Category Archives: Deck and Paver Supports

VersiJack Pavers Make a Residence Shine

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Our pedestals are usually specified for commercial installations, yet sometimes we also have the perfect solutions for residential projects. In Bellingham, Washington, we were specified by Molly Maguire Landscape Architecture for a private residence. The owners wanted to build a deck for a few reasons 1) they wanted to have a deck to enjoy for parties, daily living and also relaxing, and 2) to raise the deck and conceal the unsightly concrete with a more polished look.

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VersiJack Pedestals shown during installation beneath the pavers. Photo courtesy of John Sweeney, Northwest Rain Solutions

Molly Maquire worked with Northwest Rain Solutions on the installation. Contractors from Northwest Rain Solutions used our VersiJack Adjustable Deck Pedestals, which are twist-to-adjust height pedestals, needed to accommodate this project for heights from 4-7/8″ to 7-7/8″. The pedestals create a broad, stable base that can support more weight than any other pedestal system. Due to unevenness and slope of the deck base, they required our Platform Slope Correctors which can correct from 0% to 5% slope at 1% increments. Because this type of corrector sits on top of the pedestal, it is faster and easier to adjust to the correct slope, as well as being less expensive than a bottom slope corrector.

The contractors also installed our Paver Spacer Tabs to provide the same exact distance between each of the pavers that were laid atop the VersiJack pedestals. To stabilize the pavers on the concrete, Neoprene shims were placed under the pedestals for fine tuned leveling and cushioning.  Alongside the pavers on the deck, Molly Maquire also designed a green roof with low succulents to accent the level of the deck, which can almost be viewed as a deck lawn.

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Completed deck with VersiJack Support Pedestals beneath. Photo courtesy of John Sweeney, Northwest Rain Solutions

The project was challenged by the wet, rainy weather of the northwest but the installation was fairly straightforward and looks wonderful!

Our Thermally-Modified Wood in The New York Times

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At the beginning of October, we at Tournesol Siteworks were excited to be selected for a special article in the design section of The New York Times (in print and online), written by Julie Lasky. The article, titled “Architects and Designers Pick Their Favorite New Textiles, Paints and Hardware” featured recent product designs that were selected as favorites by a distinguished group of architects and designers.

Our Boulevard Thermally-Modified Structural Wood Tiles were chosen by Mikyoung Kim, of mikyoung kim design in Boston. She commented that the wood “frees us from using exotic hard woods on our roof decks.” To view the online article, click here.  For a print version of the article see here: tournesol-siteworks-new-york-times-10-6-16.

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Tournesol Siteworks’ Boulevard Thermally-Modified Structural Wood Tiles

Parklet Project with an Ocean Theme

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Back in July, the Florida ASLA chapter event in Jacksonville, Florida, held a parklet competition for university students. The theme of the competition was the 100-year anniversary celebration of the National Parks Service. Tricia Keffer, Florida International University (FIU) student, reached out to Tournesol Siteworks. She is a student in the Master’s MLA program for Landscape Architecture and expects to graduate in spring 2018. Tricia asked if we would loan her and her team a few of our products to help build a parklet for their competition entry.

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Photo courtesy of Tricia Keffer

We were eager to help her team with the competition, since Tournesol Siteworks was exhibiting at the event and this was a good opportunity to present our products within our product loan program. For her team’s parklet, we provided our Thermally-Modified Boulevard Wood Structural Tiles with SpiraPave adjustable deck and paver supports. Our Boulevard Wood (shown in the photo below) goes through a process which changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood. The process creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay. Technically, it shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods, but is ecologically-friendly. The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement.

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Photo courtesy of Tricia Keffer

Our Harlie Collection planter made of lightweight FRP Fiberglass also provided ambiance for the setting along with our South Chairs, one in a tall seat and one shorter-sized stool. Tricia’s blog about the contest can be found here: http://plantspeoplelove.com/flasla-16-parklet-competition. Kindly, she answered a few question regarding her inspiration and the competition entry.

