Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Larry Lane on the Design Jury at NYC School of Interior Design

The students were given a real building in lower Manhattan and asked to find a medical cause of which that they wanted to provide a designed space as a part of the solution.

The building shown on this blog post is the one that the students had to design within. It is located near Battery Park in the lower part of Manhattan (not too far from ground zero). Some put their creation on the 1st and 2nd floor, other's at the top floors so they could use the roof too.

Some chosen causes included autism, premature birth baby rehab, some sort of dental/skeleton alignment philosophy that has not been introduced into America yet (this one was one of my favorite presentations), cancer recovery, and many others.

During the semester, they visited at least one NYC art museum and came back with knowledge of one or two art pieces that gave them the feelings and/or experiential perception of the place they were about to design. They were learning my office’s design philosophy which is experiential design. (To learn more about how it can help your business increase profits, get a copy of my book at The Designed Office)

Then, they went to real case study sites to know technical data (room sizes and other basic functional requirements) that they used while writing a program for their project.

I was privileged to participate as a design jury member during the mid-term design presentations, so I was able to see the undeveloped designs months ago.

There were several more steps in-between…

Today, as a returning design jury member, I found it be a great treat to see how the student’s thoughts and concepts germinated from just a concept to an inspiration to various levels of design exploration to a well executed designed end result.

We have some great minds about to come out into the real world to help us create better lives!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Architecture's Version of "Twist and Shout"

Have you ever seen a high rise Condo/Commercial building designed to be twisted? By the looks at this article, there are some (quiet) shouting from the Landmark Commission about this design concept. Check out what this is all about at

The Architect's Newspaper

BTW - Be sure to join the "My Designed Home" team by leaving your name and email on the form to the right. I have some great stuff waiting for you to pick up.

Also, visit our new website at My Designed Home team site

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Home Owner Protection Strategies

Click on this link ----->Home Owner Protection Strategies

If you are a home owner, then you really need to hear this important podcast!

Find out in just a few short minutes the right and wrong way to enter a contract with contractors. Click on iTunes icon and "Follow" while at

Click on this link ----->Home Owner Protection Strategies

Find out what your "Living Blueprint" is with the "Experience Architecture Journal."

Did you get your journal yet? If not, go get it now at "The Designed Home website"

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How to Create the Blueprint of Your Life

You may have read an earlier blog post of mine where I described how to design a windowless house. This post is a follow up to that one.

Since the writing of that post, my clients decided that they would compromise and have only a few windows added to their home. You might recall, that the three reasons my clients did not want any windows on three of the four sides are because:

1. They are in the aviation biz and work in all hours of the day and night. So, having no windows would help them control the sunlight that would be getting into their home while they are sleeping between shifts.

2. They collect very rare antique maps and books. Having sun light could cause them to fad and deteriorate faster.

3. This house is being built in the "Hill Country" of Texas. While it is a beautiful place to live, it can get very hot during the summers - especially from the South and Southwest. They wanted to minimize the heat gain from the sun along the walls facing the sun.

Before, I introduced a ribbon of windows that was only for aesthetics and not for viewing through. Now, the house will have real vision windows in strategic locations.

The view towards the east is breath-taking. I designed a sweeping deck that spans the full width of the house so one can go out on it from the ground floor bedrooms and living areas. From the deck, one can watch the rising sun and also see the brilliant rays of the sun paint the sky at the end of the day. There is a lake that is 30 miles away and still in view from this deck.

During yukky weather days, there is a wall of windows that allows my clients to still enjoy this view.

Another major design feature is the introduction of outside design elements to the indoors. Besides the view of the outdoors, I also have a stone wall that penetrates the house from front to back. This wall also serves as the main wall of the kitchen and then of the dining area, and then out to the deck where it anchors itself below the deck onto the rocky cliff that the house is built along. Even the wooden trusses that support the roof over the deck repeat along the ceiling of the great room.

There are many adjectives that played an important part of the design of this house. Some were:

"Soaring, Freedom, Uplifting, Security, Well-Grounded, Anchored, Certainty, Strength."

These adjectives are a big part of the "Living Blueprint" that my clients enjoy in their day to day lives.

What is your "Living Blueprint?"

If we were designing a house for you and your family, what adjectives would describe the feelings and emotions you and your family would want to enjoy? This is one of the 7 simple steps that you will learn about after grabbing your free e-book, "Experience Architecture Journal". Just go to this website and get your right now at "The Designed Home website"

Here are some quick design sketches that allowed us to develop a home that would fulfill my client's "Living Blueprint."

Once the concrete slab is poured, the walls are framed a lightening speed!

Find out what your "Living Blueprint" is with the "Experience Architecture Journal."

Did you get your journal yet? If not, go get it now at "The Designed Home website"

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How You are Throwing Away Money by Designing Your Own Home

In these times of recession, we are always trying to find ways to cut costs. If we can do it ourselves, we will. Companies are downsizing because they find that they can maintain an acceptable profit margin with fewer employees. Homeowners are finding that they would rather clean their own home instead of hire someone else to do their dishes.

There are all sorts of cheap software at various office supply stores that help home owners to draw their own house plans and to select their own finishes and furniture. Other home owners are finding that they would rather save the extra 21% surcharge that they would normally have to pay to a contractor by doing the construction management themselves.

Does this work?

According to several home owners that have come to me in the recent months, they are finding that it cost them a lot more money and time to design, draw, detail, and build their own homes.

Just recently, a couple was telling me that they will NEVER design and manage the construction themselves again. They have a historic colonial home that they are now thinking about doing more renovation/remodeling work. They said it took them a lot more time to get the home rebuilt, a lot more money to get it done right, and they still have kitchen cabinets that don’t align.

