Garden Maestro – Rebecca Kleinman – Miami Magazine 2012

Photography by Nick Garcia

Garden Maestro

by Rebecca Kleinman | Miami magazine | February 22, 2012

Landscape designer Fernando Wong started his career from the ground up—literally. Arriving in Miami without speaking a lick of English, the Panama native with a background in architecture and interior design took a grounds crew job on a whim. His boss, Robert Parsley of Geomantic Designs, discovered his talent for sketching and promoted him to renderings. A quick study, Wong rapidly discovered he had a passion for flora and a solid green thumb. Others soon did, too. “It’s really a story of the American dream,” says Wong at his South Beach studio. “I never would have known I had a knack for gardens if these circumstances hadn’t perfectly presented themselves the way they did.” With a stellar portfolio of projects that span South Florida, a new Palm Beach office and a media expansion in the works, Wong is certainly digging right in.

What’s your main territory? Besides Miami, I’ve done work in the Keys and on Florida’s Gulf Coast. In January our Palm Beach satellite office on Via Mizner opened due to demand on the island. Our next market is the Hamptons.

Palm Beach is known for very traditional landscaping, high ficus hedges and that sort of thing. Do you plan to shake things up a little bit up there? Regardless of aesthetics, it’s a bad time for ficus because it’s susceptible to white fly. We’re creating privacy borders with fishtail and Everglades palms instead. Clients are also more open to rugged, native landscapes versus manicured gardens inspired by Italy and France. For example, we’re working on a young couple’s LEED-certified residence with not only drought-resistant plants, but also an elevated driveway and decking in an organic composite by Resysta that’s better for water drainage and the environment. It’s going to be the first of its kind in town, and hopefully will be a game-changer.

What’s been one of your more challenging projects? This one four-story, 17,000-square-foot home we did in Naples. With so little yard, we had to break up its sheer expanse by installing 22-foot cypresses, which are difficult to get in that size and must be quarantined since they’re imported. Topiary balls in a variety of greens also softened up the home’s modern architecture. Sometimes having less space actually makes the job harder.

What are the most common landscaping mistakes? Planting things that won’t thrive in one’s growing zone, not investing in mature trees, and not planning for down the road and considering how tree roots will grow and possibly destroy hardscapes from pool terraces to driveways.

What’s your clients’ most common request? Get it done by the holidays!

Have you done many commercial properties? Yes. We did the Capri in South Beach, Bristol Tower on Brickell and many donated children’s gardens for Slow Food Miami. A client just commissioned a classic rose garden for the Carrollton School, which his daughters attend. It’s my Lady Bird Johnson moment!

What should every novice gardener know? Don’t incorporate too many colors. I usually stick to two, and one of them is always green! Think of gardens as outdoor rooms. Like, would you put red and yellow together in a home interior? Not unless you’re McDonald’s!

What’s a common misconception about your field? That we just plant plants. Landscape design is so much more, including hardscapes, like pools and courtyards. These can be especially challenging when you’re trying to break up massive, nonfloral areas. We achieve warmth through patterns of mixed materials.

How have you seen landscape design evolve since you first started? I think at first landscape design was an afterthought; it was all about the house. Now clients are designing their homes around the outdoors and having me come in from the very beginning. They’re keener on indoor/outdoor living and how landscape
dictates architecture.

What other projects do you have in the works? HGTV recently approached me for a program on upscale landscape design after they saw my segment about balcony gardens on their sister DIY Network. I’m excited they’re finally stepping it up. I’m also collaborating with Sarah Harrelson, who was the first editor to publish my designs when she helmed the Miami Herald’s Home & Design magazine, on a coffee-table book.

What’s been a career highlight so far? I’ve been working on this fantastic commission with the firm TEN Arquitectos. It’s a floating glass box design and here are all these world-class architects asking my opinion. It’s a dream getting to that point.

What does that project entail? It’s a building in Bay Harbor Islands that incorporates naturalistic landscapes, but this takes it to the next level since the home, pool and yard are perfectly seamless. There also will be an elevated stainless steel driveway with a bridge to the garage.

What’s your one tried-and-true piece of landscaping advice? Use native plants for the bulk of the job and then accessorize with exotics. When spending upwards of half a million dollars, it’s best to make sure those plants survive. I strive to create gardens that look just as good five years from the day they were installed.

