Small Wonder

written by:
January 5, 2011

On a quaint, tree-lined street in Berkeley, California, architect Sarah Deeds of Deeds Design and carpenter John McBride placed a 120-square-foot office/art studio near their main house, a renovated 1906 Victorian, on a 3,100-square-foot lot. “Since it was a design/build project, I had the luxury of changing the project as needed during construction,” says Deeds, who was able to easily accommodate unanticipated developments for the studio, which she planned as an irregular pentagon shape to maximize interior space. Deeds used salvaged and FSC-certified wood for the construction, formaldehyde-free fiberglass and denim insulation, a door left over from a previous project, and no-VOC paint, stains and finishes. Adding to what she calls the clubhouse feel, Deeds put in a large south-facing high window overlooking an existing deciduous California buckeye tree that provides shade in the summer, and painted a bright “burgee” detail atop the exterior, milled from a fallen tree. “It’s like a little fort,” says Deeds.

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  The studio’s redwood siding was milled from trees salvaged from a road-widening project in Sonoma County, California. The hardware, “two-hundred dollars’ worth of stainless-steel screws,” says Deeds, was purposefully left exposed as an architectural detail. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    The studio’s redwood siding was milled from trees salvaged from a road-widening project in Sonoma County, California. The hardware, “two-hundred dollars’ worth of stainless-steel screws,” says Deeds, was purposefully left exposed as an architectural detail. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  Deeds, a lifelong sailboat racer, designed her own “burgee” atop the studio to brighten things up and “make it not look too architecty,” she says. The siding was applied as a rainscreen to cut down on the chances of woodrot. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    Deeds, a lifelong sailboat racer, designed her own “burgee” atop the studio to brighten things up and “make it not look too architecty,” she says. The siding was applied as a rainscreen to cut down on the chances of woodrot. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  The glass-and-aluminum front door, from Loewen, was salvaged from another project. The windows are all-weather double-glazed aluminum. The landscaping and new path, which reaches back to the main house, are by Berkeley-based Matt Hornby Garden Design. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    The glass-and-aluminum front door, from Loewen, was salvaged from another project. The windows are all-weather double-glazed aluminum. The landscaping and new path, which reaches back to the main house, are by Berkeley-based Matt Hornby Garden Design. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  The southern wall, which has the most exposure and faces the California buckeye tree, is integral to the studio’s passive solar heating. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    The southern wall, which has the most exposure and faces the California buckeye tree, is integral to the studio’s passive solar heating. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  Frodo relaxes before a wood detail inspired by the concrete corner of architect Steven Holl’s Chapel of Saint Ignatius at Seattle University. “I call it the woven corner,” says Deeds. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    Frodo relaxes before a wood detail inspired by the concrete corner of architect Steven Holl’s Chapel of Saint Ignatius at Seattle University. “I call it the woven corner,” says Deeds. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  The couple’s family and housemates celebrate the completion of the studio. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    The couple’s family and housemates celebrate the completion of the studio. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  Deeds used environmentally friendly wood stain and no-VOC paints for the exterior. “These are not the cheapest finishes, but honestly way more pleasant to work with than the traditional smelly stuff,” says Deeds. “I’ll have to report back on longevity and durability, but so far so good.” Image courtesy Deeds Design
    Deeds used environmentally friendly wood stain and no-VOC paints for the exterior. “These are not the cheapest finishes, but honestly way more pleasant to work with than the traditional smelly stuff,” says Deeds. “I’ll have to report back on longevity and durability, but so far so good.” Image courtesy Deeds Design
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  Embedded LED lighting allows the studio to glow at night. Image courtesy Deeds Design
    Embedded LED lighting allows the studio to glow at night. Image courtesy Deeds Design
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  Inside, Deeds created a wall-to-wall sofa (supported by a square steel tube) with storage drawers underneath. A single shelf provides more storage. “The thick insulation and the passive solar features perform wonderfully,” says Deeds. “The building is very comfortable without supplemental heat. When it is too cold I warm up the room by turning on a few lights and my computer, and sometimes I bring a large dog inside or do ten jumping jacks to generate some heat. Because of the insulation, the heat sticks around.” Photo by Lenny Gonzalez  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    Inside, Deeds created a wall-to-wall sofa (supported by a square steel tube) with storage drawers underneath. A single shelf provides more storage. “The thick insulation and the passive solar features perform wonderfully,” says Deeds. “The building is very comfortable without supplemental heat. When it is too cold I warm up the room by turning on a few lights and my computer, and sometimes I bring a large dog inside or do ten jumping jacks to generate some heat. Because of the insulation, the heat sticks around.” Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  The opposite end of the structure has a low clearance of five-feet, nine inches to reduce exterior volume and accommodate the roof pitch above the desk, which is curved so people can more easily interact at meetings, as opposed to sitting in a line at a straight edge of a table. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    The opposite end of the structure has a low clearance of five-feet, nine inches to reduce exterior volume and accommodate the roof pitch above the desk, which is curved so people can more easily interact at meetings, as opposed to sitting in a line at a straight edge of a table. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  Deeds hung a single Louis Poulsen PH5 lamp from the ceiling; its blue and red interior paint “is very friendly to human skin tones,” she says.
Photo by Lenny Gonzalez  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    Deeds hung a single Louis Poulsen PH5 lamp from the ceiling; its blue and red interior paint “is very friendly to human skin tones,” she says. Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  The floor plan. Image courtesy Deeds Design
    The floor plan. Image courtesy Deeds Design
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  The section shows the simple, efficient interior elevation. Image courtesy Deeds Design
    The section shows the simple, efficient interior elevation. Image courtesy Deeds Design
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  The siteplan. Image courtesy Deeds Design
    The siteplan. Image courtesy Deeds Design
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  McBride, breaking ground.Image courtesy Deeds Design
    McBride, breaking ground.Image courtesy Deeds Design
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  The 30-percent Fly Ash foundation, with formwork and rebar. Image courtesy Deeds Design
    The 30-percent Fly Ash foundation, with formwork and rebar. Image courtesy Deeds Design
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  The framing goes up. Image courtesy Deeds Design
    The framing goes up. Image courtesy Deeds Design

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