What's the FHA Limit?

The FHA, or Federal Housing Administration, provides home mortgage opportunities meant to help lower income borrowers within their quest for home ownership. 1 need of an FHA loan is that the mortgage be at or under the approved loan limit. FHA loan limits vary between nations, and even county to county, in addition to in the property’s age and type. FHA’s calculations of these loan limits are based on median home prices.


Historically, the FHA had antiquated loan limits and was not particularly user friendly. But in 2006 the section recommitted to the mortgage market through the FHA Modernization Act and revamped its procedure and loan limits to generate its programs enticing to now ’s creditors.


Whether you are buying a house or a condo, purchasing a foreclosure home or refinancing your present home, every nation has different lending limits and requirements. Additionally, there are limits and special factors if you are interested in a manufactured home or a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), which enables homeowners 62 years or old to tap into their property’s equity and live more comfortably in their retirement.

Cases of FHA Loan Limits

In most metropolitan regions of California, including counties in and around San Francisco and Los Angeles, the 2010 limits were $729,750 for a single-family residence, $934,200 for a duplex, $1,129,250 for a triplex and $1,403,400 for a four-plex. In Fresno County, California, the limits were $381,250 for a single-family residence, $488,050 for a duplex, $589,950 for a triplex and $733,150 for a four-plex. But in a smaller community like Susanville in California's Lassen County, the limits were $285,000 for a single-family residence, $364,850 for a duplex, $441,000 for a triplex and $548,050 for a four-plex.


Discrepancies exist in advance limits between even counties and states. These limits change every couple of years in reaction. You may always ask your creditor or go to find current loan limits. (See sources for connection.)


The loan limit that is based must include MIP, or the mortgage insurance premium. When a borrower creates a low down payment, like putting 3.5 percentage back on an FHA loan, a mortgage insurance premium is charged to the homeowner every month at approximately 0.5 percent each year of their entire loan amount. There is an additional 1.75 to 2.25 percent one-time FHA MIP premium. This upfront mortgage insurance payment may be financed into the loan. Confirm these varying levels together with your lender to ensure you qualify within the loan perimeters.

See related

A Half-Demolished Structure Becomes a Fresh, Modern Home

It is not every day that a design-build team has to be their own customer. However, when Nathan and Bettina Waller, who oversee the Sydney-based residential renovations company Capital Building, found a half-demolished structure in the eastern suburb of South Coogee, they chose to remodel it for themselves. Drawing on twenty years of experience, they built a fresh new house with a modern edge.

in a Glance
Who lives here:
Nathan and Bettina Waller and their two sons, Jesse and Remy
Location: South Coogee, Sydney, Australia
Size: 3,552 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 31/2 baths
Completed: 2012

Before Photo

A previous owner appeared to have made some attempt to reconstruct the original 1970s home, but when the Wallers found it, the structure was partly demolished.

After they took over the site, they adopted the approved renovation plans in order that they could proceed quickly using their very own renovation.

Capital Building

AFTER: The final product is a multi-tiered house that suits the nature of its suburban surroundings, maximizing natural light using myriad windows and displaying a crisp, modern aesthetic.

“When we were considering the design, we desired to discover the perfect balance of modern, neutral, eclectic and industrial,” Bettina says. “This blend gives enough modern to feel modern; it’s neutral enough to feel serene and does not compete for attention; the feel grounds that the feel back to nature; and the industrial component makes it feel as if you’re able to live in it and not be scared to spoil it.”

Capital Building

Inside the home, the team used a palette and timber to help deliver a soothing texture. “You really feel like time could stand still in the home, along with the manic pace of life outside does not come in,” says Bettina.

The entry opens into an airy reclaimed wood staircase, which leads around the bedrooms or down to the living area. The Wallers made the custom made front door having a typical solid core door offset by a jigsaw arrangement of wood in varying depth on the outer side.

Capital Building

The industrial-inspired kitchen combines a wood island using a timber bartop produced from a utility pole. The countertop is dark stone that is composite. Parisian-style metallic light fixtures hang above.

Countertop: Essastone in French Black

Capital Building

The dining room continues the glossy appearance of the kitchen. A local carpenter built the dining table with parts of an old fence. Basic light fixtures in multiples help frame the scene. The area opens to a deck area with a basketball goal.

White chairs: OzDesign; upholstered chairs: Curio Design

Capital Building

The Wallers had two patterned rugs sewn together because one was too small for the living area. Ethanol is burnt by the fireplace. “They do not create an enormous amount of warmth but do produce a beautiful gentle heat,” says Nathan. “Plus, there’s no smoke, so no mess”

Sofa: Sofa Studio; chairs: custom upholstered with Par Avion cloth from Warwick Fabrics; rug: Italtex

Capital Building

Simplicity affected the toilet layout. A Engineered wood vanity complements wood floors and natural textures. “This half bathroom is among my favorites because we have managed to make a space that is functional but does not feel like a normal guest powder room,” says Bettina. “It seems just like a different designed space that conveys our style”

Capital Building

The soothing main bedroom features a laminate wood floor that extends to make a backdrop and headboard. A blade wall conceals a small hall that leads to a walk-in closet and main bathroom. “We call this space ‘the cloud’ as you really feel as if you’re up among the clouds,” says Bettina. A custom-made floating mattress pushes this effect.

