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Tag: architecture

Personal Reflection

Posted on December 9th, by Michael Menn in Reflection. Comments Off on Personal Reflection

Personal Reflection

 

I would like to say to all my family, friends and associates thank you for making me the person I am today. Without all of you I might not be the person I am.

 

Why did I choose architecture and construction 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 enjoy 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 we 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, sustainable design, for example). It may be that what we create is so magnificent it is a major source of pride for our clients.

 

Ego – now I have gotten to … Read More »


Technology, We Can’t Live Without It!

Posted on May 8th, by Michael Menn in Remodeling, Technology. Comments Off on Technology, We Can’t Live Without It!

I have enjoyed partnering with Joe Barrett at Barrett’s Technology Solutions for a number of projects.

Joe helps us to help our clients integrate technology into the spaces that we have created for them, truly rounding out their home experiences.

 

Technology integration is the practice of designing spaces where technology is both accessible and future-ready. Technology integrators work with architects and their clients to define technology needs, and then handle the design and installation of customized home automation, security, entertainment and related sub-systems.

Today’s homeowners want features like distributed audio, custom home theaters or open concept entertainment areas, and automated control systems. From a more practical standpoint, they’re interested in security systems, energy efficiency, and secure remote access that not only protects what’s inside but also ensures their network and personal information are secure.

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 »

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 »

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 »

Creating a peaceful master bath with unused roof space the pièce de résistance.

Posted on September 3rd, by amanda@amandahart.net in Bath Suite Projects. Comments Off on Creating a peaceful master bath with unused roof space the pièce de résistance.

Even in this up-and-down economy, bathroom remodeling is still going strong — as I find one of the best remedies to relieve the stress and strain of everyday life is a nice, relaxing bath or shower, usually followed by a glass of wine and a good book.

 

While turning a plain-Jane bathroom into a spacious and relaxing retreat seems like an expensive luxury, we excel at finding solutions that will meet both our client’s dreams and their real-life budget. One such project was remodeling the master bath in a 1920’s-era home that was lacking both closet space and comfortable amenities.

 

Our clients were husband and wife professionals, and empty nesters, looking to gain more storage and greater convenience. So our first design-build decision was to enlarge the existing bathroom by reclaiming space from an adjacent closet/small office. This enabled us to add a walk-in shower, soaking tub, dual-height vanity and built-in storage. We also added a heated floor, and installed plywood underneath the drywall to accommodate future installation of grab bars.

 

The star of the project was turning an unused roof deck into a huge walk-in closet. This was a simple to complete, yet dramatic, addition that incorporated the two existing small closets … Read More »

Help Me – Please!

Posted on July 19th, by Michael Menn 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 »

Architecture, A Social Art.

Posted on March 4th, by Michael Menn in Architecture, Renovation. Comments Off on Architecture, A Social Art.

Architecture remains a social art.  It can have a profound impact on the people it affects not only at creation, but for years to come.

No textbook or continuing education class could ever accurately illustrate the impact our designs have on the people who live or work in the spaces we create.  Our clients trust us to improve their lives by converting the dreams and goals they have for their homes into reality.  That means listening to them, and making sure we understand those dreams and goals.

For example, many of my clients today live in older homes.  Too often, we equate old with bad.  If a house is old, we want to get rid of all the vestiges of the building’s past, and replace it with all new.  A growing number of our clients, though, appreciate the beauty and the charm of their old homes.  They want to renovate their residences by adding modern amenities making them more livable, but also insist that we work to replicate those details that lent character and texture to their homes.

One such client – a couple living in a four-story row house built in the 1890s in Chicago’s Gold Coast, recently experienced the joy of … Read More »

Design Trends – Design Practicality

Posted on February 13th, by Michael Menn in Architecture, Change, Trends. Comments Off on Design Trends – Design Practicality

I recently attended the International Builders Show in Las Vegas.

This was my twentieth consecutive year and I walked away with a new sense of reinvigoration and design practicality. If you are planning to build or remodel a kitchen, you will be right on trend if you choose white cabinets – no wait, make that dark brown!  White cabinetry will always be in style, but there has been a rise in dark brown kitchens winning award after award.

Some of the trends that are selling houses today are: the inclusion of large walk-in pantries and the reduction in the actual number of cabinets being used in the Kitchen, more sensible bathrooms and comfy doggy digs.

Practical floor plans were the subject of a seminar I took. Where the 1990s and early 2000s were all about excess in home building (bigger is better syndrome), a new sobriety has settled in and focused on maximizing the utility of every square inch of the floor plan. Consumers have spoken and the Dining Room and Living Room have been ditched in lieu of an open area that encompasses the Kitchen, Family Room and a single Dining Area.

One of the things that many homebuilders have noticed is that … Read More »

Embracing Excellence

Posted on January 4th, by Michael Menn in Architecture, Change, Excellence. Comments Off on Embracing Excellence

Over the last several years, I have seen – and I’m sure you have to – a growing trend by consumers to seek design solutions that are not traditional.

Instead, clients are demanding designs that are customized to create environments that meet their unique and what some might even call atypical lifestyles.

As a design professional, I crave these opportunities, because they let me flex my creative muscles and provide the personalized design that is the essence of what I do.  These opportunities also allow me to solve challenges I would not encounter in a more “traditional” project.

Recently I had such an opportunity to flex my creative muscles and create a unique living environment.  Before I tell you what I did, let’s review what I mean by a more “traditional project.

Spaces in the 80’s and 90’s were designed around the themes of “bigger is better” and “formal is better.”  It was not uncommon to see massive kitchens that would not have been out of place in an upscale restaurant, and bathrooms that featured swimming pool sized tubs and showers that resembled car washes.  Formal areas such as the living room and dining room were designed with the apparent goal of replicating palaces … Read More »