Documented Design Inspiration
The Watsonian

Archive for the ‘Architecture+Build’ Category

SPACESHIP. CORRUGATE IT UP

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The Humans realized they sort of left you hanging regarding the future of the the Spaceship. It’s back in action with corrugated steel walls and roof. The Humans kept whining to me about their sore hands after they cut all the metal with a pair of tin snips, but why complain, it got the job done. Then came the facia and soffit another new experience on a ladder. Explore the metal HERE.

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2010.12.5
HABITAT. DEER SHELTER DIVISION

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The Humans and myself woke up to a couple of our friends in the yard, 8 and 6 point bucks. We usually see one at a time, but never do we see the boys hanging out together. Deer bachelor party at the Habitat?

Get in the deer’s face HERE.

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BUILD. NORTHERN WHITE CEDAR DECK

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The Humans built a deck. The deck is a flat surface capable of supporting my weight, it is similar to a floor, but it was constructed outdoors, and it is elevated from the ground. As an extension of the outdoor living area the space is used daily for dining, lounging, and working. The Humans dug thru piles of wood over at True Norther Cedar in Superior, Wisconsin to obtain perfect planks of Northern White Cedar. Recently, our good friend Zack started up a mill in Wisconsin: Fox Walk Log & Timber. Local support peoples. Beyond linseed oil, they left it left untreated so it may naturally weather to a beautiful silver gray. Build a deck HERE.

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VIDEO. STROLL THRU THE GARDEN

Finally, yours truly in action. Well, I did actually get myself up here but the Humans only managed to capture my graceful departure. Thank goodness my stealth leaping skills shall remain secret.

Larger HD version of the video can be viewed HERE.

BUILD. FLOATING GARDEN

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Beware, garden protector on duty. The Humans decided it was about time to start growing their own veggies, so they built a raised garden. In an effort to keep the garden consistent with other Habitat projects the Humans used untreated Douglas fir 4×4’s. To properly drain the garden the Humans stapled down a mesh bottom filled it with peat moss, and then soil. The raised garden makes it easy to tend and keeps most of the critters away. Get organically dirty HERE.

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SPACESHIP. WALLS + WINDOWS

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Once the Humans framed up the walls the Spaceship really started to take shape. They ventured over to Walsh Windows and picked out a few new discarded /odds n’ ends windows. Walsh Windows were used throughout the Habitat. These windows are built in the Midwest and ready to battle the harsh elements. The windows were purchase early in the design phase which helped finalize the design and solidify dimensions. Sort of a non-traditional building method but it works for a tiny Spaceship. Tip for saving cash: try contacting local manufactures to see what is taking up space in their warehouse.

Walls to Windows documented HERE.

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SPACESHIP. FRAMING

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Constructing the Spaceship. With the foundation in place the Humans framed up the Spaceship. They learned about proper framing, got to use the nail gun, and how to build headers. At the end of the day they had framed up a micro habitat building.

Check out the framing process HERE.

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SPACESHIP. FOUNDATION LANDING PAD

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Plans to reality, the Spaceship has landed. After picking a prime location in the woods and transplanting many small poplars, the foundation was ready. Well sort of… after wading in mud for a couple of days the Humans had to have a couple cubic yards of pea rock hauled in to create a solid ground foundation. Next, the decision was made to build on stilts, which provides Pepe Le Pew with a secret hideaway. I do admire Pepe’s lovely coat but the Humans have a different opinion about him. Anyway, Kristy’s dad with his carpentry expertise helped the Humans with the critical first stages.

Check out the foundation process HERE.

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BUILD. RECLAIMED CEDAR PERGOLA

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The Humans tackled another project. Over the weekend, Tommy and his brother built a garden pergola for their mom at her house. The pergola was built entirely from reclaimed cedar split fence railings that their dad put up 30+ years ago. It was amazing to see how old the cedar was, yet millimeters deep in the wood it looked brand new. The pergola offers Humans and critters alike a shaded break from the garden and an outlook spot to all the flowers in the yard. Enter the shaded passage HERE.

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FURNITURE. THE DOZEN DESK

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The Humans wanted to create a custom desk built for the room with minimal floor interference. Spanning the entire width of the room the Dozen Desk fits wall to wall: 12 feet long, 29″ tall, 28″ deep and 3.5″ thick… and enough weight to sink a ship. The desk was inspired by a couple trains of thought: minimal leg support, maximum desk space area, use of raw wood to contrast the dark painted walls (letting that grain shine) and the use of industrial galvanized connecting supports to match the corrugated ceiling. The desk is also inspired by growing up on a hobby farm and many of the materials used in the barns. Basic functionality to get the job done, but having serious strength to withstand the wear and tear of horses. Although we don’t have horses roaming around the Habitat, it still has to withstand my ferocious pounce. Check out the build HERE.

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SPACESHIP. FINAL DESIGN

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Getting close to the encounter. The final design brought the Spaceship one step closer to Earth. As you may have assumed during the Spaceship’s design and construction I spent most of my time observing and critiquing. A skill set I have been getting quite good at. As previously mentioned the Spaceship is a small studio type building the Humans constructed as a relaxing work space. The final Spaceship sketches landed HERE.