Here’s five ways how you are throwing good money after bad by doing this work instead of hiring an architect to do it for you:

1. There is a sequence of events that, if followed, make the entire design and construction processes much easier. You can buy all of the books that you can find with checklists and suggestions, but until you find someone to work with you that does this every day, you will waste a lot of time and money. You will probably miss some important things along the way that would be much easier to fix if it was done in the correct order.

2. The resources of experts available can offer their services that can help you select and install finishes, furniture, and equipment that can be bought at a savings and can show you a return on your investment. An example of such an expert would be an architect familiar with designing your home to orient correctly for the best solar gain/protection and while installing panels that can help you spin the dial on the electric meter backwards.

3. Cost of books and time spent at home improvement seminars can add up. How much is your time worth to you? A couple of pennies per hour? $100 per hour? $1000 per hour? Hopefully one of the latter. Get the information from specialists, like architects, who will provide it with proven results for a fraction of the cost of you starting from scratch.

4. If you do the construction administration yourself, you are liable to pay the contractor more than if you had an architect observing the construction process. The architect can review the contractor’s bills and compare it to the real progress that was discovered at the job site. Don’t let your money dry up before the home is built.

5. Repair costs can eat you up if the home is not built with the proper materials. Although architects do not regulate the means and methods that the contractor uses to build the designed home, the architect can certainly red flag any poor construction practices and have it rebuilt properly before you pay the contractor.

It might cost you over $20,000 to hire an architect to design and to stay with the project through construction, but you will save a lot more than his/her fee if you do it yourself. Otherwise, you will be jumping over the dollars to save a dime.

BONUS: If you are really serious about building your home the right way, then you need to download our home owner's special edition podcast by clicking on the iTunes icon. First, click on the phrase below...
"Best home owner's podcast in the world!"

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Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Restore Storefronts

What are some ways that store owners can restore their storefronts to increase sales in their stores?

Are there guidelines to follow in historic districts?

What do the building codes and zoning laws say about restoring storefronts?

All of these questions and many more practical and valuable information will be shared during my talk at the Main Street Forum this coming Monday, November 8, 2010. Come a day earlier and be a part of the New York Preservation Forum that kicks off at 8 am, Sunday, November 7, 2010 and finishes off with a dinner, movie, and an art show that night.

The fall foliage is beautiful in those parts of upstate New York. While there, drive up to the famous Woodstock concert site and see how that area has been developed into an awesome place that houses on-going top-rated performers.

Just listen to this short 15 minute podcast and find out more details about this event, including how you can grab a FREE and must read checklist that everyone needs to read before they plan their next business move. The title of this podcast is "Save on Your Light Bill and Touring Independence Hall." Be sure to click on the iTunes icon while at the link so you can listen to it at your most convenient time at work or at play. Here is the link... Click Here For the Best Money Saving Architecture Show in the World

To get your ticket to this year's Main Street Forum event, you can go to or just click on Give me my Main Street Forum Ticket NOW! - (please)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to Reduce Glare from Patio Doors

There are so many houses with a sliding door that goes out from an informal dining room to an outside patio. Several of my family members have this in their house and chances are you know someone that has this in their house too. Perhaps you have this in your house.

Have you ever noticed that glass doors can turn into black mirrors at night? Imagine looking at a sliding door in your dining room. This sliding door is mostly glass and allows a great view to a beautifully landscaped backyard during the day. But at night time, the glass reflects light at the top of this glass door from the hanging chandelier over the dining table causing an unpleasant glare.

What can be done to remove this unsightly reflection at night?

An easy way to counteract this visual clutter is to add a tall plant outside of the glass door and illuminate it with up-lights from underneath. The new brightness of the vertical object outside will act as an interesting distraction from the glare of the chandelier. It will also give you something interesting to see outside during the night.

Try this simple design trick and let me know how you like the results. You can email me at Did you use a plant, a piece of sculpture, or something else as the vertical outside object? Did you use a white light or did you try this with a color light?

Have you picked up your e-book titled, “Experience Architecture Journal?” It shares how you can have an extraordinary home in just 7 simple steps. Go to this link to download you FREE copy of the E-Book at... "Click Here For a FREE Home Design E-Book!"

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Friday, October 29, 2010

The art of living in small spaces

After the miners were freed from the Chilean mine and after recently reading about how the Russians are studying people's reactions from being confined in tight spaces for a long period of time so they can better plan for a one way manned trip to Mars, I have been self-prodded to learning more about how people live and work in small spaces.

The miners in Chile would be a good resource because of their first hand experiences. We can also learn a lot from the space programs/tests conducted around the world.

To my delight, I found an interesting article written by a lady named Claire Wolfe who lives in a very small home. She says that living well in small spaces has four parts:

1. Coping
2. Building
3. Gadgeting
4. Decorating

Just click on the link below to read her interesting article and to find out how to design a small home using these four parts at

The art of living in small spaces by Claire Wolfe 92

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Monday, October 25, 2010

THE CRISIS ON MAIN STREET: How Washington Continues to Ignore Small Busi...

Too often we just stay on the side lines and don't vote for many reasons. Maybe you don't like any of the candidates. Or there is always something that comes up that could make it inconvenient to get the polls.

This video is a simple but powerful way to better understand why your vote is so important. Take an look and see for yourself.

