Monday, December 26, 2011

2012 Here We Come

The Hustle and bustle of Christmas is finally finished. With one last push toward the New Year, we are off to 2012. I hope this year has been full of laughter, learning, productivity, and enriched relationships, since that is where “gifts” really come from. Time moves fast, so take a moment to recognize how far you have made it this year and where you are going next. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and let us all have a happy New Year!

It is amazing what we can accomplish! I hope you enjoy this video...

Monday, December 12, 2011

The First Vertical Forest

In Milan trendsetting not only applies to fashion, but architecture. Stefano Boeri the Milan-based architect, created “Bosco Verticale” the world’s first vertical forest. This modern 27 story high apartment building has the beautiful view of Milan with the serenity of a forest. Each balcony has its own mini ecosystem with planted trees and vegetation absorbing CO2, dust, and pollution in exchange for oxygen. The outside oasis will change with the seasons, allowing shade to be provided in the summer, and letting sunshine show through the bare trees in the winter.  The building will have a plant irrigation system which will be supported through the filtering and reuse of the grey water produced by the building. 

Two buildings are underway (one 365-foot, the other 260-foot).  These two towers will have 730 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 ground plants, totaling about one acre of forest. This project is expected to be completed in 2012 and will be the home of human inhabitants, as well as insects and birds. 

 The “Living Architecture” movement has made progress in recent years, in response to urban sprawl and the disconnect between people and nature. The collaboration between architects, engineers and botanist possess the key to bringing nature back into the concrete jungle.

Integrating outside space into everyday life is essential for healthy living and critical for the “going green” campaigns. Stefano Boeri is putting action behind voice. 

We at ideabox are excited to see how practical and functional these spaces are when lived in.  If successful, I imagine a new generation of city high rises will be on the horizon.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Living In Tin Can

There is something enchanting about nontraditional homes. I found a picture of a home made from an old grain silo and loved the idea! People have some amazing stories of how they have turned abandoned metal silos into homes, guest apartments, green houses, vacation rentals, and offices. Whatever the use, be assured it is creative and unique.  You would now have a canned answer for the typical icebreaker, “tell us something interesting about yourself”…  

People’s interest in nontraditional homes often correlate with desire to focus on eco-friendly construction, so naturally, a grain silo home is “sustainable”. Used silos can be found for reasonable prices, and can be recycled when finished with them.

Constructing a grain silo home is relatively fast and simple. Since the structure already exists, all that is needed is a foundation. Special attention does need to be paid to the designing of windows, doors, and cabinets because of the round structure.

Low maintenance is also a benefit of grain silo homes. Many owners choose not to paint because they like the natural color of the silo. Made from steel, the silos hold up well to the environment.  The round structure allows for less surface area exposure to the elements compared to traditional rectangular styles. Less exposure means less volatility from weather and improves the overall durability and energy efficiency of the home. The greatest benefit of all is the mystique. Living in a silo home is taking the road less traveled in a big way. 

Below are some examples of how people who have re-purposed grain silos.

Pictures from Louise and Vance Ehmke who created an office/apartment on their farm in western Kansas

GrueneHomestead Inn, in New Braunfels Texas offers night accommodations in this converted silo home.  These pictures show just how comfy you can make it! 

This grain silo was actually converted into a storage area for animal feed and a great example of the use for general storage as well. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

ideabox@camelot! A big time small living in Eugene, OR!

To us, every house we do is a part of the site it will occupy.  We've always been about creating solutions that contribute to the entire living environment, so when the opportunity to create a "cluster development" became available, we were very excited.

We were presented with a small build-able lot by a client interested in a design scheme that offered reasonable density of dwellings for people interested in living "smaller." The end use customer would be 55 & over, and because the lot is adjacent to their existing manufactured home community, they wanted the new addition to become a "cooler, hipper, extension of the existing community." Being a big fan on the manufactured home park model of living, (and having lived in a really old park while attending the University of Oregon), we were very excited to get started.

The resulting site plan ended up with 5 tidy building lots and a menu of ideabox houses ranging from 600SF 1BR/1BA to 800 SF 2BR/2BA in size. Each house is arranged on a pseudo zero-lot line placement backing up the driveways and carports taking full advantage of city required parking and creating outdoor living rooms for the houses. Instead of pouring concrete slabs for driveways, each site has oversized concrete "pavers" that allow for grass to grow, cars to park, and barbecues to be had!

