from the editor

  • evaluating value

    Here at ra, we've long known the secret of the high-design, low-cost house: it belongs to an architect.

     

home front

  • urban flight

    Broadway Court's pleats and folds look like wings, lifting it head and shoulders above the stucco boxes that characterize much of the affordable housing in downtown Santa Monica, Calif. Pugh Scarpa Kodama built simply and economically so it could “splurge

     
  • global warmington

    Vantage of Palo Alto, Calif., is the largest solar-powered residential project ever built in the city.

     
  • real simple

    What is it about those architects in Minnesota? They’re like apostles of an old wisdom most of us have forgotten.

     

k+b studio

bath

  • clear choice

    Like the kitchen, this master bath renovation looks like a million bucks but cost a fraction of that. A pared-down palette and tricks from tradesmen cut costs but not corners. It all started with the homeowner's request for a bigger window. Alter suggeste

     

kitchen

  • clean sweep

    These homeowners wanted big remodeling bang on a moderate budget. Designer Kevin Alter suggested focusing their dollars on frequently used spaces such as the kitchen and master bath while choosing simple but effective upgrades (like new windows and fewer

     

perspective

  • delivering the goods

    We live in a design economy encompassing everything from the iPod to Ikea. Investment in, awareness of, and appreciation for design are at an all-time high.

     

practice

  • field maneuvers

    When Richard Williams, AIA, designed his own house five years ago, he decided to forgo a general contractor and manage the fieldwork himself. He spent nights and early mornings coordinating the various trades before heading to his Washington, D.C., office.

     

profiles

  • in the middle of nowhere

    Alongside the unpaved road to Lori Ryker and Brett W. Nave's home and studio, alpacas and horses nibble placidly at the surrounding grassland. Dusty pickup trucks drive well under the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour. The Livingston, Mont., compoun

     

projects

  • simple pleasure

    Paul Hirzel, AIA, spends most of his workdays teaching at Washington State University and heading up its architecture graduate program. So he limits his one-person practice to projects he can't bring himself to turn down—projects like this vacation retrea

     
  • encore effort

    When Scott Rappe, AIA, met with the family for this weekend home, one member had a simple request: “I want you to design it, not draw it.” The family member happened to be John Holabird Jr., FAIA, grandson of the founder of Holabird & Root and a former pr

     
  • risky business

    For Jill Salter and her artist husband, simplicity, cost and construction were their guides for navigating the building of their home.

     

doctor spec

  • shop talk

    In bizarro world, all of your clients are surgeons, hedge fund managers, or high-net-worth individuals with the resources to afford anything they want. If they want custom hardware from The Nanz Co., they can have it. Salvaged vintage stone tile from Pari

     

products

  • cheap fills

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. But if you love the hunt like we do, it's bound to reward everyone involved. You'd be hard-pressed to find a pot filler this handsome for less than $300. But now you can. Danze's Mel

     
  • working the angles

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. But if you love the hunt like we do, it's bound to reward everyone involved. The contrast of rich espresso-stained wood against the polished, angular forms of West Elm's metal/wood b

     
  • playing the numbers

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. These Sausalito house numbers from Chiasso have a clean Art Deco-inspired design and exposed fastening screws.

     
  • starck reality

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. Some of the basins in Duravit's Starck 3 series retail for less than $300, and a couple of them can be had for less than $200—a sweet deal for a designer label.

     
  • la dolce venicia

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. No need to worry about foreign exchange rates with Venicia Euro-style frameless cabinets from KraftMaid.

     
  • flor score

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. FLOR modular carpet tiles are easy to install, easy on the wallet, and easy on the environment.

     
  • sterling opportunity

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. The Stanton dual-force toilet from Sterling is European in design sensibility, but its $348 list price is pure Yankee thrift.

     
  • bargain bamboo

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. Ikea's Kvist bamboo flooring is gentle on the planet and the pocketbook, at just $2.88 per square foot.

     
  • set in stone

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. Blanco’s Silgranit sinks are composed of 80 percent granite to withstand everyday wear and tear.

     
  • square deal

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. Restoration Hardware’s Dillon wall sconce is made from cast brass with a white frostedglass square shade for a soft glow.

     
  • a real baldwin

    Finding worthy products for price-conscious custom homes is a tough gig. Known for its traditional door hardware, Baldwin now has a line of contemporary levers and entry handle sets that won’t cost a fortune—if you choose carefully.

     

architects' choice

  • metal winner

    Kaplan Thompson Architects: When looking for a standing-seam roof, the firm specifies 5V crimp metal roofing from Lancaster, Pa.-based Fabral.

     
  • tough customer

    Kaplan Thompson Architects: “When we're searching for a value window with high performance, we often look to Marvin's Integrity line,” Thompson says.

     
  • scientific method

    Kaplan Thompson Architects: If the budget is tight, Kaplan Thompson often turns to TopLabPLUS, a cellulose fiber-and resin-based surfacing material known for its sterility and imperviousness.

     

digital home

  • disappearing act

    The flat-panel TV—plasma or LCD—has become both status symbol and style statement. Even so, to many, a TV is still a visual intrusion, no matter how thin it may be. The custom electronics challenge facing today's designers: how to hide the plasma TV?

     

workspace

  • el dorado

    When Kansas City, Mo.-based el dorado decided to design a new office, it didn't want to lose the industrial character of its previous digs.