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Justin Anthony of visits Green Modern Kits! And I am Richmond Tour Guide Extrodinaire. ; )

Justin Anthony of is in Richmond!
So I thought I'd give him a tour of Richmond-land.
We headed over to Manchester, which has been undergoing revitalization of old warehouses being rebirthed into wonderful spaces for entrepreneurs.

We started by touring the wonderful world of Grace Street / 3North.
You may recall that Grace Street's San Francisco office designed our beloved R1 Residential!
They bought an old warehouse, renovated it, and now it houses architecture and design oriented companies along with a wonderful cafe, Savor, below.

Then we visited Tektonics, who is launching their cabin line of pods with me, AND who will be fabricating Akemi Tanaka's furniture kit for Green Modern Kits. Justin is actually going to meet with Akemi in New York later this week to review her almost-final designs!

Finally, we ended at La Difference, the local modern furniture store, where three floors of mod awaited our perusal.

Come along for the tour! Welcome to Richmond-land!
(Click the slideshow below to see the large version of the pics with all the comments to go along with them...)

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We are ON for cladding delivery Friday!!!! Woo!!! Super Mod Passive Solar House Kit get ready for yer glory! ; )

Why is it that when it comes to cladding, I am suddenly schizophrenic?

(When I asked my friend Tony how to spell schizophrenic, he replied, "C-o-p-e-l-a-n-d" Heeeeeey! >: / It's not my fault the cladding's dramatic!)

Our crafty craftsman contractor Ron has arranged for the Amish to take the cladding so no matter *what* the weather is on Friday, we have a dry place to unload it and no trucks will be stuck in the mud!

This still has taken some doing though- there is no address, so thanks to Google Maps I was able to send a satellite picture of the location of the Amish enclave / sawmill.

So... I guess starting next week, you can expect to see more modern passive solar house kit updates!!!! Take a good look at that picture, 'cause you'll be looking at sleek shiny cladding soon! Yay!!!!!

And this is where "It's Raining Again" starts playing in my brain... for all the times I have had to struggle with cladding delivery because of weather, pricing... anything!
"C'mon you little fighter
And get back up again"
Take that, rain! Take that, cladding!
I'm jumping around outdoors with an umbrella!
And someone throw me a beer for getting volume affordable pricing for everyone! High five! : )




Sigh, Sigh... Heavy Sigh...

Yes folks, five minutes ago I got off the phone and... postponed the cladding delivery for our modern passive solar house... AGAIN!

Ah yes. In central Virginia it has been sunny, blue skies, GORGEOUS weather...
so OF COURSE it is 50% chance of rain on Friday! OF COURSE!!!!
And as they load the metal up on Tuesdays for Friday morning delivery... we had to make that call now. The representative and I hemmed and haawed over the weather reports... then decided it was not prudent to schedule it.

So I'm guessing that it will certainly, because of this, be gorgeous on Friday!
'Cause that's how things work! ; )
Gimme my modern sleek, supa cool house kit cladding!!!!!!




Passive Solar In ACTION, Even Before We Install Systems

I have a cool passive solar story regarding our modern house kit!

It is FROZEN on our land, absolutely FROZEN!

Yet Ron, our fabulous contractor, just called to say he went to check on our modern house kit and the glass he left w/water inside is still liquid!

GO passive solar energy efficiency with SIP!

Even without solar hot water, radiant heat or our solar energy systems hooked up and working, the passive design of our house kit is preventing the inside from freezing!

We all knew this, but it IS exciting to see it in action!

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Reuse, Recycle, And Celebrate Stylin' Thrift At Work! Vintage Hat Friday!!!!

Don't worry, modern affordable house kit peeps. Everything starts again the first week of January.
In the meantime, we here at Copeland Casati Media (my Richmond, Virginia advertising / web company) celebrate thrifty reuse and recycling in the winter by being silly and proclaiming the last work day as...
Vintage Hat Friday!!!!

Amy: Presenting: Gifts that Keep on Giving

My entire outfit today is made of gifts from other people. It wasn’t intentional…I actually didn’t think of it until I found myself searching for a theme and dismissing a number of cheesy Christmas song titles. But I think this is the first VHF where I can’t say “got at Halcyon, Goodwill, etc.” about anything. It humbles you a bit when you realize that but for the generosity of others, you be modeling Lady Godiva’s fashion trend.