“My inspiration was the Florida Keys, and the natural beauty of the waterfront areas and the underwater world. So I decided the National Marine Sanctuary would be my park to showcase. One day I passed by a store called “Ocean Gardens” in Islamorada. The name of the store was my design strategy. My idea was for people to experience the plant world that is underwater.”

“I did the planning, the design, and the building part. My fellow students from the student FL ASLA chapter pitched in with the chalk ‘underwater’ drawing on the front, the plants, and tweaking. It took about 2 hours to put it all together on site. It was a fun experience. ”

Photo courtesy of Tricia Keller

“I decided to enter the parklet competition because it was a great opportunity to meet and work with vendors. It was my first Landscape Architect conference and I really enjoyed working with your company. Actually seeing how the products were set up and the look and feel of them is handy for my future designs than just looking online. I think the decking in particular really brought the whole design together. The clean look and feel of the wood set the stage for the seating.”

We’re thrilled to have been part of Tricia’s team build for the parklet competition and, although she wasn’t the winner, we know she had a blast designing the parklet and displaying her skills and talent in landscape architecture. We wish her all the best in her upcoming career.

 

 

Thermally Modified Wood at McMullen Museum of Art

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Have you ever seen a piece of art that stops you in your tracks? Sometimes a peaceful feeling washes over you, or maybe you’re drawn to a memory of another place or experience. Per Pablo Picasso, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” and I tend to agree. Speaking of art, the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College, houses amazing works of art and also offers distinctive exhibitions, gallery talks and other events which bring the public to the museum.

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McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College

Last fall, the McMullen Museum of Art moved to a new location on the university’s Brighton Campus located in the former residence of Boston’s Cardinal Archbishop. The building, originally designed by Boston architects Maginnis and Walsh, was built in 1927 in the Roman Renaissance Revival Style. Modern architects DiMella Shaffer Associates out of Boston, collaborated with landscape architects from Carol R. Johnson Associates (CRJA) on the redesign.

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Side Balcony

For the remodel, CRJA specified Tournesol Siteworks’ products for a beautiful new 7’W x 20’L balcony and a 1,400 sq.ft amenity deck. Consigli Construction Co., out of Milford, MA, completed the installation. CRJA specified our Boulevard Structural Wood Tiles along with our Sliding Wood Tile Fasteners to connect the tiles in place. The wood tiles are 24″ x 24″ and are produced from Boulevard thermally-modified wood which goes through a process that changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood. The process creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay. Technically, it shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods, but is ecologically-friendly.

The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption (which is great for Boston’s winter weather) and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement. Over time, weathering will reveal the wood’s natural patina to a silver, grayish color.

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Amenity Deck

Along with our wood tiles, they selected our VersiJack support pedestals in various sizes. VersiJack are twist-to-adjust height pedestals, needed to accommodate this project for heights from 1-1/2″ up to 11″. The pedestals create a broad, stable base that can support more weight than any other pedestal system. Due to unevenness and slope of the deck base, they required our Platform Slope Correctors which can correct from 0% to 5% slope at 1% increments. Because this type of corrector sits on top of the pedestal, it is faster and easier to adjust to the correct slope, as well as being less expensive than a bottom slope corrector.

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VersiJack Adjustable Pedestals

This installation also required our low-raised decking product,  SpiraPave Adjustable Deck & Paver Support Jacks. This raised podium floor allows for rapid drainage, concealed services below, and reduced the installation cost compared to any other material.

We were excited to be part of the McMullen Museum of Art’s historic transformation and relocation – congratulations on their new digs!

Fresh, Cool Style at Hotel Zephyr

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San Francisco is a city that is alive, constantly morphing and changing. The breeze from the bay brings the sounds of the waterfront to the courtyard of the Hotel Zephyr, close to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA. The hotel has recently refurbished the exterior decor and has created a uniquely different environment for hotel guests, including a fire pit and a large, 40 foot periscope with views of the water and Alcatraz.

