How to fool your friends into thinking you're rich with IKEA bath components:

CONTENT recently completed a bath renovation to save a young couple's marriage. Enduring over two years with a deteriorating, 60 year old bathroom, the couple hoped for a modern bath on a minimal budget. 

We were able to create a generous, 6' counter surface by using 2 IKEA Godmorgon cabinets. To acheive a more modern look, the cabinets were wall mounted, rather than using the suggested metal legs. A remnant Carrara marble slab was utilized for the counter and full backsplash. 

Additional Products:

Plumbing Fixtures:  Decolav sink, Phylrich wall-mount faucet, & Toto toilet from Westheimer Plumbing

Tile: Cementi Porcelain Tile from LaNova Tile Importers

Lighting: Energie Tool T5 Fluoresent fixture from LESCO

Paint: NoVoc from The Green Painter



New City of Houston Plan Review Requirements

Heads up, Houston. Starting today, the City of Houston is implementing new plan requirements for foundation elevation compliance. The revisions impact regulations on finish floor elevations in relation to adjacent streets and sanitary sewer manholes. It also outlines more stringent requirements for site drainage.

For homeowners and property owners purchasing a lot or renovating an existing structure, keep in mind your architect will need a site survey that locates elevation of the crown of the adjacent street as well as the elevation of nearby sewer manholes. If you have an old survey of your lot, chances are that these elevations are not notated.

You can find the new requirements here.



Guess who just joined C O N T E N T?

Meet Eric Hughes


Another Owl...

CONTENT wishes Seth a fond farewell as he leaves us to pursue a MBA at the Jones Graduate School of Business!





 We wish him the best of luck as he pursues his dream of being a full time student.

(We can say that only because we'll probably soon be working for him)


In Progress: Sunset Pacifica

CONTENT has been asked to assist with the renovation of a building on Sunset Boulevard in California. We have teamed up with the exciting development group of New MGMT to renovate the existing concrete building shell into 16 condominiums with patios overlooking the water. CONTENT has been charged with the interior detailing, millwork and material coordination. We're looking forward seeing the fantastic finish combinations and detailing breathe new life into this project.


Arctic Architecture

Wes Milholen is an interdisciplinary designer based in Boulder, CO. His practice, Department of Science, explores the overlaps between architecture, music, technology, film, sculpture, maps, graphics, and photography.

<< Arctic Architecture: Svalbard. Credit: Wes Milholen    >> Svalbard Global Seed Vault (aka the "Doomsday Vault") in Longyearbyen. Credit: Mari Tefre

Wes is currently raising funds to support three weeks of Arctic exploration as a partipant in The Arctic Circle residency program. His research will will become the foundation of his new book, Arctic Architecture: Svalbard:

The book will focus on the impact of more than 400 years of human activity on the Spitsbergen archipelago, and explore how future human settlement  — an inevitable consequence of climate change and intensified resource extraction in the Arctic — can be carried out in ways that cause the least environmental harm. In addition to maps, diagrams, written documentation, and photography of the landscape and existing settlements, the book will outline best practices for building in this climate and include proposals for new construction or rehabilitation of existing sites in the archipelago.

Want to someday own a copy of this book like we do?!  You can help make it possible by visiting the Arctic Architecture Kickstarter page and making a contribution. 


Downtown Home Tour

Just an early heads up: Our Houston Loft project has been selected for this year's Downtown Home Tour organized by the Houston Downtown Alliance and the Downtown District!

The event will take place on Saturday, May 5th and will coincide with the Sustainable Living Fest in Market Square Park. 

The Houston Loft is located in the historic Hermann Lofts building, originally built in 1917. The unit has spectacular views of the city to the South, West, and North.

A few aspects of this project you shouldn't miss: The kitchen cabinets are laminated with a thin porcelain tile veneer called Lammax, and the owner commissioned Bob Card to create several beautiful reclaimed wood furniture pieces. 

For tickets, visit The Houston Downtown Alliance's event page. Hope to see everyone downtown this Cinco de Mayo!


Rebuilding Together Houston Workday


On Saturday, CONTENT teamed up with Bailey Architects to repair and paint Ollie Logan's house in Houston's 5th ward as part of a record-setting workday organized by Rebuilding Together Houston. Our team was tasked with replacing Ollie's rotting siding and trim and giving the whole house a fresh coat of paint.

In total, Rebuilding Together Houston mobilized 56 work crews, over 1,000 private sector volunteers, to repair and revitalize homes in Houston's fourth and fifth wards Saturday. We're so happy to have been a part of this great work and thank Bailey Architects for letting us join their crew.

For more on Saturdays acheivements, check out this Houston Chronicle write-up on the event. 


Archinect Featured Firm

Check it out! CONTENT is one of today's features firms on Archinect


E-11 1/2 Street Addition wins BALA Gold!

CONTENT was the Architect for a renovation in the Heights done by Front Porch Investments and Southern Green Builders. The project was submitted for the NAHB Best in American Living Awards and took Gold in the Category for home under $250,000.


Houston Likes Design Too

The other day CONTENT attended the unveiling of designs vying for Houston's new Central Station, a grand sounding name for what will essentially be a glorified light rail platform. Metro, with an esteemed advisory board invited five well known firms to compete for this commision:

SHoP Architects, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, Neil Denari Architects, Interloop—Architecture and Snøhetta

More impressive than the proposals to our eyes was the obvious interest in the next opportunity to bring noteworthy architecture to Houston as evidenced by the crowd that gathered. We had our differing opinions about the merits of the designs but our friend Ben Koush published his own opinions humorously and succinctly here.