The person talking in the video is my friend, Chris Hurn. He was my special guest on my podcast a few times. After watching his very well done video, find out the secrets that the banks don't want you to know.
Just click here at "The Best Architecture Show Ever" and download the podcast onto iTunes by clicking on the iTunes icon while at that website.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Future of 3D

This tool would be a great thing for you to have. Wouldn't it be great to view your home by virtually walking around it before having to commit to the cost and time of construction?

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Play Guess the Architect Game #1

Get the tools that you need by clicking on "Give me the tools to turn my office into a marketing machine"

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In-Depth Look - Renewable Energy Companies - Bloomberg

How is your business doing during this recession? Do you need a bail out from Obama? While your are waiting for that Fed check to come in the mail, here are somethings that you can do.

Did you know that there are ways that you can build your business with the office space that you already have? In fact, you can turn it into a marketing tool. Here's how...

Get the tools that you need by clicking on "Give me the tools to turn my office into a marketing machine"

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Friday, September 24, 2010

What are the Two Types of Energy Codes?

The construction industry is starting to introduce and enforce more energy codes that architects, engineers, manufacturers of building products, lighting designers, and others to follow. The energy codes affect how we build homes and our commercial buildings.

There are two types of energy codes. One is “Prescriptive” and the other if “Performance.”

What is a Prescriptive Code?

Prescriptive codes are the ones that tell you exactly what you can or cannot use in certain parts of the building. When you have a cold and you go to the doctor, the doctor prescribes a pill for you to take to give your body at least the minimum level of chemicals that will make your fever go down, your head and throat aches to go away, and whatever else the pill is supposed to do for you. This is similar how the people who wrote, adopted, and are enforcing the energy codes (like the doctor) are prescribing the minimum levels of “R values in the walls and windows (an “R value” is a measure of thermal resistance. The higher the "R-value" the lesser amount of heat will be allowed through itself), lights with certain “watt per square foot” values and so on.

The prescriptive codes are being used in a growing number of states throughout America. Your designer should find out if they are supposed to comply with any of them. The Department of Energy created free software that anyone can download that will prescribe what energy saving properties must be in homes.

For residential construction, they created "ResCheck"

For commercial construction, they created "ComCheck".

Since every state has their own weather patterns, there are different prescriptions for each state. So, download the software for the state that applies to your project. These codes affect the remodeling of an existing space, addition to a building, and new construction.

In 2012, the Department of Energy will make their prescriptions even stricter. They intend to include the energy that plugged in appliances give out to the space and other things. This will give us new incentives to keep the owner’s manuals of all our electrical gadgets.

What is a Performance Code?

Performance codes give the expected outcome of an overall design of a space or building but do not prescribe exactly what values the walls, ceilings, roofs, floors, and window need to have. Its kinda like if you went to a Naturopathic Doctor when you have a cold and they recommend that you purchase certain salts, herbal teas, powders, candles that are suppose to perform different healing miracles that has not necessarily been tested in the laboratory and documented to match exactly what you will purchase and use.

Performance codes give the designer a lot more room for creativity. But, it can be a lot more expensive because newly designed building systems will need to be built and tested in laboratories to obtain some energy value. Then, after the building systems meets the performance codes, they might be audited again after the real building is put together to see if it maintains it performance codes parameters with people and equipment working and living in them. If they do not comply, then the owners might be required to spend more time and money to remedy the deficiencies.

Due to time and money restraints, we will find that most buildings will be designed while using the Prescriptive codes instead of the Performance codes.

We will discuss who are writing these codes (what gives them the authority), if they are being adopted by all states and communities, and if the codes are being interpreted and enforced equally in all areas of the country during this coming podcast on Monday, Sept 27th, 2010 at 5:30 pm EST. Can't join us at that time? No problem. Just click here at "The Best Architecture Show Ever" and download the podcast onto iTunes by clicking on the iTunes icon while at that website.

Check out our discussion of LEED certification (prescription code) results on lighting and HVAC in my book "The Designed Office"

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pulling Back the Curtains

What a pleasure to meet and visit with some people that share something in common with me last night!

OK, let me back up and explain who these people are. In order to do so, I have to open the curtain a little bit so you can grab a small glimpse as to why I do the things that I do….

There is a brilliant individual and corporate coach that teaches how you can achieve things that may seem impossible or out of your reach. Her name is Dr. Sharon Melnick.

The gathering last night was made up of a small, handpicked group of people who share in common a fulfilling experience of learning her methods in her classes, through her monthly workshops, teleconferences, and her web site.
"Click Here to check out what Dr. Melnick has for you"

One thing that was great about this mixer of like minded people is that we were able to share how we have applied what we learned while in her classes. Everyone had their own inspiring story to tell.

One common theme that has always been said about her methods is that it helps people remove their own self- doubts and other self imposed barriers that prevent most of us from achieving what we are all truly capable of achieving. In a sense, Sharon helps us learn how to “Get out of our own way.”

I shared with the group last night that what I got out of her classes was receiving the affirmation that I really don't need other's affirmation to pursue my dreams and goals. Conflicting statement, I know. Let me explain...

Her methods gave me a way to break open the vault, open new opportunities, and share unique services that are not normally provided by other architects. Therefore, we are not just another architectural firm, we are the “go-to” for our clients in order to empower their lives.

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
- Margaret Mead

Being a "me - too" person only makes one a commodity and gives us very little value to offer that is more beneficial to our clients than the next guy. Unfortunately, the only thing that allows the "me - too" people to stand out from their competition is their discounted prices. You get what you pay for.

While they are cutting their prices, we have been building resources for our clients that can be used to enrich their lives – both at work and at play.

