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 www.MainStreetForum.com or just click on Give me my Main Street Forum Ticket NOW! - (please)