Saturday, August 13, 2011

Code analysis and design...approach matters.

There are times where common sense doesn't seem to align with the building codes. The codes and their enforcers exist for one protect lives. If you are trying to expand or change your business, you may run into a series of limitations imposed by the codes. With a little creative thinking, a clear presentation, and by working within the intention and letter of the building codes, you CAN do what you want. Below is the approved plan and calculations for a print shop expansion into an existing auto dealership parts mezzanine. With some minor alterations to the original plan....a building permit can now be pulled. Call me in sooner than later....asking permission first works better than apologizing later when it comes to building codes and permitting. They CAN make you rip out the work and THAT'S expensive.

Even though 22 occupants doesn't mandate two exits, common path of travel on the second floor does!

Upper Level Plan.....two exits separated a minimum distance eliminates the need for sprinklers. Saves at least $10,000.

Partial First floor plan...creative two hour configuration maintains the circulation to the existing two doors below serving the customer lounge and parts room.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Cambridge, MN

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Allen Studio and Workshop

A few very preliminary doodles....looking to create an even more picturesque setting at their current home. VOTE FOR 1, 2 or 3....comments welcome.

1...existing garage to remain for now...replaced in phase two. Gable roof with a pair of matching shed dormers. Wrap around roof deck too.

2...four square with a fireplace and wrap around stair to above...alley/garbage access.

3... Ignore the oval on the plan, a 1 story painting studio turret, and two story workshop/storage behind. Add some board trim to the existing garage.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Cambridge, MN

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ashworth Kitchen Remodel Plans

$150 bucks to meet and come-up with four kitchen remodel schemes.
VOTE for your favorite, and comments welcome!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pre-final biz cards

Getting excited.....prefinal proof! Color tweak, blog rotate up, name bigger, I like the cool f they gave me so much let's do the L, dots at the phone number, Matters align w/ design...then done.

I suppose some may think the leaf represents "green" or sustainability, while that is true, the turning maple leaf represents much more than that for's Dina and my shared Totem....fall rocks!

NOW....I can be proud of passing out my biz a week!

Thank you Julie and Andrea at are the experts! And willing to tolerate a control freak like me!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Sunshine Printing, Cambridge, MN

Some architects are Posers! Not me!

Too many architects act superior to everyone around them, especially other architects. I want to punch them, but it all comes from a lack of confidence that they either refuse to admit, or are unaware of.

I at least admit that I do not know it all, but am willing to search, dig, beg and borrow to find a solution for my clients. This let's me be real, and REAL gets me projects, and clients that smile long after I have worked with them.

This is a picture of me blogging.....I love the iPad. (with two exceptions...flash and forms that do not allow photo upload)

Looks like I have to paint Dina's toes is art.

I recently toured a few school projects I designed, to photograph. I kept running into my clients!! I could tell you how my projects turned out...but I'll let their smiles and thumbs do the talking:

Here is the community education director, Mary Ellen, happily using the walking track we designed together two years ago!

Here is the lead custodian, in the boiler room, after he walked me around happy with almost everything in "his" new school (440,000 sf school does not permit perfection, but we got as close as possible according to TJ!)

Here is the principal of a different school within the same district, still happy after 4 years in her new school. Lee had great color and huge boulder ideas!

Here is a happy shop teacher...I built a birdhouse in shop class...check the canoes! No thumbs up, but shop teachers are tough! His relatives own the original farmstead that most of the school building brick colors are based on!

Here are his happy students in the spray booth...they don't know me.....but boys with toys, right!?!

A happy teacher is an effective teacher...even science teachers appreciate the intangibles of good design. Notice the interactive white board on the wall behind him. Every morning the entire school gets to WATCH video announcements on these!!!

What really juices me is that almost everyone of them remembered me by name, and wanted to share their "new building" experiences with me.

These pictures were all taken in the same two week period....2-4 years after I helped them design their schools.