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Being close to the bay, Jett Landscape Architecture + Design wanted to bring port and shipping elements of the wharf into the Hotel Zephyr project design. Using large segments of metal shipping containers, they created walls surrounding the courtyard of the hotel. Jett Landscape specified Tournesol Siteworks‘ VGM Modular Living Wall System on one wall of the courtyard, which was installed by Eggli Landscape Contractors, out of Redwood City, CA.

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The VGM Living Wall system consists of 100% recycled plastic planting modules attached to stainless steel hanging rails. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4” or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more amazing results. Eggli also installed our stabilized Media Block, an organic base material stabilized into a sponge-like block that fits perfectly in the VGM module. The media block absorbs up to five times its weight in water, but only weighs 40 lbs./pcf, facilitating even irrigation, faster grow in and optimal plant health.

Zephyr 5For a rustic effect, they used steel sheet pilings (also used on the waterfront) for decoration in the northeast corner of the courtyard. Inside the pilings, we created custom trapezoid-shaped Welded Planter Liners that are 34″ wide in back, 15″ wide in front, 48″ tall, and 18″ deep. The welded planter liners were inserted into the steel pilings and used as planters.

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At the front of the stylish Hotel Zephyr, Patrick Lamar from RHI Construction out of Santa Rosa, installed our Boulevard Wood Decking, which compliments the entrance (as shown in the photo below). Our Boulevard thermally-modified wood goes through a process which changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood. The process creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay. Technically, it shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods, but is ecologically-friendly.

The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption (which is great for San Francisco’s wind, rain and bay weather) and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement.

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We are thrilled to have been part of the redesign of Hotel Zephyr and to be part of this cool stylish, trendy installation – right in our own backyard (well, across the bay at least).

Queen Anne’s Playful Uptown Parklet

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Parklets are popping up all over the country, especially in major cities, and are beginning to change the pedestrian environment. These little “mini parks” have allowed the community to build public spaces for meeting, socializing, and as urban oases. Parklets have become really popular due to PARKing Day, a nation-wide celebration day rivaling the automobile-focused environment. It’s a day where the public takes back urban street parking slots and creates temporary parks filled with designers, artists and people seeking community interaction.

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Two years ago, the city of Seattle was challenged by PARKing Day and recognized its success in other cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since the city sought to create a number of parklets all over Seattle, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced its Pilot Parklet Program. The program opened an application process for communities and neighborhoods to submit for a parklet to be constructed in their urban area.

Seattle’s VIA Architecture, on behalf of VIA’s Community Design Studio, worked with a civic organization called The Uptown Alliance (which represents the Uptown Urban Center) to submit an application for the Queen Anne district. The “Uptown Parklet” was selected as one of 10 parklets and was fortunate enough to be one of the first constructed as part of the pilot program. Slater Construction, out of Seattle, worked with the team of designers, community volunteers and architects to build this parklet, completed in February 2015.

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We revisited this cool parklet this month (March 15), which features Tournesol Siteworks’ Boulevard Wood for the decking, benches and planter cladding. Our Boulevard thermally-modified wood goes through a process which changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood. The process creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay. Technically, it shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods, but is ecologically-friendly.

Weathering reveals the wood’s natural patina to a silver, grayish color (as shown in the photo above). The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption (which is great for Seattle’s occasionally wet weather) and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement.

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Th Uptown Parklet is the perfect place for our Boulevard wood, with the public interaction, environmental exposure and continual community use. The wood has withstood wonderfully! We’re so glad that the Queen Anne district is enjoying their Uptown Parklet…go Seattle!

