Preview the '131-Day House'

By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
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Our July/August issue (on newsstands now) focuses on the work of talented female architects who found creative ways to solve design problems. One such story is told by Jayna Cooper, an emerging L.A. architect (and Dwell on Design 2012 speaker) who shepherded her home from blueprint to building in just 131 days. Cooper dreamed up the concept, put it on paper, managed subcontractors, sourced materials and products, and completed some of the construction work herself. Check Wednesday to read the full story and accompanying slideshow of photos. In the meantime, here are four excerpted tips to whet your appetite.

On materials: "Basic inexpensive stuff like corrugated sheet metal, stucco, and drywall can look really great if it's incorporated in modern and well-thought-out way."

On pricing: "Everything is negotiable, and if you're nice and can give someone a good excuse to give you a deal, they usually will."

On the floor plan: "I located the bathrooms, a bank of cabinets, and the closet between the street and the bedrooms [to create a sound buffer]."

On the final product: "The best advice I got on this project, and advice I give now, came from a wise friend and seasoned architect. He told me: 'Don't try to do everything in one house, especially your first house.'"

Find copies of our July/August Designers at Home issue on newsstands, order a risk-free subscription here, buy Dwell for iPad and smartphones here, or call 1-866-565-8551.

Architect Jayna Cooper designed and built her new home in L.A.

Diana Budds


A New York-based writer, Diana studied art history and environmental policy at UC Davis. Before rising to Senior Editor at Dwell—where she helped craft product coverage, features, and more—Diana worked in the Architecture and Design departments at MoMA and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She counts finishing a 5K as one of her greatest accomplishments, gets excited about any travel involving trains, and her favorite magazine section is Rewind. Learn more about Diana at:

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