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Project Journal

In the past, I thought I actually challenged myself. Little did I know that I was simply training for the real challenge... This one... My first house!

Here's to many many more! This is only the start! 

As it says... this is my project journal. All of it... 

WHEW, LORD!  — May 24, 2016

Well, it has been a year since my last entry. And that is not because of anything even related to not moving forward. Sometimes the moving forward is more like the tortoise and feels a lot like no movement at all. lol

BUT sometimes those are the very times when resolve and partnerships are galvanized and grown up from the dirt. Those are often the times when seeming unrelated events that demand immediate attention call to you. And you have to answer. But what I find compelling is that this time, this long delay has created the most resolve and possible reinvention that makes this house even more likely to be built sooner than later. 

It appears that I will be moving back, after almost 30 years, to the Pittsburgh area. And with the move, exciting new connections, resources to real materials and organizations excited for this project and lots and lots of space where this very project could be built have begun to really open up. I wish I could tell it all here but I do not believe in counting those chickens until it's time. 

It has taken me a while to get to this place. Probably the emotions of leaving Brooklyn, NY where my work was first sparked was the biggest part of what I had to wrangle to take this step. But now that I have and can see clearly the potential of what my move could mean, WOW.

So very excited about this next giant step forward. 

Here we do indeed go!

NAILING DOWN THE travel date to the aircraft graveyard...ugh! — APRIL 1, 2015

Coordinating the schedules of the few of us that need to go amidst each of our crazy schedules. UGH! 

THERE IS AN INTENSITY TO PULLING ALL THIS TOGETHER! — APRIL 1, 2015

I made a list on my Refitting The Planet blog about how there are 4 ingredients to the success of this. And the last one... oh wow, the last one... Its the heaviest of all 4. And it's the one to beat. 

Im realizing that building my business, my body of work and my BASEL HOUSE takes 4 ingredients
1- An Absolute Vision of it. 
    Solid and Real. Like it’s
    happening.
2-Luck
3-Timing
4-Deft At Managing Chaos

OMG! SIMPLY NUTS! — December 3, 2014

You know, I have this tattoo on my stomach that reads "Nunca se subestima a potency de uma pessoa." it is Portuguese and means, "Never underestimate the power of one person." But I tell ya! LORD!!! I think even I am pushing the limits of that. Finished the TV Pilot and now hustling that on top of shaking out the financing for Basel House. Yea, Im definitely pushing that statement to the limits. 

ONE DOWN, BUT MANY MORE TO GO — September 6, 2014

Well, I have had an amazing week overall, but got knocked down as well. I am reminded this week that a war is not fought in a single battle. Wars are made of many battles. THE GOOD: We finished the TV pilot and now are in proofing and securing all the rights for everything in the footage. But it looks amazing and feels amazing. THE BAD:  An investor who verbally committed to handling the down payment on the land in Miami has gone MIA. I have had contact with him and have laid out the need,  but he has become unresponsive. It is my understanding, as I have done some digging, that this project may be over his head both artistically and financially. When I say many more to go, however, I am referring to a campaign to finance Basel House through crowd funded means in addition to heavier investors. I was not sold on the idea at first, but the team building the campaign has convinced me and I am finding myself thinking this could work.

More to do than I can list here. But all of it building clearly to that day the shovel breaks the ground and the house begins to form. Its coming!

THE DANCE BEGINS WITH PR FIRMS — July 25, 2014

OMG! Well, you get some who think this is about the most amazing project they have seen in a while and then others who aren't sure what it all is. And landing the perfect PR firm needs to be one that can make EVERYONE who hears about this get it and understand the importance of it and the creativity of it. Landing just the right firm is not easy and Im feeling the pressure! IT WILL GET DONE!!! AND I WILL FIND THE RIGHT ONE!!

MET WITH DAVID BERGMAN TODAY — July 9, 2014

It was awesome and amazing to hear David Bergman (The EcoOptimist & Author of Sustainable Design) to discuss his interest and involvement on the Basel House. Pretty excited about it all. 

Of course we discussed the obvious challenges. Acquiring the aircraft and at what cost AND acquiring the cash! The first part, landing the aircraft (yes, pun intended) will begin this next week. WHEW!