What’s something you constantly have to remind yourself when designing? The struggle is to tame the fantasy and be responsible so beauty meets efficiency in the end. I always ask myself, “Who will maintain these grounds?” Luckily most people don’t have the patience for over-the-top yards

Martha Stewart On Stone – May 2006

No building material speaks of permanence like natural stone. Even when it is used in small ways in a home, stone signals quality and longevity. Accordingly, choosing the right slabs — or tiny tiles — to incorporate into your interior deserves careful consideration.

On the following pages, we introduce eight options, including the familiar marble and granite, as well as more unusual materials, such as onyx and travertine. This roundup will give you a glimpse of what you may find in a stone yard or home-design center. Once you start shopping, you’ll see just how vast the world of natural stone is.

Regardless of the stone you settle on, a few basic rules will apply to its upkeep: Wipe up spills immediately, especially alcohol or citrus juices, which will corrode the surface, and don’t place hot, wet, or abrasive objects directly on the stone — employ trivets, doormats, or self-adhesive felt tabs as needed. With proper maintenance, stone surfaces will last for generations.

Before You Buy
Here are a few things to consider as you commence your search.

Think locally when selecting materials. Showrooms and home-design centers have lots of samples and can order similar stone for you. But if you go to a stone yard, you’ll have your choice of native materials, which can add character to a custom home. Plus, you can pick out the pieces that will actually be used in your home, which is an advantage since no two are the same.

Ask an expert if the stone you’re interested in is right for your needs. Your first consideration will be how it looks, of course. But while most types of stone are durable and stand up to a variety of uses, each has its own distinct qualities.

Select a finish for your stone that suits how you plan to use it. A highly polished finish, for example, is perfect for a countertop but too slippery for a bathroom floor.

Weigh the price of stone against its longevity. The material will last a lifetime, so it’s worth the investment. Plus, it will likely add to the value of your home.

The limestone slabs here were treated several ways, proof that a stone’s finish is as important as its color. Finishes can be applied separately or in combination.

Honed stones (1 and 5) have the most natural-looking finish. After the stones are cut, they are sanded with a coarse abrasive to create a smooth, matte surface.

Buffed and distressed stones (2) are first burnished to remove imperfections. Their surfaces are then weathered to create an aged look. The latter process involves tumbling the cut pieces of stone in a cement-mixer-like machine together with smaller stones and water.

Brushed and hammered stones (3 and 4) are first treated with stiff bristles, which give them a moderately rough finish. Hammers similar to pick axes are then used to create a pocked effect.

Satin brushed stones (6 and 7) are treated as brushed ones are, but with softer bristles. This method results in a smoother finish.

Highly polished stones (like onyx) have a glassy look. Fine abrasives smooth the surface in the same manner sandpaper is used on wood.

 

Marble
Marble starts life as limestone. But under certain conditions, the components of limestone crystallize, creating veins and changing its texture.
What to Know: Marble is softer and more absorbent than granite, but it’s still tough enough for any application in your home. All marble can be polished, though green shades — often called serpentines –can be difficult to polish to a high gloss.
Best For: backsplashes, floors, pastry surfaces, tub surrounds, vanity tops
Care: Clean marble surfaces with water. If necessary, use a mild detergent, and thoroughly rinse afterward. Rust stains are fast to set and hard to remove, so act quickly. Use a poultice (available at flooring stores) to absorb stains. Sealing is an option, but some sealants may darken white pieces, so test a discreet area first.

Granite
Granite, which is available in a broad spectrum of colors, is often flecked with bits of minerals that produce a salt-and-pepper look. In some instances, the minerals form veins.
What to Know: With unmatched durability, granite is hard to scratch and even harder to stain. Domestically mined granite comes from many parts of the country, including Georgia, New Hampshire (the Granite State), and South Dakota.
Best For: kitchen countertops, pastry surfaces, fireplace surrounds
Care: With proper precautions, granite’s luster will not fade over time. Use coasters, cutting boards, and trivets on countertops. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners, which can damage the surface.

Limestone
Limestone, which comes in an array of textures, is frequently formed from the shells of marine animals.
What to Know: The quality and color of limestone vary widely. Hard, dense pieces take a polish; softer ones do not.
Best For: bathroom surfaces, kitchen floors, entryways
Care: Seal as needed; as with most stones, the frequency will depend on how and where it’s used and how it wears.

