Last Saturday, Rural Studio hosted its first-ever Springfest, a sit-down dinner to celebrate with our local friends and colleagues and also to celebrate the Rural Studio Farm. Scott Peacock, friend and chef, and a crew of dedicated friends and volunteers helped prepare our family-style dinner (that is, if your family had around 150 people). The dinner was excellent, as was the company. Thanks to all of those who helped prepare the event and also to those who attended.


Hyundai Genesis rendered in Adobe After Effects. All footage seen was completely created with 3D reference material and stock footage.

- Intake
- Headers
- Exhaust
- Street Glow
- No shoes


After the drywall went up in about a week, we spent the next few days cleaning, priming, and painting. Once the walls and ceilings were thorough white, we cleaned the concrete and used a chemical etcher to get it ready for paint. We selected a high gloss, deep charcoal paint for the floors to allow them to recede visually and to hide the imperfections in the unfinished slab. 

After letting the paint dry, with the opening only about two weeks away, we put the pedal to the metal and began installing baseboards, fixtures, and cabinets, some of which had to be custom built according to standards of accessibility. 

Rural Studio at Twenty: Preorder Today!

We are excited to announce that Rural Studio at Twenty : Designing and Building in Hale County, Alabama by Andrew Freear, Elena Barthel and Andrea Oppenheimer Dean (w/ photos by Timothy Hursley) is coming out soon and is available for pre-order. Books-A-Million has generously offered to donate a portion of the proceeds of the pre-order sales to Rural Studio. Click here to preorder your copy and help out the Studio today! The book will be released on May 20, 2014.

Karma is real

I’m amazed at how often what goes around actually does come around and people get what they deserve. I’ve always broken it down into two types,cosmic karma and practical karma.

Cosmic karma is when you give a friend Rs20 and the same day a gust of wind blows a twenty into your chest.

Practical karmais just the observation that if you are a shitty person and screw people over wherever you go, you…

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Pig Roast Day 1:

Newbern Library, Greensboro Boys & Girls Club

We had so many projects to see at Pig Roast this year that we kicked off our 20th Anniversary Pig Roast on Friday with the Newbern Library and the Greensboro Boys & Girls Club. Both teams have a bit of work left before they finish up, but the projects are looking great and we’re excited to see the progress they have made. After the teams presented their work, food from Pie Lab was provided while the kid’s band from Alabama Blues Project played some excellent music. Following the evening’s official events, Tim Hursley hosted a bonfire at in his Alabama Silo, which was quite a site to behold.

Stay tuned for more about Pig Roast Day 2…


Plywood Donation!

Our thanks go out to Scotch Plywood for donating 200 sheets of ¾" tongue & groove plywood to Rural Studio! The day it arrived, we loaded some into storage and some went directly to construction sites, where it will be used in our new two-bedroom 20K Houses. Thanks, Scotch Plywood!


Pig Roast Day 2:

Lions Park

On day 2 of our ‘Super Pig’ Pig Roast, we spent much of the morning at Lions Park, where we celebrated the official openings of 3 projects: Lions Park Landscape, Lions Park Fitness and Lions Park Scouts. The Landscape team kicked off the Lions Park festivities with a tour through the park, which showed off the wholistic landscape strategy that they developed for the park (complete with rain gardens and tall grass fields). Next, we ventured over to the just-completed Fitness project, where the team had an unveiling of their shiny red fitness equipment, complete with demonstrations on how to properly use the machines. Lastly, we ventured over to the Scout Hut, which will provide a new home for the local Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops. We couldn’t be more proud of our newly completed Lions Park projects; they are all fantastic!


Wood Delivery & Newbern Snow day

Yesterday, we moved approximately 5,700 boards (5,730, to be exact) from 4 semi trucks and into storage here in Newbern. All of the wood was a very generous donation from the Westervelt Company; thank you very much! We should also thank Great Southern Wood, who donated the pressure treatment of a good part of the lumber for us. While we were moving the lumber, it started to snow in Newbern; a rare occurrence for us! Thank you very much to the Westervelt Company and Great Southern Wood for all of the support. That wood won’t be in storage very long; we’ll be in full-on build mode soon!


Pig Roast Day 2:

20K House

The 20th Anniversary Year at Rural Studio focused largely on the 20K House project. Our 3rd Year, 5th Year and Outreach students all focused on this Rural Studio research project for their year of study. The 3rd Year students, along with instructors Xavier Vendrell, John Marusich and Alex Henderson, selected, modified and built two 20K Houses for Rose Lee and her son Jason. The four 5th Year and Outreach teams each designed and are in the process of building a 2-bedroom 20K House. In addition to the house that they have designed, they also helped the Studio build two 20K ‘model homes’ (replicas of Mac’s House and Joanne’s House) that will be used to show parties interested in the 20K House as it turns from project to product.

4 Days ‘Til Pig Roast

This year, to celebrate all we’ve got going on in our twentieth year, we will be celebrating Pig Roast beginning the evening of Friday April 25 and continuing trough Saturday April 26. You can find the calendar of events on our website. Hope to see you here!

