Tina is a design enthusiast who brings her passion for modern décor and writing to her role as the NowModern.com blogger. She also specializes in turning small living areas into spacious social hubs with bar stools and counter stools
Everybody dreams of having his or her own house, not just couples who are planning to raise families. For most single people, owning a house is an investment which they may be able to reclaim in the future—with interest—through selling. No matter what those reasons are, it stands to reason that aspiring homeowners would want to purchase a house at a minimum price.
That is where the problem usually lies. Considering today’s economy and the way real estate works, it won’t be easy to find a house for sale at a maximum price of $150,000. There’s also the fact that price is not going to be the only consideration for buying a house. Location is a primary concern. Your house has to be on a safe neighborhood where you won’t be afraid to step out of the house at eight in the evening. Speaking of neighborhood, you’ll also have to check out your potential neighbors. If you have young children, you’ll probably want to move in a neighborhood where they can find friends their age. You should also be able to have easy access to various services and establishments.
So, how do you find a house that’s worth under $150,000 and also meets your requirements for an ideal home?
Go to the Bank.
Remember when the real estate market crashed and marked the beginning of the financial crisis in the United States a few years back? So many people lost their homes because of overdue mortgage payments. It was a very depressing period seeing that so many families got foreclosed and had to seek rooms from friends and family with secure residences.
On the other end of the spectrum are people who were looking for houses and could afford to buy them. They pounced on the opportunity to purchase properties at prices way lower than they expected. You see, foreclosed houses tend to be very affordable, at least when compared to brand-new houses or refurbished properties. There is therefore a good chance that you’ll find a good deal if you inquire about properties foreclosed by the bank.
Affordable House Listings
It may seem like $150,000 is too low a price for a good house, but you’ll be surprised to find that there are actually many houses for sale under that price. Many of them are located in metro areas with high foreclosure rates, like Atlanta, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas city, Phoenix, and even in Rochester and Buffalo in New York.
It is understandable if you have doubts about the condition of the house, but then that’s what a house visit is for. Search your local real estate listings and take note of the addresses of the houses you want to check out. Schedule a visit together with your real estate agent. To be on the safe side of things, do an impromptu visit to see what it really is like without any prepping by the agent.
A trailer house is probably the most affordable abode you can buy today. In fact, a really good double-wide trailer can cost around $75,000. Single wide trailers average at a lower rate of $37,000. With these prices, you will have plenty of money left for custom-made furniture and trailer-friendly appliances.
Design and Build Your Own House.
If you cannot find a house within the $150,000 maximum limit—and assuming that you already have the $150,000 sitting in your bank account—you can always design and build one. The prospect of financing the construction of a house from the ground up may sound daunting, but it should be fine if you have an architect or engineer who is knowledgeable about affordable housing construction.
Work closely with your architect and interior designer in drafting the blueprints of your house. Prioritize important rooms like living area and dining areas, kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. You may want to consider having studio-type, single-floor house or a stacked-box house. Keep the floor area as compact as possible. Go higher up is better than constructing sideways because the wider your house is, the more you will spend for its foundation.
Be very wise in choosing the building materials. Find the middle point between affordable and high-quality. It will be foolish to be stingy on the materials and later spend a fortune on repairs.
Finally, help out where you can. Even if you only take over painting the interior walls, you can already save money on labor. You can save even more—not to mention learn more about building and construction—if you offer a hand in the other jobs as well.
Even though times are difficult and good houses tend to be expensive, it is still very possible to have one without spending more than $150,000. There are several options for you, as demonstrated in this article. Just find the right agent and the right timing to finalize a purchase or green-light a building project.
To cheers from spectators and workers alike, construction crews set a silver spire atop New York City’s One World Trade Center on Friday to bring the structure to its full 1,776 height and cap an emotional 12-year effort to restore a key part of the city skyline shattered by the 9/11 terror attacks.
The 408-foot spire, which weighs 758 tons, includes a broadcast antenna and a light that will be visible from miles away to serve as a both a beacon for aircraft and a permanent signal of triumph over extremists who jolted the city and the country.
“This really is a symbolic moment because this building really represents the resiliency of this country,” Port Authority Vice Chair Scott Rechler told TODAY’s Matt Lauer, who was perched on the 104th floor to witness the process. “These people, the thousand men and women who have worked here tirelessly, really as a tribute for the people that perished on 9-11 right on this site.”
The needle will be held in place by a temporary structure until iron workers finish off the permanent base in the coming weeks.
