The Gamma Beta, a new construction by Nebula Design Build, was a 'beta test' for a process to create affordable, easily customizable homes.
The Gamma Beta, a new construction by Nebula Design Build, was a “beta test” for a process to create affordable, easily customizable homes. And it passed with flying colors. “In collaboration with Josh Wynne Construction, our goal was to create a design language using simple geometry, honest use of materials, and stripped-back detailing to form a ‘kit of parts’ that could be used in endless configurations,” says Jimmy Thornton, the sole proprietor of Nebula, whose 2019-founded business specializes in custom residential and small commercial projects.
Taking inspiration from the work of Joseph Eichler and Charles and Ray Eames, Thornton worked collaboratively with the homeowners on the Gamma Beta project to achieve the cutting-edge design. “Ryan Gamma is a rockstar in the Sarasota architecture world, and a great friend, so it was a joy to work with him,” Thornton says. “Both he and his wife, Nicole, are passionate about design, and this home is a reflection of that.” So, what makes the residence so revolutionary? It achieves so much with so little, Thornton says. “We built this house for $252 per square foot, which was almost half the cost of most custom homes being built at the time,” Thornton says. “None of the finishes are high-end. The floors are an exposed structural slab. The kitchen and bathroom cabinets are all from IKEA. And we left most of the materials in their raw form with minimal treatment, yet the home feels like it costs twice as much.”
Thornton and his team laid out the windows to specifically serve the function of their respective spaces. The best examples are in the dining room and photo studio, which are located at either side of the open dog trot. The windows are set low and stretched wide to afford the best views when seated. Another standout feature is the wood slat wrap around the carport, built with thin strips of pine. All in all, the project embodies Thornton’s vision for using space and materials efficiently, without enormous price tags. “At Nebula, I keep my practice small so I can focus intently on each project, with the goal of creating unique environments that don’t cost a fortune to build,” Thornton says. “I’ve always valued quality over quantity.”
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