Liz Diaz is a superhero. She is also an Autometrix customer who happens to be using her skills and experience in the marine canvas business for good. North Beach Marine Canvas has been creating durable, beautiful, and functional yacht interiors in San Francisco since 1986, when Diaz founded the company.

Liz Diaz - North Beach Canvas
Liz Diaz – CEO North Beach Marine Canvas Liz Diaz – CEO North Beach Marine Canvas

Using Her Powers for Good

One day, after years of seeing people sleeping on the streets, Diaz realized that she had a unique set of skills that could be used to help house the nearly 7500 homeless people in San Francisco. “I have the skills to make people comfortable in small spaces,” said Diaz. “I deal with steel and fabric and wood, and making things weatherproof. I asked myself: ‘What can I do to solve this problem?’” Using her small space designing skills and her Autometrix fabric cutting solution, she designed a prototype of a 45-square foot canvas house.

Everything a Homeless Person Might Need – Including Privacy

It has everything a person without many possessions might need: heat, insulation, a table that converts into a bed, a galley with a basin with a gravity-fed water system, even a composting toilet. Diaz uses her Autometrix fabric cutting table and PatternSmith to create the canvas house as well as the seat cushions for the houses. Diaz believes a private space can be a powerful tool to getting homeless people stabilized and back on their feet. “A canvas house not only lets a person get off the street, it gives them the ability to re-center themselves and get back to who they are as a person behind a door with the dignity of privacy,” she said.

Canvas House Chairs - Cut with Autometrix
Convertible Chair/Bed inside a Canvas House Convertible Chair/Bed inside a Canvas House

Comfortable, Affordable, and Beautiful

Canvas houses also take other stakeholders into consideration – the people who pay for them, and the people who will look at them every day. They are built at an economical price point that will allow cities or churches to purchase multiple houses. They are constructed from industrial vinyl that can have graphics printed on the outside. Diaz recently pitched the city of Santa Clara, CA with a group of 30 canvas houses that display scenes of the Santa Clara countryside on their exteriors. She is working with other city and community arts organizations to explore different possibilities.

Are you using your Autometrix fabric cutting table to do something good in your community? Tell us about it! If you are curious about the solutions used for their products, along with the automated cutting machine, North Beach Canvas House uses the PatternSmith software, Revolver, and the CADShot Vision System in conjunction with HideShot. Find the right solution for your business here.