For the folks who what to find and/or renovate their home, we have developed a personal journal that anyone can download for free. “The Experience Architecture Journal” gives people seven simple but important steps to follow to create an extraordinary home. It is free and can be downloaded as an e-book by clicking on the image with the yellow house at the right column of this blog.

For our corporate clients, having an edge over their competition is ever more important now during these challenging economic times. My book, “The Designed Office,” shares 35 profit power points that show how their office can be transformed into a marketing tool. Take a peek at the book by clicking on the book image on the right column of this blog. Be sure to grab the dozen free gifts there. It is also sold at and

Another value that I have developed for my clients is my podcast. During this weekly 15 to 30 minute live web based radio show, I share new ideas that people can use in their everyday life. At the time of writing this post, I have over 11,000 listeners. All of the content in the show has something to do with architecture. You can download the shows through iTunes for FREE and listen to it at your leisure at Be sure to click on the iTunes icon while there. Go to this link to download the podcast to listen at your leisure... "Click Here for the Podcast"

The list goes on and on. Youtube TV show at, this blog, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn,… you should find me almost anywhere. Feel free to click on the links on the right column of this blog.

If you have something that you would like to share with my audience and clients, contact me at to help them get out of their own way.”

You can see that there is no “wizard” behind those curtains who is pulling levers and watching dials, but me and my associates working to build more value that you can use in your everyday lives.

We do not only pour out all of this over the top information to the special people as yourself who are wise enough to use it, we use it too. And from the testimonials that we have received from our clients, they appear to be glad that we do.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

How an Architect can increase your Profits

I have finally released my DVD of me sharing some hidden secrets as to how your store or restaurant can profit more than your competition during this recession.

The video on this blog post is only the tip to the iceberg. In fact, it is hardly a quarter of the entire presentation that I have waiting for you to view. The DVD will dig much deeper with a lot more graphics, examples, and stories that actually will give you a "Kit-o-Parts" chock full of important tools needed to give your company the edge that will help you leave your competitors in the dust.

Here's just a few things that you will learn in the DVD:
* What historical events shaped the design of the profit generating storefront?
* How has technology affected the design of the profit generating storefront?
* What are some examples that successfully created an memorable experience for customers to remember and want to come back to your store (instead of your competitors) again and again?
* How does the need to design around handicapped accessibility affect the design of a profit generating storefront?
* How do the zoning laws affect the design of the profit generating storefront?
* What to look for when you are building a storefront in a landmarked district?

This and so much more are shared in detail. You can apply these precious and guarded principles to your own store or restaurant.

All of these points are shared in a FUN way by comparing designing a successful storefront with playing a game of Monopoly. How's that? Watch the DVD, you will enjoy it.

How much would a behind the scenes, information packed, DVD would be worth to your company if can help you get even the slightest edge in this recession over your competition? My clients have actually said, "...our business has increase since designing our storefront" with principles shared in this precious DVD. That is worth tens of thousands of dollars!

This DVD is just a small investment that can actually lead your company to realize tens of thousands of dollars EXTRA income this year. When you see your own storefront, you will be able to compare it with other successfule storefronts. How does your storefront compare. Here is an done-for-you way to find out. Now is the time to make whatever changes you find that need to be done and stand out over the rest. Here is a simple way to to that....

Get your own copy of the DVD, "Secrets of Successful Storefronts" for only $97.

Satisfaction guaranteed or your full money back if you find that this has absolutely nothing of value to a store or restaurant's business. Just return it within 60 days of purchase. Offer expires after November 1, 2010. So get your today by mailing a request or calling us at 212-594-2007.

Oh, by the way, that is me on the far left wearing that yellow Mexican style shirt in the wooden sign shop.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

How to Design a Windowless House

Currently, I have several residential projects on the board.

One of them is for a site in the Hill Country of Texas, just northwest of San Antonio. The clients are a man and wife. The husband is an airline pilot and the wife is a flight attendant. So, there are several occasions that they come home after flying around the world and need to sleep during the day. Because of this and because they do not trust the insulation values of the modern day glass, they do not want any windows except along the southwest side of the house. BTW, that is direction from which most of the heat gain comes.

I have been able to design a floor plan that they love. It was not too hard to do because they already had it pretty much envisioned before they hired me to draw it up. The challenge has been to create an attractive exterior design without windows.

Since they are into flight and are building this house over a cliff that allows for a beautiful panoramic view of their 10 acres and beyond, I have designed a series of facades that actually "lift" the roof off of the base. My clients want their exterior to be of local stone, stucco, light colored metal roof, and cactus landscaping. So, I introduced a ribbon of glass (not vision windows, more like applied opaque glass tiles) along the eaves of the house. It produces somewhat of an American Indian motif along the side elevations where the glass travels diagonally along the slope of the roof. If you were to walk anywhere on their property, it is very likely that you will find American Indian artifacts such as arrow heads and pottery pieces. So having this motif is a fun design feature on the house. The brown horizontal band also breaks up the massing while connects the front to the back balconies and deck.

The front right wall is still too bulky and I am playing with adding a window or two on it to break it up a bit. I have their permission to add this one window onto the front.

Although we use the computer to draw up the construction drawings, I hand sketch design drawings so I can get a better feel of the scale, materials, and textures. Later, we might render this with a computer to make it more life-like. Here are the four elevations before putting this new window on the front right wall.

This is the front elevation.

This is one of the side elevatons.

This is the rear elevation. The windows look out at an awesome view.

Here is the elevation of the other side. The black railing leads to a trail that leads to a fire pit beyond on the property.