Now THAT is something to brag about......the school is BEAUTIFUL, functional, durable for decades, and considerably less expensive to build and operate, than another new HS of similar size built at the exact same time. That too is something I am proud of, intelligent use of our public dollars.......but I am glad every one of these folks can do their job a little better because of these well designed buildings at their disposal. Students are our future.

Call me to help you with your building type.....I have designed almost every type of building....and where I have not, I will call in the experts for you, not PRETEND I know it all, arrogance sucks, rely on the experts.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Cambridge, MN

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Drafter DONE Good!

If you scroll back a little bit (Cosmos out of Chaos) you will see my impossibly messy scribbled field measurements of an apartment. You can imagine how determined the drafter was to get that mess into a useable plan! Quick too. Thanks JON!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunshine Printing...first draft

Some font changes, slight proportion, and texture/color options....not sure about photo on back yet?!?!? Comments Desires!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Pine City, MN

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Business card expert to the rescue.

Spent too many late nights and spare moments thinking and doodling logo and biz card layouts. Finally send stuff to Sunshine Printing in Cambridge. Picked paper, colors, and basic direction doodles to pick from:


Two (Bill, look a photo on back):

Logo and color ideas:

Anxious to see what Julie and her staff do with it!!!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cosmos out of Chaos

Friend of a Friend's Friend.

It all starts with a phone call and a quick YES. Then this happens...can you add a kitchen and a shower to a very small space, and put a floor where the stair was. Sounds simple enough - even fun. look at all the measurements I took at this very unique little soon to be apartment in an old home currently a law firm!:
Background is being drafted over the weekend - then the squishing begins.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cedar Rock Church

The pastor at this church updated his LinkedIn profile, and i noticed the churches website has the addition and renovations I designed in 2008 on the home page!

Timber framed entrance, large wood windows, wood and stone interior, fully accessible site and building, entire envelope (walls and roof) redone, and a much improved circulation path connecting up with down and old with new.

All new (and shiny) site work too. Pastor Eric's office is in the corner....not a shared closet any more.

Location:Coon Rapids MN

Friday, February 25, 2011

A little space planning

Every once and a while I get to work out some architectural solutions a school district. Here are three option for an existing MN high school
needing some adult/community toilets and changing/shower areas accessible off the swimming pool. There are pros and cons with each option....but three viable options are a great starting point for a discussion with the principal and community education director.

Scheme A provides two toilets with changing/showering areas, but sacrifices significant equipment storage from two areas. This was the original wish list, but...

Scheme B leaves one storage area alone, but consumes the other. Only one toilet/shower/changing area, the other is just a showering/changing area.

Scheme C still only has one toilet/shower/changing room, one changing/shower area, but permits both storage areas to keep some of their spaces intact.

Location:Duluth LSDR

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Biz Card Designer

Received a few layouts from the graphic designer, but after 8 hours of doodling options, came up with a new idea. If my iPad ever let's me, I'll share some concepts with you.....arghh. No Flash on iPad stinks, photo uploads will not work!

There, found an app for that. Here is best layout from designer, simple and clean start.

Here is my new concept....comments on both welcome. The red to green will be colors stolen from a fall maple leaf...Dina and my symbol.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Casura Screen Porch and Deck - CONCEPTS

Sometimes the simplest design can be tweaked just a little bit to make something ordinary into something extraordinary. Here are 3 simple deck/screen porch concepts recently forwarded to my clients for review.  The couple selected the option B, because of the little extra's, and the future family stories staged on this design.

  • Him - the drink rail where family and friends can line-up and watch/interact from a distance with all the activities that occur out on the yard below.
  • Her - the couples outlook at the bottom right. Provides an intimate destination and focal point where special things can happen.
  • Both - they got their screen porch sized for flexible furniture and dining table layout. They got their outdoor built-in grill area, close to the patio door into the kitchen.
  • Me - Happy they had just a few minor changes that wil make the design work a little better for how their family will use the spaces. Door and bottom of stair locations shift.  While I had reasons for the placement of these items - a collaborative approach like this - give and take - ensures that the design fits the family long term.

