Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Minnie House is in the News (actually, the Trib)

This week saw the publication of the first article about The Minnie House, in the Pacifica Tribune.

The Minnie House shapes up on Talbot Drive
By Jane Northrop
Staff Writer

Futuristic and sleek, a new home on Talbot Drive is sure to turn heads.

Steve Rapport, a master in martial arts who owns and teaches in Hwa Rang Kwan Martial Arts Center in San Francisco, is building his dream house in Pacifica.

Rapport fell in love with the designs of the prefabricated LV series by architect Rocio Romero.

"If I was designing a house for myself, it would look like this. I love modern and mid-century design, and this house has the open design and clean lines that define both styles. The architect, Rocio Romero, also designed the 1200 sq. ft. living space so that all of the living space is on one side, with huge sliding doors, while all of the utilities are on the other side. Because you have to be energy efficient and Title 24 compliant, you can only use so much glass, and my house will make the maximum use of the available glass and of the magnificent Pacifica view," Rapport said.

The house is highly energy efficient and green.

"A prefab house is inherently green with regards to the construction process as it eliminates much of the associated waste," Rapport said.

Low-E glass will be used, which is expected to block harmful UV rays, protect furniture from fading and lower energy costs by 35 percent. In addition, Rapport plans to install solar panels on a reflective roof. The house will exceed recommended insulation levels for the walls, the basement and the roof. Rapport is using insulated concrete forms for the foundation and basement walls. Kitchen counters will be made of Paperstone, which is made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. The paint will be a No-VOC product. The floors will be bamboo, which is renewable and an inherently green product. The deck, ramp and front porch will be LockDry aluminum decking, a completely maintenance free product that is also regarded as green, since it lasts a lifetime and thus doesn't require repair or replacement.

The heating system will be of the radiant floor variety, which is again highly energy efficient. The radiant system Rapport will be using is called UltraFin, another aluminum product with green credentials.

Rapport's home will have two bedrooms, a full basement with a two car garage and another living space.

After breaking ground on June 24, Rapport expects the construction to be finished the first week of 2011.

He fell in love with Pacifica as much as he fell in love with the design of his home.

"I thought about buying a house in Pacifica many years ago, because I love the place and as a displaced Englishman, the name itself sounds so romantic and wonderful. It's so close to the city, with no bridges, and I can be at work in San Francisco in less than 20 minutes. Plus, it's next to the ocean, and my lot on Talbot has magnificent ocean views -- something that, as a Londoner, is also quite exotic," he said. "Talbot is also quiet and warm and sunny, and the neighbors are all amazingly friendly. It's a true community, and again that's not really something I've experienced in the big cities I've lived in."

The project has been on the back burner for two years while Rapport finally secured a construction loan by loan arranger Donald Henry.

But now that construction is underway, Rapport is enjoying the warm welcome he received from Talbot neighbors.

They have voluntarily taken his yard waste to the dump and lent him tools whenever he needs them. He's been enjoying the neighborhood cafes -- Salada Beach and Cafe D Capo. He took his kickboxing class for runs along Sharp Park Beach and the golf course and plans many more such adventures. He enjoys hiking the hills of Pacifica, as well.

He's also a professional photographer who loved shooting music celebrities in the 80s and 90s, but he has now turned his attention to travel, landscapes and flower photography, and likes that just as well.

After researching all the prefab homes on the market he settled on a design by Rocio Romero.

"Rocio's first design was a house for her mother back home in Laguna Verde, Chile -- hence the LV home. She later turned this design into a green, modern prefab house, of which she has now probably sold somewhere between 70-80, many right here in California," he said.

The home, called The Minnie House, is named for Rapport's mom, Mina "Minnie" Rapport.

"My mum grew up in the Lodz Ghetto in Poland and was an Auschwitz survivor who passed away just more than two years ago back home in England. After she passed I sold her house in Manor Park in East London. I gave some money to my sister to buy an apartment in Bow, very close to the new Olympic Stadium, and put the rest towards buying the 7650 sq. ft. lot on Talbot Avenue. The Minnie House will be a living monument to my mum, who was a true survivor in every sense of the word," Rapport said.

Anyone can follow the progress of the build at Rapport's blog -- -- and on Twitter @MasterSteveR.

1 comment:

UltraFit SF said...

Not only is this an awesome article, but I think I can use it in my Green Math class.