What is a Smart Home?

A smart home is a residence that uses internet-connected devices to enable the remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems, such as lighting and heating.

Smart home technology, also known as home automation, provides homeowners security, comfort, convenience and energy efficiency by allowing them to control smart devices, often by a smart home app on their smartphone or other networked device. Continue reading

Architectural Modernism

Rejecting ornament and embracing minimalism, Modernism became the dominant global movement in 20th-century architecture and design.

Modernism is the single most important new style or philosophy of architecture and design of the 20th century, associated with an analytical approach to the function of buildings, a strictly rational use of (often new) materials, an openness to structural innovation and the elimination of ornament. Continue reading

County of Santa Cruz Releases Interactive ADU Toolkit

The County of Santa Cruz has released an interactive toolkit making it easier for homeowners to design, permit and construct Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which can be a more affordable housing option for Santa Cruz County families. Continue reading

Energy Conservation: 10 Ways to Save Energy

There are many different ways to reduce your household’s energy use, ranging from simple behavioral adjustments to extensive home improvements. The two major motives for conserving energy are to save on utility bills and protect the environment. Here are the ten most common ways to conserve energy in your home, listed from the simplest to the most intensive methods. Continue reading

Flat Roof Considerations

Flat roofs are cheap to install, but may face issues with waterproofing.

What is a flat roof?
A flat roof is installed to sit horizontally on top of a building, with very little or no pitch. A flat roof is ideal in many ways – for example they’re cheap, fast and easy to install. The key problem with flat roofs however, is they can be difficult to waterproof. A pitched roof encourages rain, ice and snow to drain or slide off. Water on a flat roof tends to pool and then soak down into the house. Continue reading

Design with Dormers

One of the best ways to increase the usable floor space of a 11/2-story house is to add a dormer. It increases headroom, it provides daylight and fresh air, it makes previously dead space fully functional, and it doesn’t change the footprint of the house. With its long, simple roof, a shed dormer adds the most floor space and more opportunities for windows than other dormer types. Continue reading

Five Cutting-Edge Building Materials to Watch

The following materials technologies are making significant headway this year. This motley collection of innovations, which includes clothing made from synthesized spider threads, consumer products bio-engineered from discarded shrimp shells, and a bridge built entirely by robots, represents the culmination of years—sometimes decades—of research. Continue reading