Industrial elements like thick cement lighting fixtures blend with softer ones like a cream-colored shag rug. To the other side, a faux fireplace made out of MDF commercial timber painted white holds a bundle of driftwood purchased online.

The ceiling falls to fit the reverse-cycle air conditioning, positioned above to assist mirror the placement of the mattress.

Lights: Curio Design

Capital Building

This bathroom incorporates a recycled wood dressing table plus wood-style wall tiles, giving the effect of bringing the mountains into the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

“Taking what would normally be a cold, slick area, we actually wanted to maintain that earthy textured texture but not make it too thick,” Bettina says.

The counter includes a water-based stain and water-based clear conclusion.

Capital Building

The home’s unique pool filled the whole backyard area. The Wallers demolished half the pool and created a new one using a more modern form. This freed up area where the kids could run around on bud. Glass partitions keep the kids safe. Nearby, there’s a large built-in barbecue and outside lounge area.

“Today we have created spaces that join with inner rooms to make each space feel larger,” Bettina says. “All of the outside areas have a purpose; they all connect with each other and each family member of any age and stage is catered for. Among the most common comments we hear when people come in is, ‘It seems like a hotel’ “

See related

5 Best Tips for Working Virtually With Your Architect

Whether your house is big or little, building it includes plenty of challenges, particularly in the event that you would like to build in a region where surfing the design review board is difficult and time consuming. Dealing with a local architect can help your dream project take the course of least resistance. Your architect should have experience with projects similar to yours and have a good standing with the local authority and design review board. This can help you to save money and time getting your project approved.

However, how can you work with a local architect if you are not living in the area that you would like to build? Due to all the tools in today’s architect’s toolbox, this is sometimes much simpler than you might think.

Of course, nothing can substitute real face time among you, your architect and a paper and pencil. The most effective meetings tend to involve live bodies brainstorming around sketches. The more your architect has to know you and your way of life, the more probable it is he or she’ll design your ideal home. These five tips will just help you remain in touch and keep the project going when meeting in person is not possible.

Dylan Chappell Architects

1. Go paperless. The days of having heaps of email each month are long gone for the majority of us. Floor plans saved as PDF (Portable Document Format) files, sent via email, are a fantastic way to see files and help save paper. It is almost always a good idea to view the actual prints to get important design characteristics, but a lot of little design choices and testimonials can be handled by seeing design files on your computer.

Radius Architectural Millwork Ltd..

2. Share photographs. We use with all our customers as a forum for discussing theories and finding visual references for every aspect of design. Having the ability to communicate with a customer through images when we’re far apart is invaluable.

A picture is worth a million words, and using a library of more than a million photographs to search and share can save substantial time when working with your architect no matter where she or he resides. Read the photograph library by room, style or search term to get motivated or find examples of everything you’re searching for. Make an ideabook and reach “Collaborate” to share it with your architect when talking what you need for your home.

Taylor Lombardo Architects

3. Try screen sharing. I recently finished a project here, in California, where my customers were comfortably sitting at home in Massachusetts to get 95 percent of our meetings. These customers are really detailed; all the minutiae were methodically designed. We spent countless hours in virtual meetings doing screen sharing — I seen and took control over their Mac computer — that enabled them to review each aspect of their project.

AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc..

4. Set up. Communication design intent over the telephone is difficult. Viewing a mouse moving across the screen to point out everything you want to see can make the process efficient and effective. Virtual meetings combine screen sharing, PDFs along with a group phone call (conference telephone) with any number of attendees. Virtual meetings save on travel costs, permit you to communicate more efficiently in comparison with regular telephone calls, help finish projects faster, are reduced cost and also have less prep time.

Bruce Wright

5. Consult with a local architect. Sometimes the best architect for your project is not located close to your build location. Instead of hiring a local architect for the whole project, you might want to ask her or him to collaborate through the plan review and planning processes, allow your primary architect shoot over.

This is quite common on bigger projects, particularly in areas having complicated planning approvals. Employing a local architect along with your primary architect might look like a waste at first, but it’ll inevitably help save you money and time in the long run.

Find architects where you want to Construct

Ana Williamson Architect

Experience with design review boards probably is not the first thing on your set of criteria when hiring a brand new architect or designer. But it’s crucial that you do your research and ask about the professional’s expertise. The very last thing a design review board wants to do is hold up a project, but anybody who comes again and again without all the crucial information is squandering the board’s time and the homeowner’s cash.

Cornerstone Architects

How has tech helped you work with architects or customers? Please tell us!

More: Discover inspiration photographs and Begin your own ideabook

See related

Ranch House Love: Inspiration From 13 Ranch Renovations

Nine out of 10 new homes built in the USA in 1950 were ranch houses. By 1970 the number of new homes that were ranches had dropped to four out of five, and the number continued to decrease, says Witold Rybczynski in Last Harvest: How a Cornfield Became New Daleville. As American riches increased and mortgage down payment requirements and interest levels dropped from the mid-1980s, the thirst for more square footage and traditional adornments followed. Ranch homes fell out of favor, replaced with more conventional bigger two-story homes.

