Delta Shelter – Cool Home

I love this house! 

I can’t remember where I saw this image first, but it strikes me ! 

The simple elevated cube with the warm golden hue  set in contrast with the blue light of winter in the Northwest.

The Delta Shelter would have made Le Corbusier proud.  The early modernist’s 5 points of architecture:

  1. Elevate by support of pilotis (steel in this case)
  2. Free the facade – meaning the structural support allows a free form interior
  3. Open floor plan
  4. Unencumbered views – structure allows continuous bands of windows
  5. Roof garden – maybe they didn’t cut it here !

Even though it doesn’t look like they accomplished Point 5 – Le Corbusier certainly would have found great interest in his idea of the home as “a machine for living.”  One can see the old master trying his hand at the giant wheel that closes all of the four giant shutters of the house. Continue reading “Delta Shelter – Cool Home”

Colored Concrete Slab with Radiant Heat Video – Ojai New Home Construction

by Otis Bradley

Gotta love concrete !

Colored, Smooth Finished, Radiant Heated Concrete Floors

What you see in the video above is a new custom home we built in Ojai, California.   The home, which has many special environmental features, is built on a concrete slab which is both the structural foundation of the home as well as the finish floor.  The concrete is integrally colored, meaning we add pigment and mix it in the concrete, rather than add a stain or paint on top of the concrete.  This particular rich chocolatey color actually lightens up quite a bit as the concrete cures.

The Finish

It’s crucial to have enough skilled concrete finishers on the job.  When concrete goes off (hardens) the troweling has to be done at just the right time. By scoring the concrete in just the right places and by trowelling the concrete smooth the end result is a luxurious finish floor.   And the thick mass of the concrete keeps the house cool in the summer and with the radiant tubing – warm in the winter.

2nd Floor Concrete Pour – ICF House in Ojai – New Custom Home

Its a hazy day in Ojai and a perfect 72 degrees for pouring the 2nd floor walls of this custom ICF home.  ICF – or insulated concrete forms – have been used for many years but due to our lovely climate, they haven’t been that popular in Southern California.  But ! they make sense for a number or reasons

  1. Incredible insulation – not only super tight with an envelope of foam on the inside and the outside but the 8 inch concrete core provides dense thermal mass
  2. Fireproof ?  who knows what is actually fireproof  but the military have bomb tested ICF buildings
  3. Insects don’t like it – no food (cellulose ie wood)
  4. Solid – this home sits at the top of a mountain overlooking the Pacific and 6500 foot mountains

In this photo you can see the boom pump we use to install the concrete into the walls.


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”