When Durham Magazine editors looked around the Triangle to discover how a sampling of residents are making the most of the current COVID-19 quarantine, they called Blueplate PR client pod architecture + design in Chapel Hill to chat with architect Doug Pierson and experiential graphics designer Youn Choi, partners in life as well as the award-winning firm. The magazine posted the full story at durhammag.com/how-we-live-now-in-quarantine/. Below is Doug’s and Youn’s segment (plus the recent family photo by Jeremy Lange for theWall Street Journal).
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Carrboro architects Doug Pierson and Youn Choi of pod architecture + design and their kids, Oscar, 18, and Sora, 15, live in a temporary townhome on Smith Level Road while they wrap up on a custom-built house they designed in Carrboro near South Green. Doug writes:
We are expecting our certificate of occupancy for our new house in a couple weeks, but it has been a challenge to finalize with the pandemic and stay-at-home requirements in place.
So, as we prepare for our eventual move, we are using our property as a “stay-at-home” retreat where we have family outdoor time. Activities include working on the house and site; checking out fish in our stream; walking to the old 1930s community Sparrow Pool ruin in our woods; having a picnic; homework; bike rides and walks.
Outliers in architecturally distinct areas can linger on the market, but fetch a premium over comparable homes.
By Katy McLaughlin | Photos by Jeremy M. Lange for the WSJ
…Youn Choi and her husband Doug Pierson are just finishing construction of a home in Carrboro, N.C., that is so “unique” and “quirky” that neighbors stand and stare at it from the road, said Mr. Pierson, 55.
One curious passerby called out “what is that?” When Mr. Pierson answered “it’s a house,” he responded, “really?” In general, neighbors have been encouraging, flashing “thumbs-up” signs or telling the couple they like it.
Mr. Pierson and his wife, who co-own an architecture and design firm in Chapel Hill, N.C., moved from Los Angeles, where they worked for contemporary design firms. Their suburban community features some historic mill houses and lots of newer, traditional homes. But the house the couple designed, with its snakelike form, cantilevered angles and black, corrugated-metal cladding, has few precedents in the area.
They paid $170,000 for the 1.3-acre lot which is close to downtown but filled with topographical challenges, including slopes and a creek, which necessitated the home’s meandering shape. So far, they have spent about $650,000 to build, and plan to move into the home in May, they said.
The Pierson/Choi home could fetch about $800,000 to $1 million, said Jeff Rupkalvis, owner of Dwell Real Estate in Carrboro. “It’s as unique a home as I’ve seen in Carrboro,” he said. Most homes in the area follow the traditional “five-four-and-a-door” format of five windows on the top floor and four on the ground level with the front door in the middle, he said… CLICK HERE to read the entire article
Real Estate Experts, a residential real estate and property management company based in Chapel Hill, will donate $50 to American Forests to aid in reforestation efforts for each real estate transaction.
Every $50 donation will amount to 50 trees planted on behalf of Real Estate Experts’ clients who will receive a certificate at closing, informing them that the company is planting trees in their names.
According to Jodi Bakst, Real Estate Experts’ broker/owner, her company’s goal is to plant 5000 trees in 2020.
“Real Estate Experts is committed to doing our part to improve the environment and reduce our carbon footprint,” she said. “We’re confident we can meet our 5000 trees goal. In fact, we hope to exceed it.”
Reforestation efforts recover hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, according to American Forests, along with safeguarding vital watersheds, absorbing millions of tons of greenhouse gases, and protecting some of the most picturesque landscapes in America.
“We’re thrilled to launch an exciting new partnership with Real Estate Experts,” said Lindsey Putz, American Forests’ director of corporate giving. “The company’s generous support will help us restore critical ecosystems across some of the country’s most important natural landscapes. Forests in these ecosystems collect and filter drinking water, provide wildlife habitat and naturally capture carbon emissions to slow climate change, so the work is more important than ever.”