Today there’s much revived interest in these low-slung, iconic 20th-century homes. They are readily available, for starters, often at sensible rates. For another, many men and women are realizing that one-floor living is a fantastic approach to age in place without much renovating (or a elevator) required.

Midcentury modern ranches from designers such as Cliff May and Joseph Eichler are highly sought after, while designers are also viewing the charms of contemporary colonial ranches and the potential for hot open floor plans from the smaller, more closed-in ranches.

If you’re searching for ideas for your own ranch home, have a look at the assortment of ranch house tours on . I just did, and I have chosen a few ranch renovation jobs offering useful lessons for diving into your own.

Design Platform

1. Inherited ’60s ranch home in Denver. Seeking to sell the closed-in home, the owners paid particular attention to opening up the kitchen and renovating it.

Tip: They saved money by using Ikea cabinets, subsequently enriched them by incorporating custom hardware and wrap the sides in white pine for contrast.

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

Shaw Coates

2. Spanish-style ’60s ranch in Rancho Santa Fe, California. The homeowners, expecting their first child, appreciated the home’s great bones, including the high ceilings and open design, in addition to having a master bedroom and bedroom to precisely the same floor.

Tip: If a window appears out of scale with the room, go big with all the window treatment. Note how in which the rod and curtains frame the alcove and stand up to the huge scale of the room.

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

Tara Bussema – Neat Organization and Design

Tara Bussema – Neat Organization and Design

3. Less is more in a Long Beach, California, Cliff May home. The homeowners were inspired by the simpler lifestyles of the 1950s.

Tip: Even in the event that you don’t emulate the exact furniture and finishes of the age, look to the philosophies that your home’s era inspired. In this case the owners like to live by”Less is more” and to concentrate on community and family instead of their possessions.

If you have a small ranch kitchen with low ceilings, use translucent or transparent glass on the top cabinets for a lighter, more open appearance.

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

The Cavender Diary

4. Clever solutions in a ’70s Dallas ranch. This creative couple remedied the plain-old-box-feeling malady one area at a time.

Tip: Bring things out of the closet. The owners turned into a wall into outerwear storage that looks like an art installation. (Do not feel bad if your initial attempt at this doesn’t look this good; among those homeowners would be a creative manager at Ralph Lauren.)

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

Susan Jay Design

5. Los Angeles canyon setting. A narrow canyon road leads to this homein the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The homeowners are not allowed to add to its footprint, because fire vehicles have to fit down the road. The surrounding territory was so beautiful that they didn’t care, and they made the most of the home’s square footage.

Tip: Expand in the garage. Many ranches from this age have roomy garages just begging to be completed as family rooms, an extra bedroom or a home office. What is more, replacing an old garage door with a glass garage door, French doors or sliding doors would create easy access to a distinctive courtyard or patio.

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

Tara Bussema – Neat Organization and Design

6. Enviable outdoor rooms in Southern California. The mild weather in Costa Mesa, California, inspired beautiful new areas in this’60s ranch yard.

Tip: Recall that rooms may often be enlarged beyond your home’s footprint. A fountain-side outdoor dining area and living area will be this family’s favorite rooms.

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

Amy A. Alper, Architect

7. Expanded 1940s Sonoma ranch. If narrow roads and other city codes are not an issue, ranches are great candidates for additions. This couple chose to reconfigure and renovate their California Wine Country ranch to better match their lifestyle, extending the footprint from 1,900 square feet to 2,500 square feet.

Tip: Think about a plan for your outdoor living area when planning an improvement. In this case the architect added a master bedroom wing off the ideal side of the home, creating a courtyard feeling that enhanced the beautiful backyard. She borrowed space off the back of the existing garage to form an office and cabana space (far right).

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

Susan Teare, Professional Photographer

8. New face for a’70s split degree. The wood siding with this ranch home in Burlington, Vermont, had not held up well against the weather and looked dated (check out the before shot).

Tip: Give the exterior an energy-efficient makeover. Galvanized steel and fiber-cement siding are all durable, low-maintenance, energy-efficient materials that give this house contemporary style. The tight envelope is about to stand up to Vermont’s harsh winters while complementing the surrounding landscape.

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

John Prindle

9. Cool updates to get a musician in Portland, Oregon. This unique house is rocking a corrugated metal siding.

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

Clayton&Little Architects

10. A lift to get a small Texas ranch. The tiny rooms in this ranch had low ceilings and felt very closed in.

Tip: Push up the ceiling. While midcentury modern ranches could have high ceilings that are great, lots of the ranches that followed have lower ones. Converse with an architect about busting through the ceiling into the roofline — a higher ceiling makes rooms feel a good deal bigger. See how that works

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

Spry Architecture

11. Contemporary search for a Spanish colonial ranch in Phoenix. I have to insist ahead that you check out this entire Tour, since the before and after shots of this transformation left me gasp with delight and disbelief. Proceed, then come right back, OK? See you in some…

Tip: Eliminate a few walls. This architect tore down four walls to create this open dining-living space. It makes the home feel twice as big.

