Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Residential Neighborhoods of Boston

Fresh back from a visit to Boston and touring around the city viewing some architectural history. One thing of note about Boston is the fantastic urban neighborhoods that pocket themselves around the city. History is no stranger to this old east coast city, so tons of charm can be found roaming the streets. Following are a few images of typical housing you may stumble across...

The Brownstones of Commonwealth Avenue, just a block away from the amazing shopping on Newbury Street

The dripping history to be found in the Italian neighborhood known as the North End

Classic units of Beacon Hill, just a block away from the banks of The River Charles

Alley way entrance in Beacon Hill

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tacky Smack Vinyl Wall Art Installation Photos

Some pics of a recent installation for our new company, Tacky Smack, at the Seattle retail store Retrofit Home located in Capitol Hill... In these shots Tricia and I are putting up a bunch of our vinyl wall art designs in preparation for our launch party! Our new company focuses on vinyl surface art, sometimes referred to as wall tattoos or wall decals, which are essentially removable stickers for a new twist on home decor. Tacky Smack style! The team is: Betsy, Joshua, Tricia and Matthew.

Tricia working out the final details on "Mermaid Spice"

I'm prepping "Hanging Gardens"

Removing transfer tape from "Mermaid Spice" with our "Bombass" collection next door (Fairy, Bleeding Heart, Unicorn)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tacky Smack Launch Party Flier

Our new vinyl surface art company, Tacky Smack, launches next week! If you live in Seattle, then please join us for the party at Retrofit Home on October 8th... we'll have our product in Retrofit Home, and our e-commerce website launches on the same day. Our current offerings total over 60 designs, all available in varying sizes and color palettes and ready for you to purchase via our website on October 8th...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Houston Apartment Community Remodel

A Bollen Design recently completed its first project in Texas with the remodel of a Houston apartment community for Centaurus, a Dallas based company. The Trails at Dominion Park property has 1,000 units, and sits on a large campus of buildings with multiple pools and tenant facilities. We worked on the Leasing Center, Internet and Business Lounge, Fitness Center and Clubhouse. The Clubhouse build is currently on-hold for a second phase. Our package included a full set of construction drawings for each of the four buildings, and a complete Interior Design package. We also installed the project over the course of a week during an on-site visit before opening to the tenants. Following images show some of the interior design and build-out for a couple of the spaces...

This picture is of the new leasing center entry.

This picture is of the new leasing desks of which there are five stations.

This picture is of the business lounge area, TV yet to be installed on wall.

This picture is in the lounge area.

This picture is in the internet lounge with computer stations and seating.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Preservation Green Lab

In yet another lead by example push, Seattle will become the headquarters for the Preservation Green Lab. Among other things, their main goal will be to encourage other cities to consider historic preservation and the existing building stock in order to become more sustainable. The thought being that the greenest building is the one already built, as the construction of a new green building requires a fair amount of resources.

I pulled these three goals from the website:
Good Policy, Green Results: The greenest building is often the one that is already built, which is precisely why the Preservation Green Lab will work in various cities and states to develop and implement policies that support green retrofits and adaptive reuse, as well as reinvestment in existing communities.

Greening by Example: To demonstrate that older and historic buildings can, in fact, be retrofitted to achieve high levels of energy efficiency, the Preservation Green Lab will launch a number of green retrofit projects in pilot cities across the country.

The Go-To for Going Green: The Preservation Green Lab will lead the conversation on best practices and model policies for greening our country's prized older and historic buildings, functioning as the go-to resource for those navigating the intersection of historic preservation and sustainability.

The Green Lab will be under the National Trust for Historic Preservation and their Sustainability Program. The headquarters for this new lab will be right down the street from our Capitol Hill office, located on 12th Avenue in the historic Piston and Ring building, already home to some great business, and of course a fine example of sustainability by using the existing building stock.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Olive8 Seattle - Glass Details

The new Olive8 Condominiums are nearly complete, bringing an interesting building to the Seattle skyline. Though there are some serious faults with this development, such as it's weird proximity to a neighboring building and a height complex, the architecture certainly brings in some a fresh design elements to the area. Good or bad, time will tell, though I give it a thumbs up for being different, and spending some money on that conquest.

This view will one day be blocked by a massive building planned for the parking lot in the foreground. The Ava is yet to be started, you can read about it here on the Seattle Condo Blog. There's also another tall condo building planned just to the South across from the Paramount Theater. For some interesting reader comments about the Olive8 development on another blog, hugeasscity, check out their post here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Room With a View (of a room)

Wow. Somewhere in the development process someone is to blame for screwing up. Probably the responsibility lies with the building department, but the proposal should never have come to the table. The developer AND architect really should not have put money before impact... The other day I was walking around Seattle and found this little gem of lame planning:

Look at how close these two buildings are together! The completed one has been occupied for a few years now. Not sure if the building under construction was recorded/planned before people purchased their units in the condo tower, certainly I hope those buyers researched before signing. Either way, there a few along the way who should have stopped this mammoth screw up.

I'm thinking the buildings are no more that 9 feet apart at their closest, which is probably some ridiculous minimum in the code book - but that doesn't mean you should take advantage in this way. It's not good for the condo owners, it's not good for the future owners of the new building, and it's not good for anyone who even has to look at this failure.

I'm sure there are tons of dialogue and posts and news bits regarding this particular debacle. Another great post regarding a similar theme can be found here at hugeasscity.com. For sure, density is fundamental for a city to thrive. Though with density should come a heightened sensitivity to the space a building will occupy... with its neighbors.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Design Tips to Help You Make the Sale

The following post has been submitted by one of our guest contributors to the blog: Holly McCarthy...