Green student living at the Varsity-Berkeley

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The Varsity-Berkeley apartment building recently opened up in downtown Berkeley. The project, designed by Johnson-Lyman architects of Walnut Creek, is anticipated to mostly house students attending the nearby University of California. The building features a number of green elements, including solar power, a greenroof, not to mention an amenity deck for the residents designed by landscape architects Thomas Baak and Associates.
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The project was built  as an urban in-fill project by Brown Construction of Sacramento, replacing a repurposed church. We were fortunate to have been part of the design process, supporting Baak and Assocs. through the early phases, and then working  with Cima’s Landscape of Rancho Cordova as the project moved towards completion.

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The on-structure landscaping involved two parts of the building – a 5th floor non-accessible terrace with the green roof, solar panels and planters, and a 7th floor amenity deck. Our product was extensively used in both locations. The two pictures above show the amenity areas, which feature walkways and patio space on concrete pavers and our  Boulevard Wood tiles, all resting on our VersiJack pedestals. The finished deck level is approx. 8-12″ above the roof membrane.

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Our lightweight FRP  Wilshire Collection round and rectangular planters were used as accents and to organize space on the deck. The addition of our VertiGreen trellis to a Wilshire planter creates a Wilshire Screen, which was used to shield the perimeter.

IMG_7680The planters were also used as a location to hide the irrigation control valves, as shown in the image above. We frequently get questions from designers about what they can do with these, and we think this is a pretty good idea! The designers chose the relatively bold Oxide color for the project, which turned out well, especially with the other strong accent colors.

All of  the Wilshire rectangle planters were recessed below the finished deck level and placed on VersiJack pedestals below the deck level to allow drainage, rather than set on top of the Boulevard wood tiles. This is one of the larger applications of this new product, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they withstand the relatively challenging environment of student housing.

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We’ll look forward to getting updates to show you how they wear!

It’s Tuesday – where am I??

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Roofdecks at the CCDC project (using our planter liners), Washington DC

“Why do all the industry trade shows get stacked on top of one another?”, I found myself thinking after ten days on the road. The last six weeks have been full of travel & conferences – Bond MultiFamily (a meetup of architects & product manufacturers specializing in multi-family residential construction) in April, followed by the mid-year meeting of the Landscape Architecture Foundation in Washington DC in early May.  The photo above was taken of the CCDC project in Washington during the LAF meeting. We provided planter liners for the roofdeck gardens for this spectacular project – we’ll feature it in a blog post soon.

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Visiting with designers at the HD Expo in Las Vegas – the South Chair in white, the Pillow Chair in orange

From there it was on to trade shows – Over the past two weeks we’ve exhibited at the American Institute of Architects National Convention (Atlanta), the Hospitality Design Expo (Las Vegas), the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (in New York with our partners from Luxxbox), and finally RECon (Las Vegas), the exhibition of the Intenational Council of Shopping Centers.

We met with well over 500 architects, interior designers, landscape architects and shopping center owners/managers.  There’s nothing like listening to your existing and potential customers – enlightening, to say the least.

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Viewing installed GFRC Urban Collection planters at the Linq, Las Vegas

 

Some of the highlights from the shows:

The South Chair and the Pillow Chair (see photo below). Both come in bright, interesting colors which grab designer’s attention. We knew that bright colors were in – but this confirmed it. While very different in execution, they herald our entrance into the cafe and casual furniture business.

Combine wood with brightly colored metal or concrete and people will notice it. Our Boulevard wood, whether in planters, furnishings or flooring, was the clear star of the show. The sustainable story, combined with its natural good looks makes it easy to get excited about.

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Tournesol partner James Shaffer of Streetscapes with an architect in our booth at RECon – The South Chair in black and berry, the Pillow Chair in orange

We’ve traditionally found our “sweet spot” with landscape architects.  Nevertheless, architects have been showing greater interest in the range of products we offer – especially living walls, wood decking and pedestals, Wilshire Box hanging planters and VersiCell drainage panel.  Being at the AIA convention was a great experience this year.

A surprise from this series of shows was the number of commercial interior designers that actively specify products in our markets. We met several that have specified us in the past (especially in the hospitality business), and most really like the work we do. It was a great reminder that our reach is sometimes greater than we think!

