Archive for the Press Category

SmithBuilt Project: Sightglass Coffee on the New York Times Blog

Posted in Design/Building Portfolio, Press on August 16, 2011 by smithbuilt

Following in the footsteps of coffee innovators Blue Bottle and Ritual Coffee Roasters in San Francisco SightGlass Coffee Roasters is my newest completed project. The New York Times T Magazine has published a beautiful slideshow about Sightglass. Read on for the story of how we built it.

Over the past year, Sightglass Coffee, Jared and Justin Morrison’s coffee roastery and cafe on Seventh Street and Folsom, has been selling coffee from a kiosk set inside an old warehouse they’re renovating. Tarps separate the espresso machine from the construction zone, and everyone who stops by for a cappuccino stoops and cranes as they stand in line, trying to see past the plastic.

SmithBuilt worked for months rebuilding the structural steel and beam interior. I am always reminded of a boat every time I look up at the elaborate old ceiling with its’ complex series of trusses.

The epic industrial space (last a sign-painting shop) still looks a mess, but it’s actually nearing completion.  We have just finished polishing the concrete floor, prestained with coffee, and the crew is getting ready to paint the exterior, punch a hole in the ceiling for the roaster’s heat vent, and finish constructing the bars.

It’s a huge space, actually, which will be divided into half cafe, half production; like most microroasters, they’re projecting that wholesale beans will be a big chunk of the business. The coffee roaster occupies a prominent place at the front, and there’s an oval coffee bar in the back and a mezzanine for storage and seating.

The front bar was constructed with a poured-in-place concrete top, diamond-polished to a worn matte finish. The front of the bar is clad in zinc sheets, hand sanded and patina washed to produce a dusted carbon effect.

As an interior wall finish we employed a Japanese wood flaming technique called Soh-sugi-ban a historical technique that has been used in Japan for centuries. The char on the wood helps protect it from water as well as making it harder for the wood to catch fire in the future, as well as just looking beautiful.


SmithBuilt Project: Radius House on the American Institute of Architects Tour 2010

Posted in Design/Building Portfolio, Press on May 18, 2010 by smithbuilt

Marin Home

Tour lets

nature be

your guide


Tracey Taylor, Special to The Chronicle Wednesday, May 5, 2010

If there’s one thing the houses featured on the American Institute of Architects’ Marin Home Tour teach us, it’s how to work with, not against, nature when crafting dwellings. Each of the five homes on the May 15 tour embraces the landscape in which it is sited to such an extent that the boundaries between structure and nature are often pleasantly obscure. Whether it’s the Sausalito home that gives itself completely to the panoramic sweep of the bay, the crescent-shaped home in Mill Valley designed 50 years ago to follow precisely the contours of a forest ridge, or the newly built house, also in Mill Valley, that tucks itself into a steep hillside and then uses the resulting verticality to stunning effect: All have grabbed the gorgeous Marin scenery and run with it.

SFGate: San Francisco Living Home Tours

Posted in Design/Building Portfolio, Press on May 14, 2010 by smithbuilt

SFGate is running an article about the Ames Cottage on the AIA tour. Check it out here. 

Tillandsia Garden At The Plant Cafe

Posted in Press, Vertical Garden on May 13, 2010 by smithbuilt

When the owners of The Plant Cafe Organic, Matthew and Mark first approached me about a vertical garden they were interested in something dynamic and unusual that fit with their dining concept of “the waiting room of a Finnish sauna set in a Tokyo airport”.

Something modern and organic-I suggested a large boarderless Tillandsia piece composed of nine 1/4” plates of cold rolled steel patinaed with a solution of copper suspended acid wash.

My assistant Jesse and I set to work constructing the large “backer panel” receiver on which the steel plates were to be secured. The backer was then preliminarily fitted with the steel panels to mark the positioning of each panel, and the backer was secured to the wall.

We then constructed transport frames to move the steel in order to receive the patina and later to serve as placement rigs while we worked on the plantings.

During assembly, each panel was numbered and secured to the backer in the corresponding location.

This is one of my favorite pieces as the patina, although tricky, is quite unusual and has continued to grow and change over time just like the plants.

Smithbuilt Project: Radius House on the cover of California Home and Design Magazine

Posted in Design/Building Portfolio, Press on November 17, 2009 by smithbuilt

Our Unique Upgrade Of This Mill Valley Home Is On The November/ December Edition.

Check Out The Article and Photos Here

Radiating history

Vertical Gardens in the press

Posted in Press, Vertical Garden on May 3, 2009 by smithbuilt

The vertical gardens I installed with Flora Grubb are in Sunset and Garden Design magazines this month.

Sunset Magazine Vertical Garden article with 2 of my gardens.

Garden Design Magazien with Vertical Garden I designed with Flora Grubb

New York Times article

This is the Bardessono Hotel Tillandsia Garden