Three reasons cedar is the best environmental choice for your new deck

Okay, so Real Cedar boasts greater beauty and more versatility than man-made materials – few would argue that point. But, Real Cedar is so much more than just good-looking and strong; it’s also the best environmental choice for your new deck.

  1. Renewable and biodegradable                                                                                                                                              Homeowners who choose Western Red Cedar over synthetic substitutes aren’t just building a more naturally beautiful deck, they’re also making the best decision for the environment. That’s because independent studies prove that when it comes to environmental performance, natural wood is one of the most environmentally friendly building materials.

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Easy DIY: How to Build a Portable Cooler Stand


Entertain in style with Western Red Cedar

The portable Western Red Cedar deck bar and cooler stand will be as much a conversation piece as a practical staple. Easy to pull off, but still worthy of bragging rights, this Western Red Cedar beauty involves just four simple steps and voila, you’re ready to down a few cool ones without having to step off the patio.

The build starts with a medium-sized cooler (the size of the cooler determines the overall scale of the bar), and it has a section for ice, with drainage, in the center. On the opposite side of cooler, is a bar where you can line up shots, slices of fresh lime or whip up cocktails.  Continue reading “Easy DIY: How to Build a Portable Cooler Stand”

Trend to watch: Ebony-stained cedar

Charcoal stain: edgy and modern, yet warm

It’s no surprise architects are opting for charcoal shades when it comes to stains, but in some cases clients are slow to catch up – at least until they see the final results.

When architect Robert Hutchison approached his clients in the Pacific Northwest with the proposal to stain the Western Red Cedar siding with an ebony shade, clients were concerned the dark stain wouldn’t blend into the forest, but Hutchison convinced them to trust his vision, and they were thrilled with the results.

“Clients are sometimes concerned that using a black stain will make their building stand out, but the opposite tends to happen,” explains Hutchison. “I finally convinced them to go for it. As soon as the first façade was completed, they immediately called me and left me a message saying, ‘Oh my gosh, the building almost disappears into the forest!’” Continue reading “Trend to watch: Ebony-stained cedar”

Easy DIY: How to build a modern outdoor cedar bench

WRC perfect for outdoor projects

Western Red Cedar is always the best choice for any outdoor project, and this stunning modern outdoor storage bench is no exception.
“Stable, lightweight and easy on the tools” is how expert builder Jim West of Westworks Construction describes nature’s most versatile wood, which he used to create this modern outdoor storage bench.
West guides viewers through a simple three-step process to easily build a highly functional and beautiful bench with a two-fold purpose. It serves as both a relaxing spot to sit and a place to store outdoor goods, such as sports equipment or gardening gear. Along with watching the video, download the free plans to build this cedar storage bench.

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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.

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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”