The dress was made by my mother when she was about my age, and worn to many a Christmas party. She gave it to me recently and I’ve been enjoying wearing it all this season. The velvet coat was a gift from my father’s friend, who found it in his mother’s attic and knew how I liked vintage clothes. I spent some time last night mending some open seams on the back, and now it’s good as new and ready to go to the opera… In the meantime, I sure hope it’s happy going to the office! : ) Thank you, Mr. Coleman. The shoes were a gift from my grandmother, vintage black lace heels from a country I hope to visit, Spain. The hat is a vintage 1950’s “Made in West Germany” feather headband. The second time I put it on the antique glue let go and all the feathers fell off! Yikes! I’ve restored it and now enjoy wearing it, though it is quite understated for something made entirely of black glossy feathers.

Thank you to everyone, friends and family, who I’ve had the pleasure of spending another lovely year with. I’m grateful for all of you. It’s been a crazy year, and I look forward to the next! Happy Holidays, whatever you’re celebrating I hope you have a season filled with quiet joy.

Copeland: I call my outfit, "Scottish Highlander Tartan Something Or Another" Actually I woke up this morning with a GREAT name but now I've forgotten it so I'll just call it, "Highland Ho."

Well, the fun part about this outfit is that I've already used the skirt, gloves and shoes in previous Vintage Hat Fridays - what could be better than recycling and reusing previous Vintage Hat Friday items?!? That's what it's all about, bay-bee!

So, let's start with the hat:
My great aunt Dorothy Gundlach brought this to my mother when she went abroad. I then used to wear it when I was about ten- there are pictures of me with a Lady Di haircut, purple oxford and this hat under a tree on our family farm, Rotherwood. It was recently discovered, and perfect for Vintage Hat Friday. Perfect for a gray rainy day! I feel like a Highland Lass!

To complement the tam, I pulled a 1980s power jacket from my closet- I don't remember where I got it but it totally says 1980s New York Donald Trump Tavern On The Green Party to me. I think it's Nicole Miller.

The bustier is a 1990s thrifty purchase from my New York days at The Cat Club (13th & W. Broadway) where one of my best friends worked- who didn't play there? Henry Rollins, Sonic Youth, so many... if you were metal or punk, you hung out there. Ah the days of crimped hair and pink eyeshadow...

The necklace is a medal of some kind of my grandmothers. It has an archer on it, which attracts me terribly as I am currently trying to find the time to haul myself out to Green Tops and get my Fred Bear recurve strung. Like I am going to drag chilluns into a store full of weapons. Like I have any time to myself to do such fun things. *Sigh* I'm trying to read what it says but it's on my neck and upside down and hurting my eyes so nevermind!

Oh, wait: I remember what I was going to call this outfit!
Tartan Trollop!

(Why is Amy snickering in the corner?)

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and look forward to continuing more passive solar house kit news in 2009!




Vintage Hat Friday!

Annnnnnd itttttttttttt's... Vintage Hat Friiiiiiiiiiiiday!!!!!

Copeland: This Vintage Hat Friday finds Amy out of the office, and I am running from preschool, to a serious meeting with a law firm client, back to deadlines, then to a locally-made bicycle launch party, 44cycles, in a fabrication shop, Tektonics, where they are, with other businesses, revitalizing an old warehouse/industrial part of Richmond.

The meeting with the law firm is to review and complete any final touches before their web site goes live. We are also planning the firm photoshoot, and I have emphasized that they need to come to the shoot DRESSED, with their game on, about to kick bootie for their clients, not like they're shuffling off to a golf course in rumpled polos and comfy pants.

So I thought I could use this week's Vintage Hat Friday to show them that you don't have to buy a sharp new suit, you can reuse and recycle and still look professional and sharp!

I pulled out an elegant sweater-suit I bought from an estate sale, threw on jewelry, and applied darker makeup than I normally wear at 8a.m.

When you're trying to look important jewelry is critical.
And brushing your hair. So instead of my usual mess, I brushed it back for a polished look. Law firm ladies, are you taking note?
; )

It's all about the Day-To-Fabulous-Evening-Cocktail-Wear.

And it's amazing what gloves and a hat will do... ; )

Amy: I may be out of town, but that sure doesn’t mean I’m out of the game.

