Welcome to the Workshop. This where you'll find our candid comments on various topics that can range from conceptual design sketches to architectural tech gadgets to photos from our projects at various stages of design or construction; if the photo is from our Instagram feed, we'll be sure to share the link to that post along with an expanded caption that provides further insight into the significance of the subject photo.
In the end, we hope it provides an interesting behind-the-scenes look at what we do here at kree Design Inc.
Recently I took the plunge and purchased a sit-stand desk for the office! Being a small business, I wanted to be sure it was an economical decision so after much research and cost comparisons, I went with a dual-motor electronic desk frame (no table top - more on that later) which came with a bonus memory foam standing mat from PrimeCables for $289+GST (on sale at the time) + free shipping to boot (link down below)! The desk frame is super strudy, was nicely packaged and shipped quickly and better yet was very straightforward to assemble! To keep things economical and simple, I went to Ikea and found a Linnmon table top (hollow core with Ikea's cardboard honeycomb structure in the middle and particle boards at the outside left/right edges wrapped with a matte white laminate finish) for $20+GST! The table top might not be the best candidate for clamping heavy monitor arms to it so that was a compromise I needed to make. Surprisingly though, once all was assembled and I took to it for my first time, I was ecstatic at how both components complimented each other in that the legs were completely adjustable in width to accommodate the off-the-shelf width of the Ikea table top and for Ikea to come out with such an economical choice that is separate from their own legs. Compared to all the heavier price tagged sit-stand desks on the market, I was extremely pleased with this desk setup for now and definitely recommend it.
Ikea Linnmon table top
"Getting as much useable floor area in the basement."
This is a sketch for one of our current projects we're working on and it was done to pick the brains of both our builder and structural engineer on how the foundation lines up with all that rest on top of it (ie. mud plate, rim joist and to some degree, the plywood sheathing). Typically, in conventional construction, the outside face of the plywood sheathing would be flush with the outside face of the concrete foundation wall - and as you can see in my sketch, since 1) the site coverage footprint is considered to be the outside face of the cladding and not foundation wall and 2) the maximuj total FSR usually allows for more area in the basement than the 2 upper floors, we've pushed the concrete foundation wall out by 2" so as to line up the inside face of the mud plate to the inside face of the concrete foundation wall. On a standard Vancouver lot, the 2" outward offset of the basement foundation wall amounts to about 20-30 extra sq ft of useable area in the basement - now that's really maximizing your potential floor area!
"Revisiting my earlier solution to the loss of the physical Esc key on the Touchbar Macbook Pro's! Hacking up a cheap silicon keyboard cover and gluing it down! Maybe should patent this but I'm confident the touchbar is gone come 2018's WWDC."
I have to admit - since the world lost Steve Jobs, Apple's hardware seems to be missing the mark lately or going off in a different direction in terms of satisfying the consumers or prosumers needs. My example is more of a gripe than it is an Apple misfire. The backstory is when Apple decided to remove the row of Function (F) keys at the top of their keyboards starting with their 2016 line of Macbook Pro's. Admittedly so, this row of keys is probably way-underused to deserve permanent real estate on our keyboards and an adaptive row of touchscreen keys, which adapt to whatever app the user is using, is a good transition to permanently saying goodbye to the F keys forever. But along with the F keys, the physical Esc key went sayonara as well which is where my gripe story begins and ends. In my design software (Vectorworks Architect) I use the Esc key... a lot. I thought I'd get use to tapping the virtual Esc key but quickly realized I kept needing to look down which isn't very efficient. So, my solution: I hacked up an old silicon keyboard cover and glued a key cover (the Power key in my instance) down right over top of the virtual Esc key. It sure makes my MacBook Pro look very unprofessional and less sleek... but it totally works, no thanks to Apple.
"Getting homeowners excited about how their new home will start shaping up like is one of the perks of the job!"
As my Instagram post suggests, it is certainly rewarding when we get to that point when we can take the plans that we've been developing for our client, all the while, having a rough concept of how it was going to mass up THEN to be able to mass it up quickly in 3D - that's partly what I love. This step in our design process also gives our clients a peek at how the 2D floor plans start to relate to the exterior design of the house; what they gain is a better understanding of several elements that aren't always so clear on our 2D floor plans. And we usually emphasize at this stage that not all the time will the final house be exactly as it masses up. A series of further studies such as window placement, material transitions, solar shading and the like still need to be thoroughly investigated and tweaked in order to get a full grasp of how all the elements come together and ultimately define the final look of the house.
Hot off the press in both the Vancouver Sun & the Province are an article write-up for our C-House project and a print ad for CMGT, the builder who built our C-House design, which they were recently nominated for a couple of Georgie awards categories including Best Custom Single Family Home valued at $900k - $1.4M and Best Single Family Kitchen valued under $125k. We won't be able to find out if we've won in those respective categories until March 10th when the Georgie Awards gala is held - according to past galas, this is definitely a show not to miss out on!
Bottom line, it's great to get exposure for that project, whether it be print ads or online - being a very new design practice, it's always one way to build some brand awareness and recognition.
I know this post doesn't quite belong as it doesn't delve into any behind the scenes work at the kree8 workshop but here's the backstory that may help it qualify: Every year in the summer, I'll dedicate 3 days (a self-declared long weekend!) to connect with a few colleagues to head out by bike from North Saanich to a cabin out along the north slopes of Lake Cowichan. This year marked the 10th anniversary to what we've dubbed the Tour de Cowichan and it's always an event that we all look forward to attending and it's always been a blast to go.
This photo is of one of the many trestles that we cross on our journey to Lake Cowichan but it's definitely the major one that's worth the stop over for break and its breathtaking views of both nature and the art of trestle engineering at its finest - the Kinsol Trestle!