Your single source for design and construction excellence. 847.770.6303

Category: Architecture

Why I Do What I Do!

Posted on September 6th, by Michael Menn in Architecture, Business. No Comments

Why I Do What I Do!

 

Why did I choose design/build as our career?

I like to create and the creative process.. I love being challenged by a problem, and then coming up with a solution. I love seeing something I design come to reality. I love looking at a beautiful new kitchen or room addition or office space and thinking: “I did that.”
What we do makes the world a better place. I believe that, and you should too, that the work architects do actually makes our clients’ lives better. It might be that we make their lives easier merely from a functional standpoint (aging-in-place features, for example). It may be that what we create is so magnificent it is a source of pride for our clients.
Ego (now we have gotten to the bottom line!). What we do is very tangible. It is easy to see the results of our work…good or bad. While I am very self-motivated and take pride when I think I do excellent work, it is certainly nice to have our work applauded from clients, from the community at large, and from peers.

We all have different motivations. Indeed, there are many legitimate reasons, and I … Read More »

Entertaining Spaces

Posted on August 10th, by Michael Menn in Architecture. Comments Off on Entertaining Spaces

Entertaining Spaces

Wouldn’t you love to double the size of your house for the holidays, or when you’re entertaining for large groups of friends? And when the party is over and all the guests have gone home have your nice, cozy house back just like that?

It doesn’t make sense to maintain a large entertaining space that gets used only a couple of times a year. That’s why it’s so practical to have a functional and efficient indoor-outdoor space.

Having a well-designed outdoor area adjacent to your main entertaining rooms is a great way to get more space when needed and to add value to your home. The indoor-outdoor concept is not a new idea, but when you combine it with an open floor plan, you can create a large entertaining area that your guests will savor.

Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your indoor-outdoor design.

Create a big opening. Don’t be afraid to invest in big openings between your indoor and outdoor spaces. Large pocket or accordion doors are a great way to blur the visual barriers between the two areas. When weather permits, you can open up the exterior wall and instantly double the floor space.

Keep … Read More »

Why I Do What I Do

Posted on January 14th, by Michael in Architecture. 2 comments

Before I go off and pontificate this month I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
 

Why I Do What I Do

 

Why did I choose architecture and construction (design/build) as my career?

 

We all have different motivations. Indeed, there are many legitimate reasons, and I have thought long and hard about why I chose to enter this challenging and rewarding world. I have come up with three reasons.

 

I like to create and the creative process. I love being challenged by a problem, and then coming up with a solution. I love seeing something I design come to reality. I love looking at a beautiful new kitchen or room addition or office space and thinking: “I did that.”
What we do makes the world a better place. I believe, and you should too, that the work I do actually makes my clients’ lives better. It might be that I make their lives easier merely from a functional standpoint (aging-in-place features, for example). It may be that what we create is so magnificent it is a source of pride for our clients.
Ego (now we have gotten to the bottom line!). What I do is very tangible. It is easy to see … Read More »

Active Living: A Trend That’s Here To Stay

Posted on August 6th, by Michael in Aging In Place, Architecture. Comments Off on Active Living: A Trend That’s Here To Stay

Older adults are demanding more from their long-term living environments today. No longer willing to settle for a place to simply reside, today’s seniors are looking for activities, amenities, and design features that support their desires for life-long learning, community engagement, and modern conveniences.

Kasey Burke, president, Meta Housing Corporation (Los Angeles), a developer of affordable and market-rate apartment communities for seniors and families, recently shared his thoughts with Environments for Aging on the trends he’s seeing in senior housing and how his residences are adapting.

Environments For Aging: What’s the biggest change happening in aging in place living, right now?

One of the biggest changes we’re seeing is an increased focus on active living.  Builders and remodelers are moving beyond the old adult living model to create environments where boomers don’t just live, they thrive. Newer homes or remodeled homes and condominiums are focused on delivering lifelong enjoyment and active engagement.

Thrive In Your New Space Now!

In response to this demand, must-have amenities in our locations include thoughtfully designed spaces for entertaining, pampering one’s self, cooking and enjoying everyday activities, among others.

However, it’s essential to design these spaces not only for those living in their own living environment who will actively participate, but also for those … Read More »

Efficient and Beautiful

Posted on March 7th, by Michael Menn in Architecture, Complete Home Projects, Efficient. Comments Off on Efficient and Beautiful

This month I would like to talk about the efficient use of space.

Big houses consume more resources than small ones. They use more wood, more carpet, more drywall and more concrete. They cover more ground and generate more construction debris. When completed, they will require more energy to heat and cool.

A house’s size has a greater impact on energy and resource use than any other factor, including insulation, equipment efficiency and windows. So here are some tips for efficiency yet maintaining style.

Space Design Savvy Tips:

Share space between different uses. A home office and guest bedroom is a common combination. Also consider using a hall or stairway as a library or gallery, a landing can be a reading nook, the laundry can be a mudroom. Replace individual rooms for “media,” exercise and others purposes with built-ins and storage for special equipment.

 

Add double-height space. Smaller rooms need not feel “cramped.” High vertical spaces add an airy feeling.