My bill to them for initial meeting, drafting background, initial concepts, 3 detailed concepts - $400.00. 
Remaining work: minor revisions, 1 meeting, minimal permit/construction plans -$300.00.
For a $700.00 up-front investment in planning, This family get's a space that's especially tailored to their needs, home and site. All for less than the material costs of the two screen doors!

Comments welcome, referrals appreciated, projects needed. 
I'll post revised plan and hopefully photos as they build it this summer.

Business card design & Using Experts

I just sent off a package of info and direction to a graphic design "expert" referred to me by a fellow BNI RRR member whose card I liked the best out of all 40 other members. I am practicing what I preach about using an expert for the best, and most efficient, result.

While I have legitimate graphic design training and experience, designing an effective biz card is a unique skill.

Note my lame execution of a biz card that can be used as a scale by my clients at a design meeting. I hope the expert can make this simpler and more effective. More excited to see his own concepts from my design problem statement.

I need to send him a logo now, my old one from 10 years ago is pretty lame too...but cannot afford a pro logo w/ no income! Round two maybe.

USE OF EXPERTS FOR BUILDING: I'll coordinate the best team to accomplish your families' dreams for a new or remodeled home, or reach your business goals with a better or renovated commercial building. I'll bring the right experts to you. I'll review your ideas, goals, dreams, thoughts and discuss all the options to create this new reality with you. We'll set up a realistic scope, budget and concept. We'll hire a Building type Architect/specialist in to design what we cannot together, hire efficient drafters to get just the plans needed for permitting, design/build pricing, or hard bidding. I'll introduce you to a few contractors that fit that particular project, and let them, and your preferred contractor(s) bid apples-to-apples to provide the your desired contractor cannot do every type of project! If needed I'll stay involved during construction to resolve any issues with the city, architect, contractors, sub-contractora, etc. - always to protect your best interests.

My expertise comes from over 17 years as the practical architectural project manager in various MN architect firms. Ifyou let me manage your project I'll protect your interests.....not those of the hired contractor, architect, or drafting firm.

The nice thing about using an expert - is that regardless of whether it's his best or worst work - - I know it'll be better than I can do.  And just like I'll ask you - I rely on my business card expert to correct my thinking where it's faulty.

Here's the TEMP card I threw together and printed on perforated biz-card stock. LAME!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

45second commercial

Wow, it really is difficult to pare down your message to 45 seconds. I talk very fast, and almost got 250 words in. Preparing a written statement really is the way to go, at least for me. I'll upload my first BNI commercial in the next blog post. Now I should schedule some 121's and review potential referrals...and get some sleep!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Joining BNI - Rum River Referrals

OK - so it is the day before joining RRR has been a long one. After going to bed after 1am yesterday due to working on the AIA-Minneapolis Skyway Golf Open, and a long list of other Pella related stuff, I again find myself up until almost 1am.  Time to wrap it up and call it good.
  • Just rehashed this blog for LSF I can add the link to business card
  • Finished laying out cards in MS Publisher - wow, actually worked.
  • Oh...I need a check from Dina too!
  • I still don't know what the heck I'm going to say tomorrow - perhaps I'll just share a story about Kim and Bud's Lake home

 3 LSF Design PROJECT updates:
  1. Three-season porch & deck in Lino Lakes: My structural engineer was out of town for our lunch date today, this project is on hold for another week.
  2. New Hope Community Church: Their 3-year capital campaign is about to go public with my design out on Skogman Lake. A small monkey-wrench was tossed in the mix by my good friend Warren. The wrench seems to fit.
  3. Minneapolis Apartment Building: May pick-up a specification writing gig for a Minneapolis apartment building re-hab in a couple weeks.