Tag Archives: Santa Cruz Architect

Choosing A General Contractor

Most medium and large construction jobs are handled by a general contractor or G.C. The general contractor may be called a builder, building contractor, remodeling contractor, etc. What makes him a “general” contractor is that he enters into a contract with the owner to complete a project and takes full responsibility to get the job done for the bid price. In general, he purchases the materials, hires the tradespeople, and brings in subcontractors to get the work done. The subcontractors are responsible to the general contractor, not to you, the owner. Continue reading

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A Practical Guide to Fiber-Cement Siding

Picking the right siding for your house is a delicate balancing act between good looks, durability, maintenance, and affordability. With wood, vinyl, stone, brick, or stucco, you might get only two or three of these. But with fiber cement, a resilient mix of wood pulp and portland cement, you get all four. It’s the only siding that combines the performance of masonry—minimal upkeep; rot-, fire-, and termite-proof; unaffected by wind or cold—with the look of painted wood clapboards, shingles, even stone or brick. Yet fiber cement goes for just a fraction of the cost of these other materials. No wonder nearly 15 percent of new homes—and many TOH TV projects—are clad with the stuff.
All this has happened in just 25 years, since fiber cement was first introduced. Now architects regularly specify the siding because it holds down costs without compromising aesthetics. It’s even accepted for use in many historic districts. Continue reading

Is an Open Floor Plan for You?

Open-Floor-Plans-55f61afbe9506-kitchen-with-open-floor-plan-l-6d36bd632879cc35Every homeowner has their own design style, which makes choosing a floor plan that meets style preferences — and functional needs — essential. While there is no such thing as a universally “perfect” floor plan, there is, however, such a thing as the “perfect” floor plan for your household. There are pros and cons to the traditional floor plan and the modern floor plan alike. Only by weighing your priorities, can you figure out which floor plan is perfect. In this article we want to help you determine whether or not the open floor plan is compatible with your needs and stylistic preferences. Continue reading

How to Choose a Roof for Your Home

choosing-roofing-1From natural materials like slate and wood to manmade products such as asphalt, sheet metal, and plastic polymers; there are more types and styles of roofing to choose from today than ever before. While each has its advantages and shortcomings, they all can add a distinctive design element to your home. So which one is right for you? Continue reading

Effective Use of Email for Construction Project Communications and Documentation

Article reprinted by permission of Construction Connection who grants permission to use this copyrighted material solely for non-commercial, instructional, personal, or scholarly purposes. Redistribution or re-use of this copyrighted material without permission of the copyright owner/s is prohibited.

email-construction-project-communication-resized-600From the fountain pen, to fax machines, to email, profound advances in technology have brought us to an era where instant messaging is the norm.  Technology has dramatically changed the way and speed in which we communicate.  Not surprisingly, modern construction contracts frequently acknowledge that the parties will communicate electronically, Continue reading

Selecting Land for a New Home? Here are Some Tips

new_firstYou’re building a house. Which do you do first?
A). Select a style and a plan, or, 
B). Select a building lot.

Both approaches have merit. If your heart is set on a Spanish style adobe home, obtaining a heavily treed lot may not make sense for you. Continue reading

Managing Your Project’s Budget: An Overview

Editors note: this article is the first of an occasional series which will explore the important topic of construction cost management from one architect’s perspective.

HouzzAndHome_edit

In its most recent assessment, polling by Houzz indicates that personal lifestyle is the single largest factor in homeowner’s decision-making with respect to budget.

If you are a residential homeowner looking to build a bathroom or kitchen remodel, an addition to your home, an ADU (*accessory dwelling unit) or seeking to build an entirely new home your first step is financial planning, identifying: 1). your project budget: how much money are you prepared to expend on the project?, and, 2). within that budget, do you choose to allocate your money? Continue reading