Onyx
Onyx is distinguished by its translucency. The layered stone often comes from caves.
What to Know: Although we use onyx to describe items that are jet-black, the stone is commonly white or pastel. It can be polished to a very high gloss.
Best For: bathtub surrounds, shower tiles, vanity tops
Care: Be careful; onyx is more prone to scratches than other stones. Seal often.

Slate
Slate is formed from the clay of ancient seabeds.
What to Know: Slate, which often comes in deep greens, blues, grays, and purples, has a matte surface and a distinctive cleft pattern.
Best For: floors, kitchen countertops
Care: Use only neutral, mild alkaline, or specialty cleaners. A low-luster finish, such as honed or distressed, will preserve slate’s matte surface; seal as needed.

Travertine
Travertine has a porous surface, the result of the stone’s forming near hot, mineral-rich bubbling springs.
What to Know: Holes give this stone a spongelike appearance. It can be ordered with them filled for an even surface.
Best For: bathtub surrounds, countertops, shower tiles, floors
Care: If holes are unfilled, be vigilant about wiping up spills, to keep them from pooling in the holes; seal as needed.

Sandstone
Sandstone comprises dense layers of sand for earthy tones.
What to Know: Hardness varies, depending on where the stone is quarried.
Best For: bathtub surrounds, shower tiles and walls, kitchen floors
Care: Seal as needed.

Soapstone
Soapstone gets its soap-like feel from the element talc.
What to Know: It resists high heat.
Best For: kitchen countertops, vanity tops, sinks, fireplace surrounds
Care: Do not seal; rub out scratches with mineral oil or by lightly sanding them.

Heroes Of The New South – Adapted From Southern Living

At Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone, one of the the key things our sales staff convey to clients is be careful of the lowest bidder. Select the contractor who is skilled in working with architectural stone. With such a large unemployment rate in construction and landscaping, many companies are desperate to feed their families and will low ball jobs that require specific stone or skills that many laborers may exaggerate possessing.

On a personal level for any home improvement project I typically pick the middle bidder. I came across this article last night in Southern Living & I was engrossed and ready to sign up for school. It highlights the importance of knowing your trade and having the skills necessary.So I thought I would share…

Excerpted From Heroes Of The New South

For the full article click on link below…

http://www.southernliving.com/travel/heroes-of-the-new-south-00417000077364/

The American College of Building Arts
Founded 2004, Charleston, South Carolina

Iron poured. Plaster smoothed. Stone carved. In the belly of the Old Charleston Jail, a group of twentysomethings is learning, not with pen and notebook but with brick and mortar. The American College of Building Arts is the only four-year liberal arts program in the country where students can earn a college degree by learning traditional craftsmanship and modern building trades.

The school was created to fill a void when, after Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston in 1989, there weren’t enough trained craftspeople to repair the badly damaged historic homes. Students choose from one of six majors—architectural stone, carpentry, forged architectural ironwork, plaster working, preservation masonry, and timber framing—but have to take classes from all disciplines. They come from all over the country to learn how to restore, preserve, and build.

“In a time when we are returning to the values of craftsmanship, this college is leading the way,” says Heroes juror Jim Strickland. “Their graduates are continuing crafts that we once feared would be lost.”

Graduates have gone on to open businesses throughout the South, and to restore buildings as far away as Versailles. “Not only are we preserving historic structures that have withstood time and are in need of repair,” says Kerri Forrest, director of institutional advancement at the school. “We’re also teaching students cutting-edge contemporary construction.” Where the two meet, that’s the future.

Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone Mourns The Loss of Michael A Gilkey

Michael Allen Gilkey           (February 5, 1945 – February 21, 2012)


Yesterday we lost a great man. A husband, a father, a grandfather, a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, a landscape architect, and the founder of Michael Gilkey Inc.. Please join the Gilkey family in prayer today as we celebrate the life of Michael Allen Gilkey. Memorial services to be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mic’s honor to Neuro Challenge Foundation, dedicated to the fight against Parkinson Disease.

Elle Decor Miami Showhouse

Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone was fortunate to collaborate with Neivera Williams Design on the Elle Decor Miami Showhouse in Paramount Bay. The Elle Showcase was unveiled during Art Basel in early December 2011. Keith Williams, a talented powerhouse behind Neivera Williams Design envisioned the stunning garden terrace located at 2020 North Bayshore Drive.     

Paramount Bay as a concept was envisioned by Lenny Kravitz for Kravitz Design Inc., The grand 47-story architectural wonder, designed by Arquitectonica, offers spacious
waterfront residences in a fresh, richly landscaped environment and is conveniently
located close to the eclectic delights of Miami’s popular Design District, Wynwood
Arts District, Miami Beach and Downtown.

