Trend to watch – Modern, knotty Western Red Cedar ceilings

Modern, knotty Western Red Cedar ceilings add organic warmth and texture to a home, delivering a sophisticated earthiness with architectural punch. Knotty Western Red Cedar is considered the rising star of cedar materials – it’s a versatile, sustainable, high-performance wood. And designers are noticing the natural appeal of knotty cedar, in particular when it comes to ceilings.

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Project of the Week – 1200 Pennsylvania

Architect: Studio 804
Location: Lawrence, KS
Photo: Dan Rockhill

Low on carbon, high on style

Every year professor Dan Rockhill and his Masters of Architecture class at the University of Kansas produce an inventive, sustainable building. But in 2016 they took it to the next level with “1200 Pennsylvania” –  a modern, fully accessible and sustainable spec house that features an air-tight, insulated thermal envelope, efficient light fixtures and appliances, as well as a high-performance mechanical system.

“LEED Platinum is the highest level you can achieve, and the use of Western Red Cedar contributed tremendously to that,” explains Rockhill, who oversees Studio 804 at the university’s Department of Architecture. “The siding is low-maintenance, 100-year-old Western Red Cedar reclaimed from railroad bridge trestles that have been dismantled by the logging industry in the northwest part of the country.” Continue reading “Project of the Week – 1200 Pennsylvania”

Pro of the Week – Neil Burke of BurkeWorks

Looking ahead to landscapes

Don’t be deterred when building challenges arise. In fact, expect they will and be prepared to deal with them as they do – that’s the advice from expert builder Neil Burke of Toronto’s BurkeWorks, when it comes to landscape design.

His one-stop residential trades and design company, which specializes in both interior and exterior builds, is known for meticulous execution, especially when it comes to working with Western Red Cedar.

“We’ve always been proud of our commitment to an open line of communication, and proud of our ability to help clients solve problems on-the-fly,” Burke explains.

Communication is key when it comes to working with a contractor, as anyone who has waited for a response from a missing-in-action builder can attest. Continue reading “Pro of the Week – Neil Burke of BurkeWorks”

Project of the Week – The Burrows House


This week’s video chronicles how a Seattle couple kept the character in their mid-century Seattle home, and even added a bit of charm, with the use Western Red Cedar.

The unique house was built in 1958 by John Burrows. A well-known contractor in the 1950s, Burrows moved to Seattle from California, bringing with him the styles of mid-century masters Joseph Eichler and Richard Neutra.

The renovated Seattle home includes the original Western Red Cedar ceilings and beams, which continue through the windows to the outside.

Continue reading “Project of the Week – The Burrows House”

Project of the Week – Laurentian Ski Chalet

Architect: RobitailleCurtis
Location: Lac Archambault, Quebec
Photo: Marc Cramer

Warm yet modern

Perched on the steep slope of a former ski hill in a Quebec winter wonderland, this modern Laurentian family retreat brilliantly showcases the warmth and functionality of Western Red Cedar.

The contemporary ski chalet was designed as a weekend retreat for a family with young children. Architects at RobitailleCurtis opted for cedar in the deep eaves of the roof, as well as the finish material of the ceiling throughout the interior of the main living level, which is square-grooved clear Western Red Cedar. The decision to use cedar was a natural one.

“Western Red Cedar was an easy choice – it’s extremely beautiful wood and long lasting,” explains Andrew Curtis, co-principal at RobitailleCurtis. “Our clients were looking for a home that fundamentally ‘felt’ like a ski chalet. They wanted it to be modern but warm – Western Red Cedar helped us to achieve this.” Continue reading “Project of the Week – Laurentian Ski Chalet”

Project of the Week – Treehouse

Architect: Ha2 Architectural Design
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Photo: JVL Photography & Houry Avedissian

Treehouse - Justin Van Leeuwen of JVL Photography The tiny cottage that once occupied this lush corner lot was simply not house enough to hold its own among the mighty spruce and apple trees that surrounded it. Basically, the submissive one-story structure was withering underneath the engulfing branches and leaves. But the homeowners had no intention of destroying the trees. Thus, we have the genesis for a symbiotic “treehouse” concept.

“We tore down the existing bungalow and created a far more spacious, new two-story detached home to live, work and to entertain in,” explains Houry Avedissian, principal and founder of Ha2 Architectural Design. “By locating the main living space on the second floor, we gave the client a fresh, new, uplifting living experience amidst the ever-changing foliage of the trees.” Continue reading “Project of the Week – Treehouse”

Book with Benefits

Award-Winning Architectural Designer Gets the Exposure She Deserves

Houry Avedissian - Ha2 Architectural DesignMeet Houry Avedissian. She’s an architectural designer whose time has come. After developing her expertise at notable firms in Montreal for 7 years, she launched her own studio, Ha² Architectural Design, and began making a name for herself right away. One of her first major projects out of the gate was none other than the award-winning “Treehouse”.

Featuring four different Western Red Cedar applications, this innovative design was a natural choice for the cover of Cedar Book 9. And like previous editions in this collectable coffee table book series, Cedar Book 9 was distributed to architects, developers and builders throughout North America. Continue reading “Book with Benefits”

Home Tour – Retro Interior, Contemporary Exterior


Contrary to popular belief, you don’t necessarily need to match your interior style with your exterior style in order to create a warm and inviting extension of your home. Take this funky split-level, for instance. Inside, it’s got a definite retro vibe. But outside, it’s a lot more contemporary. Yet, it all works seamlessly. How? Plenty of thoughtful consultations combined with solid craftsmanship…. and of course, the right materials. Continue reading “Home Tour – Retro Interior, Contemporary Exterior”

5 ways to prepare your outdoor living space for fall


While everyone eagerly waits for spring each year and wishes summer could last a month or two longer, when it comes down to it, fall just might be America’s favorite season. It’s warm but not hot, the air has that clean crispness that’s hard to describe and perhaps the biggest draw, pumpkin-flavored everything. And let’s not forget about all those bright, beautiful leaf colors that come with the change in weather. So why start shutting down your outdoor living space with the first sign of fall?

Packing it in early is something dynamic design duo, Colin and Justin, would never consider. The home improvement stars of “Cabin Pressure” and “Game of Homes” make the most of their beautiful Western Red Cedar deck all year around.

“Oh my gosh every single day, we’re on the deck — whether it’s summer, spring, fall, winter or whatever,” says Justin. “A deck isn’t just for three months of the year; a deck is what you want it to be. And if you love the great outdoors as much as we do, you can make it work.”

Here, then, are Colin and Justin’s top five design solutions to help extend your outdoor living well into the autumn months: Continue reading “5 ways to prepare your outdoor living space for fall”