Cool House – Barton Myers in Montecito California

I love this house !  A real “factory” for living! I experienced this house on an architectural tour last week.  Barton himself was there and happy to talk about his design.

  • Concrete slab floors
  • Large sheltering roof
  • 3 huge glass doors that open creating an indoor outdoor home
  • Perfect for our amazing southern California climate


For more info on Barton Myers CLICK HERE

From Barton’s own web site – the description of his own home – a similar steel house

House & Studio at Toro Canyon
Montecito, California

An ‘elegant warehouse’ in the tradition of Eames and Barton Myers’ early houses, Toro Canyon deploys a series of innovative strategies to protect against wild fire while remaining open to its site, with spectacular canyon and ocean views. 

Barton Myers’ own residence, the house is comprised of four pavilions on three stepped terraces, carefully positioned to preserve the natural site landscape.

A garage and guest house form the lower terrace, the main residence occupies the intermediate terrace, while the upper terrace holds a studio building. Each pavilion is an open, loft space, enclosed by glazed ‘garage’ doors, with an exposed structural frame and concrete floors. Clerestory windows provide mountain views and ample natural ventilation, taking advantage of ocean breezes.

To protect against fire, the pavilion roofs comprise a recirculating pool system, transforming the structures into a series of terraced reflecting ponds. Cascading from one pool to another, the water serves as for fire resistance and insulation, while the sight and sound of the water mimics the adjacent canyon creek. Coiled steel shutters protect every opening, providing additional insulation and sun control.

Ojai – Installing Timber Frame Trusses in an ICF House

Ojai ICF Insulated Concrete Forms Project

After nothing but foam blocks and concrete on the job for a couple of months,  the sweet piney smell of Douglas Fir on the job is delicious.  I love framing homes – love  the art of toe nailing 8 penny nails to synch a 2x tight, love the wood – love the smell – love the symmetry of 16″ on center.

But what’s really fun is the chance to use massive timbers.  This project is rooted in the French Provincial design – back to the time that buildings were built of big stones and large timbers. (And without building inspectors!)  Part of the reason we used the ICF blocks was to create the feel of an authentic 15th c building – built of stone.  the walls are a massive 15 inches thick.

The great room is about 20 x 30 feet and 25 feet tall.

 The Trusses Arrive – weighing in at about 1400 lbs. each

Waycasy Crane Service Helps Out

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Corbels and Kneebraces – Patterns for Lumber – Framing Lumber

Typical Corbel Patterns available from Lumber Yards

These are the patterns that are typically available from most lumber yards.  These cuts can be made on the end of larger beams such as a 4×6 or 8×12. Many times, when larger (bigger than 2x)wood is used and left exposed, it can be nice to add a distinctive pattern on the ends.


Typical Knee Brace Patterns available from Lumber Yards

Knee braces are used to brace a vertical post to a horizontal beam.  Much like the corbel patterns, these patterns can be cut at the limber yard and used as exposed lumber on the house.


Timber Framing – the art of wood construction aka Post and Beam or Mortice and Tenon

By Otis Bradley

The art of timber framing, also called “Post and Beam” or “Mortice and Tenon,” is still alive!


 In today’s world of industrialized manufacturing, most builders have never touched anything other than dimensional lumber (meaning 2×4’s-  which actually measure 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ – go figure!). But long before factories spit out 2x’s, wood buildings were created out of timbers. Trees were cut – timbers were shaped using adzes, draw knives and hand powered drills to create large frames out of timber – called bents – which could combined lengthwise as well as for a second story to create buildings. Continue reading “Timber Framing – the art of wood construction aka Post and Beam or Mortice and Tenon”

Six Alternative Building Methods For a Custom Home – Log, Post and Beam, Ram Earth, ICF, and Tire

By Otis Bradley

Do you live in a “typical” American home? Or do you want something different.

Looking at alternative ways to build your home? Most homes – over 90% – according to a recent NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) are stick built – meaning out of 2 x 4’s. As a custom home builder, I never build anything that resembles the “standard.”

Continue reading “Six Alternative Building Methods For a Custom Home – Log, Post and Beam, Ram Earth, ICF, and Tire”