The 1,776 feet — or 541 meters — is symbolic of the year 1776, when the U.S. declared its independence.
The building is rising at the northwest corner of the site where the twin towers were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The area is well on its way to reconstruction with the 72-story Four World Trade Center and other buildings.
The tower is slated to open for business in 2014. Tenants include the magazine publisher Conde Nast, the government’s General Services Administration and Vantone Holdings China Center, which will provide business space for international companies.
The elegant spire gives the building the extra height needed to claim the status as the tallest structure in the U.S. and the third-tallest in the world, although building experts dispute whether the spire is actually an antenna — a crucial distinction in measuring the building’s height.
Without the spire, the One World Trade Center would be looking up at the Willis Tower in Chicago, which tops out at 1,451 feet, not including its own antennas.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a Chicago-based organization considered an authority on such records, says an antenna is something simply added to the top of a tower that can be removed. By contrast, a spire is something that is part of the building’s architectural design.
Marcela Abadi Rhoads, AIA RAS, whom I had the pleasure of meeting on Twitter, is the owner of Abadi Accessibility, an accessibility consulting firm that is dedicated to educating the building industry about the laws of accessibility. She received her Bachelor of Architecture in 1991 from the University of Texas in Austin and became a Registered architect in 1999 in Texas and a registered accessibility specialist in 2001. Marcela is sought after by owners and architects across the country who look to her for guidance to understand the accessibility standards throughout the design and construction process. She assists the building industry, in part, by performing plan reviews and inspection for TAS, producing a monthly newsletter to educate on the best way to apply the standards to their architectural projects, and wrote The ADA Companion Guide published John Wiley and Sons which explains the 2004 ADAAG.
“The ADA Companion Guide: Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA)” by Marcela A. Rhoads
When and why did you decide to become an Architect?
Ever since I was a little girl, about seven years old, I wanted to be an architect. My uncle was a Civil engineer, my cousin is an architect and my grandmother studied interior design. I was very influenced by them and what I would see. When I was a teenager, my other uncle went to the University of Texas to study engineering also, and told me that when I became an architect we could work together. What a great incentive. So the seed was planted.
What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?
At the time I attended architecture school, male professors did not respect women. So I had to work extra hard to be respected. Another challenge was that I had NO idea how much art and drawing I was going to need. I thought it would be more mathematical. So although I loved to draw, I focused on physics and calculus in high school in preparation when I probably should have been taking more art and drawing. So my colleagues that came from that background did much better than me at first. But I slowly but surely caught up to them.
Later in life I was also challenged by the fact that I was a woman. Being a woman living in the South, looking young and being short did not elicit much confidence and respect. But I worked hard and proved myself. I am also not a great test taker (I get very nervous) so when I was ready to sit for my boards (ARE) I forgot everything I knew. It took me a couple of years to pass all my nine exams! But I did it! yay!
Any memorable clients or project highlights?
My very first solo project was the Dallas headquarters for Univision. I started out as the intern, but then the project manager quit in the middle and they put me in charge! Wow! I loved it. I became very close to the client (and we are still friends today) and saw the project go from design all the way to CA. It was amazing!
Another awesome highlight is when I was asked to write a book about the ADA (which is my passion!). John Wiley and Sons approached me after seeing my group on LinkedIn (Abadi Accessibility News Group) and asking me to write a book explaining the ADA. We called it “The ADA companion Guide: Understanding the ADA”. It was the most exciting thing ever! And then they liked working with me so they asked me for a second book that just came out in March called “Applying the ADA”. I collaborated with three other architects friends of mine to develop a case study book on the ADA. I think it came out really nicely.
How do you balance design with your family life?
That is one of my biggest challenges. I decided to start my own firm when I became pregnant with my first child for that very reason. I have my work at home, so my kids always see me here (unless I am in meetings). I try to schedule all my meetings and travels during the day while they are at school, so I can be home with them in the evening. Lucky for me I am an observant Jewish woman who keeps the Sabbath. That makes me take one day off every week (no matter what). That day I spend with my family. But during the week, I may not sleep as much when I have deadlines. I work after the kids go to bed, or after my husband goes to bed. I really try to give them my priority. That is really difficult and I am so busy.
How does your family support what you do?
They are great! They really never complain. I do hear them when they say they want me to do something with them. I make time for them so they allow me time for my work. They are really awesome! I remember when I was writing my two books and all the number of hours that I would spend on it, and my family was very supportive and understanding. It also helps to have my husband also be an architect….but that is a different question
How do Architects measure success?