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SPACESHIP. DESIGN CONCEPTS

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The Humans seem to have a need to build. First the Habitat, now their most recent project called the “Spaceship”. They wanted to build a smaller studio type building for working and relaxing that was under 120 square feet. However, not a fully functioning cabin, more of a shelter. Endless ideas and concepts circled this project and many new skills learned from the Habitat build were put to the test.

Below are the initial sketches for the Spaceship, found HERE.

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FURNITURE. SCHOOLBOY VANITY

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When the Humans constructed the Habitat for me the main objective (as with all projects) was to make the place look good, think about the environmental impacts, and stick to the budget. Custom cabinetry is worth every penny (especially from Scott at woodsport.net), but it can also eat up a large chuck of the funds. Therefore, the Humans opted to build their own custom vanity for their guest bathroom. To learn more about building a Schoolboy Vanity, click HERE.

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INSPIRATION. VINTAGE PAINTING

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Ah, you have no idea how particular the Humans are about their artwork. Sure, they like a wide range of art but when it comes to actually putting a hole in the wall and looking at something day after day, that is true commitment. Well, they overcame part of their fear and hung this vintage campfire painting above the balance bench. This piece reminded them of a camp site on their Isle Royale venture. Warm up by the fire by clicking HERE.

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Balance Bench

Ah, the balance bench. The Humans built this to assist with my daily mediation. I am on a strict meditation regiment of at least 12-15 hours, per day. They put the bench in the Habitat entryway for their own convenience. The bench is made from left over parallam from the kitchen’s bartop, which was cut, sanded, sealed and sat on.

These beefy boards put the table saw to the test. Sadly, this was Tommy's last project w/ his dad (Kevin). Throughout the years they tackled many projects and ventures together. Now the Humans are putting all learned skills to the test.His dad was quite humorous, one christmas he gave me a present saying it was from "Sherlock." Kevin – know the Humans are doing well and as busy as ever traveling and creating.

Stay balanced my friends, click HERE.

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MC GOODS. RECYCLED WOOD COASTERS

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The Humans have been spending time in the workshop again… They seem to think making stuff is fun. Whew, I am glad I don’t have to work that hard. They have been cutting and sanding scrap cedar blocks and parallam to make fancy wood coasters (The leftover cedar is recycled from a new building project: The Spaceship, coming soon). Once the wood is nice and smooth, they flock the blocks with their original Eames designs and The Medium Control Explorer logo. Of course they also put my face on a set of their wood coasters, all available at our STORE. Coast on and see the wood details HERE.

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HABITAT. LIBRARY BUILD, VIDEO

Step by step shots of the library build in 20 seconds. I am always a huge help with any building project, just ask the Humans. The video’s music was created by the good people at Asche & Spencer.

Bigger? An HD version of this video can be found on our VIMEO PAGE.

Check out the detailed explanation of the library build HERE.

HABITAT. LIBRARY BUILD, READ ON

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How am I suppose to get all the way to the top of this? I do have superior leaping skills but this is a little out of hand, even for me. The Habitat was built with a small footprint so utilization of space was essential. The Humans weren’t going to let all their cubic volume go to waste, so they decided to build a library nook. Towering around 15 feet tall this thing can hold some serious literature. It also serves the purpose of adding loads of color variation to the otherwise mono-tone living space. To read more about how the Humans built their library, click HERE.

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HABITAT. ECO FIREPLACE INSTALL VIDEO

Step by step shots of the fireplace installation in 20 seconds. If I was installing it probably would have taken me 20 seconds, but it took the Humans much longer, ugh… perfectionists. The video’s music was created by the good people at Asche & Spencer.

Bigger? An HD version of this video can be found on our VIMEO PAGE.

Check out the detailed explanation of the installation and eco aspects of the fireplace HERE.

2009.11.6
HABITAT. ECO FIREPLACE INSTALL

HABITAT. ECO FIREPLACE INSTALL

Is there a Human in the fireplace? Maybe I should go in there but how do I get in? Oh, please excuse my momentary lapse of reason, that is the Human’s reflection on the back of their new eco Alcohol VentLess Fireplace, by La Flame. The fireplace is vent-free and meets clean air emission standards by burning an odorless envio-energy fuel liquid, which burns 99.9% efficient. The Humans love wood burning fireplaces, but in an effort to maintain the clean lines (and a clean floor) of the Habitat, this eco fireplace was the perfect option. Plus, it was a lot of fun to cut a hole in the wall and instantly have a working fireplace. Check out the one day install process, click here.

