Posts Tagged ‘Margarido House’

Update on the Margarido House

Monday, October 5th, 2009

The Margarido House, a LEED-H Platinum certified house located in Oakland, is being offered for sale.  It looks like the estimated selling price is in the $6 million range.

Excerpts from ‘On the Block‘ (San Francisco Chronicle):

If you live in the Bay Area and are even remotely interested in homes and real estate you will have heard of the Margarido House. Completed last year, this contemporary, 4,600 sq ft home in Oakland’s Upper Rockridge was the first custom home in northern California to be awarded a LEED-H Platinum certificate for its wealth of eco-responsible elements.

It is also a home that has been deluged with media coverage — including in this paper which devoted two full features to the house shortly after it was built — for it is undoubtedly a thing of beauty with many design attributes.

And now this “celebrity” home could be yours. For it is coming on the market soon, reputedly for around $6 million. The price tag, if confirmed, will make it by far the most expensive listed home in Oakland. Only nearby Piedmont can usually command such stratospheric prices. And McDonald has some stiff competition in the limelight department. The second most expensive home in Oakland is just up the street in his own ‘hood and is owned by none other than Green Day’s lead vocalist Bilie Joe Armstrong. Built in a more traditional style than the Margarido House, it listed last month for $4.85m.

Touring the Margarido House

Scott Andersen, Bill Brown and Bryan toured the Margarido House on January 10, 2009 and Bryan attended two events there, the first on April 30, 2009 and the second on June 18, 2009.

Mike McDonald, builder and owner of the Margarido House, was an incredibly gracious and patient host for our tour in January.  He answered every question we asked, and ensured that we understood his answers.  He shared his deep insight with green building techniques and challenges, and offered advice so we could take advantage of his experience building the Margarido House and obtaining LEED-H Platinum certification.

Mike put Bryan on his mailing list and invited Bryan to several celebrations at the Margarido House.  Bryan, of course, attended each event (not one to pass up a party!).  These events were great for networking and served to broaden and deepen Bryan’s knowledge of green building.

We wish Mike and his family the absolute best as they will be moving on to another home.  We know they will miss the spectacular views of San Francisco from the Margarido House and they will forever cherish their memories of living in such a beautiful home.

Yes, we’re looking forward to seeing what Mike will build next for his family.

Stay tuned …

Proposing Changes to Monte Sereno’s Sign Ordinance

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Monte Sereno does not allow signs to be posted within the city boundaries.  The ordinance prohibits all signs and then allows five exceptions.

We would like a sixth exception so we can have a sign showing the ‘green’ features of our Eichler.  This will help to educate others in our community and we will meet the requirements for Awareness and Education (AE 1.3).

Background

Bryan addressed our City Council meeting several months ago, showing the City Council that other communities allow signs in front of LEED-H homes outlining their energy saving and other features.  Council directed Bryan to work the City Manager, Brian Loventhal, on proposing changes to the sign ordinance.

LEED-H Awareness & Education

Awareness & Education 1.3 states:

Display LEED for Homes signage, measuring six square feet or more, on the exterior of the home or building.

All of the homes pursuing Platinum certification in the Bay Area that we have toured have been able to put signs in front of their homes during construction.  Awareness and Education points are easy to achieve, relative to some of the other points available.

Examples of Signs in Front of LEED-H Homes Seeking Platinum Certification

Bryan has visited a number of homes in the Bay Area pursing Platinium certification under the LEED for Homes program.  These visits have included the Margarido House in Oakland (certified), 2180 Bryant Street in Palo Alto (under construction), and the Kaneda Residence in Cupertino (under construction).  Each of these homes have signs.

Sign in front of the Margarido House in Oakland.

Sign in front of the Margarido House in Oakland.

Sign in front of the Christiansen Pierret Residence at 2180 Bryant Street in Palo Alto.

Sign in front of the Christiansen Pierret Residence at 2180 Bryant Street in Palo Alto.

Sign in front of the Kaneda Residence in Cupertino.

Sign in front of the Kaneda Residence in Cupertino.

 City of Monte Sereno’s Sign Ordinance 10.13.010

Monte Sereno’s sign ordinance is as follows:

10.13.010 Signs, permits, scenic corridor exception.

No sign, billboard, poster, pennant, flag or display unit shall be erected, displayed, established or maintained within five hundred (500) feet of any road, highway, street or public place within the boundaries of the City except as otherwise provided herein.

