Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor
Welcome to a journey of innovation and impeccable craftsmanship as we delve into Carl’s meticulously built high-performance workshop. This video is a showcase of the seamless integration of modern technology, sustainable practices, and timeless design elements, presenting a harmonious fusion of efficiency and style.
In this exploration, we uncover Carl’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional workshop design, embracing innovative features and sustainable systems.
Join us as we unravel the secrets behind Carl’s cutting-edge geothermal heating and cooling system, his masterful cabinetry, and the advanced battery technology that powers this modern marvel, setting a new standard for high-performance living.
As we embark on this immersive experience, prepare to witness the embodiment of modern craftsmanship, where every detail reflects a balance between aesthetics and practicality. Join us as we celebrate the intersection of artistry and technology, and discover the inspiration you need for your next high-performance build.
Features to Include in your Next Build: Carl’s Brilliant Masterpiece
How about this – a basement workshop with an incredible river view!
We’re outside of Boston. We’re visiting a project that Steve basic recently completed, and this basement workshop is the homeowner’s workshop that got built during construction so that he could do all kinds of projects in tandem with the builder. There’s Steve – hey buddy!
Steve, what is the story on this house? Oh this is – I mean you know as an architect you’re always looking for projects where you say “Man, if I only could do that one dream project,” and then bang – you meet Carl, and here we are. So in our last video we showed the river, the siting, all that stuff. On this video, Steve and I are going to give you a tour of some crazy cool modern details, a lot of them actually done by the homeowner.
We’re also going to show you some mechanical rooms that Steve – I was blown away by the mechanical in this house. Carl’s probably one of the most meticulous people I’ve ever met. This is a house that’s very rare – uh, super high performance with some super modern and interesting details as well, and a really high level of craftsmanship!
Yeah, job and performance. And performance – that’s right. Job site tour of a Steve Basic job. Let’s get going!
Alright Matt, so before we go upstairs I think it’s really important that you understand – I mean I’m still trying to figure Carl out – but get an understand of Carl. You know, he built this wood shop here, he’s got you know actuators on all of his dust collection that he opened up the machines wired to so when he hits the on switch stuff happens – the dust collector turns on and the blast gate opens and the blast gate opens.
He’s got secondary filtration here on a filter that he can easily slide out, clean. He’s got alarm systems so he knows when his dust collection system is filled up and it’s not a huge space but obviously you can get a lot of work done here. He’s got a nice triangle with good space uh on his uh table saw, his bandsaw, his planer.
He definitely has gotten some work done in here. Now what did he do in this house? Um, he built everything. We’re going to go see all the cabinetry, all of the casework, yeah he’s just – and it’s wait till you see it, it’s it’s crazy and you – you couple that with his technological mind and you get stuff like that.
Yeah so this is if I’m if I’m understanding correctly this is probably the load center for his Franklin batteries that are somewhere in the house. So this brings the load in and decides – are we going to run the house off the battery?
Are we going to run the house off the power grid? And these two pretty white panels are Leviton systems so he’s got a both workshop and mechanical space all in the same spot and he’s got total control. You know he is uh, now I know we’re here to see modern details and some cool craftsmanship but I’d love to see some mechanical spaces. Where on the basement can we go hit that first?
There is but on our way out I got to show you this. This is one of the the things that I love – clean door – about this clean door but check this out. What?! There’s a magnet in there! Alright I got to see this. So it’s a magnetically thrown bolt catch. So this feels like this isn’t standard American hardware and why is this tongue not sticking out here?
Yeah there is nothing there because is all activated by the magnet. This is Morelli Hardware – these it’s Italian Hardware – these are all European Door Systems. Neat! So when I close this is that magnet going to last the door? That just throws it?
Yeah so go ahead try it out it’s going to be a little hard to see but when I close the door the magnet is going to pop out and now the door closes and when we hit it like this it pops in which means there’s nothing to get black over time there’s no mean there’s no wear. That’s really neat!
And I’m also noticing that the hinges don’t show – they’re all hidden hinges. A Steve you know I love my mechanicals – what do you got going on in here? All lighting is automated yeah just popped we came in didn’t it? But uh yeah so we have a geothermal system that we go out to a vertical well out there that is according to Carl it’s about a blow dryer worth of energy heating this. I heard something like this thing when it’s running is 1,200 watts. Yeah something like that it’s silliness! And how many geothermal loops do you remember? I think there’s two out there if I remember correctly that go down.
Wow this is beautiful and this is the heating and cooling for the whole house right? And we have our Zender system. Beautiful yeah so he’s got fresh air coming in. Talk to me about uh air tightness and insulation levels in this house. 39. 39 yeah so we’re about 60% of the requirement for Passive House in this.
