Archive for January, 2011


Podcast #24 – GeoThermal Heating

Podcast #24  – GeoThermal Heating

In this Audiopost, we discuss Geo Thermal Heating and Cooling basics.  Mechanical Contractor Mike Anderson of  Anderson Heating answers our questions.  Some of those include:

– What is Geo Thermal Heating?
– Explain the different options of transferring energy with the ground.  Horizontal, vertical, etc.
– How is energy from the ground actually converted to be used in our buildings?
– What is the cost & payback of a typical system?

Please ‘click’ on the images below to enlarge.

You can reach Anderson Heating at Phone: (715)-549-6297

Please subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes
-search for the title ‘Design & Other Fun Stuff’.


Tape Measure Tricks – Just for Fun!

Just for fun, I thought I would share this video showing some creative contractors and a tape measure. You never know what talent people have…or how bored they may be to develop that talent!


Tom’s Shop – ‘Drawers’

Stopped by my friends shop (Carlsgaard Custom Cabinets and Carpentry) to see what was going on. He and the crew were putting together some drawers for a casework project. I grabbed my camera and assembled this video using some of the random clips. This was a great test run to hopefully film some other projects with Tom and get some great ‘tips and tricks’.


“Support your local Library”

Once upon a time, the Library along with the City Hall, Post Office, School and Church were the main civic buildings that defined a community. In the age of e-readers (hey, I have one) and the internet, the importance of the library appears to be dwindling. (Don’t get me started on the lack priorities when it comes to schools…)

Our existing library facility was in bad shape and it was a struggle for our community to see the value of updating or providing them a new building. Our police department was in the same situation and with some creative discussions, a partnership was formed. With the passion of volunteers and lots of hard work, the library and police department purchased, and now share an existing building within the downtown core.

I am fortunate to be part of the Library Communications Committee and recorded the Grand Opening seen in the below video. The library is now back to being a vital gathering point and resource for our community. Please take time to visit, support and appreciate similar resources that help give your own community an identity.


Podcast #23 – Construction Loans

Podcast #23 – Construction Loans

Welcome to our first official Podcast!  We know design and architecture but recording/interviewing?…Learning! It will take a while for us to find our groove so please stick with us and let us know your thoughts.   These are also available on iTunes -search for the title ‘Design & Other Fun Stuff’.

In this Audiopost, we speak with Associated Bank’s Residential Loan Officer Jason Stoll about construction loans.  Some of the topics include:

-What are the main things people need to be aware of when beginning a construction project as it relates to obtaining a loan?
-What information should the Clients bring to that initial meeting?
-How are the loan amounts determined and evaluated?
-How does the construction payment process work?
-What fees are associated with getting a loan?

Here is a mortgage calculator to plug in some ‘what ifs’. It is on the sidebar within the link.

You can reach Jason with additional questions at
Phone:  (715)-377-4132



Steel Floor Grate – Fun and Functional

Here is a fun idea that we have incorporated on several projects.

The steel grates pictured here are from McMaster. The part number is 6849T423. The exterior grate is galvanized while the interior one is not.

Please check out the video!


Get that Television off of the mantel

For most of us, the television is part of our daily lives. It provides news and entertainment and keeps us connected with what’s going on in the world. As such, it becomes a room feature that is sometimes embraced or seen as an eyesore.  With the holidays over and that new TV staring us in the face, where do we put it?

A trend is to find a compromise, usually by putting it above a fireplace- my neck hurts just thinking about that… I understand that sometimes this is the only place that makes sense for a number of reasons but it sends a mixed message -what is the focal point? Is it the fireplace or television? The hearth is the symbolic center of the home and I guess the television is also becoming that – for better or worse.

In new construction or a remodeling, we have the opportunity to plan for how a space will be used and thus maximize the placement of these elements. I thought it might be helpful to review a few points as it relates to proper viewing and television setup.

Vertical Angle of View & Screen Height:
For optimum viewing, the eyes of the viewer should be level with the center of the screen.

Maximum vertical angle of view:
In those home theater set-ups where this is not possible, it is recommended that the maximum vertical angle measured at the seated eye height from the front row center seat to the top most part of the projected image should not exceed 35 degrees. This does not represent the optimum viewing angle but rather the limit beyond which the viewer will be subject to an increased neck strain.

Recommended Viewing Distance based upon the screen size:

26″   3.25-5.5 feet
32″   4.0-6.66 feet
37″   4.63-7.71 feet
40″   5.0-8.33 feet
46″   5.75-9.5 feet
52″   6.5-10.8 feet
58″   7.25-12 feet
65″   8.13-13.5 feet
70″   8.75-14.75 feet

Here is a television viewing distance calculator that can help determine the screen size and seating distances. Here also is another article on setting up a home theater.

I love kicking back with my family and watching a great movie with a big tub of popcorn on my lap. Why not maximize the enjoyment by thinking through the best possible viewing arrangement? Or just put the television into the fireplace