Of course without BOTH of these things aligning there is no project at all... BOTH of these things WILL HAPPEN. The universe has already begun to meet us. 

 

MEETING REALTOR TODAY — June 22, 2014

Im meeting the realtor today to begin shaping the website better to begin to connect to all the parties that will be involved. There are so many people involved in a giant project like this. OMG!!!! So many people. Dizzing… But this is the beginning of planning out the process that all people involved will use as their marching orders and this will define the efficiency of the plans which is SO important to allow me the elbow room to create and innovate. Exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. but more than any other adjective BRILLIANT!!!! And there is no doubt anyone and everyone involved in this project will feel a huge sense of being part of a game changer and a life changer. 

AIRCRAFT RESEARCH GOING SLOWLY — June 16, 2014

Im keeping everything flowing forward. GOD, some of this just feels like it takes forever. BUT, I am going to do this right. I NEED to do this right. As soon as we figure out what we can get and for how much, then we can move 1-3 of the designs forward to tighter overall blueprints. 

Its still possible that we could get this launched by this next Miami Art Basel. 

But its going to be huge amounts of work!

JUST COMPLETED ALL 7 FLOOR PLANS — April 21, 2014

Even though none of the actual floor plans are designated as "THE ONE" in order to narrow down the designs, I needed to take them all the way to a basic and rough floor plan. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms play a significant part in the pricing of the finished house and thus the figure we can safely go after for the funding of the home we build. Its a lot of work but now we can begin to price the whole project and research exactly what aircraft will be available. At this time we can also begin a soft-planning of the water, electric and insulating systems in the home to hit that "zero footprint" goal!

LORD! NOT SURE IM GOING THE RIGHT DIRECTION — April 12, 2014

Well, the first floor plan looks like a 3 bedroom, 3 bath. Now as much as that might sound simply lovely… have I blown the hell out of zero footprint? Or can I make it work with that? Are their other ways I could reduce the impact of this house? With each new step comes new and greater challenges. Every step potentially wipes out the goal… but I aint stopping! I am just focusing harder and allowing my problem solving to stretch!

woo hoo!!!

WELL A LOT HAS BEEN HAPPENING. WHEW! — March 21, 2014

I have been laying out the floor plans so we can really lock down on the size of each of these houses with regards to the elements that often determine the final sale price. How many bedrooms or bathrooms and the kitchen layout and overall square footage. We want this house small because that makes it energy efficient and reduces the footprint on Earth, but we also know the market where we are building. We are working to strike a balance. As soon as we determine these things, then energy and water systems will begin to factor in along with the actual acquiring of the aircraft parts. The process will drop the 7 designs down to 4, then things will continue to drop it to 3. We will go through the next challenges and be left with 2. And then, the final single FIRST BASEL HOUSE, will be selected and blueprints, architectural engineers and all of it will be on!!! CAN'T WAIT!!

FIRST FLOORPLANS ARE UP ON SITE!!! — Februrary 16, 2014

Finally finished the rough floor plans that will make it possible to really begin planning and gauging the value of the house along with our costs and how this all plays out. Basically they are rough. They only give a total square footage and allow for us to begin really dividing it up and plotting every square foot. 

MODEL/SKETCHES ARE DONE AND ON SITE!!! — December 28, 2013

Finished the model/sketches and posted them in the section called "Actual Development" in "Sketches and Planning". Check them out. Now to locate the actual needed parts and then begin working out the details of all the environmental issues and equipment that will push the footprint of this down.

LETTING THE FIRST PIECE OF LAND GO... — December 10, 2013

There were a lot of reasons to let this one go. It was in the perfect location and size was awesome. But the land was zoned for commercial and would have to be changed to build what we are planning. The owner is out of town, so communication would take time. Changing the zoning for this would mean soliciting the neighbors too. And the cost for all this was estimated a to be in the tens of thousands when all was said and done. The price was already 100,000.00 more than comparable properties in the area. There WILL be another. THE PERFECT ONE!

MODELS FOR HOUSE ARE FINISHED!!! — November 24, 2013

Now to shoot these models, clean them up and draw out a rough of the plan to begin the REAL configuring of this house. Still lots to do but 12 models of possible houses is a really good start on the design. Its the place where it begins for me.