For additional information please refer to the link:

http://www.elledecor.com/elle-decor/articles/designer-sketches-miami-showhouse-2011

 

Happy Presidents Day – Adapted from Charles Luck Stone Inc.

Our friends at The Cultural Landscape Foundation have inspired me to spend a little more blog time dedicated to landscape architecture, so in the spirit of President’s Day, I thought I’d feature our first president’s estate – Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington near Alexandria, VA. George Washington’s accolades, accomplishments and contributions are vast, but his love for gardening and cultivating landscapes is not as well known. Washington’s mind – and letters home – frequently turned to Mount Vernon and his ideas for landscape design. His carefully planned gardens featuring unusual 18th-century flowers have been expertly maintained and are on display for visitors today. More than six acres are enclosed to create four separate gardens at Mount Vernon – the Upper Garden, Lower Garden, Botanical Garden and the Fruit Garden and Nursery. The gardens served many purposes, from testing new varieties of plants, to producing vegetables and fruits, to providing lavish displays of beautiful flowers. The Upper Garden was a research project for many years as historians, horticulturalists, and archaeologists looked for evidence of the locations of original plantings and pathways enjoyed by visitors when Washington was in residence. The Upper Garden re-opened in May 2011, with a new design that accurately reflects its appearance in 1799. During the three-year, forensic-style study, archeologists unearthed evidence showing how the garden had grown and evolved under George Washington’s care, and how it had changed in the 150 years since his death. The restored garden is both creative and practical, just as it was during George Washington’s time, with three large planting beds for produce framed by beautiful flowering trees and perennials. Ariel view of Mt. Vernon Estate Boxwood Fleur de Lis Upper Garden Flower Gardens leading to the Greenhouse Lower Garden

FNGLA Miami-Dade Chapter Dinner Meeting – Thursday Feb 23, 2012

 

FNGLA Miami Dade Chapter cordially invites you to our

February Dinner & Networking Meeting

Thursday, February 23, 2012

6:30pm, Cocktails; 7pm, Dinner

 

7:30pm Presentation

 

By Isuzu/TruckMax (with vehicles on site) and a ‘State of the Economy’

update from Community First Investments*.

 

Redland Golf & Country Club

 

24451 SW 177 Ave

 

Homestead, FL 33031

 

$15/person, RSVP Required by Friday, February 17th, 2012

 

Please RSVP to: (305) 248-1117 or email: info@nursery-report.com

 

*Advisory services and securities offered through Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc., Registered Investment Advisor, Broker Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. 15600 SW 288th Street, Suite 403, Homestead, FL 33033 (305)245-2627. Supervising office: 8230 Montgomery Road, Suite 150, Cincinnati, OH 45236 (888)484-5652.

 

FNGLA, Community First, Isuzi, TruckMax and Lincoln Investment are independently owned and each is responsible for its own business.

 

Top10 Design Trends for 2012

10 Design Trends for 2012

We could pessimistically assert that there are no design trends for 2012 because nothing is getting built, but that would be exaggerating. New homes are still popping up in markets that have stabilized – just in more modest numbers, and not with the flamboyance and status-minded consumerism we saw during the housing boom. Today’s value set is more cerebral, focusing on simplicity, resourcefulness, health, community, and practicality. Here are some design themes we expect to see more of in the year ahead as America continues its search for a new normal.

  • The centerpiece of this serene bath designed by Austin, Texas-based architect Jay Corder is a natural marble slab serving as a tub backsplash on one side and a shower wall on the other. www.jaycorder.com

    Credit: Paul Bardagjy

    The centerpiece of this serene bath designed by Austin, Texas-based architect Jay Corder is a natural marble slab serving as a tub backsplash on one side and a shower wall on the other. www.jaycorder.com

Credit: Paul Bardagjy

The centerpiece of this serene bath designed by Austin, Texas-based architect Jay Corder is a natural marble slab serving as a tub backsplash on one side and a shower wall on the other. www.jaycorder.com

No Faux

Glitz is gone, at least for now. Honest architecture is the order of the day as homeowners look to simplify their lives – and, by association, their houses. This mantra of zen is playing out in interior spaces with natural finishes, clean lines, and few frivolous embellishments. On the outside the philosophy is being parlayed into elevations with uncomplicated massing. The plain box is enjoying a renaissance at a time when budgets are meager and value engineering is an exercise in survival. This basic geometry is easier and cheaper to frame, plumb, wire, clad, heat, cool, and maintain. And its pure form makes it less prone to crimes of bad proportion.