That’s incredible and you know one of Carl’s you know in his meticulous nature was such that we had a lot of emphasis on the building envelope and airtightness and the windows and so yeah we it’s the best money you can spend on the house right there it is. The best money you know one of the Carl’s uh, when I met him very first it was probably like the second sentence in our conversation he said “With me the right decision should always win.”
So we would always talk about different things but the “right” fabulous. Homeowner right there! Yeah I love to hear that. Hey before we go upstairs Steve uh I heard there’s some other interesting mechanicals in this other mechanical room. Let’s meet you over there oh yeah!
Alright Steve I I knew what I was going to see here before I came in. This is really cool. So I’ve not seen one of these in the field before. This is a German company – on 80 gallon heat pump water heater. Interesting to see it uh of course in the condition space but I had a primer. I knew what I was going to find here.
Check this out – these are two Moen electronic uh shower valves that I love that they’re not mounted up with the showers. They’re down here in the mechanical room and the only thing that’s behind the tile, behind the walls, is a Pex pip but cold and a hot MH. That’s fantastic!
You know and working with Carl as an architect you know you’d like – you like to take credit for everything that’s done but certainly not here because in our collaborative effort with Carl you notice the water heater is literally 3 ft below the shower. Super smart! And access means everything so this isn’t a house where it’s like “Hey let’s make it look pretty and then we’ll figure out how to fit everything in.” It’s no, let’s figure out how we build a well oil machine here and make it look pretty.
So above us is the master shower and then almost literally above that is the secondary bath shower and that’s where these two um, mowing electronic shower valves are going – one for the first, one for the second floor. I have a Coler uhat my house which has worked great and I also mounted mine in an auxiliary space that I could get to in the future. So if you ever have a problem you can be repaired, fixed, whatever. Also I was reading the directions on this Mowing and if you unlock this right here there’s a filter in there that you can take out and clean right here.
Y and in the past at my my old house I had some problems with scale issues and I had to clean that filter a lot which meant me taking the trim off, me taking the shower valve out. Yeah and accessing that filter and it was a giant pain and I hated doing it. It was really fussy and I obviously I didn’t have uh, use of my shower and I had water draining everywhere to be able to do that.
Right here in a basement mechanical space who cares if it gets wet – it’s a concrete floor! Definitely and absolutely love that premium – that’s really cool! And I like how the piping’s done too, very interesting system. The plumbers that you know for Howl is just all those subs are amazing.
So this is how custom homes by the way, how custom home – great work here! Okay now we’ll show you the pretty stuff – we’ll meet you upstairs Steve. I can’t wait to see the view from up here. Oh doesn’t get any better!
Wow this is incredible! You know if you don’t remember uh for our viewers I’ve been here once or twice before and Steve’s made a bunch of videos on this house. There’s some really incredible systems – we’ll put a link in the description below but Steve talk to me about this beautiful sliding glass door with this huge fix panel here.
These are my you know heading out to European Architectural Supply – these are all Schuco aluminum triple glazed. I think this one’s close to about a 14-footer with a 4ft um operable leaf which leaves us a 10ft glass window and look at the view through it. I mean that gives you a – that’s a giant piece of glass for a really big view. You couldn’t script the site better – the river literally bends around the house.
When you sit in this room you’re looking right down the river – incredible, it’s incredible! And this is Carl’s masterpiece isn’t it? You mentioned that he built the cabinets in the house. Well this was the whole purpose of that workshop. He got that workshop up and running and then basically put a temporary hold on the project where the contractor um went away for just a short bit of time and built all the cabinetry.
Wow so no hardware anywhere – is that cuz it’s missing or that’s because that’s how he wants it? Okay so these are touch latches aren’t they? Yes and he made all of the boxes, he made all of the drawer panels. This looks like birch plywood drawer doors uh drawers rather and the fronts in the casework looks like maybe plywood bamboo.
It’s all plywood bamboo or bamboo plywood I guess. That’s really cool I like that a lot. Check out this cool sink too – big 4ft sink looks like you got a built-in cutting board and check this out so you could chop your veggies here, drop them in the strainer, clean them and then you still have a drying rack space rotate slash whatever else you want uh for cleanup.
The best part of the sink – the view, the view! I mean goodness gracious and I, I’ve been here – there’s a bald eagle that’s a resident here. He’ll hang out in those trees all time. Wow it’s uh – it’s it’s awesome, fabulous!
You know one of the things about Carl building this himself is you know you get to do things like that. You know he’ll put little spice drawer or shelving on here – gorgeous! It’s got the – so he’s not really moved in yet right? No but it’s got – we’re still in the in the last finishing stages in the house.