Bakst’s partnership with American Forests is just one indication of her commitment, and her company’s commitment, to environmental stewardship. She is currently working on developing a new neighborhood in Orange County, NC, that will be 100 percent Net Zero Energy, the first of its kind in North Carolina.
About American Forests:
American Forests, the nation’s oldest conservation organization, has been restoring forests for more than 140 years. Since 1990 alone, they have planted nearly 60 million trees in forest restoration projects in all 50 states. They have also worked in dozens of cities across America, expanding the tree canopy and improving the quality of life for residents. American Forests uses trees and greenspace to make America’s communities more sustainable, beautiful and livable. For more information: www.americanforests.org.
About Real Estate Experts:
Real Estate Experts is a residential real estate and property management company that has been serving the greater Chapel Hill-Durham area, including Mebane and Burlington North Carolina, for over 20 years. In addition to providing high-level customer service to their buyer, seller and investor clients, Real Estate Experts has industry-leading expertise in transactions involving inherited homes, divorce negotiations and workouts, and in green building and high-performance properties. To learn more about Real Estate Experts, visit www.realestateexperts.net or contact Jodi Bakst at 919-928-5131 ext. 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anne and Bruce, the clients for this project, had recently relocated to Chapel Hill from Florida. They considered themselves “climate refugees” who no longer wanted to live through the yearly hurricanes they were experiencing in Florida. They selected Arielle Schechter for her modernist style, then agree to ramp up the design “Net-Zero Ready” in accordance with her commitment to sustainability.
They told Schechter they dreamed of a modest, yet decidedly modern, environmentally sustainable, age-in-place home in a natural, wooded setting. They found the perfect building site in a beech tree forest in Chapel Hill. READ MORE
Out of 105 agents considered throughout the Triangle region.
After analyzing and scoring 105 agents, Expertise has awarded Jodi Bakst (left), owner of Chapel Hill-based Real Estate Experts, a place on its 2019 list of the Best Real Estate Agents serving Durham, NC.
“I’m thrilled!” Bakst said, smiling, as she downloaded the award badge for her agency’s website.
Based in Seattle, WA, Expertise uses proprietary, in-depth research and selection process, including detailed comparisons, to identify the top service professionals in over 200 different industries in significant cities across the United States.
Ultimately, the Expertise team conducts a manual review before notifying those who make the list. But first, Expertise’s in-house software grades them on Reputation, Credibility, Experience, Engagement (approachable and responsive to clients), and Professionalism.
“Jodi Bakst… began her career in the real estate field over two decades ago,” her Expertise listing points out. “Focusing on the local real estate market in Chapel Hill, Durham, and surrounding communities, she specializes in residential properties, green building, digital marketing, and property management.” It also notes her “many advanced certifications, including residential and luxury home marketing specialist, distressed property expert, and international property specialist.”
Expertise reports that the lists on its website, Expertise.com, receives over half a million monthly visitors. To see all of the lists of “Best Local Experts” by state, city, and category, visit expertise.com.
Real Estate Experts is a residential real estate and property management company that has been serving the local market for over 20 years, going above and beyond to provide exceptional service to its clients. The agents are experts in their market and out-of-the-box thinkers when it comes to the real estate transaction, negotiation, and marketing. With their clients in mind, they listen and deliver the results they want. For more information, visit realestateexperts.net, call 919-928-9131, or email Jodi@realestateexperts.net.
November 13, 2019 (Richmond, VA) – Frank Harmon wants to transform the way we see and enjoy the world around us. That’s why the multi-award-winning architect from Raleigh, NC, wroteNative Places: Drawing as a Way to See. That’s also why he’ll be in Richmond this month.
On Thursday, November21, The Branch Museum of Architecture & Design will host a lecture and book-signing event with Harmon from 5:30-7:30 pm. Then on Saturday, November 23, Harmon will lead an Urban Sketching Workshop around the Museum’s vicinity on Monument Avenue from 10 am-1 pm. Both events are open to the public.
Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 of Harmon’s watercolor sketches – of buildings, landscapes and cityscapes, everyday objects and ordinary places — paired with 200-word essays. The pairs first appeared in his popular online journal NativePlaces.org. The sketches, some over 30 years old, convey the delight he finds in each subject. The brief essays offer his fresh perspectives on topics inspired by those sketches, especially places and things that we take for granted.
For Frank Harmon, sketching has always been an element of his education and his practice. He has made sketches “as a way to see” since his university days at the Architectural Association in London. Since then, he has kept a sketch pad, pens, and a pocket-sized water-color set in a small bag wherever he’s gone, from fields along rural highways where he spots old barns and sheds to urban centers and lush gardens throughout Europe.
“Usually I sketch something I’m curious about,” he notes.
As an architect and a professor of architecture at North Carolina State University’s College of Design, Harmon has conducted Urban Sketching Workshops for the American Institute of Architect’s National Conventions; for various AIA chapters and sections across the nation; and at Auburn University’s renowned Rural Studio in Hale County, Alabama. He began combining sketching workshops with book-signing events soon after ORO Editions published Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See.
In his workshops, Harmon helps participants learn to look more closely at the particulars of a place and the nuances of objects, then express both through sketching.
Ticket options for Frank Harmon’s lecture and Urban Sketching Workshop are available at branchmuseum.org. Click on “events.”
Frank Harmon, FAIA, (right) a multi-award-winning architect from Raleigh, North Carolina, and the author of the critically acclaimed book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, will be in Austin Tuesday, November 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a lecture and book-signing event hosted by the Austin chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Austin).
As the architect of the modern, thoroughly sustainable AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design building in Raleigh, he will also address AIA Austin’s plans for a similar structure.
Frank Harmon’s appearance is part of AIA Austin’s “Design Talks” Luncheon Series held in the Lake | Flato-designed Austin Central Library.
“AIA Austin is thrilled to welcome an architecture and drawing master like Frank to Austin,” said Ingrid Spencer, Executive Director of AIA Austin and the Austin Foundation for Architecture. “Because Frank designed the only ground-up Center for Architecture in the country, and we’re striving to create such a place in Austin, we are extra excited for his visit.”
After a brief AIA Austin Annual Meeting, architect and professor Lawrence Speck will introduce Harmon, who will then discuss and read excerpts from Native Places and share his reasons for writing it. One of those reasons is his lifelong belief that drawing offers the opportunity “to transform the way we see” the world around us.
“Sketching allows us to see what we might not have noticed,” Harmon says. “It allows us to be present.”
Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See is a collection of 64 of Harmon’s watercolor sketches paired with brief essays he’s written about architecture, nature, everyday objects, and ordinary places. The pairs first appeared in his popular online journal NativePlaces.org.
The sketches in Native Places, some of which are 30 years old, convey the delight the architect finds in these places and things. The short essays, inspired by the sketches, offer his fresh interpretations of what most people take for granted.
Seattle architect Tom Kundig, FAIA, calls Harmon’s book “a masterful legacy on all levels.” Architect Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, offers this:
“Native Places provides a reflective pause in my busy day to consider the humanity of buildings and places. I find my sense of hope and possibility renewed in these simple, evocative drawings and the wisdom that accompanies them.”
BookPeople, the leading independent bookstore in Texas since 1970, will make copies of Native Places available for purchase so attendees can get them signed by the author.
Advance tickets for the November 12 “Design Talks” event are $30 for AIA and Allied AIA members, $15 for Associate members and students, and $40 for non-members. Tickets purchased at the door November 12 will be $40 for AIA and Allied AIA members and $20 for Associate members and students. To register and secure advanced tickets click here.
Austin Central Library is located at 710 West Cesar Chevez Street, Austin, TX 78701 (512-452-4332). For more information on the November 12 event and AIA Austin, visit aiaaustin.org.
Based in Chapel Hill, Real Estate Experts is an independent, full-service residential real estate and property management company that has been serving the Triangle and surrounding areas for over 20 years. Bakst has hired the boutique PR agency to increase her agency’s visibility and to support her marketing plans.
