Posts by Rhonda Caudill:
ASK A DESIGNER
We’re on a limited budget this year but want to incorporate the spirit of the season into holiday decoration. We have a new small Christmas tree with a limited selection of favorite ornaments. What ideas can you share to use free or a “next to nothing” cost to add jolly to our holiday?
(credit: Charles Schultz)
It’s easy to “deck the halls with boughs of holly” when you go “shopping” outdoors. Keep in mind, “less is more” and group like-items together. Use balance and proportion to fill up your 3D space – up and all around. Pick a color scheme, red and green from the outdoors is a great choice. Adding blue accents will update the look. Texture and pattern add visual appeal. Light and reflections in mirrors or on metals bring a display to life. A fun idea, as seen below, is to use a ladder as a tree and decorate with ball ornaments, painted pine-cones, etc. and add light strings.
Iconic Building of the Month
A log cabin on a 25 acres property in the chilly North woods is where the Claus family, numerous elves, and legendary reindeer call home. Big wood beams fashioned from hand hewn logs support and furnish this 2500 square foot, three bed, two bath rustic cabin revealing old world charm. Perhaps it was Santa himself who built this home in 1822.
It’s easy to deck the halls with boughs of holly in the open concept floor plan. A recent renovation in 2013 provides modern amenities and easy living including a gourmet kitchen with a baker’s dream oven featuring 12 cookie settings and hot cocoa on tap. Perhaps one of the coziest highlights can be roasting chestnuts in the floor-to-ceiling river rock fireplace. Built-in shelving in Santa’s den showcases toy prototypes. An adjacent large garage lodges the legendary all-weather sleigh.
Adjacent buildings include an elf village of 150 square feet private cottages, a state-of-the-art toy-making facility, and of course, reindeer stables.
Click here for more information and pictures of this charming property and for a glimpse into a magical existence full of joy, hope, and best of all, love.
When darkness comes, glimmers of hope mean the world to us. The Moravians, a lesser known,
communally focused sect of Christians, light beeswax candles as a symbol of hope during the
Christmas Eve love feast. Lights are dimmed. Candles beam. A child sings the traditional Morning
Star song, perched up in front of the congregation, who, like adoring parents, respond to the lyrics.
Sopranos and altos soar with tenors and basses: “Fill my heart with light divine.” Finally, volunteers
carry trays of burning candles into the space. The sight is spectacular, and the story of the Moravian
Christmas candle is even more inspiring.
The 1700s in Germany, and throughout the world, were filled with chaos. Religious and political
strife ran free. One Christmas, tragedy struck Gnadenhuetten. People were massacred, farms
burned. It seemed impossible to remember that a religious holiday had happened at all. Yet, as they
saw it, the candles brought purity to an otherwise polluted place. That’s because the Moravians
regarded beeswax as the purest of all animal or vegetable waxes.
The candle service that evolved spread across the Atlantic. Its first recorded instance “in the New
World” was in 1756, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – now known as the Christmas City. Here, Bishop
Peter Boehler felt moved by the experience… after his return from Europe where there was so little
apparent hope. That night was “long to be remembered as a bright hour in the midst of a dark
time.” Voices sang to celebrate the holiday, even in times of peril. More than 250 candles shone
through the darkness as they sang the closing hymn.
Their hearts burned brightly; and a few years later, the Moravian children of North Carolina skipped
home with candles, still burning, to light their Christmas trees. Now people of all ages engage in the
tradition. Each church determines the size of the candle and how it is trimmed. Yet the
commonality is in the message – hope. The Moravian Christmas candle marks the start of a new
chapter. It is a symbol of light’s power to overcome the darkness.
Iconic Building of the Month
Built in the jazz age of the roaring 20’s, Florida’s Legendary Pink Palace, The Don CeSar, on notorious St. Pete beach has seen high society glamour, military convalescent, government administration, Hollywood drama and tourists galore.
Inspired by Mediterranean and Moorish styles, architect Henry H. Dupont’s designs incorporated arch openings, red clay tile low-pitched roofs, balconies, stucco façade, and towers aplenty. A notable architectural detail from contractor Carlton Beard is the innovative floating concrete pad and pyramid footing foundation to stabilize the building on persistently shifting sand. To this day, the building remains with no evidence of structural concern. It is nearing its 100th birthday.