Pictures: See more of this Arizona ranch home

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

12. Maximizing wall area in Hanover, New Hampshire. Thisranch gets the most of every inch with family Bearing in mind.

Tip: Think thick. “Thick zones” are thick walls that have many functions. These include the wall that includes a bookcase on the left, and the niche in the wall that suits the vertical piano and shelving on the right.

In the kitchen a different thick corner encases the cabinet, eliminating the need for freestanding shelves and making it all more streamlined.

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

Valerie McCaskill Dickman

13. Organic overhaul of a ’50s ranch in Dallas. Renovating this drowsy ranch took approximately a year but was well worth the effort. It now has beautiful organic style.

Tip: Invest in a new front door. This is one of the biggest factors in creating curb appeal and creates a fantastic first impression. Translucent glass panes allow in the light while providing solitude, and also the clean, modern lines suit the home’s streamlined style inside and out.

Pictures: See the rest of this ranch renovation

More: Read the Ranch Homes section

See related

Three Magic Words for a Clean Home and a Better Life

Ask anybody who knows me well: For years and years, a passion of mine has been cleaning and organizing. This might lead you to believe that our home has been a bastion of tidiness and order, but the truth is, I was constantly fighting against chaos. Unfortunately it was more a battle of the mind: I read novels and tried various plans; I studied my organized friends and family and thought about it. Looking back I can see all I needed to do was get rid of at least half my stuff, establish some cleaning routines and establish a couple of systems.

Half of you read that last sentence, pressed your lips together and thought, “Yes! Obviously!” While the rest slumped across your keyboards and wept, “Why don’t we simply climb Mount Everest while we’re at it, Alison!”

Hang in there, all y’all. I promise you, the 3 words are not “Just do it”

Rauser Design

To the first group, you know that you don’t want my help. You have a place for all, and you make damn sure everything is in its place, and yet you may be residing with a individual or two who can’t seem to understand this. Would you routinely find yourself, pillow in hand, stalking the house, intent on smothering your loved ones? Maybe you could use a little support, after all.

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll refer to our different camps as the Obviously Organized and also the Not Obviously Organized, but both parties will be known as “she,” because I’m a woman and it’s easier.

When something is out of place — say, a bit of paper which overshot the wastebasket or a pencil that rolled off a desk — a Obviously Organized individual spies it instantly. Lights flash and alarms sound. She scurries to pick this up and instantly throw or put it away. That is reflexive; she doesn’t even consider it. She can’t help herself and she can’t understand how her Not Obviously Organized loved ones are able to walk. Can not they see?

The answer is no and yes. I’m sorry.

If a person who isn’t Obviously Organized walks by something out of place, it’s not that she doesn’t see it — she probably does, but it just may not be consciously. Maybe she’s attempting to stay focused on whatever job she’s doing. She might see the bit of paper or the fallen pencil, and if she does she tells herself, “I’ll get that later.” She probably doesn’t hear herself believe that. She’ll probably pass the thing a few more times, and every time she tells herself “Afterwards,” till she finally picks it up or — as is more often the case — among her Obviously Organized loved ones does.

If you’re struggling to organize your home, you might scoff at the suggestion that picking up one piece of paper or a lone little pencil is really going to make a difference, and you’re right, unless it truly is a struggle of the mind and also the only single issue is the pervasive thought “Afterwards,” that never comes.

House of Earnest

If you’re not Obviously Organized like I’m, here’s my suggestion: Live your life and discuss your day but try to listen to the “Afterwards”s. It may take some time for you to hear them, however you will finally, if you continue. Maybe you’re going to be walking down the hallway headed to your bedroom, when you see it a stray sock lying at the center of the floor and — as clear as a bell — you hear, “I’ll get that later.” Normally you would walk right on by but you’re finally onto yourself. Order and mayhem hang in the balance of everything you do.

This is the time for the 3 magic words, and you need to say them at the most optimistic tone you can muster: “How about now?”

I’m not kidding you.

It’s a sock. Easy peasy, right? Ho, ho, ho! No. Running underwater with cement shoes would be a stroll in the park in comparison to this. Just try it. Time will slow down, the atmosphere will grow thick and this teeny, tiny thing — the paper, the pencil, the sock, whatever — will probably feel as the heaviest thing in the world. Just remember, civilization is counting on you, and magic is on your side. Pick up the item and trudge to where it belongs — trash, table, desk — and put it in its own place. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And your life will change.

It is really as easy and as hard as that.

Maybe you have never really thought about coordinating. Perhaps the only reason you’re reading this is because someone who you love thrust it in you. This individual is almost certainly Obviously Organized. Steal a glance: Does she seem to be in prayer? Assess her breath; if she is not holding it, it’s almost certainly coming loudly and through her mouth. You are taking a look at someone in pain.

