Archive for the ‘Spring 2013 Newsletter’ Category

Architects, designers and clients often ask for details that test our imagination and problem solving skills; many times it’s as if there’s a hidden riddle. For this set of freeform, organic stairs, the owner asked for mahogany treads to match the finish carpentry through the existing home. Our first thought was to run the wood straight and trim the front edges to fit the curves. After some discussion and sketching, we decided that running the mahogany length wise and carving them to follow the curve would offer a finer, more custom look.

Our first step was to design a pattern; we cut rosin paper to fit the steps and gauged off the face, which Nick is doing in the first picture. To achieve the desired width in three equal depth sections we had to freehand the areas where the steps widened, and used semi-random spacing. Next, we matched each puzzle piece up to hardwood in the shop, cut to pattern and labeled diligently. While them working this out, we also had to develop other details like how to face each tread and how to finish to the slate risers. After all of the milling has been done and the drywall complete, we will bring the parts back to the job install. If I wanted to, I could probably bring my five year old grandson with me and have him help with the installation of the numbered puzzle pieces. We’ll have to laminate strips of hardwood to the face to get a nice flowing curve and then sand and finish it.  Check back soon for the results!

Many of us, and our friends and neighbors, live in homes vulnerable to wild fires.  Because our area is so susceptive, there is a local resource was organized to help keep your property, home and family safe, the Fire Safe Council (WEBSITE).  I have been part of this group for several years and seen first-hand how effective and helpful it can be. 

The Fire Safe Council’s mission is to educate the public on fire safe practices, as well as to logistically and financially support local community groups in large scale clearing and chipping.  Whether you are building a home or want to evaluate your existing fire safety levels, it is an excellent resource. Check out the Public Information link on their homepage for helpful videos and publications.

 Another great link is Current Projects which lists the communities that have active fuel reduction plans in place.  If you want to find out how you can apply for funding (Yes, there is money available!) or to support fuel reduction in your community or neighborhood visit the Focus Group.

 There are Fire Safe Councils in each of the counties in California, but ours happens to be one of the most effective.  Funds come from the Federal level and are passed through the State FSC to the local counties, and we’re regularly funded to the maximum allowed.  I highly recommend you take advantage of the resources available to you, your home and community.