Blueprint Affordable: How to Build a Beautiful House Without Breaking the Bank

Blueprint Affordable: How to Build a Beautiful House Without Breaking the Bank

by Michelle Kodis
     
 
Dreaming of an architecturally distinctive house filled with graceful, beautiful materials that has been customized to fit your lifestyle-but think you can't afford it? Blueprint Affordable will dispel those fears and put builders on the path to a home that is personal, beautiful, and affordable. Discover the secrets of cost-conscious design and construction through

Overview

Dreaming of an architecturally distinctive house filled with graceful, beautiful materials that has been customized to fit your lifestyle-but think you can't afford it? Blueprint Affordable will dispel those fears and put builders on the path to a home that is personal, beautiful, and affordable. Discover the secrets of cost-conscious design and construction through the examples of ten cutting-edge residential designs, and see how building a unique home doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive.

Author Michelle Kodis includes an amazing list of helpful information, guidelines, and tips to follow throughout the planning and building process such as:

· keep a simple floor plan

· opt for off-the-shelf stock sizes, which cost less than their customized counterparts

· choose locally available materials

· study your building site's climate and weather patterns, and focus on an architectural plan that shields the home from the elements

· omit a basement where possible-you'll save thousands on excavation costs

· do your own research and purchase your own lighting fixtures, paint, carpet, and appliances instead of hiring an outside consultant to do so

Budget-mindedness and beauty don't live on opposite sides of the architectural block, as the ten houses in Blueprint Affordable strikingly demonstrate. As exceptional as they are in their design, these houses all share one key attribute: from the very beginning, before their owners' dreams were transformed into exciting realities, everything from the floor plan to building materials and finishes was driven by limited financial resources.

Since receiving her master of science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1991, Michelle Kodis has written about a broad range of topics, including architecture and design, the environment, health, business, and cuisine. She lives with her husband near Telluride, Colorado, and is currently at work on additional architecture/design books for Gibbs Smith, Publisher. She is the author of Blueprint Small: Creative Ways to Live with Less.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this well-organized book, Kodis has done the home remodeler an enormous favor, presenting ingenious yet practical guidance for building economical and aesthetically pleasing houses. Using 10 sample homes from across the country, she explains why various materials and design elements illustrate the golden rule of architecture: "the precursor to affordability is simplicity." Her mantra: avoid complex shapes and angles. Starting with a 15-point checklist, Kodis shares cost-effective choices for both construction and maintenance, forever sensitive to the specific demands of location. For instance, the concerns of a property owner in California, who worries about earthquakes, are different from those of a Kansas resident, who encounters oppressive heat and cold. In addition to regional tips, Kodis (Blueprint Small) celebrates an appreciation for natural woods and recycled building materials, such as irrigation pipes. Though she favors the less-is-more approach, she's quick to point out when an expensive option is more efficient in the long run. Each house is unique; prices range from $55 to $228 per square foot, and all are lovingly photographed. A particularly helpful addition is the inclusion of blueprints, which are shaded to indicate what the photograph is illustrating. Given Kodis's philosophy of simplicity, most of the designs are minimalist in style; what readers save on construction they can spend on decorating. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
An architect with numerous books and articles to his credit, Dickinson (Small Houses for the Next Century) believes that one can have a custom house built for the price of a common "off the rack" spec house. Less can be more as long as the plan is carefully designed to fit the owner's lifestyle (the typical new home is oversized so that it can be everything to every buyer). To support this contention, Dickinson offers 19 homes as examples. In some cases, cheaper commercial-grade materials are used throughout, or lower-grade materials are used on the second or third stories where they won't be easily seen. Each section includes a wealth of information about the house and shows how it meets its owner's needs while saving money; entries also include budget information and floor plans. Although not exactly cheap, these homes are much less expensive than the typical custom homes featured elsewhere, but as the numerous color photos attest, they are just as beautiful. Dickinson's book seems more responsible than many architectural titles because it celebrates the designer's ingenuity more than the customer's vanity. Kodis (Blueprint Small: Creative Ways To Live with Less) takes a similar tack, showing readers how to build a custom house on a budget using a 15-item "Affordability Checklist" that encourages simplification, recycling, and the use of local materials. The ten homes featured seem more down-to-earth than those presented by Dickinson but are certainly attractive (and their comparative simplicity may actually appeal to some readers). Kodis includes a wealth of information about the savings achieved by using certain materials. The numerous color photos include a tiny floor plan showing the camera angle, which is a nice touch. Both titles are excellent additions to larger collections, although Kodis's book will better serve do-it-yourselfers. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586853075
Publisher:
Smith, Gibbs Publisher
Publication date:
05/21/2004
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

COST PER SQUARE FOOT: $55

Budget-Friendly Factors:

-careful consideration to issues of long-term maintenance and durability of materials

-off-the-shelf items and recycled hardware from restaurant supply stores

-birch plywood, concrete, structural steel, galvanized sheet metal, drywall, safety glass, combination of fixed and operable vinyl windows, sheet metal roof vent and cone

This Manhattan Beach residence was suffering a steady decline and plagued by termites, wood rot, and mold when José Fontiveros and Mariana Boctor of the Santa Monica-based Sintesi Design Build were invited to step in and work their magic-as inexpensively as possible. Today the home, lauded as a "box of art on the beach" by a previous owner who spearheaded the initial renovation, is a shining example of an economical overhaul defined by a clean and casual style.
Fontiveros and Boctor had just received their degrees from the UCLA Graduate School of Architecture when they were handed the irresistible opportunity of turning the building into a comfortable but refined residence suited to beach and family life. Ads placed at architecture schools had offered the home as a lab for "experimental design," and several interviews later, the owners found a match in Fontiveros and Boctor. Undaunted by the project's budgetary constraints, the pair welcomed the challenge, and their success is evident in how they combined materials from the lower end of the building spectrum in ways that look anything but cheap. According to Fontiveros, "The home was remodeled for the cost of what one prestigious architectural firm and contractor bid for the kitchen alone."

The first remodeling phase of the 965-square-foot, 1920s-era structure, originally built as a fish-and-chips stand and some years later converted into a summer getaway, focused on "ideas for fixing everything inexpensively," Fontiveros recalls. First, to reconfigure the tiny floor plan into a spacious combined kitchen/dining/living room, the architects suggested tearing down the decaying kitchen wall and shoring up the ceiling with a wood beam, left exposed for the dual purposes of saving money and introducing a rustic texture to balance the sleek industrial materials. Also on the agenda: adding windows and removing the rotting worm-board ceiling to reveal the handsome wood rafters, trusses, and steeply pitched gables.

Meet the Author

Michelle Kodis is the author of Blueprint Small: Creative Ways to Live With Less, Blueprint Affordable: How to Build a Beautiful House Without Breaking the Bank, Blueprint Remodel: Tract Home Transformations That Turn Everyday to Extraordinary, Ultimate Backyard: Inspired Ideas for Outdoor Living, and Ultimate Outdoor Kitchens: Inspired Designs and Plans. She lives in the mountains of Colorado.

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