What’s the big deal? It’s just a piece of paper/pencil/sock/java mug/beer bottle/set of keys/wallet/pair of sunglasses/pair of shoes/sweatshirt/towel! Does this even matter? Multiply that by a hundred or a million, however, and it starts to pile up — in every sense of the phrase. And by the same token, if you do this small thing — select up, throw or place away — over and over again, it all, the mess, the frustration and the strife — like magic — will disappear.

Justine Hand

More: We Can Work It Out — Living and Cleaning Collectively

See related

Coming Soon

The futurist consensus is that someday household surfaces, like kitchen counters and fridge doors, will work like giant iPads, together with Internet-connected interactive touch screens. No, not displays. Entire surfaces will be usable as interactive computers.

It seems like far-fetched, space-age technologies, and pricey, too. And the concept of replacing choice pieces of your home decoration with big screens seems horrible. However, none of that is the case. That is because touch screens don’t need a brand new counter or fridge. It’s possible even today to convert any surface into an interactive touch display using projected camera and light detectors.

This has long been a fundamental characteristic of Microsoft Home, which will be a showcase house constructed to show futuristic thoughts from Microsoft Research.


The Microsoft Home kitchen employs projection screens to beam information and recipes directly onto the surface of the counter top. The dining area pill has games projected onto the surface, as well as step-by-step instructions for crafts.

Even more sophisticated compared to Microsoft’s prototype is its own “Vision” video, which projects into the near future (pun intended) how projector touch screens will function in five to 10 years. A girl builds a product on a bit pill in this scene:
But an overhead projector expands the animation beyond the tablet and onto the desk. Then she does the exact same thing with recipes. (Microsoft really has a patent for this and may even ship the tech this year in another version of its Xbox gaming system.) Her father assesses the contents of the fridge without opening the door, plus a projector touch display.

The material, and even the port, is almost inconsequential. That only requires programmers to write software, which they’ll do once this technology is more prevalent. It’s possible with relatively inexpensive projectors and cameras to turn any household surface into a strong, huge interactive touch display which can be conjured up or dismissed at any time. When it has gone, no tech is observable.

inamo-stjames. com

Projection technologies is already here. It’s simply not widely distributed yet. A restaurant in London called Inamo jobs its menu in the ceiling onto the tables, as well as jobs custom “tablecloths.” Diners order in the touch display projected onto the tables. A menu of other choices includes interactive games and also a support for ordering a taxi.

The tech is something of a gimmick, designed to entertain restaurant clients. But in addition, it demonstrates that the feasibility and functionality of such display technology.


Celluon Magic Cube

A widely accessible and affordable gadget called the Celluon Magic Cube projects a red laser keyboard onto any table or desk. When the user taps on the projected keys, the keystrokes are registered on any newish OS X, iOS, Windows, Android or Windows Phone device. Additionally, it works as an invisible “mouse”

You might consider that the Magic Cube to be a basic proof of concept for things to come. It projects only 1 colour and only lines, numbers and letters. The “resolution” of this touch interaction is fairly primitive. Yet it’s a cheap product (just over $100) and utilizes just 1 camera with the projector at the exact same device. Plus it works.

Imagine what will be possible with multiple cameras, no requirement for battery operation and better software.

ubi-interactive. com

A company called Ubi Interactive is working on software that utilizes any projector plus Microsoft’s Kinect to get Xbox 360 product to turn any surface into an interactive touch screen. Kinect for Xbox 360 is a low-cost add-in for Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system that is usually employed to get in-the-air motion-sensing games.

Ubi’s software employs the Kinect detectors to determine where people are moving, pointing, tapping or swiping on a face, and how that relates to the projected interface. 1 benefit of the program is that it will work with regular, off-the-shelf goods. By way of instance, it will project and control Windows software, which means you’re going to have the ability to project any Windows game or application onto a wall from the box. You’ll also have the ability to use it together with almost any projector. All you’ll need is your Ubi software along with a surface to project onto.

The $149 software is available for preorder.


The Japanese company Fujitsu has done some incredible research with movie projection screens. The most impressive is that a projection product which integrates real-world items. The way it works is that with a very simple gesture a book, magazine page or picture can be scanned and then converted into an electronic version in the exact same region, and at the exact same size as the original.

By way of instance, let’s say your projector screens four electronic bills on the kitchen table, plus you’ve got a newspaper bill that came from the email. Simply by drawing your finger through the newspaper, you could digitize the paper invoice. You could then chuck the paper version and use the electronic one in its place.

Still another use for the technology is to create paper pictures and papers interactive. By way of instance, advertisers could put codes in advertisements; when you put the ad flat on the desk and touch the code, interactive coupons or videos or other information might seem to jump right off the page.

Fujitsu intends to begin selling the item in 2014. Its name and price have not yet been announced.

See related

Zen Garden

Buddhist temples in Japan were the first sites of Zen gardens, that can be simple landscapes of sand, rock, plants and water that serve as places for reflecting and meditating.

Daryl Toby – AguaFina Gardens International

Lines in sand signify rippling water at a Zen garden, where simple objects of nature are used to create a place for contemplation.

Garden Mentors

Zen gardens are made to create a stripped-down awareness of thought.