Presenting: The Dynamic Duo!

Dangerously fashionable, these two matching vintage bucket hats are utilitarian in the extreme! A wide circular brim makes this the perfect hat for averting rain or sunshine, and metal grommet ventilation holes in a contrasting color pop against the bleached white of the hat. But that’s not all! Both hats include interior sweatbands with complimentary sweat from years of use.

Thanks to my model for hat #2 – Dad ;)




VMI Basketball Floorboards Are Invading!

For those of you interested in reuse of local materials, my husband is SO obsessed with the VMI basketball floorboards we purchased to line the interior of our modern off grid zero energy house kit that he actually took a day off of work to go out there and play with his giant crossword puzzle, trying to put the VMI logo pieces back together, because he can't stand the thought that there is a logo in that pile o' floorboards.

Yes he did.
And yes I'm rolling my eyes.

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Modern Off Grid Zero Energy House Update

It was a gray, gray day on the land, but that didn't stop us!
When we got there it had warmed to 25 degrees, and four roofers were busy installing the rubber membrane for that north roof on the modern passive solar house kit. (So I think this counts as Construction Day 9?)

All the windows except for the clerestory are installed on our off grid passive solar house, and our wonderful contractor Ron also installed protective plywood to keep the weather and trespassers out around that transom area on the south side (where I was remiss in ordering it over the double doors) until the transom arrives.

This weekend, we had the special task of Pouch, the mascot of the kindergarten class, visiting us for the weekend, so if you look closely you might notice a little kangaroo named Pouch in random photos...

Hmmm. Big news of the day? House kit wonderful, but our poor hairless dog got caught up in barbed wire strung in the woods decades ago (we thought we had gotten it all up, that rings the field, obviously we missed some). He's ok, minus a sweater (which is *still* embedded there), BUT I would like to remind anyone even thinking about barbed wire vs. investing in solar electric fences... please don't even think of barbed wire. I'm still pickin' it off my land generations later, and it's hurting us. I have seen and heard so many stories of horses and pets torn up horribly... I was grateful my pet only lost a sweater instead of panicking and tearing himself up. It's another example of things that happened long ago affecting our environment today, no?

I walked around taking pictures of the house kit and was supposedly keeping the children busy while handsome hubby was in the shed sorting the VMI basketball floorboards, separating out the maple boards without paint, and those that might have the logo painted on them. We will auction off the VMI logo to help pay for our purchase of the VMI basketball court, which, aside from the logo, we will reuse those storied, 100% maple boards on the interior walls of the casa ti.

Little did I know that while I was taking pictures on *one* side o' the house, the children were on the *other* side gleefully jumping and splashing through mud puddles...

as the temperature fell...

So I came around the corner and there they were, COVERED with wet mud...

As we were slowly finishing chores and packing up to leave, the police stopped by.

Suddenly you just see this vehicle coming down the road, official lights and uniforms...
When we were there the same time last year, they did the same thing- drove right on up at the same time of day, mid-afternoon, checking on the land. As sad as we had been the week previously about someone *littering* in my frickin' environmentally friendly house kit -and- *trespassing* on our land, here comes the community to heal!

Police are welcomed with OPEN arms- they know there is an issue, and they are actively driving in this rural area during deer season to make sure people are where they ought to be.
They knew the story, they know the neighbors, they knew there was movement on our land where there had been a problem, and they came in to make sure we were who we were. Ayyyyyyymen.

They know of our plight and are watching over us! Even as we get to know each other! Word spreads fast around here, and I just feel SO much a part of this WONDERFUL community already.

We reflected on all the kind people we have met here. From Ron and Judy, (Ron smiled at 4 year old in 7 layers of dresses with unbrushed hair as he pulled up today, and grinned, "Always a fashion statement!"), The Aults (who have the sustainable free range farm down the street), George, who makes the best Glog ever : ) and lives over down the road with the Amish, Peggy (oh gosh I can't even begin to go into Peggy, she deserves to be in an adventure novel!) ... AND the Amish, even though they are somewhat seperate, they integrated closely here, in fact I got the nicest note from the boy I had mentioned last week on the carton of pepper jelly... I still can't get over that HE is part of the Amish crew building our home after years of my telling him, "Yeah, we camp, we have no shelter...." Serendipitous. When we are here, everything is okay. Even with rogue deer hunters.