I will keep you posted on the progress of this project. Your comments below would be very welcomed. Let me know what you think about the design.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jersey Shore and Dream Houses

Join me at the Jersey Shore without leaving your computer on or after August 9th, 5:30 pm EST. I will be searching Snooki and her gang at the Jersey Shore while sharing how you can have the home of your dreams in just 7 Simple Steps.

Go to this link to download the podcast to listen at your leisure... "Click Here For a Podcast at no cost to you!"

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sustainable Home Design

You might have heard me on our weekly podcast talk about a current project that I am working on. If not, you are missing out on a priceless resource that can improve your lifestyle and your business. Go to this link to download the podcast to listen at your leisure... "Click Here For a FREE Podcast!" Be sure to click on the ituns icon while at the podcast site!

This home is an energy conscience sustainable home to be built on a 10 acre lot on a side of a 50 foot cliff in the Hill Country of Texas.

Some of the design requirements for this home is:
* It will be built with passive solar energy design systems.
* It might have solar panels and an active solar design system.
* It is not be be over-powering on the site but have a presence.
* It needs to be handicapped accessible on the first floor.
* It will have a grey water retention system. This water will be used to irrigate the nearby landscape.
* It will have a wine "cave" adjacent to the house.
* It might have wind turbines.
* Design around the existing stables to remain on the site.

We are now in the design development phase. Here are two of the many, many design sketches that have been created so far:

Here is how the back of the house can have a sweeping and partially covered terrace that looks towards an awesome panoramic scene of the beautiful rising and setting Texas sun. Not to mention the fantastic natural landscape!

This sketch shows how anticipation can build from a small scale space at the front entrance and tease the visitor with anitcipation of a much larger space beyond.

Kick off your shoes, plop down on the cushy couch, click the flat screen remote control to "on" and enjoy the warmth of the fire in the native stone fireplace that soars up through the pitched ceiling with exposed wooden beams. Just behind you is the panoramic view of the Texas Hill Country that you can admire through the 8 foot tall glazed wooden folding paneled doors.

After the design development phase is complete, we will begin the construction document phase, then the bidding/negotiating phase, and then see it built during the construction administration phase.

Here is a way to better understand what all of these "phases" mean...

Creat a home that creates experiences that match your wildest dreams. You can start planning your new home or renovation by downloading our FREE E-book titled, "Experience Architecture Journal." It will share how you can have the home of your dreams in 7 Simple Steps.

Go to this link to download you FREE copy of the E-Book at... "Click Here For a FREE Home Design E-Book!"

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Monday, July 26, 2010

How to Customize Your Own Art

Meet today's podcast guest, Don Rattner. He is an architect like me and has been creating ways for you and I to customize our own artwork for our home and office. Check out the short video to hear more about it.

Go to this link to download the podcast to listen at your leisure... "Click Here For a FREE Podcast!"

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Yikes! Mold in your basement! What do you do?

Maybe it is the same in your area; we have had a lot of rain during the last few days in the NYC area. The rain has made the air really humid in-between the times when the downpours come. During this season, you need to be aware of any mold that might be growing around your home and office.

Here is a photo of one of the areas where they found a patch that looks like black mold.

It seems to be caused by water that was allowed to enter the basement through a poorly sealed air intake grille. Here is a photo of the grille. Notice the bead of sealant that is uneven and clumped up in some areas. If you were there, you would be able to see daylight shining through gaps from the inside of the basement at this joint.

First things first: Remember, you must have the source of the moisture removed before you attach the mold – or it will just come back again. No remediation of mold is final. Mold can always find its way back to the area remediated.

The photos above are from a property that a client wanted us to see. Once we shared with our client some methods that work well at keeping moisture out of the basement and what construction materials can be used that are not proned to accept mold, we also let them know a little about mold. Since Lane Architecture + Design is not an office with any experts in mold, we obtained a lot of the information that you will see can be found almost word for word in an excellent book by a mold expert, Michael Pugliese, The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold, (Reed Construction Data, Inc., Construction Publishers & Consultants, 63 Smiths Lane, Kingston, MA 02364-0880, (781) 422-5000, Copyright 2006). Michael is also a mold remediation contractor…

Although mold can be very dangerous to our health, know the facts about mold so you don't get snookered by some of the mold remediation contractors who are not very honest. They will try to scare you into hiring them at any cost.

Here is some basic facts about mold and how it spreads:

Mold spores need a few things to grow:
• Moisture – a relative humidity of roughly 50% or higher. Some people use hygrometers in their homes to keep track of the humidity.
• Food – material it can grow on, such as wood and wood products, paper, cotton, and leather. Mold will grow on anything where there is moisture and food, such as dirt or dust.
• The right temperature – above freezing and below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer-like temperatures, between 70 - 90 degrees, are especially conducive to mold growth. Freezing does not kill mold spores; it just makes them go dormant until temperatures warm up again.

Does bleach get rid of the mold?
Certain types of mold are chlorine-resistant. People apply bleach, but the mold comes right back. In fact, it never went away. Some mold remeditators use ammonia based cleaners. Ammonia and bleach combined can cause toxic fumes and should especially be avoided if you are planning to have an expert help you get rid of it.

Here are some great questions that Michael Pugliese recommends you to ask mold remediation contractors before hiring any:

• Are you mold-certified?
• What organization provided your certification?
• Are the individuals who will actually perform the work certified?
• How long have you been in business?
• Can you provide me with at least three references?
• May I have copies of your liability and Worker’s Compensation insurance?
• Do you clean HVAC systems and air ducts?
• What methods do you use to keep mold spores from spreading?

