Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Street of Dreams 2008

The street of dreams was almost cul-de-sacked this year. First, with the housing market, nobody was interested in building huge spec homes, then no reasonable lots were found. It all came together though. Six builders claimed lots at Altamont on Mt. Scott in Portland. This is substantially down from previous years. In 2005 there were 13 homes. House size was also reduced much to our appreciation. The Cherith Brook home was 11,000 sf (a quarter acre of heated area). Aside from that the other five homes ranged from 4400 to 6500sf. Sarah Susanka would still not approve.

Last year the Salish Moon home stood out as substantially different in design and feel. This year none of the homes was incredibly different in design. Most had the same recipe: Walk in the front door. To the left is the den and to the right is the dining. The kitchen is open to the great room. All bedrooms have their own bathroom and there are two other extra full or half bathrooms. The more gables the better, and hipped roofs are king. The only feature on any home that stood out to us was the Sonoma with its sunken courtyard. It was a breezy chilly night but the courtyard was at least 10 degrees warmer due to its being a full 10 feet below grade and sheltered by the house on three sides.

Are the homes green? Define green. Efficient use of space? Probably not. Low VOC paints, wheatboard cabinets and renewable floors? Probably. Tightly air-sealed and ventilated well? Only time and utility bills will tell. For a truly green home, check out our catalog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where's all those new plans you promised?

Greetings once again from your friends at istockhouseplans. The question has been asked and we are guilty as charged. Over the past year we made some promises that we haven't kept. Yet. We won't say we're never going to release some of our plans, we just haven't done it. Yet. Part of it is the busyness of our day jobs and normal lives. Part of it is that the slowness of the market is discouraging us from putting much effort towards the new plans. You'd think we'd be trying to ramp up to get as much business as possible right now. But couple that with the prior point of day jobs and you'll see that istockhouseplans could fail miserably and we'd all still be okay. So there's no HUGE driving factor to get those new plans done.

That being said, we do not have a lax business approach. We are still very much interested in continuing to design plans and fulfill your orders. We still want to help you build the best house that you can. We still want to get those several plans done.

Alot of it has to do with desiring to design green houses and we are learning much right now about that. True, while our earlier designs were pretty spectacular as far as greenability goes, we want to continue to make our plans better. Our lead designer is the sort that won't do much of anything until they think they know close to everything. On the other hand, once they get moving, they are unstoppable. So we are learning about greening our plans even more and once we feel like we have a new holistic approach we'll start banging them out like they used to do in the good old days.

In the meantime, if you have some design ideas or need a particular house, drop us a line and we'll work with you on that. We are not above drawing someone else's designs.