Unlocking What’s New At PCBC
The Pacific Coast Builders Conference, now concluding in San Francisco, is where builders, developers, manufacturers, architects, and designers gather to exhibit new products, listen to speeches, learn, and network. So I couldn’t resist using this image as a metaphor: PCBC as a collection of keys to the culture of home building. Here’s a quick review of what I saw.
Keys To The Castle. The decorative hooks and handles shown above are part of Soko’s Hearst Castle Collection, which debuted at PCBC. They’re based on keys and other ornamental ironwork at the famous Spanish cathedral-style edifice designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan for mining heir and newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst at San Simeon, on California’s central coast. Soko president and creative director Cari Jaye Sokoloff told me these particular items were inspired by the original keys to the Castle’s front and back doors –talk about security with style! The collection commemorates the 50th anniversary of Hearst Castle State Park; part of the price of each piece supports the park.
Cari spent a week at the Castle, scanned a wide variety of fixtures into her computer and then manipulated them in CAD to create her collection of handles, pulls, and decorative accessories, like the seahorse pulls, above.
Some of the originals were designed by Julia and some were collected by the obsessively acquisitive W. R. himself, who, after first saying he wanted to build a simple bungalow with a view to the sea, ultimately asked his architect to work vast warehouses full of architectural fragments — from Renaissance ceilings to classical temple fronts and the odd marble sarcophagus — into his own personal hill town. (The image above is by jacksonpe through Flickr’s Creative Commons.) More than one hundred rooms and thousands of objects: not to mention the outdoor and indoor pools. It’s not a McMansion, it’s a McCountry — and should be on every home builder’s itinerary.
The Solar Roof Is Evolving. The latest twist, from Custom-Bilt Metals, is called Fusion Solar.
Photovoltaic thin-film laminate is integrated with standing seam metal roof panels for a sleek appearance. It’s bonded directly to the standing seam roof panels in the factory. This diagram shows how it works as a solar panel:
Sinks Are For Sculpting. The latest to capture my attention are part of Toto’s “Waza Noir” collection, which was launched at KBIS last month and was also on display here.
They’re powder-coated cast iron in black and are inspired by the “Sumi” black ink used in traditional Japanese calligraphy. To me, the one above resembles a three-dimensional brush stroke.
And here’s one that’s a simple round vessel.
Contemporary Fireplace As Flat Screen TV. You can place it almost anywhere on a wall for a flickering focal point. Here are two examples from Regency’s Sunrise series.
These shallow (12 3/4 inches deep) direct-vent gas fireplaces are very flexible.
Garage Clean-Up. The garage is attracting more attention from manufacturers as everyone looks for ways to use this space more efficiently.
Versatile Building Products, Inc. showed off streamlined cabinetry along with their garage floor coating systems. The video on their website showing the one-day transformation of an old garage — including resurfacing the floor and installing new cabinets — is well worth watching.
Ties That Bind. Maybe it’s my Western upbringing, but I’m partial to rope moulding. If used sparingly it can lend character to a room, to a fireplace, or to cabinets. I found a good range of rope molding sizes and styles at the Outwater Plastics Industries booth.
Despite the company’s name these examples come in poplar, cherry, red oak, and hard maple half rounds.
Strategic Thinking. PCBC stimulates the imagination as well as new product-envy. Various speeches sparked discussion. Fareed Zakaria — CNN host, Newsweek’s International Editor, and best-selling author — gave a dynamic, supremely articulate, and contrarian assessment of the global economy, expanding on themes from his book The Post American World: The Rise of the Rest (which I found a compelling read and highly recommend). And Adam Zwerbach, Global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S, an international advertising agency, spoke about how McDonalds and Wal-Mart are making sustainability part of their corporate goals. Despite economic realities, and the fact that this was a more intimate conference than the organizers might have wished, the general sentiment seemed to be one of guarded optimism — and that might be the key to everything.