Love superclean design but fear the building inspector? Here's our guide to skirting those modernist missteps.
After years of drooling over photos of guardrail-free, precipitously cantilevered Chilean beach houses, you have decided to take the plunge and live the dream yourself. But before you fall in love with a pristine design filled with adrenaline-inducing features, you might want to engage your reality sensors and proactively disarm some of the code landmines that have been lovingly placed by your building official.
Don't Trust Anything over 30
A typical baby is made of two parts: a cantaloupe-size head and an oddly strong body that powers the head into various objects. If the baby head is powered into a hole slightly bigger than the head, then the body can’t easily back it out again. These head-size, IRC-violating holes (symbolized by the four-inch sphere) tend to show up on staircases and terraces—places where architects try to emphasize the dramatic experiential quality of vertical space. What to do? Consider using a sheet material for your guardrail panels that allows light in but keeps baby heads out. The last couple years have seen an explosion of perforated metal and translucent resin-based options.
Heed the Sphere
On the one hand, you see the Prairie Dropseed grass in your front yard as a testament to your appreciation of natural ecosystems. On the other, your neighbor (and possibly your zoning ordinance or neighborhood association bylaws) sees it as a middle-finger-style manifestation of your radical eco-agenda. Preemptively mute your neighbor and confound the bylaws by mowing a tidy two-foot stripe around the perimeter of your property every few weeks.
Visualize the Yard Mullet
Embrace the Energy Code