7.27.2015

rockin' it 4 Rocio Romero

I sleep better when I dream of architecture. When we were designing and building, I'd lay my head to my pillow, dream about the project, and be out in less than a minute. Architecture relaxes me. It's my codeine.

So to sleep well at night, I need something to dream about. And lately it's been the dream of having a mountain cabin to live in for three or so months out of the year when temps, like today, are 100 degrees. This would happen after we retire.

Initially the dream was to build the Schindler cabin up in the woods somewhere, but we're having second thoughts. The cabin might be OK for a weekend, but for three months? It's small and appears claustrophobic with low ceilings (six foot six inches, anyone?) and an odd absence of windows. I suppose we could build something inspired by the cabin (raise the ceilings and add more windows), but then, why bother?

After touring the Method module last weekend, I started looking at prefabs. Then a friend sent me a link to the kit homes of Rocio Romero, and I fell in love.

Ms. Romero is an architect from Chile who now lives in Missouri with a focus on her company that sells modern kit homes. The premise is simple: provide enough of the key bits to ensure the critical elements of the architecture is intact such that a typical builder could build the house. Along those lines, she provides a full set of plans and everything to complete the outside walls sans windows. You and your contractor do everything else (foundation, floors, inside walls and finish out, and roof).

I find the design gorgeous. Romero's own version of it, her house, is immediately below:



(that's her there!)













And as might be expected, being an architect and all, her choice of materials, furnishings, and art is spot-on. Doubly cool that she gets to live in a space that she designed.

Her concept is scalable with endless possibilities. And she says that the finished product ranges in cost from $120 to $195 a square foot depending on construction labor costs in your part of the country.

Some of the particulars (and one of the floorpans):







Several hundred have been built in the U.S. with several overseas. Some cool features of some built ones:

Neat detail on the bottom of a cantilevered patio.

Neat entry ramp.

Dual sink treatment in a bathroom.

Cantilevered patio.

Kitchen with the fridge facing the kitchen. Romero's basic (and preferred) design has the fridge hidden away from view. Ms. Romero is not a fan of seeing the fridge (on this we agree).

Werewolf night...

Stared entry.

Different window on the right.

Another ramp.

Damn thing comes flat-packed like IKEA furniture.

Neat little set-up.

Another bathroom sink set-up.

Cantilevered concrete patio.

The teeny-tiny version available via VRBO in Arizona.

Out in the woods.

Side patio.

Man, would this look good in the bedroom!



7.19.2015

Dwell (with Monogram) in Austin at NEST Modern



Dwell magazine brought its traveling show of Monogram appliances (and other accoutrement) wrapped in a modular Method home to Austin this past Friday and Saturday at NEST Modern, and we stopped in to gawk.


The "house" was rather awesome. Based on a customized tweak of one of Method's basic modular homes, the place was airy, well designed, and thoroughly modern. I say "house" because the place, built to demo kitchen gear, had no bedroom (just kitchen, dining, living, and bathroom). The bathroom (below) is the best small bathroom we've ever seen: compact yet open and airy.

Although we could (somewhat) care less about new kitchen appliances, I have to admit to enjoying the demonstration of the cat-safe induction cooktop (at a mere $3,200); the combo speed cook, convention, warming, and microwave oven ($2,600), and fridge with cold-rolled aluminum shelves ($9,100).





As we consider cabin options, we were interested in seeing what modular looked like. This modular home was basically a fancy-schmancy single-wide trailer (let's call it a swankler!). However, Method modular homes (and modern mods in general) are not cheap. Turnkey for something like this is something like $250 to $300 a square foot (and probably more). As we consider options for a cabin, this is a "Hmmmm....". Perhaps it makes sense time-wise (this unit took them three months to build) or if you plan to build in an area that does not have the trades needed to make a modern home happen.

Since we hadn't been to the new digs for NEST Modern, we stopped in there as well. It's quite nice! From the photos, it looked much smaller than their previous space, but this spot at 2603 South Congress is quite nice with a large space in the back for outdoor furniture.