Convocation, Fall 2013
The 20th Anniversary year officially began yesterday, as we hosted our first day of class! It is incredible to see how many students we have and the number of projects we’ll be completing this year! Not only will we be completing eight 20K Houses, but we will also be finishing up 3 projects in Lions Park, a Boys & Girls Club in Greensboro and a library in Newbern. Everybody take a deep breath… here we go! In the immortal words of Samuel Mockbee: Proceed and be bold!


Soup Roast 2013

On Friday December 7, we commemorated the end of the fall semester with our annual Soup Roast celebration and reviews. This means that we are half way through our 20th Anniversary year; time flies when you’re having fun!

We started the day by having a light breakfast at Lions Park (served out of the Concession Stand, of course) followed by a walking tour of the park. Then, we headed over to Greensboro Boys and Girls Club to check on their progress (it looks amazing). The caravan continued onto Newbern, where we took a trip to the Woodshop to check out the work the 3rd Years have been producing before packing in Red Barn for reviews. The 5th Year and Outreach students walked everyone through their design process and got some very useful feedback from our guest reviewers and alums. The 3rd Years showed their work in powerpoint while we were still at Red Barn, and later in the day we went to Footwash to see their progress. They’ve been moving on site – they’ve already got the walls up on both houses! After Red Barn, we stopped by Newbern Library for a few minutes, then proceeded on to Footwash and then to Faunsdale, just in time for the kickoff of the SEC championship game. In case you didn’t hear, Auburn was victorious! After the game, we had some soup and then had brief lectures from some of our reviewers. Thanks to Jim Adamson, John Ringel and Jake LaBarre for sharing their work! Also, the totals for the 20K City Challenge were announced during the evening: we raised over $250,000!

Thanks to all of our alums who shared their work on Friday night and also contributed to the design discussions on Saturday: Steve Hoffman, Jack Sanders, Jennifer Bonner, Emily McGlohn, Daniel Boone McHugh, Kellie Stokes, Mark Wise, Dan Splaingard, Lindsay Butler, Margaret Sledge and Danny Wicke. We also had two folks from JAS Design Build: Nicole Abercrombie and Kevin Price; thanks for coming down, guys! And thanks to Jake LaBarre, Steve Badanes, Jim Adamson and John Ringel; it is always fun having you guys around. Our loyal locals also showed up, thanks to everyone in the community for coming out to see the work and a special thanks to Dick Hudgens and Bill Dooley. AND, a final thanks to Timothy Hursley and Dave Anderson for documenting the whole weekend! Oh, and thanks to the Mockbees, Jackie, Sarah Ann and Carol, for coming out!


Alumni Lecture Night Pt. 3

Back in January, we had our 3rd and final Alumni Lecture Night for the year. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and even though the information didn’t get posted before the event, we wanted to acknowledge our speakers:

Thomas Palmer resides in Chattanooga where he operates his own firm: Palmer Built Environments. As a 5th Year student at Rural Studio, he worked on the Supershed.

James Kirkpatrick spent two quarters his sophomore year working on the Lewis House and the Flophouse (one of the Pods) and also returned for his 5th Year to work on the Newbern Baseball Club field. He currently works with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in San Francisco.

Sarah Dunn worked on the Sanders Dudley House and the Perry Lakes Park Bathrooms during her tenure at Rural Studio. These days, you can find her in Kampala, Uganda working with eMI East Africa. We’re pretty sure she wins the prize for traveling the furthest to participate in our Alumni Lecture Night!

Sam Currie works at Gluck+ in New York. The Perry County Learning Center was is 5th Year project here at Rural Studio.

Sabina Nieto participated in our Outreach program in 2007, where she worked on 20Kv3: the 32K House. She currently resides in San Francisco and can frequently be found at the University of San Francisco.

Brett Jones also resides in San Francisco and works at David Baker Architects. He participated in Rural Studio during both 2nd Year and 5th Year, where he worked on Michelle’s House and the Lions Park Skatepark.

Will McGarity worked on both the restoration St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Thinnings Bathhouse projects as a Rural Studio student. He currently works for Jones Valley Teaching Farm in Birmingham and also has done some pretty stellar side projects, which you can see on his blog, here.

Bruce Lanier resides in Birmingham where he runs Standard Creative. As a Rural Studio student, he worked on the Wilson House and Thomaston Farmers Market.

Thanks to all of our speakers for making it a great night. We’ve had so much fun with these alumni lecture nights that we hope to continue them beyond our 20th Anniversary year!


A few weeks ago, our current 5th Year and Outreach students finally got to meet their clients! Each team presented a model and drawings to their clients. Since that time, we’ve had a fair amount of rain, which has hampered the construction progress. However, we are hopeful that the weather will clear up soon and we’ll have some framing to show you soon!


Alumni Lecture Night Pt. 2

Last Friday, we hosted our second alumni lecture night down at CaJohn’s. This lecture night featured all of the past students-turned-staff from Rural Studio. It was astonishing to see where our staff alums have gone and the diverse ways they are channeling their Rural Studio experience into their current pursuits. We couldn’t begin to express how proud we are of our alums and the good work they’re doing. Also, thanks to Emily McGlohn, we’ll also never forget that house wrap is not a vapor barrier.

Our third and final alumni lecture night for the school year will be help on January 11, 2014 at CaJohn’s Bar and Grill in Faunsdale, AL. Based on the quality of presentations given at the previous two lecture nights, you’ll definitely miss out of you don’t come join us!