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Common Materials – Uncommon Results

In 1923 renowned architect Charles Greene designed and built this studio for himself in Carmel California. He used brick salvaged from the demolition of a nearby hotel and sand on the property for use in the plaster. Friends in the lumber industry supplied him with oak flooring and teakwood for the doors free of charge. Modest in size, he completed the project for $2,500.00; the equivalent of $34,474.00 in 2014.

Charles Greene believed in making the structural elements of a home beautiful. He wrote “We have got to have bricks and stone and wood and plaster; common, homely, cheap materials, every one of them. Leave them as they are – stone for stone, brick for brick, wood for wood, plaster for plaster. Why are they not better so? Why disguise them? Thought and care are all that we need, for skill we have. The noblest work of art is to make these common things beautiful for man”.

This then, is the challenge and opportunity in construction today. As designers and builders we all use the same materials such as concrete, gypsum wallboard and 2×4′s – the difference lies in the skill with which they are handled. Good design and the masterful use of common materials is also the most cost-efficient manner of building. Where functionality, durability and beauty are equally considered, there is opportunity for excellence. At Veritas, this is what we do.

While rambling through Monterey, I snapped this picture of the studio built 91 years ago. It is powerful proof of these principles.

1 Comment
  • Michael Gray on April 11, 2014

    Can we move my SHACK to CARMEL CALIFORNIA. Great blog post and a great quote! LOVE IT!

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