How to Plan a Mid-Century Renovation you’ll Love

10 min read When you’ve just bought a house, the new responsibilities can be overwhelming. Don’t worry. All you need is a great plan!

The right plan can help you figure out what will make you happiest and what is the best solution for your home.  You are in the driver’s seat with a road map, once you roll up your sleeves to fully plan a mid-century renovation.

Be confident you’re making the right choices for the right reasons!! Continue reading “How to Plan a Mid-Century Renovation you’ll Love”

Exploring Mid-Century Color: Cherokee Red

6 min read Long before the millennial Mid Mod craze for grey painted houses with color pop doors, the color people chose to say “I’m in with Mid-Century architecture In-Crowd” was a particular shade of dark brick red.  

Searching for a bold Mid-century Color? Cherokee Red (with a few variations) was the signature color of the early mid century period.

Cherokee Red defied the soft-spoken powder blue and baby pink color schemes of milder and more traditional post-war homes.  It made its mark before the 60’s Mod drive toward bright orange flowers and avocado appliances.  Cherokee Red was the color of choice especially among the mid-century architects who trained with Frank Lloyd Wright at his Taliesin schools. Continue reading “Exploring Mid-Century Color: Cherokee Red”

Progress: Transforming the Breezeway into a Mudroom (Part 1)

2 min read The big chunk of work for this fall is transforming the long narrow breezeway into a cosy and effective mudroom plus a little bonus garage storage.  

This is phase one of … well many.  I’ve pushed the project a little late in the season so before I get started on constructing the new mudroom structure within the existing breezeway I’ll be closing off both ends.  To the street side, that means the new and permanent extension of the garage wall.  On the back yard side I put up a quick temporary wall of translucent plastic to secure the garage and keep it somewhat weathertight. Continue reading “Progress: Transforming the Breezeway into a Mudroom (Part 1)”

Speaking at MREA Energy Fair: Remodel to Create Your Green Dream House

6 min read I’m speaking at the MREA Energy Fair, Friday May 15th at 2:30 and 5:30 to spread the good word on green design and remodeling.
Here’s what I plan to say!

I’m speaking at the the MREA Energy Fair, in Custer, WI, this Friday, delivering two lectures on green building.  Continue reading “Speaking at MREA Energy Fair: Remodel to Create Your Green Dream House”

Don’t forget to improve your Passive Solar Potential when you remodel!

2 min read Remodeling is your opportunity to improve all kinds of layout flaws – tight corners, inadequate kitchen storage, not enough privacy for bedrooms – AND improve your relationship with the sun.

Don’t let yourself think of existing walls as immutable or hyper-focus your attention on the surface of things.  Gilding the lily won’t fix an awkward, dark or segmented floor plan. 
Continue reading “Don’t forget to improve your Passive Solar Potential when you remodel!”

In other news: Design for a (ranch like) Passive House

2 min read So I haven’t been making as much progress as I’d like on the Togstad project in August but it is for an excellent reason.  I’ve been designing another project – a new Passive House residence to be constructed in the Bloomington, IL area.

While nothing in the design brief said “ranch” it is no coincidence that it has an elongated single-story profile and flowing open plan layout.  I do have ranches on the brain.  Here are some of my sketches from the Schematic Design phase.

   Continue reading “In other news: Design for a (ranch like) Passive House”

In other News: Just Gave a Talk on Underhill at the MREA Energy Fair

3 min read Saturday, I gave  a lecture at the MREA Energy Fair in Custer, WI about the joy of working with my parents to design their timber frame, straw bale, passive solar house, Underhill, completed four years ago.  Here’s some of what I said.

If you happened to attend that lecture, the work I’m doing now might seem very different.  After all, remodeling a 1950’s ranch LOOKs pretty dissimilar to building a timber frame, sod roofed house from scratch.  However, I feel strongly that both projects come from the same place – a desire to use buildings to live lightly on the earth.   Continue reading “In other News: Just Gave a Talk on Underhill at the MREA Energy Fair”

And now I’m obsessed with concrete and want to use it everywhere

3 min read Because, come on, why wouldn’t you?

I’ve spent the last two weeks struggling through the muggy heat to de-lead and prime the north and south walls of the house and prepping for my upcoming talk at the MREA Energy Fair but when I think about design, I’ve been thinking about concrete and wondering what I can make from it.  Pavers?  Planters? Benches?  The possibilities are endless.   Continue reading “And now I’m obsessed with concrete and want to use it everywhere”