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Office Nomads Library 04.27.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in Portfolio.
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The library, in the design stage.Office Nomads is a coworking space on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.  In the interest of full disclosure, I use it as my workspace.  The owners wanted to create a library in one of their conference rooms.  The final design sought to be simple, modern and use as much material from onsite as possible.

  • Unit split into four sections, mirroring rhythm of glass on opposite wall.
  • Library material sourced from old shelves in attic.  ACX plywood was selected and sorted to give best patterns premium exposure.
  • Face frame was installed flush to plywood boxes to give a modern look.  Individual shelves are unfaced, exposing a clean finished plywood edge.
  • Countertop is made of 2×6 fir subflooring.  It was planed to remove the old finish and reveal beautiful, knot-free vertical grain.

The Importance of Scheming 04.20.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in BnB.
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Not a great scheme Any idea that an architect has is going to change over the course of a project.  An architect’s idea becomes precious, like (to use an image that is popping up frequently in my circle of friends) a child. You imbue your idea with your traits and characteristics.  It grows.  In doing so, it responds to other influences around it (client, builder, code).  Finally your idea is an adult in full, mature and carrying your traits but also the experiences of the world of building in which it has grown.  For the architect, this is the path from schematic design to construction.

While sometimes frustrating on a superficial level (ouch, my ego), I always find it necessary for a project’s success.  I like to look at this not so much as a change, but as an evolution.  Take, for instance, the radical evolution of the Sexton Kitchen.

The family was renovating their home in phases of which the kitchen was to be the first, along with new windows and insulation.  I worked with a pretty tight budget, and was able to put together a pair of great conceptual designs.  One even had a sick spiral staircase that would have been a lot of fun to frame.  In the end, the coming winter reversed their plans and they went forward with insulation and window replacement first.

By the time the kitchen came around, the conceptual design no longer fell in their revised budget.  However, the need for a new kitchen was still great.  No worries.  I suggested a skilled and cost effective contractor that could help them out.  In the end they made some sacrifices (reused the cabinets, put aside the country aesthetic) but got a great kitchen at a fraction of the cost.

Tim was apologetic.  I think he told me something like, “Sorry we didn’t use your design.  I know you were excited about it.”  I still was.  I told Tim that, despite the need for the change in design, the conceptual design we did yielded ideas.  The project changed, but without that initial exercise, they would not have really known what they wanted.  And the kitchen is solid and functional.  (but man that spiral staircase would have been fun.)

Sexton Kitchen 04.20.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in Portfolio.
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Perspective of conceptual designSchematic design for a 240 sqft residential kitchen remodel in Ballard with a budget of $15k.  Owners sought a country aesthetic combined with modern, commercial grade, stainless steel appliances.

  • Existing walls, window and plumbing remained in place to keep costs down.
  • Existing stair was removed and replaced with a spiral stair to maximize usable space.
  • French doors to new deck allowed for natural light.
  • Owner requirements for a bar and an island in a small space led to inclusion of a butcher block table.
  • Additional storage space provided with new exposed pantry/display unit.

So a baker, a builder, and an architect walk into a blog… 04.10.2009

Posted by Dan Sheehan in BnB.
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The author at work.Blogs most powerful attribute is that they lack specific function. Blogs can be anything the user wants.

It was this freedom that kept me from throwing my hat into the blogosphere. It seemed impossible to consider a function that would be worthwhile for my readers and I. It’s not that I didn’t like blogs. I loved them. Seriously though, were my interests worth the bandwidth? The short answer was no.

But now I have a blog. What changed? Three things: First, the realization that blogging is a dialog. Second, and more importantly, that I can distill my interests into a tidier package. Third, finding function. So gentle people, I present Bread and Buttress, a blog devoted to both of my professions, baking and architecture.

So, please note that I have lied to you. Bread and Buttress does not have a specific function. Like my architecture (and my baking, I suppose) this blog is a mixture of specifically defined functions and flexible space for other forms of communication. It is beginning as a portfolio, advertisement, education tool for clients, and most importantly a transparent look at the construction and baking trades.

I hope that as BnB evolves, new uses will emerge and superfluous ones will be trimmed away. In this way, I hope to maintain my side of the conversation with you. I am both anxious and excited. Let’s see what happens.

D. Sheehan
April 10, 2009