Metro is soliciting public opinion so follow this link to cast your own vote before Feb 15th, 2012

...And as if this wasn't excitement enough shortly after the event the Museum of Fine Arts Houston announced that Steven Holl would be designing the new museum wing. Mr Holl will be joining a campus with buildings by Mies van der Rohe, Rafael Moneo and our own Carlos Jimenez. Move over Columbus, watch your back Chicago, Houston is on the move!


Linoleum's Comeback

(images from Forbo Design Inspiration)

Linoleum, first manufactured in 1863, is made from natural materials including linseed oil, resins, recycled wood flour, cork dust, limestone and mineral pigments, and is typically mounted on a jute backing. The finished product has natural bactericidal and anti-static properties that reduce the presence of dust and dirt and the subsequent growth of household mites and bacteria.  It is fully biodegradable and comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns.  

Be careful to not confuse linoleum with vinyl composition tile (VCT), a widely available tile manufactured from petrochemical products. Vinyl flooring products gained popularity in the early 30s as a less expensive and relatively less flammable alternative to linoleum. Unfortunately the fire retardant chemicals used to protect VCT release toxic compounds in the event of a fire.  

Another drawback to VCT is that its color or pattern is limited to the top layer of the tile. If that top layer is scuffed or damaged, the tile will most likely need to be replaced. On the other hand, Linoleum is a homogenous product with pigment that runs throughout the thickness of the tile making it much more resistant to daily wear.

Vinyl products are flexible and relatively easy to install while the rigidity of linoleum sheets and tile products make installation more difficult. Most manufacturers recommend that linoleum be installed by a trained professional, possibly increasing your cost per square foot.  However, Forbo, the largest manufacturer of linoleum in the world, recently developed Marmoleum Click,  a linoleum tile mounted on high density fiberboard. Click tiles are great becuase they eliminate the need for adhesives and are easy enough for a DIYer to install. 

At an install cost of around $6/sf and lifespan of several decades, linoleum is one of the least expensive, longest lasting sustainable building products on the market. It is easy to clean and appropriate in wet or high traffic areas. We know you're imagining your grandma's kitchen, but we think linoleum deserves a second look!

To purchase Marmoleum in Houston, visit New Living in Rice Village. Other linoleum manufacturers to consider include Armstrong and Johnsonite.  


Happy Holidays!

CONTENT will be closed December 26 + 27. 


Wood > Paper > Wood

By now, we're all used to seeing everyday materials upcycled and repurposed. But, there is something really intriguing about reconstructing waste material into innovative products that mimic their original state. In the two examples below, paper is used to create a new building material that looks and performs like wood. >>

Newspaper Wood by Vij5 is created by gluing many layers of newspaper together and rolling them into a Newspaper wood log. The finished product behaves much like real wood in that it can be cut, milled, and sanded. We love that the layered cross-section appears similar to wood grain or tree rings. 

Paper-wood by Drill Design adds distinction to traditional plywood by alternating wood veneers with brightly colored paper.



Translucent Stone

Lately we’ve been drawn to the striking, natural beauty that back-lit translucent stone panels can bring to a space. The illuminated panels can be used in a variety of interior and exterior applications: bar skirts, desks, interior accent walls, columns, ceilings, exterior screen walls, and landscape features to name a few. Depending on the desired stone, the application, and your budget, there are several options for achieving this dramatic look.


Natural Onyx and Sardonyx: Onyx is formed from water dissolving existing limestone and re-depositing it as quartz crystals fused into thin layers of stone, sometimes called sinter. In limestone caves, onyx is formed by drip water, in the formation of stalagmites and stalactites. Onyx is inherently translucent, with many banded and contrasting colors – onyx ranges in color from warm golds and browns, white, greens, and reds (sardonyx). Most of the onyx distributed here in Houston is imported from Mexico.

Since onyx is naturally translucent, it can remain relatively thick and still transmit light. Large, solid panels can be quite costly, but we’ve found that using it in a tiled application can help reduce costs. The tiled applications are also somewhat more stable than solid slabs since they are backed with a fiberglass mesh. As a rough estimate, we've had solid onyx priced at about $70-90/sf, uninstalled.

Keep in mind that onyx is a brittle, soft stone and is prone to engraving and discoloration from acids such as ketchup, lemons, alcohol, and cleaners. It is porous and requires sealing.

Laminated Stone Veneers:  In applications that are subjected to daily abuse, or when the weight of natural slabs is prohibitive, laminated stone veneers are a great alternative. Stone slabs are milled down to only a few millimeters and permanently bonded to a glass substrate. Translucent stone veneers can be created from onyx, alabaster, quartz, marble, and granite – allowing for a huge range of colors and textures.  The laminated panels are stronger, more lightweight, and can be made into much larger panels than natural stone slabs. Grout lines can be eliminated. The glass face allows the panels to be exposed to the elements with little maintenance.

However, we’ve found that this option can be very expensive. Depending on the stone you choose, laminated stone veneers can cost upwards of $300/sf.

Faux translucent stone:  Several companies offer manmade alternatives to natural stone. Resin and acrylic technologies can create a similar aesthetic and are often highly translucent and very lightweight. Some manufacturers utilize recycled materials to develop their products.  3-form has a cost-effective alternative to real onyx made of translucent resin (not recommended for exterior applications). In January 2012, Okite will launch a translucent countertop line inspired by onyx using quartz crystals and polyester resin.