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Hollywood Renovation: Week 10

Now that winter is long gone, weʼre looking forward to spending more time outdoors in our front garden—which doubles as an outdoor room. To make it more inviting, weʼve decided to replace the gravel between the pavers with creeping thyme.   In this exclusive series for Dwell.com, Linda Taalman of Taalman Koch Architecture tracks the hands-on renovation of her and her partner's live-work space in Hollywood, California. Week 10: A Room Outdoors.
April 21, 2011
Director Craig Brooks visits the Maxon house site.

Building the Maxon House: Week 8

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week Eight: Making a modern dwelling—and a documentary film series.   The following is an interview with Craig Brooks, director at Kontent Partners. He shares his story and his vision for the Maxon House film series. Enjoy.  
April 20, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 7

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week Seven: First site visit with Tom Kundig.   The following teaser clip is from the upcoming documentary film series "Maxon House." The series chronicles the art and craft of our Tom Kundig-designed house and features footage from concept through completion. The documentary is being produced by Seattle-based Kontent Partners and directed by Craig Brooks. The focus of the series is to share the stories of all the individuals, companies and organizations who were brought in to work in their respective areas of expertise on this project. Over 60 individuals will lend their particular craft to the Maxon House project, from foresters to architects, surveyors to tree limbers. The myth of the architect working in solitude is just that: a myth. This film will celebrate the journey, process, and all the stories and characters who worked to make the house possible. For more information, check out maxonhouse.com. Next week's blog post will share some behind-the-scenes photos of the documentary and an interview with the director. Maxonhouse // Tom Kundig teaser from kontent partners on Vimeo.   It was a clear, sunny spring Saturday in Carnation, the town thirty miles east of Seattle where we’d purchased 21 acres. Our house in the suburbs had sold and was all packed up and ready for moving day. The five of us arrived at Starbucks to meet up with Tom Kundig and our project architect Edward LaLonde. This was the first time my wife and three boys met the team that would be directly responsible for designing our future residence. (I’d met Tom once before, but hadn’t yet met Edward.)  
April 13, 2011
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HelioTrace Robotic Facade

I was intrigued by a rendering featured in the latest newsletter from SOM, which came across my desk a few weeks ago. So I wrote the firm for more information. Turns out this new invention—a kinetic, solar-responsive curtain wall system—is still in development and won't be available on the market for a few years still. But it's an intriguing concept, so I figured I'd share.
April 11, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 6

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week Six: Visiting Olson Kundig Architects. I spent the months between our initial phone call and my first meeting with Tom Kundig familiarizing myself with his extensive portfolio of work. I scanned the website, re-read and bookmarked different portion of his book and browsed the numerous magazine articles the firm had sent over. I looked for projects of similar size, scope and setting in order to gather thoughts to share, questions to ask and details to discuss. As I made my way up to the sixth-floor offices of Olson Kundig Architects in March 2008, I was honestly nervous, inspired and slightly intimidated.
April 6, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 5

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week Five: Finding Architecture Nirvana.   It was late 2007 and we had just wrapped up interviewing design-build firms, architects, and prefab companies—but nothing seemed to resonate. Having just spent a sizeable chunk more on the land than we had previously planned, we also had to reset our expectations when it came to finances. Our biggest milestone to date was the acquisition of our land. The quest now was to find the architect who could leverage the site benefits and the needs of our family—and do it all within a budget that made the project doable for the near future.
March 30, 2011
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Hollywood Renovation: Week 9

This week the plan was to transform the back garden into a lush California native garden inspired in part by Maui, where we just returned from vacation. However, it has been raining almost every day since we returned, making it impossible to work outside. Finally today there was a break in the rain and so this week’s blog covers our ideas for the back garden. Our goal was to source the materials locally and plant everything in one day. Of course, we would love to walk outside and find the same natural world that we discovered in almost every corner in Maui, where each tree and plant seemed to be a perfect specimen. However, we're in drought-prone Los Angeles, and a large cedar and another tree dominate the back yard, making the space underneath shady most of the time. So we looked to the forests to find solutions.   In this exclusive series for Dwell.com, Linda Taalman of Taalman Koch Architecture tracks the hands-on renovation of her and her partner's live-work space in Hollywood, California. Week 9: Tackling the garden.
March 25, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 4

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week Four: Picking an approach.   We must have looked at over twenty different sites in-person and online, within a search radius of 45 miles from our house at the time. Our next critical decision was: What do we want to have built, by who, and how would we pay for it? The options we considered were prefab; design-build; architect-designed and contractor-built; and pre-existing modern plans out of books and magazines. And then on top of that we wanted to build in a green and sustainable way.
March 23, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 3

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week Three: Thoughts on site...   When we started we thought it was all about the house. Our thinking was: find cheap land and voila, the rest would take care of itself. As we later engaged with the architect and his work, we learned that site carried at least the same weight as the architecture of the eventual house. Each feature of the site we would engage with had its own opportunities and challenges. We hadn't considered this as we embarked on our site search and selection. In the end, we selected a site purely on instinct and raw potential. This decision, although risky, proved to pay off down the road as we experienced the complete transformation of the site and its true beauty. All photos by Maxon House unless otherwise noted.
March 17, 2011
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