Jillian Northrup's blog

West Oakland in the news

We are so proud that our local area of West Oakland has received some great press this last month.
Celebrating the custom fabricator and "Maker" scene that has been growing here for years. It is nice to see some thoughtful pieces being written about this area and it's future!

Metropolis Magazine wrote a cool piece on our local area, focusing on two large community based fabricator establishments, The Crucible and American Steel.

Make Magazine and Tech Hive wrote a pieces on what the future holds for the area, and how it has changed into a thriving custom fabricator mecca, with plenty of room to grow.

We are, and have been, excited to be part of this exciting and growing area!

Vintage Modern home renovation, San Francisco

This home renovation we completed recently in San Francisco freshened up a historic home from the 1900's, while keeping and celebrating its vintage details.


The woodwork now pops into view with its white paint job and the dark floors in the entryway, and all over the home.


The kitchen and bathrooms were heavy and dark from their last renovation in the 1970's. We lightened and brightened and opened up walls were we could, even taking out some load bearing walls and replacing them with steel overhead to create a better living space.



Raising the ceiling in the main living space and taking out those walls made such a difference!


And, or course we could not resist a little BWC fun.... with this porthole window in the kids room.

See more photos and descriptions on our project page here.

Small Business Success Award!

We have the pleasure to announce that were awarded the "Small Business Success Award" from Autodesk.

Autodesk_Small Business Success Award_LongBadge_Lg_Web copy

To promote the award, they made this cool video of our office & work shop....

The way this was edited implies that we fabricated the Serpent Twins completely here in house. Which could not be further from the truth! It was a whole crew of lovely people that help make the Serpents. We did made the tails & some details, which we have a nice project page on if you want more info. Other than that, it is a very nice video, and we thank the people at Autodesk for putting it together!

The Long Now Salon - Under Construction!

We are just beginning to break ground on the Long Now Salon project. The office and museum space is vacated, and the demolition has begun!

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If you are not familiar with The Long Now Foundation, they are an amazing non profit like no other; dedicated to the fostering of long term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years. Their lecture and event series is not one to be missed.

Because, like any non-profit, they are relying on donations, they have created a "Brick-Starter" of their own to help fund this Salon project with a several different pledging opportunities.

As this will be a Salon to commune with your peers over cerebral topics while enjoying a contemplative drink, the pledging tiers are complete with a complexly flavored Tea, Whiskey and Gin, among other things. The consumables all have wonderful stories of their production (as well as their taste). They are each an experience of long contemplation, either solo or with a group. This will truly be an interesting place to spend an evening.


But the Salon space is not just for the evenings. Our designs for the space use the wonderful natural light that comes in through the historic windows of this Fort Mason building. The light illuminates their extensive library of civilization, the documentation of their ongoing projects, and the impressive clock prototypes on display. The Salon will have it's daytime hours, just as it did before, but now with the space to host small events and talks.

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In the evening the Long Now Salon will extend its hours. For those of you who could not get there during its daytime schedule, you will have the opportunity to spend some quality time within this Museum of The Long Now, as an evening Salon.

And The Salon will be complete that much sooner if you are able to help build it.
Thank you!


A few things from Maker Faire

Maker Faire was another grand success last weekend. We had a blast of course! We were able to snap a few photos while we were there of the projects we helped design and create. Like these two Skee Ball machines!


They were a great hit with the kids and took quite a beating....


We also made a new accessory for the serpent twins project...
These tablet stands that let you control the internal lights from outside the serpent. They were specifically made for all the shows the Serpents have been going to lately.



When not in the bright sun, they are also good for showing promotional movies on the project.


See you next year Maker Faire!

Maker Faire 2013

Maker Faire is this weekend!

We will be there to show off the Serpent Twins project, as well as a few other surprises.

So in celebration of Maker Faire we thought we would do a retrospective of photos featuring the MAKE chairs we made for the Faire back in 2007. They are still in use, usually on one of the stages.... see if you can spot them this year!

Maker Faire, Austin - 2007

Maker Faire, SF Bay Area- 2008

Maker Faire, SF Bay Area- 2007

Maker Faire, SF Bay Area 2009

See you there!

Internal Marketing Wall for ClifBar

We have been lucky enough to work with ClifBar again on another internal marketing wall for their Emeryville office location. This one focused on the Womens' Mountain Biking Team they sponsor, and integrated an aesthetic of reclaimed barn wood juxtaposed with clean lines.

This wall was coincidentally right next to another office wall we did. That one was a promotional wall for their internal philanthropy work, done with a 1950's diner theme and reclaimed bike parts.

The LunaChix wall (named after their LunaBar line) incorporates overlapping frames, a movable time line, Bike Jersey holders, a map of where the teams are located and a giant overhead sign.

This row of frames will act as a timeline for showing which bike team is in the lead.

Working with the client, we designed the aesthetic and functionality of these items.
The timeline frames can slide easily along their rail with these small clips we've added to the back.

For the Map, we chose to use an oiled Walnut face, and then carve the state lines into it.

We did this so the soft material behind the veneer can accept the pins to showcase the team locations.

We used the same material to make these striking jersey holders

By creating a system to hang and overlap the barnwood frames, photos in the frames can be easily switched out when needed.

For the larger wood frames, we added a laser-cut wood name attached to the side:

And finally, the large barnwood sign. We made this custom barnwood sign by dying the wood after fabricating its shape, so the variation in the wood slats can shine through.

Yo Ho Ho, A Pirate Ship for Me!

We are working on a very fun office interior renovation for an independent game studio in New York.
At the end of last year we were heavy in design phase... doing things like this:


....and now we are heavy in fabricating pirate ships!


Working closely with this small office, we created a new look for their office of many rooms.
This big fabrication run is for one of their larger rooms where everyone sits, which we are turning into a nautical paradise. The photo above is a prototype for ships that will straddle cube walls and provide shade against noon day glaring sun.

Here is our original concept drawing...

C:\Users\Jillian Northrup\Documents\Project1.pdf

The larger ships are part of a set of screens for and undefined hallway to give it some privacy and interest.

C:\Users\Jillian Northrup\Documents\DeskScreens.pdf

There are stacks and stacks of ships!


And don't forget... waves for the ships. Or they won't get anywhere!

Obama's shout out

An additional promotional article posted in the SF Chronicle over the weekend mentions us in the same sentence as President Obama. We'll take that.

"When President Obama gave a shout out to 3-D technology and its potential to revolutionize U.S. manufacturing in his State of the Union speech last month, he might as well have been talking about Jillian Northrup and Jeffrey McGrew of Oakland, (California). The principals of the architectural design-build studio Because We Can are harnessing the increasingly affordable power of robotics to create whimsical custom furniture and fixtures for Bay Area clients, including gaming company Three Rings, producers of the popular computer game Puzzle Pirates. They also created a buzz with this mad scientist's office, complete with cat transport tube, designed for Eric and Sue Johnston of San Francisco and built using Frank, a Shopbot CNCRouter.

For more on the couple and their quirky studio, click here."



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