LESS CAN BE MORE WITH MINIMALIST DESIGN

Clean, uncluttered minimalist design is a modern look, appealing for what it leaves out, such as installation of door, floor and window trim. Certainly there will be a savings with such a design, since the carpenters get to skip this step and go home early?

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LESS CAN BE MORE WITH MINIMALIST DESIGN

MANAGING A HEARING BEFORE THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORICAL COMMISSION

The Cambridge Historical Commission is the official historic preservation authority for the City of Cambridge. If your property is in a formally designated historic or neighborhood conservation district, no permitted work can proceed without a Certificate from the Commission. We often attend hearings on behalf of clients, when necessary.

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PRIDE AND THE MASTER CARPENTER

By Doug Hanna

Recently, the guy who does web marketing for our company, John Corbett, suggested that I write a blog post about the role of pride in producing top level craftsmen. Having worked at S + H maybe 20 years ago for a year or two, John recalled that every carpenter that he knew at S + H aspired to be the best, and had definite opinions on what constituted quality work. The carpenter’s trade requires vision, patience and total focus. Any lapses in attention are punished immediately as the work must be torn back and corrected. Intense pride in the result helps to keep the master carpenter’s head in the game.

 

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PRIDE AND THE MASTER CARPENTER

SALVAGE GIVES CONVICTION TO A MODERNIST ADDITION

When designing an addition to a 1949 bauhaus classic by noted Modernist Samuel Glaser, great care was taken to make the look and feel of the new work entirely consistent with the original. This meant that we were to reproduce existing millwork and trim details throughout the addition.

 

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SALVAGE GIVES CONVICTION TO A MODERNIST ADDITION

FINDING THE CARPENTER IN THE CRAFTSMAN STYLE

The Craftsman style is familiar to us all, and is still with us in a way that the Victorian is not. We are often called upon to upon to apply Craftsman style detail in very un-Craftsman buildings. The Craftsman sensibility endures because it has a humane feel to it, as it retains the visible presence of the hand of the craftsperson (carpenter, mason, metalworker, etc.) that made it.    

 

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 FINDING THE CARPENTER IN THE CRAFTSMAN STYLE

LISTENING TO A BUILDING TO RESTORE PERIOD DETAIL

History is a funny thing. Sometimes, it gets erased. In construction, we call that a “gut job”, meaning that the existing finishes have been demolished, from the framing studs out. Times change, tastes change, but the spirit of a building remains the same, and calls out for restoration of its original purpose and intention.

 

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LISTENING TO A BUILDING TO RESTORE PERIOD DETAIL

Design Collaborations Between Contractor and Architect

One could argue that the best, and most organic design solutions involve input from the bottom up. S+H's skill set allows them to collaborate with architects to conceptualize designs that will not only delight the client, but provide functionality.

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Design Collaborations Between Contractor and Architect

WHY NOT STUCCO FOR EXTERIOR FINISH?

Use of stucco as an exterior finish is traditional in Florida and California, and is growing slowly in New England, as lumber of a suitable grade and species for exterior finish becomes harder to find. Historically, even in New England, some designers specified stucco as appropriate for the building style they had chosen. Though it is associated with dry or tropical climates, we can see it performing well here, over time, in historic buildings, especially early 20th century residences in towns like Belmont and Newton. This historic work is generally 3 coat stucco over wire mesh.

 

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WHY NOT STUCCO FOR EXTERIOR FINISH?

Contemplation, Planning and the Elements of Design

By Doug Hanna

Last night I looked out over a frozen pond with the full moon above. The shadows of the trees were beautifully etched in the snow. As I surveyed the landscape of the winter-that- never-ends, I've been thinking about the Native-Americans who lived here for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. They lived through winters like this, but spent the long winter nights in hide-covered wigwams. It certainly must have affected the mindset of these people, to live four or five months of the year inside structures made of saplings covered with animal hide, with the natural world locked away in the ice and snow.

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Contemplation, Planning and the Elements of Design

The Benefit of a Good Architect or Designer

By Doug Hanna

The residential construction industry is on the rise, which is great news. But lately we've noticed a tendency of owners trying to build or renovate without good, solid design plans. This is not anything new, but seems to be more prevalent these days. Perhaps it's a side effect of the recession, or, as one architect recently said to me "the commoditizing of our industry." I'm not quite sure the reason, but what I do know is that undertaking a home building or home remodeling project without a complete set of architectural plans is penny-wise and pound-foolish.

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The Benefit of a Good Architect or Designer

Urban Living Revisited

By Doug Hanna

After four years of self-imposed exile in the far suburbs I recently moved back to the city. There is nothing better than being out in nature with the blue herons, owls, hawks and flocks of turkeys you call your neighbors, but in time the solitude and beauty of living out in the woods can be offset by long and frustrating commute and the occasional feeling of isolation. Fun fact: In the past four years, I've driven approximately 40,000 miles for my daily commute alone, taking up upwards of 1,500 hours of time or around two months of my life. 

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Urban Living Revisited