written by:
July 27, 2011

During the process of planning, designing, and ultimately constructing our future home, we discovered inspiration, resources, and motivation in a plethora of places, both online and off. These range from individuals blogging (like us), to companies providing practical information, to brands (like Dwell) that connect those interested in modern architecture. There are plenty of other books and places you can go to find ideas and resources, and I encourage readers to share their favorites in the comments below. Our hope with sharing our story is to not only pass on the things we've found, but to inspire others to make the leap and go after their own dream project.

The trek towards a finished house is a lengthy one and some days you think it will never end. On those days, these inspirations and resources kept us motivated. We hope you find that they provide the same for you, no matter where you are in the process.

 

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 21: Inspiration and Resources.

One of the most comprehensive blogs I came across during our project was <a href="http://www.ahousebythepark.com/journal/">"A House By the Park,"</a> which documented the design, planning, and construction of a modern home in Seattle. The owner was extrem
One of the most comprehensive blogs I came across during our project was "A House By the Park," which documented the design, planning, and construction of a modern home in Seattle. The owner was extremely detailed in sharing the entire process, all the way down to the finances. Detailed photos and easy-to-follow category listings chronicled everything from cabinetry to HVAC to how to buy the property. A complete photo gallery and Live Cam time-lapsed the project. Although the site is no longer updated it is a treasure chest of content and inspiration for anyone looking to embark on a modern home project. The architects behind the project were Build, LLC.
1 / 14
I found out about the House by the Park blog from the architects Build LLC of Seattle. They have <a href="http://blog.buildllc.com/">one of the most prolific architecture and design-related blogs</a> online. They often visit major cities and write about s
I found out about the House by the Park blog from the architects Build LLC of Seattle. They have one of the most prolific architecture and design-related blogs online. They often visit major cities and write about some of their most modern finds. The architects are completely transparent in their discussion of all facets of the business, from what it takes to get a job at their firm to how they remain busy during slow periods. They share drawings and thoughts on materials and technologies, discuss opportunities to get involved in architecture, and share their experiences in a candid forum that invites commentary and receives a following. The blog continues to be a source of inspiration, ideas and resources for the design/build firm. Another blog of note in similar fashion although not as detailed is Phinney Modern.
2 / 14
Like any new endeavor you dive head first into, learning about architecture was as much about learning the language. Early on I came across the book <a href="http://www.101thingsilearned.com">101 Things I Learned in Architecture School</a> and it quickly
Like any new endeavor you dive head first into, learning about architecture was as much about learning the language. Early on I came across the book 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School and it quickly became a companion along the way. During the interview process we found that some architects spoke straight-up architecture lingo while others were more focused on converting insider language to words and phrases the client would understand. Either way, this book became a great resource simplifying the world of architecture. The book delivers insights and concepts of architecture in an informative and entertaining way. The sketches are fun and the concepts are memorable. 
3 / 14
A Google search early in the process quickly turned up one of the most comprehensive sites of architectural inspiration. <a href="http://www.archdaily.com">ArchDaily</a> is drool-worthy and I found the global scope of featured projects, including brillian
A Google search early in the process quickly turned up one of the most comprehensive sites of architectural inspiration. ArchDaily is drool-worthy and I found the global scope of featured projects, including brilliant modern residences, to be reason enough to bookmark ArchDaily and visit, well, daily.
4 / 14
We sought out frequent kitchen inspiration along the way. Early on we fell in love with SubZero and Wolf appliances. The question became, which ones should we pick and how will they look in our kitchen? The kitchen photo galleries on <a href="http://www.s
We sought out frequent kitchen inspiration along the way. Early on we fell in love with SubZero and Wolf appliances. The question became, which ones should we pick and how will they look in our kitchen? The kitchen photo galleries on the site provided a great resource and we visited often as the project progressed to find projects with similar material palettes. The general website for both brands also provides resources such as CAD files for the specific appliances. Our architects implemented these into our plan set, including schematics and elevation drawings.
5 / 14
It's a good sign when you open the Sunday New York Times and see the architect you selected has a project featured in the pages of either the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/pages/magazine/index.html">NY Times weekend magazine</a> or <a href="http://www.n
It's a good sign when you open the Sunday New York Times and see the architect you selected has a project featured in the pages of either the NY Times weekend magazine or NY Times T: Style Magazine. Beyond the work of Olson Kundig, the Sunday magazine provided weekly inspiration for projects around the world from various architects. The magazines feature large-format photos and minimal but meaningful editorial insights into the needs of the client and the solutions provided by the respective architect or firm.
6 / 14
Setting is a vital part of our project. While ultimately hiring a landscape architect was far off into the future for us, we were immediately impressed with the work of Andrea Cochran after coming into contact with her book, <a href="http://www.dwell.com/
Setting is a vital part of our project. While ultimately hiring a landscape architect was far off into the future for us, we were immediately impressed with the work of Andrea Cochran after coming into contact with her book, Andrea Cochran: Landscapes. Not only did some of the residences and projects featured in the book have similar aesthetics to what we were after, the landscape design was incredibly inspiring and helped us envision opportunities for our project.
7 / 14
Good design has to be experienced. Sat in. Test driven. Lucky for us we have a <a href="http://www.dwr.com/">Design Within Reach</a> store in downtown Seattle. We have had our eye on a few pieces from DWR and on more occasions than I can count we've trekk
