Archive for the ‘How to’ Category

Nov
0

How to build an Eames Shell Chair

There is nothing to building a basic fiberglass chair…right? That’s what I thought until I watched this video of how it was done. There has always been an appreciation and nostalgia for Eames furniture. This video reinforces that. Let me know what you think.
Source: I like architecture

Oct
0

Colors, Materials & Finishes -Oh My!

Just another day in the life of an architect. We are finalizing the finish selections for a new $4 million office facility and making all of those selections can be overwhelming. We thought this video might help explain a bit of that process.

Oct
1

Septic Cleanout

What is a septic system and how does it work? A spontaneous interview with an out of focus camera and on a windy (noisy) day. I couldn’t pass up talking with Ken of Ken’s Septic.

Sep
0

Alice’s Wonder Spray

I am working on a new facility for the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (see MWMO Project Update posts). While attending some meetings at their current office space, I saw the instructions and ‘fixins’ for Alice’s Wonder Spray – an environmentally safe cleaning spray you can make yourself inexpensively. I mixed up a batch and brought it home. It is amazing. I don’t worry about toxic or abrasive chemicals with this and it cleans! It even took some stains off my exterior siding without dulling the finish. Unfortunately, I don’t know Alice’s story but print out the label below, stick on a spray bottle and mix some up in her honor!

Jun
0

Podcast #29 -Looking for Property

Podcast #29 -Looking for Property


Today we speak with a Real Estate Consultant Kris Jensen about what you need to know in searching for that perfect piece of property to build your new home or cabin. Kris is an Agent with Keller Williams Premier Realty. A few questions discussed include:
-What are the first/main things people need to be aware of when beginning the property search?
-What questions do you ask clients to get a better understanding of their goals?
-How do you present options?
-What information do you gather about a property to make sure it is a good fit/value?
-What typical costs are there associated with purchasing property?

Feel free to contact Kris via email at kjensen@kw.com
or phone 651-491-3030
Web: www.kjensen.com

Please subscribe to these podcasts also via iTunes. Search for the title ‘Design & Other Fun Stuff’.

May
0

Insulation Basics

Most people know that they need insulation in their projects but… What types of insulation are available, where should they go, and how much do I need? I preach that the ‘greenest’ thing you can do on any project is to make sure the envelope is as well insulated and airtight as possible. Insulation being a critical component. It is one of those unseen and magic elements that people don’t understand how it works, but know when it doesn’t.

I met with Scott Glowe from St. Croix Insulation, Inc and he was nice enough to answer a few questions -the basics -on several types of insulation.  You can reach Scott via email at scott@stcroixinsulation.com or call (715) 386-1200.

May
1

How to recycle cardboard -PSA

Ever wonder how and what cardboard you can recycle?  I happened to find this video my daughter made a year ago for a school project and thought it would be fun to share.  I am still amazed that many people do not recycle.  The energy and cost of creating a product from scratch versus utilizing a waste product that is 90 percent ready to be reused doesn’t make sense…does it?

Apr
8

Stained Concrete Fireplace Surround

We love the ‘rawness’ of concrete. It is fluid yet solid, smooth yet textured, strong yet fragile…I could go on and on. Concrete is a basic building component that has leapt from the foundation and floor slab to other creative and decorative uses. It is inexpensive and readily available.

A newspaper published a weekly article following one of our projects and the number one question from readers related to the staining of concrete. The video below shows how we used Concrete Tile Backer Board (tile underlayment) as a fireplace surround. It gives a unique look to a traditional feature and meets the fire requirements. Take a look and let us know your thoughts. Thanks!

Apr
0

DIY Design – Truss Plates

DIY Design – Truss Plates

Too much time on my hands you say…? Maybe, but rethinking everyday items and building them myself is my way of relaxing. Truss plates are available at any home improvement center -they are inexpensive, galvanized metal and have a great pattern of predrilled holes. What else could we use these for?… hmm.

When starting my own company, way back when, instead of handing out just a business card, I thought a card holder might make more of an impact and something that would be kept on a desk reminding people to ‘Hire me!’. This evolved into an expanded version to keep organized all of the cards I had received. How about a brochure display? Easy! The point is to have fun and reinvent things to become other things. Everyday utlitarian objects don’t have to come from ‘big box’ stores or be premade. Surround yourself with the uncommon. With a bit of your own creativity you will put a smile on your face! Click on the images to enlarge.

Apr
2

Making Maple Syrup

Matt from our office came in to work one day with some ‘liquid gold’ -yes, homemade maple syrup. He graciously agreed to take some ‘flip video’ footage of the process. Matt elaborates below:

Making maple syrup is a very time intensive process that can consume your waking hours for 4 to 6 weeks in early spring. It starts with tapping the trees when the day time temperatures start getting into the 40′s and 50′s, but the night time temps still dip into the 20′s. Maple syrup is produced by taking the sap ,~3% sugar content, and boiling off the water until it reaches 67% sugar content. This roughly equates to 40 gallons of sap required to get 1 gallon of syrup. Last week the sap was flowing fast enough that I had to boil 3 days out of the week to keep my 55 gallon barrel from overflowing. Each boiling takes between 10 and 12 hours and consumes a large amount of wood. However the end product is very much worth the time spent. If you ever want to try it yourself, it does not take a lot of investment to get supplies, but it will require a lot of your time! Check out Backyard Sugarin’ by Rink Mann if you are curious for more how-to information. Oh, and by the way, if anyone has good suggestions on how to clean baked-on maple syrup remains off of stainless steel, I am all ears!

Mar
3

Plywood Headboard

As with any project, it is the details that can pull a project together, strengthen the overall concept, and just bring a smile to your face. Below is a video of how we designed an accent wall that became a headboard in a Client’s Master Bedroom. We wanted to add warmth and texture while being economical. We built a test panel for my daughter’s room and then let the pros -in this case Carlsgaard Finish Carpentry -build the final piece. Click on the video and check it out!

Feb