's coming in around 1,200 square feet.
I'd like to whittle this down to 900 square feet...I guess you lose a bedroom? What do you think? Could you live in 900 square feet? What would be on your must-have list?
Each of these concepts was geared around the back yard studio idea. We even had a client that wanted to develop one for his own backyard to operate as a shop & motorcycle garage. It never came to be because we couldn't get the construction budget right--still a point of contention between Bart and I as I think it could be easily scaled back and built out of wood framing. Which brings me to today.
I want to build the plainest, most simple of the follies as a backyard cabana. Or perhaps city park hangout. Or better yet, seating within a beer garden or truck yard setting with live music playing, cold beer, and twinkling garden lights. Can't you picture that? Speak up. I think we can make this happen!
I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take on a wide variety of projects as of late. Some, of course, are better than others but I can honestly say each has touched on a skill (and consequently made me sharpen said skill) that I've learned over the past 20 years. The one I'll share with you below is a skill which hasn't been exercised in quite some time. I had to really go back and sharpen my pencil for this one.
The image above is not my design. Did you read that? I'm am in no way claiming this as my design. It belongs to a very talented designer from Fort Worth. My role is purely after the fact, behind the scenes, a means to an end.
My client is in the midst of building this super cool duplex atop a hill in Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas. It is at that stage where any of those final material decisions you've been putting off due to indecision have come to a head and are likely about to affect your bottom line. I've been there. In fact, I'm there right now. On Tuesday I have to make the final decision on just the same thing for my own design project in Irving, Texas. I'm still wavering.
The point of this quick little exercise was to help determine the color of the metal roof. I was given the black and white rendering above and asked to render it in color in order to make a decision on the roof color. If you don't know, metal roofs come in a large variety of colors and I don't envy the decision maker. As I said, I have to make the same decision myself in just over 48 hours. Tick. Tock.
Long story short, I created several renderings in Photoshop with different roof colors. The one above illustrates the Berridge 'Champagne' roof color. Hopefully, all is well and I did my job. A decision will be made.
On the other hand, and the reason for the post, is to ponder the progression I've made with my own rendering capabilities despite having concentrated on production and project management for the last 10 years. Bare with me.
As an architecture student of the late '90s, rendering quickly went from hand drawing (at which I kicked ass) to computer generated renderings (uh, not so much). I took up using 3D Studio Max; I even took a class. This is a very laborious program and not for the light of heart. When I had to retire my desktop my parents got me in school, the program was never spoken of again. And there were no hard feelings.
In the mean time, I taught myself Photoshop. In fact, months before I graduated from KU, I purchased the student version of the software and installed it on every computer I've owned until just a few years ago. Microsoft seems to have an issue with providing drivers for super old software (Note to self: Buy a Mac). When I finally got an updated version installed on my work computer, it blew me away. Sadly, my skills were a paltry match to this new version of Photoshop and I was lost.
Recently, I took more care to learn Adobe Illustrator; I even signed up for several classes. Plus, and I can't stress this enough, Google Images is so much more useful than it was back in the day! Do you realize it launched in July of 2001? Where would we be now without it?
Any way, I brought a whole new bag of tricks to the table for this project and I couldn't be happier for the experience. I've worked with so many talented designers in the past that would make mincemeat of my image below. But, I'm still learning. And moving in a forward trajectory.
Below is a result of my continued work on the same rendering in an effort to learn all the "cool-kid-tricks". It's a process. A process that after 20 year in the business, I'm still excited to explore.
Now, can someone please direct me to a You Tube video that will help me better understand filters?
Happy New Year, folks! Our first blog for the 2015 year (after a long 6 month absence) is written by Bart Thrasher himself (with a large amount of guidance from his wife, Karen). Welcome back!
One of my favorite clients underwent another major renovation to their home in the Vickery Place neighborhood of Dallas last year. This is the same home which has the beautiful figured maple kitchen by yours truly. For this addition / renovation, Thrasher Works was selected to build all the millwork including the pictured master bed.
The bed is a king sized platform bed designed by Daron Tapscott, a fellow architect in the neighborhood. As you can see, the bed is built in with storage below and to each side. I used a domestic veneer core maple plywood with highly figured maple panels on the headboard. Note, the center section of the headboard is to be upholstered (photos coming soon).