  • The “Sensible Series,” designed by D.W. Taylor Associates, addresses the downturn with a set of efficient house plans ranging from 1,560 to 2,400 square feet. Each home has a minimum of three bedrooms and 2 ½ baths. www.dwtaylor.com

    Credit: DW Taylor Associates

    The “Sensible Series,” designed by D.W. Taylor Associates, addresses the downturn with a set of efficient house plans ranging from 1,560 to 2,400 square feet. Each home has a minimum of three bedrooms and 2 ½ baths. www.dwtaylor.com

Credit: DW Taylor Associates

The “Sensible Series,” designed by D.W. Taylor Associates, addresses the downturn with a set of efficient house plans ranging from 1,560 to 2,400 square feet. Each home has a minimum of three bedrooms and 2 ½ baths. www.dwtaylor.com

Portion Control

Medium-sized house? No, wait. Make that a small, please. The average house lost a few pounds in the recession and is still managing to keep the weight off as buyers (and banks) avoid biting off more debt than they can chew. “Demand for very large houses over 4,000 square feet remains, but there is a diminishing demand for middle-sized homes,” observes architect Don Taylor of D.W. Taylor Associates in Ellicott City, Md. “Instead of the previously common request for a home in the 2,800- to 3,200-square-foot range, we are now seeing more requests for homes of 2,400 to 2,800 square feet. Cost obviously has helped precipitate this change, but I also think many buyers are coming to their senses and looking for homes that meet their practical needs rather than satisfying their egos.”

  • Smith  Fong Co., the makers of Plyboo, recently introduced new lines of FSC-certified bamboo plywood and flooring.  Both formaldehyde-free products are made of bamboo strips that are compressed into a super-dense block, which is then made into planks and panels. www.plyboo.com

    Credit: Dave Adams Photograpy

    Smith & Fong Co., the makers of Plyboo, recently introduced new lines of FSC-certified bamboo plywood and flooring. Both formaldehyde-free products are made of bamboo strips that are compressed into a super-dense block, which is then made into planks and panels. www.plyboo.com

Credit: Dave Adams Photograpy

Smith & Fong Co., the makers of Plyboo, recently introduced new lines of FSC-certified bamboo plywood and flooring. Both formaldehyde-free products are made of bamboo strips that are compressed into a super-dense block, which is then made into planks and panels. www.plyboo.com

Fresh Ideas

Your vegetables are organic, but what about your cabinets? Health-conscious homeowners are starting to see their homes as part of the wellness equation, right in stride with exercise and eating right. “The farm-to-table movement has now entered the design sphere,” kitchen designers Mick De Giulio, Jamie Drake, and Matthew Quinn proclaimed in a recent kitchen trends report released by Sub-Zero and Wolf. Buyers will soon be paying more attention to healthy details such as low-VOC paints, stains, and sealants, they say, along with cabinets and furniture made with natural products such as hay, wheat, eucalyptus, bamboo, and aspen; HVAC systems that improve indoor air quality; and appliances that filter water. Tomorrow’s kitchens could also end up trading freezer space for larger refrigeration units to keep locally grown foods fresh.

Built on the site of a former naval air station, the Glen Town Center in Glenview, Illinois, blends 154 townhomes with two mixed-use buildings containing apartments and retail shops. <a href="http://www.theglentowncenter.com" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">www.theglentowncenter.com</a>

Built on the site of a former naval air station, the Glen Town Center in Glenview, Illinois, blends 154 townhomes with two mixed-use buildings containing apartments and retail shops. www.theglentowncenter.com

Credit: Pappageorge/Haymes

Village Vibe

The suburbs are starting to feel more like little cities as planners and developers find ways to weave density and walkability into existing hot spots. “Fewer large-scale development opportunities have shifted the emphasis to smaller infill projects,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker wrote in a recent design trends report. But these new nodes of “light urbanism” aren’t replacing existing subdivisions; they are popping up between them and connecting the dots. Prime targets for infill redevelopment include big box parking lots, dead shopping centers, strip malls, and transit stations. “People who want an urban lifestyle but either do not want to live in a ‘big city’ or cannot afford to will look to live in the many suburban town centers that have been emerging,” Urban Land Institute senior resident fellow John McIlwain wrote in a recent white paper.