It is no secret that we are suffering through one of the most devastating economic climates in many years, and have already sustained substantial losses in its wake. Thousands upon thousands of people have lost their homes, and many others are on the verge of following suit. Right now, it is certainly a buyer’s market when it comes to housing, but there are some simple ways to ensure that your house sells before the guy down the block gets to your potential buyer.

It’s All About Presentation

From the dishes in the sink to the dust bunnies swirling about when the door is opened, you may want to look at your space with some fresh eyes. Keep an eye out for the latest trends and read up on what buyers are looking for. When you’re trying to sell your home, you need to make your home appeal to as many people as possible. Affordable updates are far easier than expensive renovations.

Clean It Up

Once you are equipped with the proper information about what people are looking for, snap to it. Rather than spending a fortune on new flooring, have a professional carpet cleaner come to your home and help to make things presentable. People out there scouring the market are often willing to make the major changes to your property and want to select things like tile, carpet, or wood themselves.

Fresh Paint

Relatively inexpensive, paint is a fantastic way to change up a room’s appearance. If someone looking at your home doesn’t like the color it can always be changed, but you can’t change their first impression of your home. Select neutral colors that will compliment your rooms’ features.

Accent Pieces Work Wonders

It’s amazing how some small items can make or break a space. Find bold and bright ways to liven up a room and change the way things look in a positive and economical way. Accessories, accent pillows, throws, and other items are great ways to change the look of a room without breaking the bank.

When it’s all said and done, selling your house in this market can be made much easier by making a few simple changes in your home. You may end up wanting to stay after you’ve looked at your home through new buyers’ eyes.

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of online trade schools. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pike Pine Triangle Construction Updates

I've been taking advantage of Seattle's sunny warm weather as of late by walking around the neighborhood to capture images of the local construction projects. And there are many. But I'll focus on just two, with both of the following developments having previous posts in this blog. Please view those posts as well for my original missives. The first project is the Eleven Eleven East Pike development, designed by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects.

What's great about this one is the use of materials and colors in combination with the architectural design elements, which together are stated to give homage to the automotive and industrial businesses that used to adorn the neighborhood. I'm also excited to see a block that is made up of many buildings, all with varying heights and styles. There are enough big-box entire block projects, so a balance is much appreciated.

As you can see from these images, they are super close to being finished. I'm pretty happy being that they've had the north sidewalk on Pike Street closed for far too long with this project. And with the completion of this project, the block is now home to four new developments all completed within the last couple years. A way different place than before, full of vibrant retail, eateries, and residents. Fortunately, there are still plenty of old buildings surrounding all the new ones, and they really add to the character and history of Capitol Hill.

The second project I wrote about in a post titled, "Designing Plazas and Public Spaces in Big Box Architecture" in which I gave my opinions on developments in which no public space is provided. This one balances in a middle ground, with a big-box footprint that still provides some off-sidewalk spaces. Designed by Runberg Architecture Group, and developed by barrientos, The Chloe is almost ready to top-off the framing...

You'll notice how the footprint of the main building is "L" shaped, with the open space facing the street rather than the interior, thereby creating a nice pedestrian friendly presence. This approach creates the appearance of multiple buildings, yet still shares the same structure and facilities. And it brings a one story building into the fold, removing the looming large mass above and bringing the building down to human scale. Additionally, they've created a plaza-like space between the buildings, allowing for people to gather and socialize off-street.

Being only two blocks away from the Eleven Eleven development and its revitalized block means the neighborhood is starting to reach critical mass. There are a handful of other developments that have also recently been completed, or are in the early phases, all within the Pike Pine Triangle. Fortunately my house and office are just a couple blocks away as well, and I get my architectural eye candy. Who doesn't love construction?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Keeping Building Facades

This post is a follow up to my previous Keeping History from November 14, 2008. In that post I spoke about how the definition of historic (or what is deemed as historic) is directly tied to location and surroundings. With that comes the value of preserving what you can, and how you apply the historic notion to development. The Packard Building is a fine example of keeping something questionably historic in greater terms, but certainly worthy to be deemed historic based on the added value stemming from maintaining the character of a neighborhood.

I was walking by the project site the other day, so grabbed a few images showing the construction progress. From what I can tell, a fair amount of the below-grade work is complete. Soon we will start seeing the new structure rise behind the saved facade. It's a great time to view the site, as the old building facade seems to be balanced on not very much. Probably a bad time for an earthquake.

On a sunny day the sun pierces through the openings where the windows once resided. On any day you can look through the openings and see the crane lowering and rising with rebar and concrete.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bellevue Towers Hits the Mark - I WANT!

The new Bellevue Towers development is pretty much completed, along with a host of other recent projects in Bellevue's downtown core. Probably bad timing with market being hit hard right now, but only if you're financially involved. Which I'm not, so my connection is purely visual. That said, take a look at the website to see the project in detail.

I feel this project is great on so many levels. Even had to pull my car over and get out to gawk when I first drove by a couple months ago. The architecture is fantastic. The two buildings speak to each other in a dramatic yet graceful way. The feel is most definitely residential. The balconies, curves, angles, tower bases, all of it... totally hits the mark. One of the most awe inspiring views is from the North where you really get a sense of all the stunning architectural features. In my opinion, Bellevue Towers raises the bar and is the development to beat!

These two photo's were taken by one of my readers. In the above image you can just start to make out the curving balconies that intertwine and reverse every six levels, which in my eyes is one of the most appealing elements. I'd love an image from the side of the building to really show what I'm talking about, though you can see it on the first image which is a computer rendering of the project. Below is a construction shot, also sent in by the same reader, with the project nearly completed.