A. One non-illuminated sign may be erected on each street frontage for any lot or building which serves solely to advertise the sale, lease or rental of or an offer to build to suit on the premises where the sign is located, provided the sign does not exceed six (6) square feet in area in a residential zone. This exemption is only available when all or part of the premises is actually available for the transaction advertised.

B. Non-illuminated, off-site, portable signs directing customers to the location of an open house which is for sale are permitted, unlimited in total number, but limited to one double faced sign per corner of an intersection or on a privately owned parcel. The signs shall not exceed an area of one (1) square foot per face and shall not be more than four (4) feet high. Open house signs shall contain no individual, or individual company advertising. Prior permission shall be obtained from the property owner if the sign is to be placed on a privately owned parcel. The signs shall be removed each day after the closing of the open house. Open house signs are an exception to the rule prohibiting off-premises signs and signs on public property.

C. The owner, occupant or resident of any property may erect and maintain without obtaining any permit one sign giving his name and address at his mailbox and one additional sign upon said property, neither of which shall be more than three (3) square feet in area.

D. Within the scenic corridor defined by the State of California upon designation of the Saratoga-Los Gatos Road, State sign Route 9, as an Official State Scenic Highway, only those signs allowed in Subsections A, B and C or existing on-premise signs as provided for in Subsection E shall be permitted.

E. Any existing on-premise sign lawfully established on or before the effective date of this Chapter may be maintained for a period of not to exceed three (3) months from the passage of this Chapter during which period the owner shall either remove the sign or make application for and receive a permit for the said sign under the provisions of this Chapter.

We drafted a sixth exemption and submitted it to the City of Monte Sereno today.  Our proposed wording is:

F. One non-illuminated sign may be erected on each street frontage for any building where such sign serves solely to describe the environmentally friendly features of the building materials and construction practices that follow a recognized national, State of California or local building environmental certification program provided the building has been registered under that recognized building environmental certification program. Signs allowed under this exemption shall contain no individual or individual company advertising.

The City Manager, Brian Loventhal, reviewed the proposed language and thought it was a good start.  He suggested that the certification program could be one recognized by the City of Monte Sereno, since the City has formally recognized Build It Green and LEED for Homes.  Also, he asked whether there should be a maximum size included in the ordinance.

Next Steps

Brian Loventhal will work on the wording and have this item included on the agenda at a City Council meeting in the next 60 days.

We will follow up on this.

Going to Another Event at the Margarido House

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Mike McDonald knows how to market his expertise.  After PCBC, he hosted yet another catered event at the Margarido House.  Bryan, never one to decline an invitation, slipped over the Bay Bridge after PCBC to attend the event.

Margarido House Event

Mike is a great host – the house was filled with people today as they were offered an opportunity to view this LEED-H Platinum home.  It is spectacular.

Bryan had a private viewing of the Margarido House in January 2009 and then attended an event after the AIA conference ended on April 30.

Mike McDonald addressing his guests at the Margarido House.

Mike McDonald addressing his guests at the Margarido House.

Stairs going to the natural roof top garden at the Margarido House.

Stairs going to the natural roof top garden at the Margarido House.

Given the stairs need to be designed for our project, Bryan is very, very interested in stairs.

Given the stairs need to be designed for our project, Bryan is very, very interested in stairs.

The gardens at the side of the Margarido House are magnificent.

The gardens at the side of the Margarido House are magnificent.

The sun setting on the beautiful homes around the Margarido House.

The sun setting on the beautiful homes around the Margarido House.

Inspiration from Touring the Margarido House

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Matt Jung of 88HVAC arranged for a a private showing of the Margarido House, a LEED Platinum home located in Oakland, California. The builder/owner of the house, Michael McDonald, was incredibly gracious to host Scott Andersen, Bill Brown, Matt Jung and Bryan Mekechuk for a private viewing of his home.

All of us had reviewed the video on Mike’s web site (www.margaridohouse.com) and were impressed with the beautiful home that Mike and his team had built. Today was a crystal-clear, blue-sky, California day (not a cloud to be seen) and the view of San Francisco was absolutely spectacular!

Starting the Day

After breakfast and before going to Oakland, Bryan’s mother, Elaine, walked our construction site to observe the progress to date. Our son, Nik, had to go into the excavation and inspect the Bobcat.

Elaine on site with Scott.

Elaine on site with Scott.

Nik inspecting the excavation.

