Knock Knock

A Brief Primer on Stairs – Types, Parts, and Designs

The first home my wife and I owned was a brick Queen Anne built around 1900. I opened my first office there, in the attic.

It was a cool little space and I had a unique view of downtown Columbus, Ohio from up there.

All I had to do was climb the 23 shallow, steep steps up from the kitchen. Every day.

Stairs are probably already a part of your daily home life – you go up and down them constantly, carrying laundry baskets, sleeping children, furniture; stepping over toys, pets, shoes…

But as familiar as we are with using stairs, we’re not nearly as familiar with how they fit into the design of a home – stairs are expensive, complex three-dimensional constructions that take up a lot of space and are highly regulated by building codes.

williamsburg colonial custom home

How To Choose The Right Window Shutters for Your House

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.”

That’s a delightful passage for a young child to hear, especially when it’s Mom or Dad reading it with all the wonder and excitement the line suggests.

Even if the youngster doesn’t know exactly what it means.

Mom and Dad explained, of course, that a sash is part of a window – the part that the writer “threw up” to look out the window, and that shutters are those “doors” on the outside of the window.

The Home Design Process – A Little Like Writing a Term Paper

Very few people ever have more than one custom home or major remodeling project designed for them, which means that almost every time an Architect starts the design process with a homeowner, it’s the first time for at least half of the people in the room.

It’s that “design process” that you probably wonder about the most – how does it work?

french country home design

Basic House Parts Vocabulary – Exterior

One of the smartest things Residential Architects have done in recent years is to stop talking to their clients like Architects. We’ve gotten a lot better at conversing like regular people instead of like college professors.

Even so, we sometimes lapse into saying silly things like:

“Communicative inheritance, remembered as the true conveyance of cultural integrity, fosters an exchange of the sacred geometrical building blocks.”

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.

How Burning Down Your House can Benefit the Whole Community

It was late in the day when it finally happened.  A puff of smoke appeared just over the rooftop at the far right side of the house; then another appeared, near the chimney.

Within moments smoke was pouring from the entire roof and flickers of orange flame began appearing in the windows.

A cheer went up from the assembled crowd as the flames grew; soon the roof weakened and began to collapse.  A dozen firefighters stood by, cheering along with the crowd.

contemporary home design

Why a Unique, Personal Home Might Be Easier to Sell Someday

If you’re selling houses you want to appeal to the widest audience possible. Houses with tried and true size and style, and with similar floor plans, have a greater chance of a quick sale.

If you’re buying or building a house, however, you want something much more personal – a home that’s interesting and different and that has all of the things you need to support your family’s unique lifestyle.

How do you make a house that does both?

The Top Five Home Design Requests from my Clients

Years ago, I attended a trade show for kitchen and bath products in Dallas. You know the kind – huge convention hall, lots of booths, vendors hawking the latest in…whatever the latest is.

After a couple of passes around the trade show floor, filling my canvas tote bag with catalogs and brochures, I popped in on a seminar, where a representative of a national homebuilder was talking about new home design to a room full of eager builders.