Urban Earth Design

Zen gardens support relaxation through their artwork.

Photos: Browse more Zen garden-inspired layouts

See related

A 'Portlandia' Home Raises an Eyebrow

The aptly nicknamed Eyebrow House catches the attention of anyone who walks past it — just as it did with all the location scouts for IFC’s hit cable show Portlandia. The spaceship-style back and advanced interior helped to inspire and set the scene for the plight of an alien played with a durian fruit at the episode “Feminist Bookstore’s 10th Anniversary.”

However, before this home was famous, it had been just a plain-Jane 1941 artificial Cape Cod home. Because it had no major period details to speak of, architect Edgar Papazian treated it as a blank slate for his brand new family home. Increasing square footage was a must, but he wished to do it at a sensible but one of a kind manner, blending new and old elements to make a really original home that is no doubt appreciated by the present owners as well.

at a Glance
Developed for: Edgar Papazian, girl Giovanna and spouse Michelle Lenzi
Location: Mount Tabor neighborhood of Southeast Portland, Oregon
Size: 1,300 square feet; 3 bedrooms, two baths

In the episode, an exotic durian fruit comes to existence, finally taking off because of its alien world in this quirky residence. It’s easy to see where the spaceship feel comes from if you have a look at the back of the home. After the episode aired, Papazian discovered that the author had actually changed the sketch when he saw the home, giving it a bigger role.

Curves stick out on the house’s previously boxy shape and keep into the interior. The new curving shapes reflect a more modern sensibility and draw the attention to the home.

The curved addition on the second floor resembles a single raised eyebrow. Originally this upstairs space was a narrow attic-like room. Adding more room upstairs would ordinarily mean utilizing dormers, but Papazian thought it’d give the little house a top-heavy look. Instead he used steel galvanized arches, which make more room but still allow for a streamlined exterior. White asphalt roofing reduces solar gain.

House amounts: Atlas; front door manage: George Ranalli, Lock-It

Steelmaster galvanized arches compose the curved shape and the interior finish of the upstairs bedrooms. Normally these arches help make Quonset huts.

Carpet: Shirt Stripe Button Down and French Cuff, Flor; java table: Alexander Girard, Knoll

The steel arches bring the spaceship feel inside, too. It seems fitting that the floating, luminous alien durian would call this place home.

To insulate the arched roof, Papazian came up with a method with purlins bolted on top of the arches. Sheathing and roofing connected to the purlins, and soy-based foam insulating material, fill the pit between the roofing and the galvanized arches.

The new addition also left space for Papazian’s daughter’s bedroom. While the arched upstairs allowed for additional square footage without expanding the property’s footprint, in addition, it meant that the rest of the 70-year-old home needed an entire structural renovation. The majority of the home was reframed and updated to take the new burden upstairs and suit local seismic codes.

Curved forms carry into the toilet; notice that the slope of the ceiling, the penny tile, the oval bathtub along with the round bathroom lovers.

Bathroom tile: Ann Sacks Savoy penny tile; toilets: Toto dual-flush; wall mounted sink: Villeroy & Boch, Oblic; hydronic towel warmers: Runtal, Fain

The curves continue down the stairs and around the primary bookcase — that Portlandia fans might remember the durian having to contact its home world.

During filming, Papazian must walk through the home to learn how they had set this up. “It was rather odd,” he states. “Books organized by colour, strange devices and knickknacks decorating the shelves. … It’s very odd seeing your home represented to you on a screen that you watch all other kinds of shows.”

Papazian moved the kitchen from the front to the back of the home, creating a continuous living and dining room with a transparent view of the garden. The kitchen was created as the middle of the home, since that’s where the family spent most of the time while they had been living there. “To me, with the cultural emphasis on food nowadays, the kitchen is actually the living area of our days,” he states.

Refrigerator: LG; cabinetry: Ankrum Nexus, Ikea; hood: Franke, Tube; cooker: Franke

Papazian spent about $15,000 on the kitchen. Cabinetry, countertops and shelving from Ikea helped cut down on cost. The butcher block counters flow visually with the fir tongue and groove siding onto the back deck out. Windows supporting the Ikea cabinets flip them into shining boxes on sunny days — the Portlandia durian also used this area to call its home world.

Two Ikea base cabinets topped with Ikea butcher block compose the massive island. Papazian had the curved borders added to replicate the shapes of the local central bookcase, drawer pulls and curved range hood.

The dining area, connected to the kitchen, shares the same clear view of the expansive, private backyard, with cedar and fir trees. Originally, two bedrooms sat at the back of the home, but their miniature windows did not take advantage of the lavish view.

Living chairs: vintage Series 7, Arne Jacobsen

The living area is still preserved in its original shape at the front of the home. A brand new fireplace and curved mantel jut softly out to the simple room. The first refinished and stained bamboo flooring now have radiant warmth, backed by a gas–fired tankless water heater.

Sofa: Natuzzi

The house’s joists — mixed with fresh ones — along with the outside walls are a few of the only remaining original capabilities. Everything’s been bolstered to match local code. This steel pillar, one of several throughout the home, helps bear the load of the new upstairs inclusion.