Good design has to be experienced. Sat in. Test driven. Lucky for us we have a Design Within Reach store in downtown Seattle. We have had our eye on a few pieces from DWR and on more occasions than I can count we've trekked down to their showroom to see our favorites, experience them, tear out pages from the catalog, and price out options. One of my favorite aspects of the DWR brand is how they celebrate the minds behind the design. The stores are virtual museums of modern design.
8 / 14
We did a lot of reading and a lot of scanning of architecture books. The timing of our project coincided with the release of <a href="http://www.juliusshulmanfilm.com/">Visual Acoustics</a>, the story of famed architecture photographer Julius Shulman. The
We did a lot of reading and a lot of scanning of architecture books. The timing of our project coincided with the release of Visual Acoustics, the story of famed architecture photographer Julius Shulman. The documentary by Eric Bricker told the fascinating story of Shulman's life but also provided context and foundation for the story of architecture itself through various critical moments in time. The case study homes particularly interested us. On a visit to Palm Springs for a commercial shoot, I had the opportunity to visit a few of the projects featured in the film including a drive-by of the Kaufmann House, restored by the architecture firm Marmol Radziner, and the Frank Sinatra residence, complete with a kitchen outfitted with Frank Sinatra's signature baby blue appliances.
9 / 14
There are distinct challenges and opportunities to designing and building in the Pacific Northwest region. Challenging landscapes. Challenging weather. Challenging material selections. We are blessed with a range of talented architects, design builders, c
There are distinct challenges and opportunities to designing and building in the Pacific Northwest region. Challenging landscapes. Challenging weather. Challenging material selections. We are blessed with a range of talented architects, design builders, contractors and craftspeople that make our region extremely unique and highly sought-out regionally, nationally and globally. And luckily, we have a wonderful local resource in Arcade Journal to document all the above. The quarterly magazine chronicles the architecture and design community with intelligence, high design, award-winning graphic design, and critical commentary and features an honor roll of contributors from the area's best and brightest. Arcade is donor and advertiser-supported and is always highly anticipated with release parties.
10 / 14
Edward LaLonde, our project manager on Maxon House, referred us to <a href="http://www.myarchitectfilm.com/">My Architect</a> as a good film to watch for more architecture background. It became a film I revisit often. It follows the story of Nathaniel Kah
Edward LaLonde, our project manager on Maxon House, referred us to My Architect as a good film to watch for more architecture background. It became a film I revisit often. It follows the story of Nathaniel Kahn following in the footsteps of his architect father, Louis Kahn. An intriguing story that provides an informative backdrop to the world of architecture.
11 / 14
It only takes a few hours playing around on Google's <a href="http://sketchup.google.com/">SketchUp</a> to realize why you pay professionals to design your house. Crazily addictive and downright instant fun, SketchUp became a cool resource to concept out
It only takes a few hours playing around on Google's SketchUp to realize why you pay professionals to design your house. Crazily addictive and downright instant fun, SketchUp became a cool resource to concept out some ideas before throwing them over the fence to the real pros. 
12 / 14
This is a big one. Book that is. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Houses-Taschen-Anniversary-Special-Editions/dp/3836510219/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311657800&sr=1-3">Case Study Houses 25th Anniversary Special Edition</a> is a must-have for any a
This is a big one. Book that is. The Case Study Houses 25th Anniversary Special Edition is a must-have for any architecture library—as long as you have plenty of bookshelf real estate to house this monster of a coffee table book. The projects featured in Visual Acoustics are well documented here, as is Shulman's photographic mastery. It includes in-depth photos, sketches, and plans of each of the featured homes, as well as timeless photography and insights into the projects. If you gave this book legs it could act as your coffee table—it's that gigantic.
13 / 14
Complete transparency here. This Backstory blog may be posted on Dwell.com, but we'd be lying if we didn't identify Dwell as a source of inspiration for our project. While there are other home and architecture magazines out there (the numbers continue to
Complete transparency here. This Backstory blog may be posted on Dwell.com, but we'd be lying if we didn't identify Dwell as a source of inspiration for our project. While there are other home and architecture magazines out there (the numbers continue to dwindle), no magazine is as laser-focused on modern architecture for the masses as Dwell. We are long-time subscribers and we go out and buy the special issues that have become invaluable resources. I find myself checking out the Dwell app daily to see what other projects, ideas, and events are being featured.
14 / 14
One of the most comprehensive blogs I came across during our project was <a href="http://www.ahousebythepark.com/journal/">"A House By the Park,"</a> which documented the design, planning, and construction of a modern home in Seattle. The owner was extrem
One of the most comprehensive blogs I came across during our project was "A House By the Park," which documented the design, planning, and construction of a modern home in Seattle. The owner was extremely detailed in sharing the entire process, all the way down to the finances. Detailed photos and easy-to-follow category listings chronicled everything from cabinetry to HVAC to how to buy the property. A complete photo gallery and Live Cam time-lapsed the project. Although the site is no longer updated it is a treasure chest of content and inspiration for anyone looking to embark on a modern home project. The architects behind the project were Build, LLC.

For previous installments of "Building the Maxon House," click here

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Rare green AD65 radio from Ecko.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016
Modern prefab lakeside home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
June 18, 2016
Rectangular bento glass table with compartments.
These top-notch projects by design students earned a spot on our honor roll.
June 18, 2016
bozley all
Jory Brigham picks up his family’s trade and takes it in unexpected directions.
June 17, 2016
ph133407
The outlandish Belgian fashion designer, a member of the iconic Antwerp Six, creates a quirky pattern-filled capsule collection for the Swedish mega-retailer—with a high-tech twist.
June 17, 2016
2016 Triumph Pavilion
A creative take on the classic children's toy.
June 17, 2016
planar and simple chicago farmhouse addition kitchen mutina cabinets tiles pella window kohler faucet
A relaxed interior and radical roof make a home more sociable and energy-efficient.
June 17, 2016