written by:
April 20, 2011

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.

 

Craig Brooks, director of the Maxon House film (left), and author Lou Maxon (right) discuss tactics for the afternoon's filming session.
Craig Brooks, director of the Maxon House film (left), and author Lou Maxon (right) discuss tactics for the afternoon's filming session.
2 / 4
Director Craig Brooks gets in the brush to capture close-up action of site preparation work for the Maxon House documentary.
Director Craig Brooks gets in the brush to capture close-up action of site preparation work for the Maxon House documentary.
3 / 4
Craig Brooks takes a look at the permit set of plans to figure out what the afternoon of filming looks like on the site.
Craig Brooks takes a look at the permit set of plans to figure out what the afternoon of filming looks like on the site.
4 / 4
dwell maxonseries8 photo3

When you hire an architect you get much more than the voice and perspective of one individual. In the case of Olson Kundig Architects, you get the collective experience of an award-winning firm that has been around decades and done quite a wide range of projects. One of the unique aspects of Olson Kundig Architects is the culture. And with culture comes tradition.

Our project is like many others that Olson Kundig Architects takes on in that it will involve artists and craftspeople, it will feature sustainable design elements, and at some point in the project’s life cycle it will be the subject of one of the firm's Thursday Night Crits. 

 
One opportunity that came up early in my discussions with the firm was an invitation to come and speak about my work as part of their visiting lecture series. The firm opens their doors to individuals who excel in disciplines other than architecture to speak and present their work. Much of my professional work focuses on helping brands identify and then share their stories in non-traditional ways (think less commercial, more compelling editorial style). Some further discussions happened and the firm invited me to pitch some ideas on how we might collaborate on some projects that took advantage of both of our backgrounds. I pitched the concept of taking one of their clients and having a documentary film series made about the experience of that client engaging with the architect and the journey towards the ultimate building of their residence.
 
The firms’ partners welcomed the idea and took it one step further, challenging me to share our story: the making of Maxon House.
 

Craig Brooks, director of the Maxon House film (left), and author Lou Maxon (right) discuss tactics for the afternoon's filming session.
Craig Brooks, director of the Maxon House film (left), and author Lou Maxon (right) discuss tactics for the afternoon's filming session.

 
Although my wife and I had been documenting things for our own personal story, we wouldn't have the time and resources on our own to realize this vision so I reached out to some professional contacts to see if anyone would be interested in taking the project on. Plus, I wanted there to be a third party who could put their own filter on this from a creative and a logistics point of view. I made a few calls and finally was able to connect the architecture firm with Craig Brooks, a director and owner of Kontent Partners in Seattle. The two met, some proposals were exchanged and before the ink would dry on an agreement the cameras were rolling. 
 

Director Craig Brooks gets in the brush to capture close-up action of site preparation work for the Maxon House documentary.
Director Craig Brooks gets in the brush to capture close-up action of site preparation work for the Maxon House documentary.

Kontent Partners has been at pretty much every critical meeting and moment during the entire project. The focus of the film series is to share the collective stories of all the individuals that make a project like this possible. Obviously it takes the client (us) to commit to the project but well after that step happens there are countless individuals and companies that help shape and realize our vision. This is their story too. We joke as we write check after check (after check) that we've created a micro-economy with this project, but it’s actually true. There will be a lot of money spent but more importantly, there will be a lot of people we get to meet and engage with that would only ever happen because of this project. This is what makes the experience for us and for our family truly memorable. The craftspeople, the architects, the foresters and everyone else you'll soon meet through the process of this blog have become part of our extended family on this trek.

 

Craig Brooks takes a look at the permit set of plans to figure out what the afternoon of filming looks like on the site.
Craig Brooks takes a look at the permit set of plans to figure out what the afternoon of filming looks like on the site.

