2017 was a big year for moss. We took our first leap into developing and revamped an old liquor store into our new HQ, sustainable apartment, and commercial studio space. Along the way, we had wonderful conversations with some of our Logan Square neighbors, installed a solar array, signed on our first tenants, wrapped up our charred wood siding project, and introduced our first official party (soiree) table. And that’s not all! Read on for the full summary of the projects we put a ribbon on this year.
Our first mixed use development was an exciting project for us, and something we had been envisioning since moss opened its doors. As Matt said in his official “architect as developer” post: “We understand the entire building process, from acquiring building permits, creating budgets, site analysis, construction and design, and this knowledge creates the foundation for design-focused development to unfold, one which is growth-conscious but also maintains design integrity.” Logan Certified gave us a chance to combine all of our knowledge, experience and vision and apply it to a project in which we had ownership from start to finish. Throughout the process, we employed adaptive reuse, an architectural approach that focuses on minimizing waste and debris, by preserving and enhancing historical elements found during site inventory. Read all about our adaptive reuse philosophy in our piece Adaptive Reuse: Why, How and When. In addition to our new studio, we built out a commercial space, which is now occupied by Studio 6F, an interior design company run by Gil Melott. To get a sense of Gil’s interior design acumen, it’s only necessary to peer into his studio window, which is marvelously curated and will tell you everything you need to know.
moss has been parklet-obsessed since we found out about the little green guys. We participated in Park(ing) Day annually for a time, carving out a little car-space to become people-space instead. Eventually, this yielded Chicago’s very first Parklet in Andersonville. This past Spring we unveiled our latest Parklet, in Logan Square. This small parking-space occupying park hugs Intelligentsia, providing extra outdoor seating for customers and any pedestrian or cyclist who fancies a place to sit (they can be frustratingly rare sometimes!). The modern, geometric silhouette allows for both coffee-sippers and drivers to get two-way views of street life, and the protected bike-parking in back was the perfect incentive for cyclists to take a quick break from the summer heat.
We don’t have favorites per say, but this loft was a labor of love—a blank slate to project our own design dreams of what a sunny, sustainable city apartment could look like. We designed and built this loft on top of our studio, as part of Logan Certified (see above), and imagined what our future tenants would most appreciate in the already amenity-rich neighborhood. All our pictures and full loft tour can be found here: Modern Logan Square Loft Apartment. The kitchen was completely custom-designed from the ground up, and stocked with all our favorite appliances (the compact Blomberg, naturally) and custom cabinetry, courtesy of our partners in crime Fricano Construction. These longtime collaborators have never let us down, creating beautiful, bespoke storage and shelving for umpteen projects over the years. This loft is also privy to lots of natural lighting and benefits from that in more ways than one. The solar array that we installed is fully optimized for maximum solar gain and allows the property to save big on bills. Find out all the details in our post Solar Panels in Chicago: What You Need to Know to Install.
WALNUT SOIREE TABLE
Furniture making developed organically at moss, simply because an employee loved it and wanted to incorporate into the business. Over the years we’ve created furniture from elm, walnut, maple and other natural materials that stand up to daily use and still look incredible. Not to mention that if ever tossed, the earth takes better to trees than it does plastic. Just saying. These tables, desks and consoles have always had little touches of fun to them, whether a live edge, a bookshelf that knows you enjoy a good vino, or a desk with Jetson’s-esque legs—but the Walnut Soiree Table was the first to announce party-readiness, simply by virtue of its glamorous brass base and modern interlocking geometry. Another party-ready feature? Walnut’s natural tone variation makes it harder to notice stains, so no worries about that glass of red wine.
The Dill Pickle, a neighborhood food co-op, had been hankering to expand for years, and in 2017 they finally established a new home at a full ten times magnification. We took feedback from a thorough community input process to develop the design of the new Pickle, which influenced the products on the shelves and the placement of bike parking. Read all about the newly expanded co-op right here: The Dill Pickle Re-Opening: Grab a Cart.
This growing family occupied a house with great potential, but that needed a serious layout overhaul. This we did; and feel proud to say that Carmen house is fully self-actualized with an open layout, a sunken family room that boasts heated floors, passive heat gain, and gorgeous charred wood (Gendai) siding. Passive heat gain you say; what’s that? It means to identify the sun’s movements, and building glazing (windows) and overhangs to maximize natural heat and light in the winter, and control it in the summer. Think of hanging out by a south-facing room in full summer sun without any shades, overhangs or trees. You’d be blasting the A/C to cool the space, while your house is passively heating up. We designed Carmen House to work with the seasons for maximum climate control for our clients, which will help them reduce energy usage, cut down on bills, and feel comfortable in their space with minimal effort. Read all about our design process here: Chicago Cottage Goes Modern with Charred Wood Addition.
And that’s a wrap! We’ve got lots in the works for 2018, so stay tuned for updates, photos and musings right here on the moss blog. We hope you’ve had a wonderful year and are staying warm!