Cheap Ingredients: Weighty Results – “How To…” Series

Welcome to Part I in our “How To…” series!
Over the next several weeks we will be posting on making the most of a modest budget—or how to achieve better results using off-the-shelf building components. On our website we talk about being Architectural Alchemiststhis series will offer some examples of how we have ennobled humble parts to create a greater whole.

Laboring  in the trenches of affordable housing design for nearly two decades—we have come to appreciate the limitations and possibilities latent within the modest construction budgets associated with this project type. Certain “industry standard” building components are a foregone part of the mixamong these are 2x wood framing, nail-on windows and hand-troweled stucco. Rather than despair over the “cheapness” of these ubiquitous ingredientswe have  tweaked their detailing to combat their inherent aesthetic deficiencies.

Example of nail-on windows flush with wall

We oversize the rough openings by the depth of a nailing fin and add 2x furring that is shallower (by at least 2 inches) than the exterior wall.

Field mock-up of oversized rough opening with 2x nailer

The resulting “deep set” opening gives visual weight to the exterior wallslending a desirable feeling of quality and permanence to the homes.

G Lofts - Downtown San Diego

Coronado Villas - Coronado, CA

Archer Sturdios - San Jose, CA

Archer Sturdios - San Jose, CA

In a few instances, we have double framed (added 2x furring) to an entire exterior wall to really exaggerate the effect.

Double framed wall

Sloping the stucco sillor budget permittingadding a metal sill is office standard to insure good drainage and water tightness.

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2 Responses to Cheap Ingredients: Weighty Results – “How To…” Series

  1. Pingback: How to Park a Cake (and Eat it Too) – “How To…” Series | THRESHOLD

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