I think happy clients which then either return or give me referrals are my gauge. If I have a project, even if it was not perfect, but after I work with my clients they are happy at the end, I think that is success!
What matters most to you in design?
For me if a design is thoughtful to its users that is the most important thing. We can all design what we want, but if it does not work with what the end user needs it to do, then it is an exercise in ego boosting. It is very important to me to have a project that is designed so that everyone can use it and is universally thoughtful.
What are the challenges you face realizing your vision?
Time. There is never enough time in a day to do all I want to do. So I have to learn how to prioritize and not do everything.
How do you translate the client’s vision to meet your own design expectations?
I try to put my ego aside, but also be a guide for my clients. I hear what they are ultimately interested in seeing, and then I try to find them solutions that would be good design and also meet their expectations. Most of the time they are looking for my input anyway, so that is not so hard. When they have an idea in mind that doesn’t meet mine, I try and listen and adapt my ideas to theirs, but still guide them in a path that I will be happy to see.
“Applying the ADA: Designing for The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design in Multiple Building Types” by Marcela A. Rhoads
What do you hope to achieve over the next 20-30 years?
I would love to have more people working for me so I can devote my time to marketing and relationship building. I would love to be the person who meets the clients, come up with a great design for them and then comes back to the office and delegates the work to my other architects. I am hoping that will happen by then. I don’t ever think I will retire, though. Being an architect is in my DNA. It is who I am, not what I do. So in 30 years when I am in retiring age, I still hope to be designing.
Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?
Our profession is ever evolving. The involvement that design professionals have on projects is always a big issue. I would hope that through education and advocacy we can have architects be the leaders we once were. That is what I’m hoping to contribute.
How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?
I hope to instill the passion for architecture to the young architects by attending AIA events, volunteering to lecture and educate about universal design, ADA and how we can design environments that are usable and inclusive for all. I have a strong passion about that, and I hope to bring that passion to the younger generation and try to teach them about how a great architect influences our profession and our society.
I often compare working with adults to working with children. Here is a list of suggestions to getting something done, whether it is other colleagues at work or your kids at home.
Please share your comments and feedback below this post.
1. SHARE THE VISION
It’s never easy getting someone else to just “buy in” and do something — at least not unless there is some big reward at the end. So share your vision and get “buy in” from your team. If it is possible, allow the team to shape the vision of the project, task, or event.
Find out what motivates your team. My wife and I have been procrastinating about swapping out the kids play room with my office. By engaging my team (my kids) while my wife was out, I was able to have them help us jump start the small but arduous task ahead of us (since the two rooms are separated by two flights of stairs).
3. BREAKING DOWN A BIG TASK INTO SMALLER TASKS
Looking at all that needs to be completed is daunting, but when you break down the overall tasks into smaller, manageable tasks it appears doable. As things get done it is easy to keep the momentum going to complete the project and move on to the next one. Do not overwhelm the team — break down the activities into manageable tasks. Be realistic with the schedule to keep them motivated and on track.
Asking for and receiving continuous feedback helps the team see that their ideas matter. Integrating the team’s ideas into your overall project makes them feel vested in the project. It is easier to get things done when your entire team is on board with where things are headed. In my case, I asked my kids where they wanted to relocate some of the toy “stations” so they could be involved in the decision making process.
5. TAKE A BREAK
OK, playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and “Mickey Mouse Built a House, How Many Bricks Did He Use?” (throwbacks from when I was a kid), might not go over well at work. However, taking a break from a task will help recharge and refocus the team. Take this opportunity to encourage and bond with the team. Remind them of the vision.
6. TEAM BUILDING
Use the break to bond. Whether or not this project is as successful as you envisioned it to be it is a learning opportunity (try to “break the eggs” and learn on the smaller or less important tasks, if you have to). Having a solid team will help with the success of future projects. We can grow from our challenges and experience and learn to work with our strengths (and the strengths of our team).
Keep giving the team positive reinforcement (and yourself too). Telling the kids that mommy was going to be “so happy” when she saw what we had undertaken, kept the little troops motivated walking up and down those stairs carrying office supplies and toys on those countless trips up and down stairs.
8. OFFER REWARD
Ice cream after dinner worked in my case. Again, see what motivates the team and offer a reward. It doesn’t necessarily need to be money or a promotion. Something small like a gas card or tickets to the movie or ball game would be a nice token of appreciation for having your tea, finish the job. It makes them feel appreciated and keeps them focused on completing the tasks expeditiously.