  • Permeable pavers manage water runoff, control pollutants, and prevent erosion around this LEED-certified home by McDonald Construction  Development in Oakland, Calif. www.margaridohouse.com

    Credit: Mariko Reed

    Permeable pavers manage water runoff, control pollutants, and prevent erosion around this LEED-certified home by McDonald Construction & Development in Oakland, Calif. www.margaridohouse.com

Credit: Mariko Reed

Permeable pavers manage water runoff, control pollutants, and prevent erosion around this LEED-certified home by McDonald Construction & Development in Oakland, Calif. www.margaridohouse.com

Green Grows

Yes, we say it every year, but it’s true: green building is going mainstream. The latest anecdotal evidence comes by way of California’s CalGreen building code, which takes effect January 1, mandating many green building practices that were previously only voluntary. “I expect we’ll see an uptick in simple, low-cost approaches such as rainwater catchment, drought-tolerant landscaping, permeable hardscapes, passive solar design, and more recycling and landfill diversion,” says Mike McDonald, a green builder in Oakland, Calif. Watch also for more flat roofs with parapet walls hiding unsightly solar panels, predicts Costa Mesa, Calif.-based design consultant Miriam Tate.

Bridging the Gap

Little cottages may be the darlings of the homebuilding industry, but there’s still a need for homes with high bedroom and bathroom counts, and here’s why. Multigenerational households are proliferating for all kinds of reasons: boomerang kids moving home to save money; elderly parents who need family support; young parents relying on grandparent care for their kids; and rapid growth among immigrant families for whom shared living is a cultural tradition. Sure, smaller homes generally cost less than large ones, but they’re not nearly as economical as a shared mortgage and a household where everyone pitches in. Nearly 50 million Americans now live in homes containing at least two adult generations, up from 28 million in 1980. And with nationwide unemployment rates continuing to hover around 9.8 percent, that phenomenon is likely to continue in the near term.

  • Expect to see more accessory units like these popping up in backyards now that some planning boards are changing their zoning to allow detached rental units. The prefab “Carriage House” series by Bensonwood offers four energy-efficient plans constructed with panelized R-35 wall systems. www.bensonwood.com

    Credit: Courtesy Bensonwood

    Expect to see more accessory units like these popping up in backyards now that some planning boards are changing their zoning to allow detached rental units. The prefab “Carriage House” series by Bensonwood offers four energy-efficient plans constructed with panelized R-35 wall systems. www.bensonwood.com

Credit: Courtesy Bensonwood

Expect to see more accessory units like these popping up in backyards now that some planning boards are changing their zoning to allow detached rental units. The prefab “Carriage House” series by Bensonwood offers four energy-efficient plans constructed with panelized R-35 wall systems. www.bensonwood.com

Accessorize Me

Now, back to our fixation on small homes. Here’s another development that may be coming to a suburb near you: detached accessory units that share lot space with larger houses. No longer a luxury reserved for the well-to-do (fancied as yoga studios or casitas for weekend guests) these stand-alone structures are coming in handy as granny flats for elderly parents, studios for home-based businesses, or rental units for homeowners wishing to supplement their income. As rentals, the tidy dwellings offer an enticing alternative for singles who want to live a suburban lifestyle but can’t afford a big house. What’s making these residences possible is that zoning tides are turning. Many neighborhood covenants that once prohibited accessory units are beginning to ease, as illustrated by Seattle’s exemplary “backyard cottage” ordinance, which passed roughly one year ago. This housing type could prove especially popular with single women craving small, stylish homes in close-knit neighborhoods that feel safe.

  • Homes in the Country Living Collection by New World Home are about as traditional as they come and – surprise! -- they’re modular. The portfolio includes five house plans ranging from 1,100 to 2,300 square feet, each of which can be built for $175 to $225 per square foot. http://newworldhome.com

    Credit: Lucas Allen

    Homes in the Country Living Collection by New World Home are about as traditional as they come and – surprise! — they’re modular. The portfolio includes five house plans ranging from 1,100 to 2,300 square feet, each of which can be built for $175 to $225 per square foot. http://newworldhome.com

Credit: Lucas Allen

Homes in the Country Living Collection by New World Home are about as traditional as they come and – surprise! — they’re modular. The portfolio includes five house plans ranging from 1,100 to 2,300 square feet, each of which can be built for $175 to $225 per square foot. http://newworldhome.com

Factory Factor

Modular homes are still considered radical by many builders, but there’s a middle ground between box module and stick-built that they are starting to warm up to. We are of course referring to panelized walls, roof systems, and other prefab components as a means of moderating costs, reducing job site waste, and improving quality with structural pieces that aren’t exposed to weather for long stretches of time. Whereas “factory built” was once considered synonymous with “trailer park,” houses today that incorporate panelized design are nearly impossible to distinguish from conventionally built homes once they’re stitched up. And, contrary to some lingering bias, the prefab stuff is not invariably contemporary. Many factory-built homes now come in traditional styles such as Georgian, colonial, and even Victorian.