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HABITAT. KITCHEN DESIGN + BUILD

Kitchen Build

My favorite spot of the entire Habitat… one must eat to survive. With an open floor plan the Human’s goal was to design a kitchen that did not look too much like a “kitchen.” No one wants to sit in the living room and look at a bunch of appliances – well at least not my Humans. That is why black appliances were paired with black cabinets. Also, notice the lack of actual cabinet space… that is because they opted for almost all drawers, much easier access.The goal here was to keep the color pallet well balanced with the rest of the Habitat. In turn emphasizing the bar top as the focal point which brings in a warm natural element to the room. The bar top serves the essential purpose of breaking up the space visually and functionally between the kitchen and living room. Existing at 9′ x 14″ x 3.5″ it adds sufficient burliness to the kitchen as well. While the kitchen may seem small in size, as with any true minimalist space, it’s design has proved itself highly functional for cooking, living and entertaining. The kitchen deceivingly has plenty of work space and storage while at the same time managing to be unobtrusive.

To find out more about the actual design, materials and finished photos CLICK HERE.

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2009.10.21
HABITAT. POLISHING THE CONCRETE FLOORS

Floors

Due to my cheetah like speed the Humans knew that the Habitat had to have a durable floor. We ended up with polished concrete floors which are practically indestructible. Not only does it add character to the minimalist look of the Habitat, but it is also sustainable. By acting as a foundation slab and finished floor (conservation of material), it also adds to the energy efficiency of the Habitat. The Habitat has in-floor heat, making a nice warm surface for the winter. In the summer the slab cools and acts as a giant AC unit. Both heating and cooling with out a forced air system. To read more about the polishing process and see a few more pictures of the slab click HERE.

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HABITAT. BUILDING THE BURLY STAIRS

Stairs Build

The humans tell me tales of a time when they lived in a castle in Alnwick, England… which is why they had to have their own big and burly castle staircase. They wanted to pull off this heavy look with a breathable functionality. I am certainly not going to complain about this decision because I thoroughly enjoy zooming up, down, up, down and lounging around on it. A suspended staircase was a must to keep the clean and open aesthetic flowing throughout the Habitat. However, to remain cost effective and still utilize eco materials the Humans had to get creative about choosing the raw materials (let’s just say custom staircase = custom cost). To see and learn more about building the big burly steps… and one of my favorite napping spots, Read the rest of this entry »

2009.09.23
HABITAT. INTERIOR WALLS
Habitat. Interior Walls

The acid wall. Check it hippies.

Ground control to Major Tom… the habitat has finished interior walls. Now, this is starting to look like a place that I might enjoy spending my time. Plenty of windows with suitable ledges for critter viewing, CHECK. Lot’s of open floor space to make my 100mph dashes, CHECK. A small footprint so I don’t get exhausted and large volume to hear my meows with force, CHECK. Want to know more about the materials the Human’s used and why then read more here.

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2009.09.14
HABITAT. SIDING INSTALLATION + PAINT

Siding Installation

The habitat was covered in corrugated galvanized steel and fiber cement board. The humans thought the contrast would better match my coat, or so that’s what I thought. It was a little scary before the house was painted since it looked like a zebra for a few months. Luckily the black paint came just in time and added a 5th dimension to the habitat. When strolling outside I now match it to a T. Check out the siding installation and painting below.

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2009.08.30
HABITAT. WINDOW INSTALLATION

Habitat. Window Installation

Look, I am a cat and I spend most of my time indoors keeping tabs on all the critters outside. Therefore, windows are of the utmost importance. With as many windows as we could fit in and a passive solar design I am able to enjoy many hours of natural sun without direct rays in my eyes… If anyone knows anything about me it’s that I have rather large eyes. Here lies the next phase in the building process – the window installation. Below you can check out interior and exterior shots of my new triple pane viewing pleasure. In this picture you can see how I had Kristy test out the views.

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2009.08.18
HABITAT. WALL CONSTRUCTION

Habitat. Wall Construction

Living up North in the frozen tundra, energy conservation is very important. Therefore we wanted to find a builder who was committed to using green building practices to support sustainability. Luckily we found Women in Construction, builders of the Eco-Home. So then it began, the humans kept getting more and more books about green building techniques day in and day out…
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PARK POINT LOFT PROJECT

Park Point Loft Project

We had no space, two rooms, and a lot going on with the habitat build. Therefore, I told them: if I must live out here at least please build me a proper bed suitable for bird watching and an area designated for multiple scratching post options. And I was not talking about any slap bang boom job, this deal had to look good – I lived there and birds checked in on me all day. Overall they did a decent job, it was comfortable and i managed to get a few good nights of sleep. Here is what our project evolved into:
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2009.08.6
HABITAT. BACKSTORY, HOW I ARRIVED AT MEDIUM CONTROL
Habitat. Future Establishment

The wooded lot / future habitat site.

BACKSTORY: I was born on September 8th, 2006 in Rice, Mn.
Since the beginning of my time, I have always wanted to live in the woods (full of critters). Luckily, I found the medium control; it seemed like the perfect fit. Being Black and White I had a desire to find a dwelling that was aesthetically pleasing. So as the story goes I arrived in Duluth, Mn and asked the humans of the medium control (tommy + kristy) to design and build me a suitable habitat. Here are the first stages of the building the medium control habitat.

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