May 2010: Green BarnHouse update

A little bit different than your typical Grandma Moses landscape ...
Spring! Siding is 1" rough sawn white oak, which is naturally weather-resistant, but has also been sealed with 2 coats of semi-transparent white stain. The oak was both an economical and sustainable choice, since it was locally harvested. Extremely durable, this will last a very long time due to the way that it is mounted to the building as a ventilated rain screen.

almost possible to see the 'house' within the house; better shot next time, we promise!
Picture perfect view.

Pre-roof, and pre-stain on the foundation.

A very mild Spring in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin has translated to a lot of progress on the Green BarnHouse in Blair, WI (see earlier posts for more photos). The clients, one of whom is a furniture maker, have kept us in touch with these great photos of the build in between site visits from Geoffrey Warner, Principal Architect here at Alchemy. On the Web site, you can view the early architectural renderings. Visit > custom houses > Blair BarnHouse. An elegant salute to the big, old barns we love here in the Midwest, the siding lets natural light filter in to the inner core.

Minneapolis St. Paul Home Tour Weekend! April 24-25, 2010

Alchemy is pleased to have two homes, the award-winning Goodrich Bungalow and the recently completed NoLo Loft, on the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour happening April 24-25, 2010.

On the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour of “real homes, real people, real ideas,” residents open their doors to show creative and practical ideas for home additions, kitchens, bathrooms and more. Talk directly with homeowners and find out what it’s like. At many homes, their contractors, architects, and other trades people will also be on hand to answer questions. Fifty-three homes will be featured, 35 Minneapolis and 18 in Saint Paul.

Here’s how the Tour works:

Homes on the free, self-guided 2010 tour will be open Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, April 25, 1-5 p.m. It will be held April 24 & 25, 2010 regardless of weather conditions.

You can decide where to start by looking at the “Homes” page on this website, Printed guides will be available in early April at libraries in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and suburban Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

The Minneapolis & St. Paul Home Tour is coordinated by Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) and the City of Saint Paul Planning and Economic Development department, with other corporate and non-profit sponsors. We encourage people to stay in the neighborhoods they love, and to maintain and improve the cities’ housing stock. For information, call 612-673-5103.

Scott Ervin, along with owners Geoff Warner and Dawn De Keyser will be available to speak with you at the Goodrich Bungalow. Betsy Gabler and Bryan Carpenter, along with Loft Owner Barbara Paz will be in the NoLo Loft. Please come visit us and take advantage of this free, and very fun and informational tour! See the Web site for addresses and hours.

*Goodrich Photography by Karen Melvin

Modular Home Financing: Process

Every day we field calls about financing the weeHouses, not just building them. With a couple dozen + under our belts, we are comfortable recommending a few lending sources (although we always suggest you work with your local bank/lender first). Here's a .pdf from one of the East Coast lending sources: American Home Bank, that I thought I'd share. Hope it's helpful!

P.S. In case the .jpg is too hard to view, their Web site is:

Thank you, Treehugger: Best Prefab Architect = Geoffrey Warner!

Thanks to the treehugger blog for naming Geoffrey Warner, the principal architect here at Alchemy, Best Prefab Architect in their 2010 "Best of Green" Awards. We particularly appreciate that our values are noticed and valued by others. At Alchemy, our mission has consistently been to make stimulating, engaging, and efficient design accessible and affordable for a wide audience.

We are pleased to continue our distinctive hands-on approach to architecture and design that combines a playful design process, collaborative relationships with clients, and partnerships with builders and fabricators to create a harmonious blend of site, building, and community. With sustainable practices as a mainstay of our daily work, Alchemy utilizes recycling and reuse along with building strategies that reduce waste. Our multidisciplinary team draws inspiration from art, literature, history, and leading creative thinkers to create alternative and atypical project solutions. Alchemy’s innovation on the weeHouse prefab system and “tightwad panache” renovations has gained recognition we are continuously humbled by and grateful for.