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Checking out the recent installation of Brisbane benches featuring Boulevard wood near Las Vegas

Boulevard decking at home…

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A recent trip so SoCal found us at the LA Expo in Long Beach, not far from one of our early installations of Boulevard Wood decking. It’s a private residence that belongs to friends of Grace Sullano of Place. The sustainability of Boulevard decking was a real draw for Grace and her friends.  Because we were close, we stopped by the owner’s home to find out whether we could take a few pictures of their home. While at first surprised to find us on their doorstep, the owners (and their children) graciously invited us in to see the results.

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Boulevard Wood decking is made thermally-modified, domestically harvested  and processed ash. It’s treated with high-temperature and steam – no chemicals or plastics – to create a 100% natural product with a 25+ year life span and Class A fire rating.  Through the process it takes on a natural, rich dark color, making it directly comparable with tropical hardwoods like Ipe or Teak, without the environmental baggage. The decking here has been sealed, so doesn’t show the typical gray patina that develops when exposed to the elements.

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Boulevard decking is 50% lighter and far easy to modify and work with on site than tropical hardwoods. All Boulevard wood is 100% free of the arsenic, copper, chrome and other hazardous metals present in pressure-treated wood.  It’s available in 1×4, 1×6, 5/4×4 and 5/4×6 conventional decking planks, as well as in dimensional lumber sizes.

Mobile upload from Jon Willingham at 31315, 311 PM

To see the full story of where our wood comes from, click here: http://tournesolsiteworks.com/wordpress/index.php/2015/01/where-boulevard-wood-starts/

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Where Boulevard Wood starts…

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I found myself this week with our partners at Superior Thermowood in Central Minnesota. They’re located in beautiful Central Minnesota, where there are more vacation homes than full-time residents. We’re continuing to expand the amount of Boulevard thermally-modified wood in our product line, and I was here to do some start-of-the-year planning.  I thought I’d take a few pictures and document where our wood comes from…

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This is where it starts. This is at our vendor Savanna Pallet. At their peak, they store over 15,000 cords of wood on site. They typically use the lowest grades of logs to make their pallets, and take the clear, select red oak (the good stuff!) and mill it for us. They have a highly automated sawmill, processing thousands of board feet of wood every day. I was quite impressed. They are a family-run business, and one of the few FSC certified processors in the area. We’re lucky to be working with them.

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Meet John and Ed.  John, on the right, is the owner of Superior. He’s pretty single-minded in his dedication for expanding the market for thermally modified wood. Ed, to the left, is the teams official “pilot”. When there’s wood to be stacked, he’s the one to pile it!! Superior’s operation is a combination of automated and old-fashioned manual labor. Until you’ve been around it, it’s hard to understand the amount of work that goes into processing wood.

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This is a load of ash, about to go into the thermal-modification kiln. The wood actually starts out in a more conventional drying kiln, going from green wood down to 10-12% moisture content. This takes about 2-4 weeks, depending upon the starting moisture. The wood is pre-cut to a size that will allow for some shrinkage before it is kilned twice. The thermal-modification kiln is a computer controlled process that mixes hot air, steam, and reciprocating airflow. The temperature and moisture level of the wood is carefully monitored, and follows a proven “recipe” to get to the Boulevard wood product.

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Once removed from the kiln, the wood is milled to its final size. In this case, the red oak has been cut into slats for our structural wood tiles. The wood will be cut to length, then assembled into a tile.  The whole process is 100% American. Other thermally-modified products start with domestic wood, which is shipped to an oversea location, modified and then sent back to the U.S.  We’re proud that we use nothing but FSC-managed wood sources, made right here in Minnesota.

IMG_2565Boulevard wood is the next important material for Tournesol Siteworks. The 25+ year resistance to rot and decay, combined with the moisture stability and awesome dark color make it the right solution for commercial construction products. We’re proud to be on the edge of the sustainable wood trend.