Construction

prairie ranch remodel

The Vertical Option – Adding Space in Mid-Century Moderns and Ranches

Single-story homes were at the height of their popularity in the middle of the 20th century. Those designed with traditional styling have always been called “ranches”; less traditional ones are now often called “mid-century Modern”.

Remodeling these middle-aged homes is becoming extremely popular to a wide range of homeowners – younger families like that they’re often in well-established suburbs with good school systems; older buyers like the one-floor living.

Some of the ranches I’ve been asked to help remodel didn’t need much more than a tasteful “facelift” and some new finishes. But frequently my clients also need to add some space, or want to do something about the low ceilings that are common in these homes.

What Is Quality Construction?

A friend of mine put me on the spot when she asked me over to take a look at the new home she’d just purchased.

“What do you think?” she asked, “It’s good quality construction, isn’t it?”

For what she paid, sure, it was decent quality; it wasn’t in danger of collapse, the doorknobs weren’t falling off, and water wasn’t dripping through a leaky roof – but it wasn’t a showcase of construction skill either.

When Is It Too Cold To Build A House?

Years ago, before I’d thought of Architecture as a career, I worked a bit as a construction laborer and framing carpenter.

Some days, working outside was great fun for an 18-year old (read:summertime).

I learned a lot about construction those two years, including the fact that construction doesn’t only happen on sunny, warm, summer days.

They expected me to work in the winter, too.  Outside. In the cold.

contemporary home office

Good Design is Energy-Efficient Design – Just like the 1970’s

If you’re not yet giving much thought to how much energy your new house is going to use, and how much it’s going to waste, then it’s time you started.

It should be one of your top priorities – if for no other reason than your own pocketbook.

Energy used for heating and cooling homes is going to continue to get more expensive and as we’ve seen recently, world politics can quickly and dramatically affect your access to cheap energy.

Choosing a Home Builder is an Important Decision – Here’s How to Get it Right

It’s the question every client asks at some point during the design process: “What builders do you recommend?”

Many people who are considering building a new home worry more about choosing a builder even before they think about the Architect, the house design, decorating, a property to build on, or anything else.

Why? Because ultimately, the builder is the one responsible for getting it done right; the guy you’ll be writing the really big checks to.

How to Soundproof Your House

It’s a common complaint among city-dwellers that the walls and floors separating one apartment from another allow sounds from one side to pass too easily through to the other.

It’s one of the reasons people move away from the city.

But acoustical privacy is becoming a problem in some suburban areas too – as land prices increase, lots are getting smaller and houses are getting closer together. Houses are also getting closer to the street and its associated noise pollution.

Basement or Crawl Space?

In some parts of the USA this question’s irrelevant – there are few basements or crawl spaces in the desert southwest, the Alaskan tundra, or anywhere else that it’s not practical to excavate a foundation.

But here in Midwestern America it’s a frequent concern.

Most homes I design or add to have at least a partial basement; the real questions are whether to excavate an entire basement, or just part, and how deep.