“Early in her career, Jodi Bakst knew that marketing is arguably the most important aspect of her business, which contributed to her incredible success. She’s an expert at real estate marketing,” said Kim Weiss, owner and operator of Blueplate PR. “But sometimes public relations is more effective because it confirms a real estate agent’s expertise and credibility. It establishes trust – a value that attracts clients and media attention.”
To that end, Weiss said she’s working with Bakst to expose the “emotional side of Real Estate Experts by celebrating the fascinating people behind the brand and by sharing those happy human moments that real estate transactions so often elicit.”
sometimes public relations is more effective because it confirms…expertise and credibility. It establishes trust…”
Blueplate PR will also be involved in a unique residential community Bakst is planning, from website content development through promotional campaigns. The goal, Weiss said, will be maximum exposure to potential investors, property owners and in the media.
“I’m working with architects and builders on my new project,” Bakst said. “They told me, hands down, ‘Kim Weiss is the best in the business. You have to hire her.’ So that’s what I did. And not only am I working with Kim on my upcoming project; I was so excited about her that I asked for her help with promoting Real Estate Experts as well.”
Jodi Bakst co-owns the Property Management Group within Real Estate Experts with Realtor® Bill Matthes. For more information on all aspects of Real Estate Experts, visit realestateexperts.net.
Owned and operated by award-winning journalist and former magazine editor Kim Weiss, Blueplate PR is a boutique public relations agency located in downtown Raleigh, NC. The agency specializes in full-service PR campaigns for architects and other businesses and organizations within and related to the building industry. For more information, visit blueplatepr.org and/or email Kim Weiss: email@example.com.
About Real Estate Experts:
Real Estate Experts is a residential real estate and property management company. We have been serving the local market for over 20 years, going above and beyond to provide exceptional service to our clients. Not only are we experts in our market, the real estate transaction, negotiation, and marketing, we are out-of-the-box thinkers. With our clients in mind, we listen and we deliver the results they want. For more information, visit realestateexperts.net, call 919-928-9131 or email Jodi@realestateexperts.net.
Cameron Art Museum (CAM) in Wilmington will host a reception and book signing event for celebrated architect/author Frank Harmon when he shares his new book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See during an illustrated lecture on Thursday, October 24th, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Harmon will then lead an Urban Sketching Workshop in downtown Wilmington on Saturday morning, October. 26th, from 9 am – noon.
A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a professor of architecture at NC State University’s College of Design, Frank Harmon lead his multi-award-winning firm in Raleigh for over three decades.
Five years ago he launched NativePlaces.org, an online journal that paired watercolor sketches he’s made over those decades – of buildings and nature, landscapes and cityscapes, everyday objects and ordinary places — with fresh 200-word essays that convey the delight he finds in each subject. The essays never repeat what’s visible in the sketches. Instead, they elucidate ideas and thoughts inspired by those images.
Published by ORO Editions, Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See, is a collection of 64 sketch-essay pairings that Charles D. Linn, FAIA, former deputy editor of Architectural Record, helped Harmon cull from the online journal and organize into a book.
During his illustrated lecture at CAM, Harmon will share excerpts from Native Places and examples of his own architectural work to illustrate his belief that sketching “as a way to see” enhances the grace with which we observe and appreciate all sorts of “native places.”
“If I take a photograph of something, I’ll soon forget it,” he adds. “But if I draw something, it remains in my mind forever.”
After his presentation, Harmon will take questions from the audience then sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase at CAM.
Then on Saturday, October 26th, the author will lead an Urban Sketching Workshop in downtown Wilmington. Through the workshop, he will share his belief that drawing in the digital age is far from obsolete. Rather, “it is transformative in the way we observe and interact with the world around us.” Participants should bring their own sketchpads and pencils.
Tickets to the lecture are $12 for CAM members, $17 for non-members, and $8 for students with valid IDs. Those registered for the Saturday workshop will be admitted to the lecture free of charge.
