Beauty vs Bean counting… Prioritizing design over a spreadsheet.

Beauty vs Bean counting… Prioritizing design over a spreadsheet.

I just finished reading Bob Lutz’s fascinating book on his years at General Motors from early 2000 to 2012. Its titled Car Guys vs. Bean counters; The battle for the Soul of American Business. His basic premise is that GM cars had lost their magic by 2000, they were ugly and their design had been hijacked by the “Bean counters”  who had demoted design to a small and insignificant role.

Instead of…

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The lost of art molding… 3 things to avoid.

The lost of art molding… 3 things to avoid.

Brian Campbell had a nice comment on my last post about clamshell moldings. He pointed out that there are applications where a clamshell molding makes perfect sense. I agree, because in a minimalistic-modern house the clamshell casing contributes to the narrative and story of the home.

He also pointed out that there are many examples of “traditional” moldings that are equally bad. His comments…

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The Personality of moldings- why clamshell moldings suck.

The Personality of moldings- why clamshell moldings suck.

Hello, my name is Brent Hull, and I’m a molding geek… I admit it and confess that I think moldings are beautiful. I believe they speak to us and demonstrate characteristics that communicate personality, charm, sophistication and grace. Moldings, like other key ingredients in a Timeless House communicate a story.  Aligning moldings with the story of your home is a key to success.

molding languageThe moldings to…

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The Omnivore’s Dilemma: 3 challenges of the industrialized life.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: 3 challenges of the industrialized life.

untitledI’m reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma a wonderful book on the industrialization of the food industry over the last 100 years. It is clear the food industry faces challenges that are eerily similar to those of our current housing market. For housing, it is plagued by McMansions, sprawl, and poor quality; in the food industry, it struggles with large portions,  obesity, and fast food.

The best example…

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Recent sketches: a new trophy room

Recent sketches: a new trophy room

I’m working with a client on a new trophy room. I wanted to share some of the sketches as I think it gives you some insight into a process of fixing McMansions. I was giving a talk last night to the Center for Architecture here in Fort Worth and I was relating the false assumption many builders and homeowners make about craft and quality.

This common mistake is assuming that a rich material…

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A Timeless little cabin in the woods and on a lake.

A Timeless little cabin in the woods and on a lake.

lakeI’ve just returned from my summer vacation in Canada where I’ve grown up each summer at our cabin on the Lake of the Woods. We are above Minnesota in lake country; our area is dotted with rocky and wooded islands and clear water.

My parents are originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and in the late 1940’s my grandfather bought 2 acres of water frontage land for $700. He bought it, understanding that…

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Why new houses aren’t selling…the real reason

Why new houses aren’t selling…the real reason

I have been reading in industry trade publications for the past couple of years about the problem with housing sales. Bold predictions about the impending rebound have not come to pass and optimism has turned to anxiety and fleeting hope.  For all the bold predictions I find they are all neglecting the fundamental reason people aren’t buying new houses; they’re ugly.

If you look at the majority…

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The books are here!!! Get yours first.

The books are here!!! Get yours first.

I’m excited to announce I have the books. Fresh of the press and before the release date of August 1st.

If you would like to get your hands on one let me know. I’d be honored to inscribe something to you.

Thanks for following.

Brent

The Timeless House Book Cover

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Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays; no school, grilling out, summer time fun. I want to thank you, on this special weekend, for reading and following my posts. It means a great deal to me that the support and following of this post is growing. I look forward to the encouraging stories coming in the next few months. We are headed in the right direction: craft and beauty…

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another lesson in cheap tools

another lesson in cheap tools

Last week I found myself in Montana for a client. I was there to cull (select) the wood flooring and organize it so that the first floor was more rustic and character filled than the second floor. The 2000 square feet of flooring was grouped in 5 large stacks and filled 2 bays of a 3-car garage. Each stack was made up of smaller bundles of 6 boards each. Each of these bundles was tied together…

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Designing from scratch. A quick classical lesson and the rule of 5ths.

Designing from scratch. A quick classical lesson and the rule of 5ths.

How do know where to place the moldings in a room, especially in grand rooms and tall spaces. How high do you put the chair rail? How tall is your base? How far down the wall do you bring the crown?  These are fairly common questions and I just had a project where a designer asked me to help out in her client’s room with 13′ ceilings.  Hopefully this exercise will highlight some practical steps.

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20 feet from stardom- the lost art of the background singer

20 feet from stardom- the lost art of the background singer

20'

The more I study this concept of a Timeless House, the more I find the truths and challenges of timeless building at work in other industries. There are many similarities in the food industry and music as well. I discovered the music connection when my daughter turned me onto the movie “20 feet from Stardom” last week. The 2013 Oscar winner for best documentary follows the lives of famous black…

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A Timeless Texas House

A Timeless Texas House

Very often Timeless Houses are historic houses. Many pre-1940 homes have the characteristics of timelessness that is elusive in many new homes. My company is privileged to be working on one of the oldest houses in North Texas. It is the Nance Farm in Desoto Texas. Otway Bird Nance brought his family to North Texas in 1851.

Capture 1

Originally a Greek Revival home, we are restoring it to the 1890′s…

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When in Rome…

When in Rome…

I was discussing the ideas of the book, A Timeless House, with a friend and I was confronted with a stunning revelation…

One of the main ideas in the book is that our houses tell a story. Our houses provide a narrative that communicates who we are, and what we believe. I use the example in the book of the pyramids. That by studying the Pyramids, we learn about the Egyptians. The pyramids tell…

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An exterior Trellis: design concepts and ideas

An exterior Trellis: design concepts and ideas

Trellis 4

 

 

The full weekend is in front of us, spring is finally coming and I find myself working with 3 clients on exterior living spaces, sunrooms and even an orangery. As we shift our focus to the outside of our homes,  I wanted to share some of my early design inspirations and talk through my approach to design and construction. Good trellis-work is a hallmark of Timeless Building. When done…

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