Author Archives: santacruzarchitect

Tips for Designing Your Shipping Container Home

Robyn Volker and Anke Irmscher decided to paint their shipping-container home bright orange because, as Ms. Volker said, “you might as well announce it’s a container.” credits: N.Y.Times

Shipping container homes have grown immensely in popularity in recent years for several good reasons: they are durable, eco-friendly, and modular. More importantly, approached correctly, they can be built both faster and more affordably than conventional homes. The first two-story shipping container home in the U.S. is said to have been designed by a California architect in 2006. Since then, the rate of shipping container housing has steadily accelerated in response to the increased cost of home construction. Here are some tips for those considering a shipping container home. Continue reading

Construction Starts: Indications for 2019

A survey of various indicators – builder confidence, anticipate construction growth, the construction job market, home sales, and economic indicators – shows mixed but apparently favorable overall trends for our regional construction industry in 2019. In this article we compile recent reporting from five online sources to develop a an overview of what those in the construction industry can expect over the coming year. Continue reading

About Water-Resistive Barriers

typical water-resistive barrier

Example of a widely-used water-resistive barrier

Keeping Bulk Water Away from Vulnerable Building Components
A water-resistive barrier (WRB) is a material installed between the sheathing (or studs if there is no sheathing) and the siding. It is designed to prevent water from reaching building components that could be damaged by moisture. Builders should assume that siding installations aren’t truly waterproof, and that some water will find its way through or around the siding (at least once in a while). Without a WRB, sheathing and other parts of the wall assembly would be much more susceptible to damage. Continue reading

Owner Who Illegally Demolished Neutra House Told: Rebuild an Exact Replica

The house was designed by modernist Richard Neutra.

The San Francisco Planning Commission has ruled that a buyer must rebuild an exact replica of a historic house they demolished illegally in the city. Ross Johnston must also put up a plaque explaining what happened — providing a lesson to all in the sensitivity required when buying and renovating special buildings. Continue reading

Affordable Net-Zero Energy Home Construction in 12 Steps

net-zero energy

Net-zero energy home

Building and designing affordable zero energy homes involves 12 integrated steps that utilize commonly available building materials and equipment along with easy-to-learn building strategies. By following these steps, you can build a new home that is cost comparable to a conventional home. Continue reading

Five Ways of Optimizing Framing

Five Ways of Optimizing Framing

Optimized Framing

Advanced framing can save materials and time while boosting your homes’ efficiencies. As builders look for ways to cut costs while meeting ever-more-stringent energy codes, many are turning to advanced framing methods. Also known as “optimum value engineering (OVE),” advanced framing techniques optimize material usage to cut down on waste, eliminate redundancies, reduce labor, and increase a home’s energy efficiency while maintaining structural integrity. Here is a look at 5 advanced framing techniques that builders can adopt one at a time as they ease into new, more efficient building methods. Continue reading

Best Insulation for 2×4 and 2×6 Walls

When you are insulating two-by-four (2×4) and two-by-six (2×6) framed exterior walls and want to use fiberglass insulation, what thickness should you use?

This is a critical question. Adding too little insulation means a colder house. Adding too much insulation means insulation that isn’t properly doing its job, thus a colder house. Continue reading