Encino-based Cyber-Rain, maker of what the company calls a “sprinkler controller with a brain,” recently introduced a new feature that gives users the ability to monitor and control landscape watering from the cloud. The Cyber-Rain controller works similar to, for example, a Rainbird or Orbit system, except an owner can control sprinklers, manually run valves, and check watering activity from a computer or through a free iPhone app.
Santa Monica-based LivingHomes is doing great things with factory-built homes designed by elite architects. They built the first LEED Platinum home in the country and have since certified about 8 more Platinum-level prefabs in various places. Not satisfied with only single family homes, the company has been working on this 3-unit multifamily project in Los Altos, which is also shooting for Platinum certification.
We’re building up a nice archive of chicken coop designs these days. Reader Matt Wolpe of Just Fine Design/Build just sent us photos and details of his Chicken Coopsickle in California. He designed this to work on a woodsy site with a steep incline — it’s planted in concrete with a redwood post. Floating steps run upward to the hen house, which is made with interlocked half-lap joint flooring, Tennessee red cedar siding, and a plywood gusset topped with a single sheet of aluminum for the roof.
Some of the best prefabricated homes seem to be coming out of the Pacific Northwest from companies like Stillwater Dwellings, the design-build firm behind this new home in Santa Barbara, California. The Seattle-based firm, founded by a seasoned builder and developer and architects formerly of the firm now known as Olson Kundig Architects, differentiates itself from others with a trademark soaring butterfly roofline, energy-efficient designs, sustainable materials, and a predictable construction budget.
This is House Ocho, a project in Carmel, California, designed by Feldman Architecture. The home is beautiful and modern with striking clean lines, though perhaps its most prominent detail is a lively green roof that hides the structure in the hillside of a nature preserve in the Santa Lucia Mountains.
This is the first permitted shipping container house in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree, California, according to a statement by the architect, Walter Scott Perry, principal of ecotechdesign. The home, also known as The Tim Palen Studio at Shadow Mountain, was built with re-purposed shipping containers and some impressive green elements such as a steel shade system, a living roof, and a 10,000 gallon water storage tank.