Bird feeder: Egg, J. Schatz

Despite the new renovations, this home still honors its origins. A number of the houses in this part of Southeast Portland were constructed by precisely the same developer, who consistently utilized painted cedar siding. When Papazian needed to rip out the first siding, then he replaced it with cedar Tyvek siding.

See related

Plan Your Home Remodel: The Interior Renovation Stage

Follow the Improvement of Mike and Leann Rowe of Lutz, Florida, as they Reestablish a 1970s-era ranch Home in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Over the past couple of months, we’ve shown the way they found the ideal home, constructed their project team, assembled inspiration, established a budget, drew the programs and started building. The author is the project architect.

In the last installment, the outside construction was well under way. We were installing new windows and fixing the exterior siding, which had rotted in several places. Now we’ve completed the exterior, along with the local building department has shut out the license for that work, so we can proceed to the exciting inside renovations.

New closets, relocated plumbing, new finishes and moved walls are only a little what we’re doing. And all the items to go into the inside, from paint colors to furniture, must be chosen and arranged.

Let us take a look at how things are moving.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

The exterior has taken shape nicely. While we still have landscaping to do, the siding has been repaired and the new windows and doors have been installed. We have also had a new deck. We have painted the outside in a palette of driftwood-like colors to relate the home into the local gulf.

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich

BEFORE: The Rowes didn’t allow the house’s ’70s inside and “fast-food-restaurant storefront” frighten them. The dimensions of the home, general and location Florida split-plan arrangement were exactly what they were looking for.

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich

There was way too much wood within the home. In reality, some rooms had wood finishes on the flooring, walls and even ceilings. Although the plan was rather open, it felt all chopped up, especially because of a huge concrete beam that generated a true gap between the front and back of the home and obstructed the view of the water.

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich, AIA

This concrete beam, becoming uncovered here, affirmed the roof structure.

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich, AIA

This fresh sunburst window is where the aged storefront-style windows were. Big telescoping sliding glass doors now direct out into the deck and the boat dock. It’s Florida living at it best.

The new window and vaulted ceiling let in a lot of light and start the view across the bay toward the Pasadena bridge connecting St. Pete Beach to the St. Petersburg peninsula and the mainland. To carry through with all our casual beach-house theme, the vaulted ceiling is finished with wide-plank wood boards painted a soft white. Finally all of the trim in the home will be painted this white color.

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Looking into the balance of the inside shows just how much demolition function took place. Today we have a true feel for how spacious and open the primary living area will be with that beam gone.

Removing the old concrete beam was not all that catchy. We installed a fresh beam of laminated veneer lumber. This new beam was placed in addition to the old concrete beam, and also the present roof structure was attached to it. Whenever that was done, we were able to eliminate the concrete beam. The new beam will be above the ceiling, so it won’t be observable in the distance.

More on how to set up a new beam

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich, AIA

New walls have been erected new wiring has been run and the new plumbing lines for the island sink have all been installed. At the same time, we’ve been refinishing some the original wood paneling that we chose to keep, including in the skylight well. This wood will get the same soft white paint as the vaulted ceiling wood. There is no doubt that the inside will be a good deal brighter than it originally was.

Watch how the strategy for this open region came together

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich, AIA

The present concrete slab had to be cut and removed in areas to accommodate the new plumbing lines for the relocated sinks. While doing this isn’t the least costly manner of renovating a home, the final result — a massive island that enables a view from the kitchen sink from the water will be worth it.

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich, AIA

For the primary living space we’ve decided on Sherwin-Williams’ Copen Blue to pull the colors of the skies and water out. Before finalizing this color, we bought a sample could and painted a couple of areas to test it out. We also took a color sample into the furniture shop to make sure that it’d go with the leather recliner and cloth=coated sectional on order.

In regards to selecting a paint color, purchasing a sample painting and can several small places is the thing to do. Do not paint only 1 area, as color varies with the light. In the minimum, test your paint in a corner that’s in color and an area that gets bright sunlight.

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Another part of the renovation is that a zero-threshold shower. This has meant chopping out the present concrete and replacing it with fresh concrete set lower to adapt the tilework. When it is done, Mike and Leann won’t have to step past a shower threshold and maybe excursion.

Before Photo

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Talking of this shower, we’ve visited a few tile showrooms and have decided on a 16-by-16 slate for the master bathroom floor and 12-by-24 porcelain tiles with glass tile accents for the shower walls. The slate includes a lot of variation, from blue-grays to greens to rust colors. Along with the wall tile is actually rather nice. It’s named Touch, by Mediterranea, also it has a linen look and feel — the nifty result of an ink-jet-type production process.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

We have been working on finalizing the inside cabinets, working with Jim Douglas of Douglas Woodworking in Clearwater, Florida. Douglas has provided detailed drawings of this vanity as well as kitchen cabinetry and a few of the other bits we’ll be needing constructed for the home. Having drawings like these done early in the building makes it possible for each the electrical and plumbing work associated with the chimney to be coordinated up front, eliminating expensive and time consuming rework later.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

The granite for the kitchen counters is Delicatus White. It has a lot of movement, with browns and golds and grays all swirled together. This will work very well with the cabinets; some will be stained a golden oak and some painted in Valspar’s Wicker.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

Scores, if not hundreds, of items must be researched, selected and arranged in an extensive renovation. Leann, Mike and I have been going to light showrooms, tile and rock showrooms, furniture showrooms and a lot more places. When many individuals, including professionals at times, will wait until the final minute, the ideal approach is to select pieces early so they’re ready when needed onsite.