I hope you are having a great summer and staying dry.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Freedom Is Not Free

Hope you are having a wonderful 4th of July.

Take pause for a moment and watch this video by a mentor of mine, Mr. Ron Legrand. (His name sounds alot like "Legare'" doesn't it?).

Ron shares a story about the sacrifices that the signers of the Declaration of Independence had to risk and endure.

It will help you appreciate today even more!

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Bamboo Living Homes

This short video shows how efficient bamboo is as a building product.

Would you like to live in any of the homes in this video?

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Office Furniture Ideas

In case you were not able to attend the NeoCon convention this year, let me share with you some of the things that I saw there.

"Haworth" had an outstanding showroom filled with awesome furniture that can be used in offices and classrooms.

Knoll’s and Herman Miller’s showrooms were a good place to visit too. Some of the things that I saw in their showroom and in some of their “me too” competitors included:

• Ergonomically designed chairs. They had lines that were designed with various uses in mind. There were conference room chairs and desk chairs that looked enough alike but different enough to serve unique spacial needs.

• White boards were common too. Some showrooms showed entire walls finished with glossy white laminate surfaces that allowed the officer user to mark upon them with erasable color markers. Another variation of this was a special glossy white paint that can be applied to gypsum board walls that allow for erasable color markers to be used on them.

• Haworth has a good raised floor system that allows for almost any finished panel to be placed in tile like fashion. The finish of these panels could be terrazzo, VCT, stone, wood, or anything else you might want to step on. Raised floor systems allow the office to be wired and ducted below the walking surface. This allows the users to have easier access to the electrical, data, and HVAC systems in case these systems need to be altered during a future renovation of the office.

• There were several wall systems out there too. Every showroom had a slight variation of their design at the corners, base boards, and the way they butt the glass at joints. Some looked better than others. Haworth had one of the better designs.

• Of course, there were some gratuitous “green” designs. One showroom had polished river rocks in some kind of resin flooring system with log type benches and lime green upholstery. It was so “in your face” green that it just looked just manipulative towards anyone they hoped were overzealous about being environmentally conscience. I looked for photos of a particularly annoying showroom that had so much fake green stuff in it, it should have been in a Disney set, but I guess even that vendor was too embarrassed to broadcast photos to everyone.

There were a lot of other things that were there to see and I would be happy to talk with you further to even compare notes about what you might have seen there. Feel free to leave a comment below, email me at or call me at 212-594-2007 to catch up.


P.S. Haworth flew me up there to join them at NeoCon and to see their factory in Michigan. Thank you, Haworth for giving me such the red carpet treatment.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Give Your Dad This for Father's Day!

"Click Here to Get the Best Father's Day Present Ever"

Don't forget that this Sunday is Father's Day. What are going to give that person who mentored you?

Here is a great idea, give him a package of Kennedy's All-American shaving products. They have been developed over 9 months of trials by my friend, Chris Hurn.

This is my buddy, Chris Hurn.

You may remember Chris from my last two podcast shows. He is the guy that has been spilling the beans about how to buy commercial real estate even in the recession. Chris used his own commercial loan product and bought a chain of barber shops and renamed it Kennedy's All-American Barber Club.

Go to this link to download the podcast to listen at your leisure... "Click Here to Hear More"

Some people say that the barber shop was named after the famous business and motivational speaker/author, Dan Kennedy. The concept of the club is a lot more involved than what I can explain here, but listen to this Monday's radio show to learn more after you given your dad the Kennedy's awesome shaving products.

During the upcoming radio show, will hear how Chris trashed up his own bathroom while developing this new set of shaving products to the point that his wife was about to kick him out of the house. Don't miss hearing more about it during the upcoming radio show on Monday, June 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm EST.

Here is the link to the list of podcasts that you can just click on the itunes icon to listen at your leisure as a podcast "Click Here to Hear Our Radio Show about Kennedy's Barber Club"

Read more about what I have to say about this great way to start your day and buy your dad the best gift you can ever find at

"Click Here to Get the Best Father's Day Present Ever"

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

David Byrne: How architecture helped music evolve

I have always been a fan of David Byrne because he has consistantly hit a nerve inside of me. From studying (architecture, I think) at the Rhode Island School of Design, writing and filming a spoof about living in my home republic of Texas, and to his experiencial use of spaces to create music, David has demonstrated that he really is a creative artist that likes to push the envelope.

Take a look at how he explains how architecture shapes music and then let me know what you think. Have you noticed that the music you hear is affected by where it is performed?

On a side note, I will be attending the NeoCon convention this week. If you are going there too, give me a call at 212-594-2007 so we can meet and greet while there.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

The Best Kept Secret in Commercial Real Estate

I was able to convince Chris Hurn, an expert at commercial real estate loans and frequent expert guest on FOX business news TV shows, to join me as a guest on my radio show today. The title of the show is "The Best Kept Secret in Commercial Real Estate."

Chris will expose how simple it can be to find money, especially during these recession times, to buy commercial real estate. Imagine, owning your own office building for your company or owning your own investment property like a shopping center. Here's how you can do it....

The radio show is a web based show that will be aired at 5:30 pm EST today.

Go to this link to download the podcast to listen at your leisure... "Click Here to Hear More"

If you miss the airing time, no problem, go there anytime and click on the "Fav" heart button, "Share" it with your friends, "RSS" it to have a reminder sent to you of future shows, and (best of all) click on the "itunes" icon to download it as a podcast so you can listen to the show and future shows while driving to work and play. All of these icons are found in a blue box at the center of the screen.

Let me know of your thoughts about the show and please share it with your friends.