Cameron Art Museum is located at 3201 South 17th Street, Wilmington, NC 28412. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, visit cameronartmuseum.org.
A Greensboro native and Raleigh resident, Frank Harmon has designed sustainable modern buildings across the Southeast for 30 years that are specific to their sites and use materials, such as hurricane-felled cypress and rock from local quarries, to connect them to their landscapes. Airy breezeways, outdoor living spaces, deep overhangs, and wide lawns embody the vernacular legacy of the South while maintaining a distinguished modernism. To see examples of his work, visit frankharmon.com.
Harmon is a graduate of the Architectural Association in London and a popular professor of architecture at the North Carolina State University College of Design. He has taught at the Architectural Association and has been a visiting critic at Harvard University, Yale University, and the University of Virginia. He continues to serve as a visiting critic at Auburn University’s renowned Rural Studio.
Fans of this Chapel Hill architect’s work were pleased to learn that her most recently completed house — this one in Chapel Hill’s Beech Forest — will be featured on the fall “Modapalooza” Tour of modernist houses in the Triangle.
Sponsored by the non-profit organization North Carolina Modernist Houses, this fall’s “Modapalooza” will be held on Saturday, October 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will offer nine private homes for touring, including Schechter’s Mason-Grabell House on Mill Valley Road.
Schechter designed the 2465-square-foot house for Anne Mason and Bruce Grabell who moved to Chapel Hill from Florida. They wanted a modest and modern, environmentally sustainable, age-in-place home in a natural setting. They found the perfect property in Beech Forest.
Working with green home builder Kevin Murphy of Newphire Building Co. in Chapel Hill, Schechter designed the Mason-Grabell House to be extremely energy efficient now as it awaits a future solar array on the roof, which will take it easily to Net Zero.
Among the high-performance features that Modapalooza tour-goers will see are Schechter’s favorite Passive House-rated windows and doors from Eurostar Fenestration® and the flat roof’s deep overhangs. The latter provide shade for the windows and overhead shelter for the porches and decks – the outdoor living spaces – that are key elements in all of Schechter’s residential work.
To meet the homeowners’ age-in-place goal, Schechter designed the one-story house to be “zero thresholds” from the walkway to the front door and throughout the interior: There are no steps and no tripping hazards, such as thresholds at doorways and shower curbs.
On the front elevation, reminiscent of a cluster of orange Cosmos in a field of wildflowers, the house’s orange front door is a bold element within the horizontal panel siding and cypress accent wall.
On the rear elevation, a large screen porch appears to float out into the landscape. A wrap-around deck connects the porch to an outdoor grilling area.
Inside, an entire wall of the main living space is actually two massive, glass folding doors. While the house’s windows, strategically placed to avoid heat gain, provide visual access to the natural setting, the folding doors literally open the interior to the outdoors overlooking Beech Forest.
Aware that Anne Mason loves to cook, Schechter’s floorplan revolves around the kitchen — the heart of the house, both physically and metaphorically — with all other spaces having easy access to it.
And in the kitchen, as throughout the interior, Schechter custom designed all of the black walnut cabinetry. With its vivid grain and rich color, black walnut is both retro and regal and lent itself beautifully as well to the mid-century-inspired cocktail bar she created for a space beside the fireplace in the dining area.
The fall Modapalooza Tour is sold out, but NCMH founder George Smart encourages anyone interested to get his or her name on the waiting list in case there are cancellations. Click here for details.
Arielle Condoret Schechter, AIA, is a licensed, registered architect based in Chapel Hill, NC, who specializes in Modernist, energy-efficient buildings with a focus on Passive houses, Net Zero/Net Positive houses, and Micropolis Houses®, the collection of tiny houses she designed. Her residential projects range from 400 to 6000 square feet. She is a lifelong environmentalist and began practicing green design long before it became mainstream. She is also a lifelong animal advocate. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Arnie, and an assortment of foster animals in the Modern, sustainable house she designed for them. For more information: www.acsarchitect.com.