9. NEXT PROJECT
Go back to the team and see what ideas they have for the next project. Also remember to ask what the best and worse parts of the project were so that the next project is even more successful. Make a list of “Lessons Learned” so you don’t forget!
10. MANAGEMENT & PASSING THE TORCH
If you can, avoid being a micro-manager; Next time be part of the team instead of being the leader. Let the others take the role of the committee chair, project managers, etc. What better way to teach leadership then to give someone else a turn to manage a project, task, or event? You can mentor each other (if you are willing to be reversed-mentored). They get a seasoned team member with a wealth of knowledge and experience. It’s a win-win for both and a fantastic way to build a strong, versatile team. It’s also humbling and a great way to see the project from the eyes of the guys in the trenches, which in turn, will make you a better leader for the next big thing.
We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.
If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!
Have a great weekend!
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook
The design of this house is a continuation of a ‘building in the forest’ research done by BAK arquitectos, which started in 2004 with the design of their first house in Mar Azul. The architects examine the possibility of building without losing the environmental quality of the site, proposing alternatives to ensure the survival of natural environments. This involves a Minimal Architecture in terms of not only of form but in materials and particularly minimum site intervention. This is achieved by ‘listening to the forest’ and what the site tries to communicate, along with practicing ‘seeing for the first time’ on behalf of the architects.
The low budget along with the no maintenance requirement set the aesthetic and construction limitations of the project. High compact, waterproof, fair faced concrete provided the necessary insulation and covered the no maintenance factor. The use of glass captures natural light and allows views of the landscape in all directions.
Casa JD has two bedrooms with the flexibility to transform part of the large living/dining space into a third one, a kitchen as well as generous outdoor spaces. The design concept is based on two intersecting prisms situated on a naturally inclined site within the trees, in this way hiding part of its volume. The trees seem to penetrate the house as wood, along with concrete, is a predominant feature of its interior. Wooden steps and a deck lead to the living room. Wooden sliding panels provide a seamless continuation of the exterior and the interior. This level of access is a unique space where different uses are defined by height differences caused by the intersection of prisms and cross sections of concrete walls. Except for the beds, couches and chairs the rest of the equipment of this housing is concrete cast.
I wanted to share NJ Architect Icons with our ILMA readers.
Special Thanks to Bruce Turner, AIA for Compiling the information on each Architect!
Content originally published on AIA-NJ’s blog.
In honor of National Architecture Week (April 7-13, 2013) a week-long celebration of architects and architecture, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects created a list of 10 of New Jersey’s most iconic architects. The list includes architects representing a range of architecture styles & philosophies; contemporary & historic figures; men & women; North & South. In some way they all are connected to the Garden State, whether they were born or practiced in New Jersey.
AIA New Jersey highlighted two of these iconic architects each day, Monday through Friday during the week. You may or may not agree with the list, but we hope it encouraged, and will continue to encourage dialogue about architects and architecture in the great State of New Jersey. We urge you to share the stories of these architects with your family and friends, and to share with us your thoughts about our list of New Jersey’s most iconic architects in the comment section after each article. These are not the only New Jersey architects who inspire us. They are only the 10 selected for this week. Who is not on this list who you think should be there, and why?
Below is a link to the article about each one of the 10 architects. And remember, New Jersey is not just home to Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi; it’s also home to some of architecture’s greatest minds – those who have helped shape the world in which we live.
We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us - Winston Churchill
Today the world has lost one of its great minds. Paolo Soleri, architect, builder, artist, writer, theorist, husband, father, born on Summer Solstice, June 21, 1919, has died at age 93.
Paolo Soleri was an Italian architect. He established Arcosanti and the educational Cosanti Foundation. Soleri was a lecturer in the College of Architecture at Arizona State University and a National Design Award recipient in 2006. Wikipedia
A Slice of Life for a Modern Family: In sharp contrast to the client’s previous Western-style dwelling, this open, loftlike house encourages togetherness—a quality of life still prized by the Japanese.