Talk to you soon,

Larry Lane

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

What Does Tiger Woods and My Birthday Have in Common?

Yesterday was my birthday.

A few days before, my younger son was so impatient for me to open my present from him and his older brother that he just had to give me some clues. “What is one thing that you talk about that you really like,” he asked me.

“You and your brother,” I answered without taking a second to think about his question.

“No, I know that, but besides that, what else?...This present was MY idea. You are going to LOVE it!”

Well the pressure was on. I better show that I love it or I will disappointing someone that really put some thought into this year’s birthday of mine.

The present is a ticket for him, my older son, and me to attend the ATT National PGA Golf Tourney that is sponsored by Tiger Woods.

I am excited! What a gift!

The tournament is June 29-July 4. It is donating funds to the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia, and the Tiger Woods Foundation. It also offers the winner to receive a $1.116 million first-place check.

I will keep you posted about some of the sites that I see there. In fact, wouldn’t that be a good place to have a podcast field trip?

For all of you golf enthusiasts, send me a note about what I should look out for while attending this event. How easy will it be to get up close to some of the great pro golfers of our time?

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Monday, May 31, 2010

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

BBQ? Parades? Beach trip? Fireworks?

Yes, those are fun images of the day, but my uncle, Richard, comes to my mind on Memorial Day.

As a young boy, Richard Laxson was the apple of his parent’s eyes. And to everyone that met him. His brother and sister looked up to him. He had that natural leadership set of character traits that others wish they had. It was like he had wings of an eagle.

I remember meeting him when I was very young. We were at a family gathering at my grandparent’s lake cabin. Even though I was so young that the details of that time are blurry, I do remember the magic and electricity in the room when Richard was in the present. It was like he had wings of an eagle.

Richard played the guitar. He sang. His command presence brought people together to join in the fun that he created. It was like he had wings of an eagle.

My uncle was very athletic. Fast, I have been told that he could run like he had wings of an eagle.

In the 1960’s, Richard was brought into the Vietnam War. Because of his gift of being able to run fast, his commanding officer often choose him to be the runner when there was a need to “draw fire” from the enemy. He did that well because it was like he had wings of an eagle.

Richard was a strong Christian. He would play his guitar and share his faith while bringing members of his unit to Christ. It was like his wings of an eagle were being transformed by angels.

But one day on patrol with his unit, Richard heard the unmistakable click of a land mind that he had stepped upon. Richard stood still on it until his buddies were able to clear away from him. His wings are now certainly among the angels.

The hole in the hearts of his parents and siblings never filled. His brother married my dad’s sister and named their only son after Richard. So, a legacy still lives with his name sake. Still, I think that that the loss of him affected the way they lived the rest of their lives.

What a sacrifice for our freedom.

Please don’t take your freedom for granted.

I have two boys myself. They are the most important part of my life. I was young enough to be able to distant myself from the heart tearing loss of Richard. Perish the thought of the same with my boys. That is a sacrifice that would be absolutely unbearable.

If you are a parent, you know exactly what I mean. If you are a parent who lost a son, daughter, or any loved one, please accept my deepest and respectful regrets.

This loss happens every day by other parents whose boy or girl does not return from combat. They deserve more praise, support, and gratitude beyond anything we would ever be able to offer.

Please leave me a note about your feelings of Memorial Day below.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My mentor, I.M. Pei

I.M. Pei is one of the most important architects that shaped my career. He was my boss and my mentor for 6 years before I started my own firm, Lane Architecture + Design, P.C.

I am excited to have the opportunity to share this documentary with you. At the time of this posting, I have not yet viewed it yet either. But, since finding it available, I wanted to waste no time getting out and available to you.

Just click on this hyperlink to have access to the documentary about I.M. Pei and his design of the Suzhou Museum

Hope you enjoy seeing the passion that he has in architecture and for people. He is a true gentleman.

Let me know what you think about his approach to architecture after checking out this clip.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks

I first watched this presentation because I thought I would learn new insights about social media networking and better ways to share my passion of architecture with readers such as you. But, instead, the person in this video, Mr. Nicholas Christakis, has shared his scientific findings about how people interact with one another.

He brings up some very interesting points that can easily bridge over to the architectural design philosophy that you have been hearing me touch on that is "Experiential Architecture."

In his talk, you will hear him speak about social networks are "living things." Similarly, I would suggest that social networks are living spaces as well. In that, we are directly affected by how we interact with one another by the past and present experiences that we have and how we choose to perceive those experiences. The arena that one experiences these life emotions is "Experiential Architecture."

He makes it clear that it is important to better understand human emotions. That is, in my view, because it is our emotions that affect our behaviours and our perceptions of space.

It is interesting that he points out that even though the occupants of space (my paraphrase) may change, the social network (and the space within the network's experiences) continues to exist as a continuous being.

Some of the experiences that social networks have is due to collective emotions as opposed to individual existence. In other words, even though you may enter into a space with one type of emotion, the space and the social network using that space may affect the way you feel that may be contrary to the way you came into the space.

Finally, the actual structure/architecture of the ties between the social networks, he said, determines the relationships of the members within that space.

This may be a little "heady," but whether you are aware of it or not, architecture - as is social networks - affect how we live and behave.

This is something that will deserve more discussion. Let me know of your opinions about how architecture has shaped your life below in the comment area.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Who was George W. Snow?

There are a lot of unsung heroes in the construction industry. George W. Snow is one of them.

Click here Who Was George W. Snow? to listen to a brief and interesting story about this man who shaped your life.