Nik inspecting the excavation.

Nik's real goal - the Bobcat!

Nik's real goal - the Bobcat!

Any key inspections, of course, are under Jo-Anne’s watchful eye.

Jo-Anne and Nik on the observation deck.

Jo-Anne and Elaine on the observation deck.

Private Viewing of the Margarido House

Scott and Bryan drove to Oakland for our 1:30 pm meeting at the Margarido House. Just as we were arriving, we received a call from Bill Brown – he was right behind us! Since we were 15 minutes early, we took a few minutes to catch up and then reviewed the street-level sign in front of the Margarido House. As background, Scott and Bryan met with Bill Brown on March 13.

Bill Brown reviewing sign in front of the Margarido House.

Bill Brown reviewing the sign in front of the Margarido House.

Custom railing leading to the Margarido House.

Custom railing leading to the Margarido House.

Looking up to the Margarido House.

Looking up to the Margarido House.

The permeable pavers integrate with the rainwater catchment system, reducing the requirement to use external water.

Permeable pavers integrate with the rainwater catchment system.

Permeable pavers integrate with the rainwater catchment system.

Matt Jung joined us moments later.

Matt Jung arrives at the Margarido House.

Matt Jung arrives at the Margarido House.

Having seen pictures and, best of all, the videos of the Margarido House on Mike’s web site and in various publications, we were honored to be entering the house.

Entrance to the Margarido House.

Entrance to the Margarido House.

The views from the house were absolutely spectacular, especially without a single cloud in the sky. We could see San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge – it was magic!

Bill and Scott enjoying the views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from the roof-top garden on the Margarido House.

Bill and Scott enjoying the views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge from the roof-top garden on the Margarido House.

Mike walked us through the house, explaining some of the design and building challenges that they faced during construction. Also, he said that there is a significant amount of documentation on his web site, including a complete and comprehensive list of the suppliers and contractors that he engaged.

Array of 24 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof.

Array of 24 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof.

We were all impressed with how the design of the house ‘fit’ with the hillside location and how the various ‘green’ elements were integrated with the design. For example, the landscaping utilized the rainwater catchment system to provide irrigation and to create very pleasing visual effects with the flowing water.

Top view of side yard garden.

Top view of side yard garden.

Falling water from rainwater catchment system.

Falling water from rainwater catchment system.

Mike, with his daughter, pointing out the details to Bill and Matt.

Mike, with his daughter, pointing out the details to Bill and Matt.

Given the requirement for stairs in our house, we certainly admired the design and details of the steps leading to the upper level in the Margarido House.

Stairs to upper level in Margarido House.

Stairs to upper level in Margarido House.

Also, we admired the bathroom designs, and the use of color in the tiles.

Shower with floor-to-ceiling tiles.

Shower with floor-to-ceiling tiles.

Close up of tiles, showing rich colors.

Close up of tiles, showing rich colors.

Mike saved the master suite to the end, knowing that this is one of the highlights of his house.

Master bathtub with views of San Franciso.

Master bathtub with views of San Franciso.

We caught Scott in a reflective moment, inspired by the design elements throughout the house and that master suite.

Scott in a reflective moment, while savouring the view from the deck outside the master suite.

Scott in a reflective moment, while savoring the view from the deck outside the master suite.

As we mentioned, throughout our visit Mike McDonald was incredibly gracious, answering all of our questions and giving us new ideas to consider. We were thankful for Matt to arrange for this private showing of the Margarido House and our meeting with Mike.

Bill Brown and Mike McDonald in the kitchen area.

Bill Brown and Mike McDonald in the kitchen area.

Of the many features in the Margarido House, we all enjoyed the Nanawall doors opening the main floor of the house to the outside, including the views of San Francisco.

Bill and Scott enjoying the views.

Bill and Scott enjoying the views.

Yes, it was certainly inspiring to see the Margarido House in person.

Leaving the Margarido House.

Leaving the Margarido House.

Dinner with Scott and Sue

We started the day with breakfast at Three Degrees Restaurant (in the Toll House Hotel) in Los Gatos and, after a very full day, enjoyed an incredible dinner at Manresa Restaurant, also in Los Gatos.

Scott, Sue, Jo-Anne and Bryan enjoying dinner at Manresa Restaurant.

Scott, Sue, Jo-Anne and Bryan enjoying dinner at Manresa Restaurant.

Scott and Sue, thank you for visiting, and thank you for dinner.