The children are now completely passed out in their car seats as we race back to the city... this time of year, I don't want to be driving at dusk, ever. Too many deer, too many crazy people that *think* they are hunters. Rifle bullets travel way too far for my taste... already two people have been killed this year from hunting accidents, and I don't even know the count of people that have hit deer on the roads...

So here we are, driving home, on a crisp gray day. It is 4:17.
We are exhausted, but SO happy.

More videos...

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Vintage Hat Friday! Stylish Reuse At Work!

Sadly for the modern house kit enthusiasts we *are* still continuing Vintage Hat Friday.
But good news! I'm running outta hats! : )
(And yes, I will have updates- we're going out to the land this weekend. Not much to say- our passive solar zero energy house kit is weathertight, but the cladding hasn't arrived... so no big visual changes.)

Amy: “Pleasant Pheasant”

This week I decided it was time to bring my A Game. Clearly my ode to the 70’s didn’t go so well, and a number of my dedicated voters threatened to defect when Copeland pulled no punches with a stunning double breasted velvet coat that even I was tempted to vote for.

So this week I pulled out my grandmothers special occasion pheasant feather hat. The entire surface of this hat is painstakingly covered in layers of multicolored iridescent feathers that were glued into place by hand. I’m also sporting her gray Italian leather boots, which I think are probably the most sumptuous footwear I’ve ever had the pleasure of flaunting. If anyone knows a really good cobbler in the Richmond area I need to have them resoled and want to make sure I take it to someone who will do a great job (I’d love any recommendations!).

Paired up with these two items is a vintage secretary style dress from Halcyon and short black cotton gloves from an estate sale.

Thanks, and Happy Vintage Hat Friday!

Copeland: I'm feeling very Sailor Moon today.

The hat? My grandmother's.
Gloves? Estate sale, of course.
The dress and jacket? I got this a few years ago... Made by a cosplay seamstress! I don't even play video games! But thanks to Amy, I am now aware that if you want something tailored to your measurements, affordably, go and troll the cosplay vendors- a lot of those costumes can make funky chicken work suits!
The boots? Honeychile you *know* those boots were made fer walkin'. I bought them a few years ago for a 1960s Motown themed benefit for the Children's Home Society, an adoption agency that does wonderful things for Virginia children, and am glad whenever I have an opportunity to reuse them.


Amy: "I hope I look like you in my 30s, then I could still do cosplay."
(Not that 30s is old, I consider age a blessing of experience! Most of our friends are *decades* older than we! But she made me feel... haggard! ; ) )
So to get her back I'm gonna pass on a comment from someone here when they saw her walk in:
"Hey, I see you went dove hunting on the way to work~ by the way, it landed on your head!"
(Don't say we're never not snarky to each other! ; ) )
Amy's response: "Yeah, I didn't want it to go to waste. Hey, I have a Cherokee ancestor and I use *every* part o' the buffalo too!"




Exclusively Home blogged on The R1 Residential!

A very nice blog post on the modern store Exclusively Home's blog, on The R1 Residential!

"I just stumbled on this site recently that offers prefab, environmentally conscious home designs. The structures are made of SIPs, which gives the homes a leg up when it comes to energy efficiency over traditional home construction. Each home's panels are constructed at the closest SIPs plant to your project and then delivered ready to assemble. Love the thinking and the design behind the R1 Residential by Grace Street residential design systems. You can learn more about these Prefab homes at"

Thank you, Exclusively Home! We rather like The R1 Residential ourselves! : )

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Case of The Missing Transom

I knew that when Ron called in the morning, instead of in the afternoon to give the daily update, things might not be good.

Apparently a transom is missing, that goes above those double doors on the south side.

So, the kit itself is fine, alllllll the other windows were fine, but now I'm working out with Home Depot if it *was* in the original order (I'm thinking not, it looks like those doors came "as is" with no transom) or how it was missed.
We're probably going to have to take the door back to Home Depot... not fun.

So no pretty pictures of all the windows and doors in today as I hoped!
And this was the last day of Phase 1!

(Phase 2 is cladding, Phase 3, interior.)

(A few hours later...)
Well... if a missing transom is all that was *news* on this project, really, I guess I should be feeling happy! So I'm gonna let that frustration go. : )



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