Refrigerator – beautiful Thermador with stainless interior too. Looks like an all Thermador kitchen package uh, and I’m noticing an induction cooktop. Are we all electric in the whole house? The whole house is electric, battery backup on those Franklin batteries that we looked at the system downstairs. We’ll look at the batteries – they’re in the garage. Love it there but yeah, all electric, no nothing bad in this house.
So we ended downstairs showing everybody those mowing shower valves that are electronic. How about we go check out the master and we’ll show them what that looks like in the – yeah definitely meet you in the master.
Here oh whoa before we go to the master what what are we looking at here? This is the bank vault door – oh you’re not kidding, look how thick that door is! Yeah wow with a serious multi-point lock. Interesting – it’s a wood door but it’s gotten skinned with maybe aluminum, aluminum panel and then it has the aluminum inlay in there. You know one of the interesting things – there’s no uh access to the latch from the outside ah so it’s meant really for a – it’s a meet and greet door. You can’t walk in this door from the outside.
The home owners are coming through the garage. Yep wow – that’s wild, that’s a beast! Where this come from? This is all sourced through European Architectural Supply I believe this was macro in which is their woodf frame version of uh so proba triple glazed. It’s all triple glaze – this is probably like r21 or something for the door you know and has an insulated core.
Also interesting to see this is an overlay too so check that out – the weather stripping is here and when the door closes it’s three pieces of weather stripping. You have that one, that one and then you have the one on the door outside. Oh I bet this seals real tight! That’s how we get the 39 and it also yeah – sounds like a bank.
Three AI hinges so they go left right, up down in and out so you can tune the weatherstripping and the closure on these things. It’s – that’s gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous! Okay now we’ll meet you to the master.
Alright Matt check this out we have the those European doors and we have translucent glass on the bedrooms – same hardware. Go and again an incredible view for this master Steve! Yeah there’s no bad view in this house except for maybe a small corner in the basement – not a big master though, pretty small size master. They are very much in tune with “I just need what I need.”
Yeah you not a lot of extra space, a beautiful bathroom to uh complement it. You know again Howl’s guys, their towel guys, tile guy did a fabulous job and is this also from uh – this is all Carl and you can see you know check that out I love he’s got the buildout around the plumbing pipes. That’s great so his – his uh p trap is right there in there exactly and he’s got space and then around.
Check out the toilet paper holder enclosure – that’s awesome! So his toilet paper holder is here and then his extra toilet paper right there and these look like medicine cabinets – these are just medicine cabinets. Oh man that’s awesome – can we open these? Yeah and it has the flip out. These are r burs which I have at my house which is a colar brand. I absolutely love these at my house – they’re fabulous!
Now downstairs we saw this. I’m not going to turn it on because I’m going to get – actually I am going to turn it on uh because I think it’s worth showing but I will step out of the out of the way for a second so it’s got a screen that’s got the time and date on here which is actually kind of nice when you’re in the – knowing “Oh I’ve got 10 more minutes to get ready.”
He’s got preset one and two and then this is our on button that goes to the preset so uh you know what I’m going to – I’m going to video this so that we have it Steve and check this out because I think it’s fascinating to see how quickly this thing gets up to temperature because that is below us so – it says “Good morning.”
The shower is 78 – 83 – 89 – 90! Oh my gosh I mean it was literally seconds before that shower is ready. That’s pretty awesome and boom she’s off right there. That’s fantastic! Absolutely incredible. That’s the power of putting your water heater so close. Gary Klein would be happy man. Gary Klein would be thrilled at that location! This is great – I love it Steve!
Yeah it’s uh – again there’s not much left to when you’re – you’re working with a client. I mean I would love to come here and take credit for everything but when you’re working with a client like Carl, he talks about you know “I wake up every morning,” he goes through his day minute by minute and tries to understand how he can have the best possible day. That’s fabulous and tune his house to it you know.
So one thing we haven’t seen yet is we saw that Franklin power transfer – where are those Franklin batteries at? Those batteries are out in the garage. Okay let’s go – let go meet you in the garage, the Star Wars garage with the lights, the lightsaber lights. Check those things out – holy cow they even look sexy! They really do – they’re a lot bigger than the Tesla batteries and if I’m understanding my knowledge in Franklin correctly Steve, these are lipo yes batteries rather than standard lithium ion which has several benefits and I believe these are also quite a bit larger in capacity as well.
I’ll put below a description that has a link to these uh but I want to say that these are more than double the size of a standard power wall yeah yeah and for those that don’t know, lipo – iron phosphate, lithium iron phosphate um – these are 500 lb units. He installed them himself, did he really? Yeah! So part of Carl’s ingenuity is coming up with the systems and all of that but figuring out how can I do this work myself – smart!