There also may be some thing you find that’s perfect. In this case and especially when it is a one-of-a-kind item, stake your claim for it when you can. This way you will be assured of getting exactly what you want.

Next: In a couple of weeks, we’ll have the rough work all done, the gutters installed along with the cabinets delivered and ready for installation. We’ll be close to getting the job wrapped up and ready for that inaugural party!

Next: The inside finishes go in

Start in the beginning: Component 1 of this Renovation Diary

See related

When to Give Your Home a Coat of Many Colours

If there was a place and period of irrational exuberance, it was America during the second half of the 19th century. It was surely a time when if a selection of one was great, then two had been better, and three or even more was not overdoing it whatsoever. It was a time when surface decoration became the standard instead of the exception. It was a perfect storm of the new industrialism that made nearly anything available and the existence of money for people to buy it all.

So that it is not surprising that a number of the houses of the age were done up with lots of particulars — and tons of colors. Why pick just 1 colour when the entire rainbow is available? And do not skimp on the details, because every colour needs its own place to break.

While at the early 20th century that the entire world turned its back on this riot of colour, retreating into the protection of an all-white planet, the beauty, richness and joy of the “painted ladies” of the 1800s has been rediscovered. Therefore, in the event that you have it in you, and your span or period-inspired house has the architecture for it, please do not stop with just a couple of colors.

Imagine a whole streetscape filled with brightly colored and multichromatic houses near together. Walking down a road in this way could be a visual treat, with house after house being more joyous than another.

These famous painted ladies in San Francisco march down the hill in multicolored splendor. Even though the primary colors of their bodies are soft and silent, each detail and material is articulated by form, texture and colour. The articulation was often achieved here by varying the tone and color of the major colour, but it may also be reached by employing a complementary (or almost complementary) colour.

Thus a light green gives way to a darker green aspect, for example, and the trimming is not white but all creamy and soft.

Alex Amend Photography

As we get nearer to those houses, we begin to find the details and colour intricacies. Golds, taupes, mauves and more all pull out the inlay and overlay details which enliven the surface. Both the carpenters and the painters have to display their craft and skill.

And we see something new each time we walk. Because, after all, these houses are meant to be seen and appreciated from shut up, not whizzing by at 35 mph.

Farallon Construction Inc..

No face is left unadorned. Even the undersides of these eaves receive a rich treatment of colour to highlight all of that architectural detail. It’s the type of feast for the eyes which only a multichromatic palette may bring out.

B Birmingham Inc..

The point that can’t be stressed enough is that colour strengthens the architecture. So however subtle the detail, like the way the corner is created in a box bay, colour strengthens the proportion, scale and overall architecture.

Just imagine if this trimming didn’t step in to form the corner or if the color were the same. The entire home’s proportions could be thrown off, and the overall result would be nowhere near as interesting.

Warline Painting Ltd..

Of course, there is also the use of complementary colors in bold colors. Not for the shrinking violet, these colors will make your house really stand out. And while it is from a little distance that we more often get to love these houses …

Warline Painting Ltd..

… it is really from close up that we see just how artfully the colour palette has been employed. Each piece of molding, trim and detail is painted differently in the main colors to draw attention to it. And each texture is not the same colour, so we get to experience and revel in the diversity of it all.

Degnan Design Group + Degnan Design Build

These colour schemes are not just for old houses. A newly developed home near the Jersey Shore uses colour just as it had been used in the 19th century. A scheme which uses colour to pronounce each architectural element is ideal for a home together with all these mounts, bays and bows; crenellations and crowns; dadoes and dormers. Not to mention …

Degnan Design Group + Degnan Design Build

… a widow’s walk.

Note that the accent is on the vertical, as in 19th-century versions. This 21st-century version, however, splits the body colour in 2: The lower floor is painted a more earthen colour that recedes, whereas the upper levels are more conspicuous. Between the conspicuous color of the next floor and the vertical cream-colored trim, the eye will be attracted up into the rooftop and skies.

Degnan Design Group + Degnan Design Build

Window frame colour plays into this home’s overall palette at an incredibly significant way. Yes, even the 19th-century homeowner had to decorate and paint and repaint the timber windows. On the other hand, the 21st-century homeowner may get brightly colored frames in different substances that will last for many, many years. We are not stuck in a world of merely white, brown or beige window frames anymore.

And just as on its 19th-century ancestors, the undersides of the home’s eaves are richly decorated with architectural information and colour.

See related

Copyright h o m e s t a y b e i j i n g 2 0 0 8 2020