  • The sleek glass countertops in this California home, designed by architect Ginger McGann and fabricated by ThinkGlass, are enhanced with undermount lighting.

    Credit: ThinkGlass

    The sleek glass countertops in this California home, designed by architect Ginger McGann and fabricated by ThinkGlass, are enhanced with undermount lighting.

Credit: ThinkGlass

The sleek glass countertops in this California home, designed by architect Ginger McGann and fabricated by ThinkGlass, are enhanced with undermount lighting.

Spec This

What are the current materials of choice? Residential architects in the latest AIA home design trends survey report a growing interest in sustainable and cool roofing, tubular skylights that provide natural daylighting, and low-maintenance cladding materials such as fiber cement, stone, tile, and natural-earth plasters. Interiors are poised to see some new finishing options, too. Sub-Zero’s trend-watchers predict that “glass will become the next material to face appliances, cabinets, and even countertops [because it] is not only durable and environmentally friendly, but also versatile. It can be made in many colors and thicknesses, and its surface can have an infinite [array] of textures and technology, including light-emitting capabilities.” Also worth checking out: inexpensive laminate cabinet veneers made from digital photographs of exotic wood species. Wenge wood on a budget, anyone?

  • How’s this for reconstructive surgery? The Hill End Ecohouse in Brisbane, Australia was built almost entirely of materials salvaged from the 19th century house it replaced. Riddel Architecture was able to use 95 percent of the former structure, and the effect is stunning. http://www.rara.net.au

    Credit: Christopher Frederick Jones

    How’s this for reconstructive surgery? The Hill End Ecohouse in Brisbane, Australia was built almost entirely of materials salvaged from the 19th century house it replaced. Riddel Architecture was able to use 95 percent of the former structure, and the effect is stunning. http://www.rara.net.au

Credit: Christopher Frederick Jones

How’s this for reconstructive surgery? The Hill End Ecohouse in Brisbane, Australia was built almost entirely of materials salvaged from the 19th century house it replaced. Riddel Architecture was able to use 95 percent of the former structure, and the effect is stunning. http://www.rara.net.au

Mix and Don’t Match

There was a time in the fashion world when your socks had to match your shirt, your belt had to match your shoes, and your kitchen had to be goldenrod or avocado green. But the age of homogeneity has passed and we’ve entered an era of mass personalization. Nowadays it’s cooler to mix different cabinet styles, wood species, and paint finishes, and to accent new stock with an antique here or there. Although the “granite standard” still lingers, many consumers are starting to explore other options for self-expression, such as terrazzo and concrete countertops that can be inlaid with sea glass or pebbles from that recent beach trip. Or the builder-grade drawer pulls that can be swapped out for antique knobs from your grandmother’s armoire. Little things make a difference if they make buyers feel like their home was built just for them.

Jenny Sullivan is a senior editor covering architecture and design for BUILDER Magazine. This was adapted from her Dec 2010 article.

A Landscape Architect We Love

Raymond Jungles. Mr Jungles leads his Miami based landscape architecture firm in the design of private residential gardens, boutique hotels and botanical gardens. Mr Jungles’ firm partnered with Herzog de Meueon on his award winning 1111 Lincoln Road. Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone provided macedonia slabs to this project. Mr Jungles’ partnered with Frank Ghery on the New World Symphony Campus extension. Mr Jungles is featured in over 30 landscape architecture books and 100 national & international publications. He has won 31 design awards from the Florida Chapter of the ASLA.

Why We Love Him?

His prolific impact on Miami’s landscape architecture scene is matched only by his ingenius use of indigenous & sustainable stone and his careful selection of native plant & drought tolerant plants & trees.

A Sampling Of His Most Recent Work:

Naples Botanical Garden

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

1111 Lincoln Road

New World Symphony Campus Extension