So I really like it. So he doesn’t have solar on site yet. I’m guessing that this is going to be part of maybe a net metering and this is probably his backup generator for the house too right? It is his backup generator – that’s his primary concern. The second one was to buy power at a lower rate in the evening. This um jurisdiction or utility company sells electricity at night at a far cheaper rate than in the middle of the afternoon so you can switch over and so really he could be charging all night long when it’s the cheapest.
Right – those power stations are just idling and the the electricity is cheap during the day when electricity is expensive he’s just using his batteries. He’s using the cheap electricity. I don’t know if this is true today but I’ve heard that Franklin has some ability to know that “Hey the weather’s going to be bad tomorrow so let’s not drain the batteries during the day cuz I’m worried about uh having this situation where the power goes out at 9:00 p.m. and I was just about drained and going to charge but now I don’t have the grid power.”
They’re going to have a risk management in their app that suggests that like maybe it isn’t a good idea to drain the battery. That’s really really smart! And we have two car chargers in here – they’re all electric vehicles so they’re all electric um mindset extends far beyond the house.
Fabulous! Now in the craftsmanship front though we’re gonna end with one of the most cool, one of the most fabulous features in the house. Meet you back in the in the uh inside.
Alright Matt so we’re not quite finished here we still have the handrails and stuff to go, no guard rails on yet we’re still under construction yes but man you know look at this this is incredible! What are we looking at Steve? This looks like a steel sandwich with something thing and maybe more bamboo on these treads.
Well one of the benefits of Carl being Carl is he’s been the head of engineering for a lot of major companies so getting things like “Hey I need you guys to laser cut some steel stringers for me” or “3D print a certain you know um task,” he has access to all of that stuff. Fabulous! So you – so I’m assuming this is Carl’s handiwork here? This is Carl’s handywork.
These are all laser cut you know I think these are in like 3/8 in steel plate so 3/8, 3/8 in plate and then what’s in the center here though? You just have a pair of LVLs that are in there. Okay so those are bring probably a little bit of stability, a little bit of stiffness. Yeah the strength is coming certainly it’s a think of it as a – I forget the name of it – not a plinth beam um but it’s when you put the steel core in between two two by tens you know I mean it’s the same concept.
Sure um all the treads he made um you know this was his mockup that he had showed me. Okay so it’s a hollow tread kind of like a torsion box yes and it looks like you’ve highlighted here a sharpie his lock lock miter on there. I’ve had this ply bo at an old house of mine that I uh uh actually my previous house before I built my new house and it was a kids vanity Steve!
Yeah that had a uh a step stool for my young kids to be able to brush their teeth and they would ram their step stool which I made out of plywood into this this almost every night and after doing that for 10 years it still look brand new! This has got to be one of the hardest plywoods I’ve ever seen.
It is and one of the things that I really like – as much as I loved the original mockup he did – look at how the grain changed. He he switch to a different plywood and he created it so it almost looks like a pair of or a series of laminated blocks. That’s beautiful and and it’s absolutely gorgeous!
He’s got these um little tangs – they little steel nibs so the fear here is – is that these are bolted or screwed in from below and to keep them from overturning they slide in there’s a little slot in back that catches these little see steel tangs and that keeps it from overturning. Wow so and everything is blind fastened obviously and just working through the craftsmanship.
Now of course for the every man or the common person who doesn’t have a head of engineering as your homeowner our friends at Viewrail are doing similar looks uh with glass and steel and wood and all kinds of stuff so I might recommend you go check out Viewrail in the future but Steve – incredible house! Your homeowner is absolutely the most amazing man I’ve ever met and I love these features in this house.
You’ve really done an amazing job of not just building a really high performance house but a house that’s really comfortable, a house that’s really durable and incredibly aesthetically pleasing at the same time!
Yeah the impossible dream would be that I just recirculate Carls in my career right – like every February I get a new Carl project and just work with him for about 16, 18 months and then go right into the next Carl version and next because he he has been nothing but a a dream client and um you know it’s it’s and it’s a two-way street too.
I mean he’s certainly one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and but I think a a lot of his intelligence is he’ll stop and listen too, right? And that and then we always resorted to the best decision.
One fabulous guys if you want to see more from this house, Steve made a bunch of videos over here. You call it the Riverside, Riverside Project, Riverside project. He’s got Instagram, he’s got it on uh all of his build show uh videos over at thebuildshow.com uh and we made a video on the outside too so go check that one.
But if you’re not currently a subscriber guys, hit that subscribe button below. You know we’ve got new content here every Tuesday and every Friday. Follow us on Tik Tok or Instagram otherwise we’ll see you next time on the build show!