Energy and resource efficiency are key features of this mini-project! Small footprint houses is a great start, with each being certified to NW ENERGY STAR Home and eco-rated engineered green home standards. All the appliances and lighting are ENERGY STAR, and we're featuring mini-split ductless heat pumps for extremely efficient heating and cooling. Each site contains all its own ground water, collecting water from roofs and filtering it back through the ground. Even the street is pervious pavement! 

The houses are from ideabox, so they are cool. Ultimate in easy living, each modern cottage is more like mini-modern-lofts. Large open living spaces, clever kitchens offering culinary elegance, and creative integration of outdoor "rooms," each house lives well beyond their walls. With the typical ideabox palate of materials and finishes, it's a mini-community of modern efficient living!

Perfectly located in Eugene, Oregon, the site is near practically everything. (I grew up not far from the site, and trust me, it's a great location in a dynamic city).

For more information on the project, visit the following:

Let us know what you think! 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

the biggest thing in small living

it's must reading for the summer!
As you know, we've been very big on using little. Whether it's efficiently using energy, or materials, even square footage, we work hard to create clean, modern, and bright spaces. So when a magazine like House Beautiful calls, we get excited! It's terrific recognition, and kind of fun to casually flip to page 117 while in line at the grocery store! (And probably gasp just loud enough at the amazing house in the upper right corner that everyone hears - at least those in line!)

It's already been a busy summer at ideabox. New models are being worked through and soon to be released. The mini-neighborhood is in development with the street soon to be completed and infrastructure placed. We are fortunate to have a couple of nice houses in construction; as well as one just finished being sited; and another in a week or so. And some exciting new projects in development with creative solutions for terrific sites. 

Keep checking in. And check out House Beautiful magazine! (Maybe while at the store, page 117, not that the other pages aren't cool or anything.... just sayin').

Hope all are enjoying a great summer!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wow! What a Year it is!

Okay... So it's been a few months since our last entry. It's just that we've been busy! New projects, new houses, new capabilities.... I know, there's really no excuse. 

We thought 2010 was amazing. We were so honored to be on the NW Natural Street of Dreams, which followed an incredible Portland Home & Garden Show display. It was great to be recognized as one of the top twenty prefabs in the country. Not to mention the wonderful projects we were so fortunate to be a part of. 

It's hard to believe 2011 is half over, seems like it just started. The studio at ideabox has been working on some exciting projects on incredible sites. Starting with a couple of new homes on Whidbey Island to wineries in Oregon & Washington, this year is adding to the allure of the modern prefab. The range of solutions our clients and their sites are creating are as exceptional as they are diverse. Imagine modern ideabox houses in vineyards or on a Puget Sound shoreline, presenting views and lifestyles that are uniquely Pacific Northwest. Sites that are very special, and houses that minimize site impacts, live efficiently, and offer a truly cost effective designed solution that maximizes the lifestyle.

ideabox is expanding! We are building to IRC residential building codes (modular) throughout the west - AND - we are shipping to the Rocky Mountain states, including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico,  Arizona and Utah. 

And new models. "Tinker " is new, fun, and surprisingly adaptable. Using materials from ranging from IKEA to Duravit, it's a house that is all about fun. Simple, straightforward, and a trip to be in and around, it's the new little wonder house from ideabox. We can even configure two together... it's your imagination, use it!

A new "big" house is almost finished. Really. It's "big" for us, in many ways!

2011 is the year of "cubes". We're doing amazing things with cubes - arranging them in every direction. Our clients are creating cool courtyard houses, "L" configurations, and compact little/big houses. Houses with two and three cubes, all very modern and fun. We'll be posting some of these new configurations as the houses come together. 

Ground has broken on our first little mini-development. It will be accepting houses in late July/August. Designed for small footprint living, we've worked to create what is essentially detached mini-lofts, each with small outdoor space and carport. The project is located in the perfect city for modern efficient living! More on that very soon.

Oh... almost forgot..... we've been told we're going to be in another national magazine! Pretty cool, we think. More on that as we know when, which issue, and availability. It's our biggest magazine to date!

Hope you are enjoying a terrific year. We are!