Project Update: Ruby Place by keith messick

Construction is underway at Ruby Place.

This residence is to receive a new skin of smooth stucco and stone veneer.  All of the doors and windows will also be replaced. 

View from every front facing window / door. At every site meeting, one must pause and take in the beautiful ocean view.

The major change is taking place on the third level (Living Room).  The entire front wall will be removed and replaced with a folding wall of glass.  The folding door will meet in the corner (corner column will be removed) with a folding window.  When both of these are open, the Living Room will open and extend seamlessly onto the deck.

This door and window will be replaced by folding doors. The current 9 foot sliding door will be replaced with a 18 foot folding door. The entire front of the residence will be a glass wall.

Rendering of proposed folding glass wall.

The photos above show the demo in progress. The walls are being stripped, getting ready for smooth stucco and stone veneer.

The Cost of Construction vs The Value of Construction - 2018 by keith messick

A great reference for project cost.

Remodeling Magazine has released their "Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report" (  This report compares the cost versus the value of projects between markets across the United States. 

The point of the study is to show how the value of a completed project compares to the cost of its construction.  The study uses a given project structure, same hours and materials, and uses that model to compare the differences across the country.

The cost of the project(s) is generated from RemodelMAX, a company that produces estimating tools.  The value of the respective project(s) comes from a survey of real estate professionals.

I find the greatest value (no pun intended) of this report to be the cost data.  This report is an excellent reference for the cost of construction, by project, by geographic location.  And the fact that the data is further broken down into mid-range and upscale projects is even better.   The data on the value of a project is interesting but extremely subjective.  It is derived from polling real estate professionals.  Real estate professionals speak in terms of cost per square foot.  When they evaluate and compare two properties, the conversation always revolves around what their respective cost per square foot is.  The details are always secondary.  If a property is going to be sold at a premium, the real estate professional must understand the details of the updates and properly promote those features.     

 Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report -

Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report -

 Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report -

Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report -

Project Descriptions/Definitions

 Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report -

Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report -

 Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report -

Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report -

Architects Design Buildings by keith messick

I would like to dispel a myth that architects don’t do design:  Architects design buildings.

While obvious to some, not so for others.

I was recently having a conversation with several other architects about the name of their firm.  There are countless ways to name an architecture firm.  Listed here are common forms or templates (using my name as an example).

  • Messick and Associates

  • Messick Architects

  • KM Studio

  • Messick Architecture

  • Messick Architecture and Design

The last template, that includes “Design”, is most often used to imply that the firm is also involved in various other types of design such as graphic, furniture, industrial, or one of many other types of design.

However, during this discussion about firm names, I learned that many architects use the last template (the one with “Design” in it) to let potential clients know that their firm, indeed, does design buildings.  There appears to be a misconception among potential clients and contractors that architects don’t do design.  So much so that architects are placing “Design” in their firm’s name to reinforce this.

You can hire an architect to design your project.

Architects do many things.  They create, process, coordinate, and document all the information necessary for a public or private agency, such as a Planning and Building Department, to issue a Building Permit (required prior to commencement of construction).  They then observe the construction of that building to verify that the original design intent is met.  They are also often involved in much of the administration of the construction process.

Most architects go to school (see my previous post regarding Licensed Architect), in either an undergraduate or graduate program or both, to study architecture.  While in school, they learn about structural requirements, environmental sciences, construction materials and methods, psychology, and design.  They are usually involved every semester with a design studio.  These studios revolve around specific topics in architecture such as civic buildings, schools, places of worship, medical facilities, housing (public and private), as well as office spaces.  Studios may also involve esoteric topics such as grave yards or outdoor spaces such as rivers and parks.  This diverse course of study equips architects for any design challenge that they may encounter.

If you are thinking about design or construction, I would strongly encourage you to discuss your project with an architect. 


Green-Certified Homes Sell For More by keith messick

Build It Green’s appraiser-driven study, the first of its kind in California, highlights price premium of green homes—and evidence that ROI could be much higher

Proper Promotion of Green Features is Key

 Click here for full report

Click here for full report


A rigorous study, released today by Build It Green and funded by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), shows that green-certified homes in California bring a higher sales price, even though market barriers often prevent the full value of the home’s green features from being recognized. The study results add to a growing body of similar findings across the country that show green home improvements provide a financial return on investment (ROI). However, the study also finds significant market barriers to valuing green homes and describes how the price premium could be much higher if key barriers were eliminated.

“We already know that consumers prefer greener homes because they save money, conserve resources, and provide greater comfort and health benefits,” says Karin Burns, Executive Director of the nonprofit Build It Green, which commissioned the study. “Now we can add one more benefit to that list—greater resale value. We also believe that this ROI could be much higher if key market barriers were removed.” For example, while countless homes have extensive green features, relatively few are properly documented, scored, or certified, and green home features are often not listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The study revealed several challenges in the proper promotion and sale of green homes:

Challenge #1: The MLS listing of each green sale used in this analysis rarely included more than a comment in the narrative description that showed the property was certified.

Challenge #2: Few real estate professionals can recognize and communicate green home features.

Challenge #3: It is difficult to find homes with energy scores and/or green certifications.



The Eichler Attraction by keith messick

Joseph Eichler hired architects to design the tract homes he built.  The result was homes that still look fresh and unique today.   

Joseph Eichler built homes that have a following.  Many people have fallen in love with the style and livability of these homes.  Owners covet their homes.

Why such patronage?  

Eichler had two things going for him.  The first was location.  He built his homes in California.  The weather in California is temperate; very forgiving.  It does not have the extremes that other locations across the country have.  His homes took full advantage of their location. 

The second was design.  While Joseph Eichler was a production builder (he built tract homes), he hired architects to design the homes he built.  This approach yielded designs that were simple, clean, and elegant. 

The homes were modest in size, but took full advantage of the California climate.  The designs almost always included big expanses of glass, which created a strong visual and physical connection to the exterior.  The spaces flowed seamlessly from inside to out. The result was homes that did not look or live like other tract homes.  The outdoor connection, often through the use of atriums, made the homes feel much larger than they actually were.  And while many of his homes date back to the 1940's, Eichler homes still look fresh and unique today.

The key here is that Eichler hired architects to design the homes he built.  There are thousands of tract homes across the United States.  People live in them.  They serve the purpose of providing shelter and a place to call home.  However, none of them have a following like the Eichler's.  

While I have a biased view on and a vested interest in this topic, I would recommend hiring an architect for your project.  At the very least, I would suggest discussing your project with an architect.  Their designs can create lasting, tangible equity.


Project Update-Ruby Place by keith messick

Design Review approval.

We have received Design Review Approval for our Ruby Place Project.

This 6 level residence is getting re-skinned with smooth stucco as well as some stone veneer.

All of the doors and windows will be changed out.  On the third level, the entire front wall will be removed and replaced with an operable wall of glass.  The northwest corner of this wall will also be removed.  Both, the large front wall of glass and the adjoining window will fold back open.  This folding door/window combination will open completely, extending the Living Room onto the deck.

The pictures above show the rear of the residence with the final stucco color selection.  The window frames and trim will be a dark bronze.