Category: Architectural Design

Can I Convert My Basement into a Legal Bedroom?

Before you can consider that extra room in the basement as a legal bedroom, several requirements of the 2015 International Residential Code and NFPA 101 need to be met. Start by considering the following questions: Is my ceiling at least 7 feet tall? Does the room have adequate insulation in the walls? Is there sufficient… Read More »

Elevated Garage Slabs

Around here, most residential garages, whether attached to the house or detached, include a concrete slab-on-grade. Concrete slabs-on-grade are strong, durable, and easy to maintain. To provide more usable square footage, garage floors are sometimes built elevated – we’ve designed a few ourselves using framing systems like cold-formed steel joists, pre-stressed concrete plank, and structural… Read More »

Interlocking Concrete Block Retaining Walls

Whether you are looking for a lower cost retaining wall to enhance your yard or to support your driveway, the Interlocking Concrete Block (ICB) (a.k.a. segmental concrete block) retaining wall may be your best option.  Up to 4 feet tall (base to top of wall), it can be designed and installed by a qualified landscaper. … Read More »

ICF Forms

ICF is the abbreviation for Insulated Concrete Form, an emerging new building technology which simplifies constructing foundations. These forms are made of rigid insulation tied together in hollow blocks which stack together like Legos. They come in sizing ranging from 4” up to 12” wide so they will work with nearly all standard residential foundation… Read More »

Is This Beam Wood or Steel? Or both?

Structural steel is becoming more common in homes, as structural steel gets stronger and lighters and its cost per pound comes closer to alternatives like engineered lumber. The challenge with using steel in primarily wood structures is often the interaction – how do you connect the two? It takes some thought, but collaborations between framer,… Read More »