FIRST MIAMI LAND WE CAN ACQUIRE!!! — November 16, 2013

We just found the first piece of land that is the size we need and perfect location. We have (we are told) 48 hours before it gets listed. A lot has to happen, but fingers crossed. Oh, and we need money. go figure.

THE OVERALL DESIGN BEGINS!!! — September 28, 2013

With the use of the models I bought, after assembling the basic body parts of the airplanes, it is time to begin to work out the basic form of the house. And then the real fun will begin… breaking into rooms, deciding where the kitchen and bathroom(s) go. And then all the circulatory systems of the house can be worked out to reduce any carbon foot print at all. The challenges are endless… I am thrilled! 

 

LOTS HAPPENING TODAY! — September 19, 2013

Well today this site (www.tomtbaselhouse.com is being fully proofed and edited. Much needed. I also have a basic budget for projecting into what we need to really hit in order to make this project also become a financial success as well as a design triumph. AND, most fun of all, I am going to a shop called THE RED CABOOSE to buy airplane models. So much fun and really practical as I usually work directly with an object to perfect the design or transition into the new thing it is to become. because of the massive size and cost, working with the actual objects is a bit tricky. So the models (as long as I stay in the same scale on all of them) should give me the perfect manageable elements to work with. 

MEETING WITH THE REALTOR — August 25, 2013

Where I face the expected AND the unexpected. 

So I met with a friend who is a realtor and the discussion went as one would expect. He expressed great interest, began to talk budget and the ability to sell the house afterwards. All as expected... and then...  he informed me that he is very familiar with the Miami market. It is the city he is from and is there a lot. He also has attended Art Basel in Miami for the last 8 years. WHAT??? Surprise two! OMG!!!

But as if those weren't enough surprises to handle in one meeting, he proceeded to explain how he would be in Miami the following week and would begin to scout.  

Oh, and it gets better! 

He is taking classes again... studying what, you ask?  

SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION!!!! 

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?  

A match made in heaven! So it's on! We are moving forward! 

 

MEETING WITH ARCHITECTS — AUGUST 25, 2013

Well today I was shooting more for the TV pilot and part of that was two meetings.  

The first meeting was with 2 architects to discuss this whole thing and how to begin.  It was amazing to talk with them both too. One wrote an amazing book called Sustainable Design and the other understands the "skins" or outside surface of buildings extremely well. They both are very familiar with my work and one of them even said that there were two major reasons why he was so excited to specifically watch me do this. 

1. Because i had no idea what I was getting into (lol lol.. he's right!) and that makes for my approach to be completely different than the way most would approach a project like this one.  

2. Because of the very way that I use and redefine (refit) objects, he is completely excited to see what I would use and how I would manipulate it to create living spaces.

 

Now the second comment actually steered me away from the neon signs that I have imagined turning into a house for so long. Because I would not be using them for anything more than an accent. And as I reflected on that second comment, I knew I had to use objects that could truly be refit into an actual structural home.  

That being said... retired aircraft is the material I have chosen.  

Here we go! 

 

But all I could think was that this was nice and all, but who the fuck is going to finance that. I sure as hell can't with my money tied up in the TV pilot. 

But then a connection was made... not sure how it connected, but it locked and loaded and I remember just buzzing and pacing (as I do) and not being able to sit down until I started thinking it through... It's on now! 

 

IT ONLY TAKES A SPARK! — JUNE  1, 2013

This year at the Bushwick Open Studio Festival in June, a gallery owner came through my space from Miami. He emphatically stated that I would be really well received in Miami's Art Basel, and that I should do a one man show there. Now for those of you unfamiliar, Art Basel is a HUGE EVENT.... HUGE ART WORLD EVENT!! THe one in Miami actually covers artists in the America's from the tip of South America all the way up through Canada. HUGE EVENT!

This is the opportunity to do something I have been wanting to do for quite some time now. Maybe I could find the financing if I was to build an entire house in the manner that I build furniture and lighting. 

HOLY SHIT! I basically couldn't sleep until I started to map some of my thoughts out on paper. For the longest time I imagined building a house using old neon signs like those from the Bone Yard outside of Vegas, but as I was really beginning to process the whole thing, I think I may have leanings in some other directions.