 

Fill the entire building volume. Much usable space can be lost to attics. This space under the roof can be used for visual appeal, loft space or heated storage. Cathedral roof trusses with ceiling insulation, stick framing with insulation between the rafters or structural insulated panels … Read More »

e + l = s is our very own success formula fit for a Queen

Posted on October 7th, by Michael Menn in Architecture, Kitchens. Comments Off on e + l = s is our very own success formula fit for a Queen

Readers of this blog know our special capabilities as a design-build firm allow us to consistently delight clients. And it’s not a matter of chance: it’s having the ability to follow a timeless equation: expertise + listening = success. We demonstrated this in a recent Kitchen remodel project.

 

When we first met clients “Sue” and “Jim”, they had good reason to be nervous — they had already met with a few non-architect contractors and were disappointed with their proposals. They wanted to talk vision, but the contractors only wanted to talk price. They wanted to see know-how, but the contractors only gave them unrealistic budgets and promises to deliver things they really didn’t want.

 

It was clear that these contractors did not have the expertise to discuss anything other than price. By contrast, our design-build firm is staffed with architects who eat, breathe and sleep design. Even more important, these contractors did not have the smarts to listen.

 

That’s why we immediately focused on listening to what Sue and Jim wanted. We heard they live for spending time with their family, and wanted a Kitchen they could enjoy when their children and grandchildren visited. Sue wanted to be the “Queen of the Kitchen” … Read More »

e + l = s is our very own success formula fit for a Queen

Posted on October 7th, by Michael in Architecture, Kitchens. Comments Off on e + l = s is our very own success formula fit for a Queen

Readers of this blog know our special capabilities as a design-build firm allow us to consistently delight clients. And it’s not a matter of chance: it’s having the ability to follow a timeless equation: expertise + listening = success. We demonstrated this in a recent Kitchen remodel project.

 

When we first met clients “Sue” and “Jim”, they had good reason to be nervous — they had already met with a few non-architect contractors and were disappointed with their proposals. They wanted to talk vision, but the contractors only wanted to talk price. They wanted to see know-how, but the contractors only gave them unrealistic budgets and promises to deliver things they really didn’t want.

 

It was clear that these contractors did not have the expertise to discuss anything other than price. By contrast, our design-build firm is staffed with architects who eat, breathe and sleep design. Even more important, these contractors did not have the smarts to listen.

 

That’s why we immediately focused on listening to what Sue and Jim wanted. We heard they live for spending time with their family, and wanted a Kitchen they could enjoy when their children and grandchildren visited. Sue wanted to be the “Queen of the Kitchen” … Read More »

Big Lifestyle Benefits From A Small Addition

Posted on August 9th, by Michael in Architecture, Renovation. Comments Off on Big Lifestyle Benefits From A Small Addition

Little things can mean a lot in a home renovation, and on one recent project we positively changed the lives of our clients in just 58 square feet. This family lives in an older 3 bedroom, 2-story house where the rooms are, as is typical, small, defined and enclosed.

 

With young children and an informal lifestyle, the family wanted to open up their home’s floor plan, enlarge the kitchen, and create a more convenient space to enter and exit. We knew this would require moving one or more load-bearing walls — making the project a bit of a challenge — but it’s usually the right answer for improving circulation within the home and allowing for more functionality.

 

Our client agreed that a having a transitional dining area for everyday use was more important than preserving their formal dining room. That gave us the flexibility to enlarge the kitchen with additional counter space, a breakfast bar, a dishwasher and other missing conveniences. We combined the den area, enlarged kitchen, and new dining area into one cohesive, multi-use space for cooking, homework, TV watching and everything else.

 

Bringing the whole renovation together is an 11’ 6” x 5’ mudroom addition that adds usefulness and ease … Read More »

Help Me – Please!

Posted on July 19th, by amanda@amandahart.net in Aging In Place, Architecture. Comments Off on Help Me – Please!

Not surprisingly, consider these facts:

In 2010, approximately 40% of the population was people 65 and over in the United States, as compared to 12% in 2004 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Additionally there are about 76 million Baby Boomers born between 1945 and 1963

Obviously, as people age and want to stay in their homes, there will be more demand for aging in place amenities.  The current economic conditions may even lead to a spike in this demand, as even more people will want to stay in their homes, rather than sell them at depressed prices.

Helping people age-in-place is a topic that is near and dear to me. Over the last five years I have helped both my parents and in-laws modify their living environment to age-in-place. The following questions/answers hopefully can help you or someone you know deal with gracefully aging-in-place.

 

Questions to ask as you consider remodeling or modifying your home:

How should you modify your home to make it more comfortable?
To age-in-place you will probably need to modify your house as you mature to increase access and maneuverability. These modifications range from the installation of bath and shower grab bars and adjustment of countertop heights to the creation … Read More »

Add value to your home with a SMART remodeling project!

Posted on May 8th, by Michael Menn in Architecture, Remodeling, Renovation. Comments Off on Add value to your home with a SMART remodeling project!

Add value to your home by starting a smart remodeling project with Michael Menn Ltd.!
Please fill out your information below and you will have instant access to our downloadable pdf with information on how to remodel your home to give it more value.

[email-download download_id=”1″ contact_form_id=”221″]