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

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

two of a kind padua italy matching family homes facade green roof doors color
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to interiors , we visited homes from Haiti to italy. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
April 30, 2016
houseofweek
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
April 30, 2016
W House living room
Our best reader reactions this week.
April 29, 2016
Vineyard house illuminated at night
Rammed-earth construction fuses this Portuguese house to the environment.
April 29, 2016
vintage Scandinavian furniture Kathryn Tyler
In southwest England, interior designer Kathryn Tyler built her home around her ever-expanding furniture collection.
April 29, 2016
steel facade home Seattle
On the sandy shores of Fauntleroy Cove in Seattle, renowned firm Olson Kundig Architects crafts a subtle home with striking steel accents.
April 29, 2016
seperate piece renovated guesthouse eames storage unit cork floor tiles living room
An architect and an interior designer put the tools to the test for this impressive renovation.
April 29, 2016
Ceramics by WrenLab
Manhattan doesn’t get to have all the fun during NYCxDesign. Brooklyn is set for the return of BKLYN DESIGNS at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint from May 6-8, 2016. Here are just a few exhibitors we are excited to see this year.
April 29, 2016
n0a6974 dxo
Architect Diego Revollo refreshes an apartment with a standout kitchen.
April 29, 2016
img 8652 1
The city of San Francisco has been eagerly awaiting the reopening of SFMOMA for years—and as the May 14th opening approaches closer everyday, the anticipation continues to build for art enthusiasts both near and far. This morning, we were given the opportunity to explore the newly expanded space before the crowds roll in. After a series of speeches, remarks, and tours, we left the grounds feeling thoroughly inspired and excited to share what we discovered.
April 28, 2016
gramercy 1 ar53319
A family doesn’t have to travel far for a private oasis away from the busy city.
April 28, 2016
Renovation of 1967 Hamburg apartment with Vipp kitchen.
In our April issue, we showcased an apartment in Hamburg, Germany, with a striking, matte-black kitchen from Vipp. The 77-year-old company became famous for its iconic pedal trash can before venturing into kitchens and other tools for the home. This isn't the first time that the Danish company's products have graced our pages, and here we've gathered additional examples from our archive that show how the brand's minimalist black kitchens are always a win in modern interiors.
April 28, 2016
Zafra residence living room.
A man and his wife make an emotional return to an apartment building he loved as a kid.
April 28, 2016
the garden inside concrete dining pavilion indoor outdoor custom cabinets thermador dishwasher refrigerator
A skylit conservatory doubles as a verdant dining parlor in Sonoma County, California.
April 28, 2016
Details of the Calico collection.
Calico Wallpaper founders Nick and Rachel Cope showed us through their home in our March Issue, now step inside their studio.
April 28, 2016
william krisel pow 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
April 27, 2016
Dwell on Design and designjunction at ArtBeam
It's all part of Dwell on Design + designjunction's three-day event, featuring a program of talks chock-full of leading figures in design, architecture, urbanism, and beyond—coming up May 13-15 at ArtBeam in New York.
April 27, 2016
seattles mariners floating house prefab facade exterior fiber cement panels
A prefabricated floating home drops anchor in the Pacific Northwest.
April 27, 2016
royan treatment living room stone fireplace vintage new furnishings
French designer Florence Deau effortlessly mixes the old with the new.
April 27, 2016
modern netherlands 13 noordeinde schoolhouse parquet herringbone floors stove
Take a lesson from this school-turned-home.
April 27, 2016
The sidewalks of Copacabana in Rio De Janero, Brazil, designed by Roberto Burle Marx
The Jewish Museum in New York City takes it outside with a celebration of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
April 26, 2016
Waterfront home in Belvedere, California
A 1960s home infested with powderpost beetles had to be sacrificed before this this Zen-inspired house could happen.
April 26, 2016
dialogue house
At the base of Echo Mountain in Phoenix, a geometric home by Wendell Burnette opens up to the surrounding desert landscape.
April 26, 2016
street smarts kitchen full view
A creative couple transforms an old Toronto storefront in Dundas West into a home and studio.
April 26, 2016
hald strand
This architect thinks of everything for his summer escape, pizza oven included.
April 26, 2016
gans turin residence living room
Thanks to a contemporary interior that she’s been updating for a decade, modern architect Abigail Turin has learned to love her traditional 1925 San Francisco home.
April 25, 2016
131
Johannesburg-based design studio Counterspace was founded in 2014 by young architecture graduates Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers, and Amina Kaskar. Their projects are collaborative, research-led investigations into possible futures and ideas of otherness in Johannesburg.
April 25, 2016
through living room
A second-story addition and a new indoor-outdoor focus revive a nondescript house in L.A.
April 25, 2016
Modern living room with Flexform sofa and Jens Fager candelabra
An Antwerp home blurs the boundaries between art and design.
April 25, 2016
hillside haven  1
This backyard is its own modern retreat in the Berkeley Hills.
April 25, 2016