Larry Lane, of Lane Architecture + Design, shares a story about this interesting man, George W. Snow, who was an adventurous and enterprising man. Mr. Snow owned a lot of real estate. He was a realtor, surveyor, general contractor, financier, and the inventor of a construction method that we see almost every day.

Feel free to subscribe the the radio show so you can download more interesting podcasts through itunes at Who Was George W. Snow?

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ayn Rand Mike Wallace Interview 1959 part 3

Ann Rand is the author of the famous novel about architecture, "The Fountainhead." Shen was also the writer of the novel that illustrates very current issues of socialism in a book called "Atlas Shrugged." Both of these books are Must Reads!

Here is a very interesting video of a liberal newsman, Mike Wallace, challenging her in a interview back in 1959. Check it out, it is very interesting.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

How Has Architecture Shaped Your Life?

This week, the president of the American Institute of Architects proclaimed that it is "Architecture Week." With that announcement, George Miller asked, "How has architecture shaped our lives?" Check out this video of people on the street answering this question...

Share your stories with me on this blog. I really want to hear about it! This is one one of the four videos of people that answered this question.

Go to this link to see what others have said... "Click Here to See More"

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Making Money on a Rainy Day

Today, on my weekly radio show, we explore ways to save water while finding ways to cash in on tax rebates and protecting your property from a flood. Flooding can be prevented with proper drainage.

There are ways to control water damage. We need to work around the natural water cycle while collecting pond water, storm water, and ground water that can easily be lost through the sewer if not collected and redistributed intellegently. This show shares some great ideas to be proactive about rain water retention while being a conservative as possible.

If you miss the show live at 5:30 pm EST on Monday, March 15, 2010, no problem. You can always download it on your ipod as a podcast from

"Click Here to Make Money on Rainy Days"

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Will Haiti or Chile Type of Earthquakes Happen in US?

What is the probability that one of the four corners of USA lower 48 falling off into the ocean?

“Devastating” is a word that is pale to the reality of the horror that Haiti and Chile continues to suffer after their recent major earthquakes.

We have seen families torn apart, local businesses and government coming to a standstill, and charitable groups and church missionaries beating even our own government at being the first at the scene of the calamities - especially in Haiti. We have also found evidences in both Haiti and Chile of how buildings should not be built in areas that are prone to have major earthquakes.

Go to my Vlog to see a very good demonstration about how we can build building to withstand earthquakes at Video of Earthquake Proof Buildings

It is not a surprise to find that the west coast of USA is more prone to have earthquakes than the other states in the continuous 48 states. Here is a map that shows how the Tectonic plate in the Pacific Ocean has a large encompassing rim of earthquakes that have happened in just the last day or week. Notice the red dot in Chile. That is the one that just happened this week.

Here is the map that shows the probability of NYC having a 5.0 scale earthquake or higher in the next 50 years. It shows that we have a slim chance, but it is not very likely. So, corporations may continue to move out of NJ and NY because of the high cost of living and the unfriendly tax burden, but the threat of earthquakes will not be much of a consideration for people who might otherwise choose to move out of the state.

Fort Myers, Florida is also does not need to worry about earthquakes affecting their security.

On the other hand, Seattle, Washington seems to be in a high risk area for earthquakes expected to occur in the next 50 years. The colorful map is showing the highly increased probablity of earthquake activity.

And, it is no surprise that Los Angeles, California is also in a high risk area. Here is the map of the City of Angles area that shows a high probability of 5.0 scale or higher earthquakes in the next 50 years. Here, the map has a lot more colors. Hence, more earthquakes.

What is the likelihood that Hawaii and Alaska to suffer an earthquake? Well, it looks like they already had several in the last week. Perhaps, these were not as big a scale 5, but they are in the path of the shifting Pacific plates.

So, for me, I think that I might keep vacationing in Ft. Myers, Florida to keep my feet more firmly on the ground. (Yea, I know, I will need to look out for hurricanes in that area, but all places of paradises on earth have some challenges.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Need Your Opinion

"I always wanted to become an architect, but...."

I can't tell you how many times I have heard people tell me this throughout the years.

There is now a way you can live your dream and design anything that you want, wherever you want, and see your dream drawn up into reality. You might even want to take it the next step and get it built. It is all up to you. In order for me to design an experience of a lifetime for you, I need your input on some things.

Please give me your opinions by clicking on these words...
Design an Experience of a Lifetime

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ten Money Making Advantages of Sustainable Design

At the request of the Environment and Public Works Committee of the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) came up with 10 Advantages of Sustainable Design. Their publication was titled, “Making the Business Case for High Performance Buildings.” Here are the 10 things that they listed:

1. Higher up-front costs (if any) for high performance green buildings can be recovered.
2. Integrated design lowers ongoing operating costs.
3. Better buildings equate to higher employee productivity.
4. New technologies enhance occupant health and well-being.
5. Healthier buildings can reduce liability.
6. Tenants’ costs can be significantly reduced.
7. Property value will increase.
8. Many financial incentive programs are available.
9. Communities will notice a developer’s efforts.
10. Using best practices yields more predictable results.

There have been studies that indicate and measured an increased worker productivity of up to 26 percent in buildings with high indoor environmental quality. In fact, retail sales have been shown to increase by up to 40 percent when natural daylight is brought into the sales areas.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Top Places to See Great Architecture

Whether you are planning to have a "Stay-Cation" in your own neck of the woods or maybe you are a more adventurous person that wants to tour distant lands, I found a web site that lists some really great spots to see.

Use this list to plan your next time off and enjoy the "Experience" of being in the midst of great architecture.

Here is the link:,0,6364853.photogallery

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