By Naomi R. Pollock, AIA
Conceptually, the quirky house on an L-shaped lot in the affluent outskirts of Osaka has a lot in common with a traditional Japanese dwelling. Fixed, internal walls are conspicuously absent, furnishings delineate functional zones, and the roof is the defining architectural element. It even has a hanare, or freestanding room separated from the main house. But any likeness between old and new comes to a screeching halt there. Called House K after the first letter of the client’s last name, the latest home from Sou Fujimoto—a Tokyo architect known to push residential design to extremes—is a single, swooping volume that emerges gently from the ground and then rapidly surges upward before tapering to a blunt point at the site’s east end. Studded with trees in giant steel planters, the sloped wedge of a house looks more like a man-made landform than a place to call home.
Excerpt from “Freshhomes Design & Architecture”: Travessa de Patrocinio is one of those bohemian places in Lisbon that require a sweet disposition while visiting. The unique collaboration between these three designers, Luís Rebelo de Andrade, Tiago Rebelo de Andrade and Manuel Cachão Tojal, gave birth to a project inspired by minimalism, with an interesting Mediterranean “coverage”. Imagine a thick “coat” of plants shadowing the entire façade of a house that spreads vertically. “Its walls are completely covered with vegetation, creating a vertical garden, filled with around 4500 plants from 25 different Iberian and Mediterranean varieties which occupies 100 square meters. So, short levels of water consumption are guaranteed as well as little gardening challenges.” Click here to read the rest of the story.
Excerpt from Architizer News: The House in Travessa do Patrocínio by RA\\ ( Luís Rebelo de Andrade, Tiago Rebelo de Andrade, Manuel Cachão Tojal) does just that. The narrow townhouse is situated smack dab in Lisbon, in a neighborhood with little access to green spaces. To compensate for this lack, the architects draped the house with lush green facades that cover 100 square-meters of wall space. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill green building accessory. The facades are integral components to the architecture, not just tacked on for a higher LEED score. They’re planted with approximately 4,500 plants sourced from 25 different local varieties, which all require little maintenance. The result is a vertical garden that the architects say functions as an urban “lung” within the pavement-heavy area, helping to rid the residential street of excess noise, carbon, and other pollutants floating about. Click here to read the rest of the story.
A Brief History of Green Walls
The concept of green walls is an ancient one, with examples in architectural history
reaching back to the Babylonians – with the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one
of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Highlights of the history of green walls are
3rd C. BCE to 17th C. AD: Throughout the Mediterranean, Romans train grape vines (Vitis species) on garden trellises and on villa walls. Manors and castles with climbing roses are symbols of secret gardens.
1920s: The British and North American garden city movement promote the integration of house and garden through features such as pergolas, trellis structures and self-clinging climbing plants.
1988: Introduction of a stainless steel cable system for green facades.
Early 1990s: Cable and wire-rope net systems and modular trellis panel systems enter the North American marketplace.
1993: First major application of a trellis panel system at Universal CityWalk in California.
1994: Indoor living wall with bio-filtration system installed in Canada Life Building in Toronto, Canada.
2002: The MFO Park, a multi-tiered 300’ long and 50’ high park structure opened in Zurich, Switzerland. The project featured over 1,300 climbing plants.
2005: The Japanese federal government sponsored a massive Bio Lung exhibit, the centerpiece of Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. The wall is comprised of 30 different modular green wall systems available in Japan.
2007: Seattle implements the Green Factor, which includes green walls.
2007: GRHC launches full day Green Wall Design 101 course; the first on the subject in North America.
2008: GRHC launches Green Wall Award of Excellence and Green Wall Research Fund.
An ‘active’ living wall is intended to be integrated into a building’s infrastructure and designed to biofilter indoor air and provide thermal regulation. It is a hydroponic system fed by nutrient rich water which is re-circulated from a manifold, located at the top of the wall, and collected in a gutter at the bottom of the fabric wall system. Plant roots are sandwiched between two layers of synthetic fabric that support microbes and a dense root mass. These root microbes remove airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs), while foliage absorbs carbon monoxide and dioxide. The plants’ natural processes produce cool fresh air that is drawn through the system by a fan and then distributed throughout the building. A variation of this concept could be applied to green facade systems as well, and there is potential to apply a hybrid of systems at a large scale.
Acclaimed Japanese architectural photographer and founder of Global Architecture (GA) magazine Yukio Futagawa died on March 5, 2013, at the age of 80.
Futagawa spent his 60-year career as a photographer, editor, and publisher, depicting and interpreting the architecture and culture of Japan, as well as the architecture of leading designers from other countries. He worked with many renowned architects and historians, including Christian Norberg-Schultz, Philip Johnson, and Kenneth Frampton.