Pink, for hope, calming, and nurturing, is found in sunsets. This Gulf coast icon provided these aspirations to its visitors for nearly a century. It is loved for its location on pristine sugar soft white sand beaches, temperate climate, and luxurious opulence. The Pink Palace has been protected by local citizens and visitors throughout the years. In 1974 it was admitted into the National Register of Historic Places. The Don CeSar was named after a main character in the opera, Maritana.
Architect and photographer Fernando Guerra built the first known drone for architectural photography in 2010. He purchased an inexpensive drone and outfitted it with a high-definition camera and extra engines to take pictures of buildings from above. This early drone had a two-minute capacity, quickly changing the future of architectural design. Drones allow a new look and perspective into spaces with numerous angles and images. Drones are also called “UAVs”, short for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
Exciting opportunities are on the horizon for architects. Drones are now being used within architecture and construction industries. Among many uses, drones are being used for surveying building sites, as transport vehicles, and as marketing tools.
- Costs can be reduced when using drones to make typographic surveys
- There is no longer a need to hire a land surveyor
- Environmental changes below ground can be watched and evaluated
- In 2012, polystyrene bricks were transported at a construction site in France
- Rope bridge for humans was built by a drone in Zurich
- High definition photographs create stunning visuals for marketing purposes
- More accurate data creates stronger marketing materials
Drones provide other benefits for design and safety.
- Adding high definition cameras, infrared scanners, and thermal sensors can be helpful in the design phase of building
- Build better architectural models with more accurate data from 3D drafting and modeling software
- It is a safer option than sending people into unsafe places
Laws on drone usage vary around the world. Regulations regarding flying in the dark, out of the operator’s sight, above certain altitudes, and near other structures or people are common limitations and concerns. Some countries require training programs, but these are in early phases of development.
What form will drones take in coming years? City development and dwellings could look space age with multiple layers of aircraft buzzing through the skies. Talk of lower level human transport, mid-level package delivery, and higher altitude commercial aircraft sounds complicated and exciting. Hopefully, emergent help for undeveloped areas and countries like Africa will arrive soon with unlimited opportunity for human mercy.
“Laws regarding drone use are neither simple nor easy. Being held to high standards of responsibility and integrity are required for the right to use drones.” – Katherin Frankovic, KDE Photography
Iconic Building of the Month
The Farnsworth House is known as “the original glass house.” Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1945, the German architect pioneered the idea of the modern home. Dr. Edith Farnsworth is the client who made it possible. A Chicago nephrologist, she desired a weekend home built on her 10-acre wooded property near the Fox River. Mies van der Rohe and his client developed a close relationship. After all, she made it possible for him to create a building that was the first of its time. An inspiration for minimalism, the design achieves the seamless views many modernist architects strive for today.
The 1,400-square-foot home was completed in 1951. Each aspect exhibits the architect’s passion for simplicity. He adopted the phrase “less is more” and insisted that the concept for the home be “almost nothing.” Therefore, the roof is made of a steel framed, concrete slab, and another slab covered in heated travertine marble for the floor. In between, a thin membrane of glass constructs the walls — revealing a picturesque view of the trees, water and sky.
A single tube contains all of the utilities, as it descends from the home’s center into the ground. Raised 5’ 3” off the ground, this elevation was meant to protect it from flooding. The concept was that the house would “float.” Lord Peter Palumbo bought the home two decades later, and after a lengthy bidding auction, Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust for Historic Preservation purchased it in 2003.
The most attractive aspect of a DIY, or Do It Yourself, is cost savings. Sometimes it’s a necessity, but there are a few things to consider before making that commitment. Hiring a professional architect, builder, interior designer, and tradesperson most often saves money in the long run.
When ready to build their dream home, people hire an architect to create their dream. Sometimes, they act as the general contractor managing tradespersons or they build it themselves. This might look great on paper and they know there will be headaches, but they will deal with that.
Does design stop at the blueprint or should it continue through to the end of construction? How crucial is it that a designer is readily available and on site to make sure all goes smoothly? All trades need to work together as a collaborative team to coordinate forms, shapes, colors, textures, and all finishes.
What happens when design changes need to be made quickly and there are cost-over-runs? An untrained and inexperienced person will make the best decision, usually on the fly. This can cause a warp in consistency of materials and colors. Oops. Now what? The budget is so tight.
It’s difficult for an inexperienced person to be the designer and to see the whole picture at once. Tradespeople are not trained to look at the big picture or consider aesthetics so they are often no help. A DIY can easily cut corners reducing quality of home. A professional will make the home both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.
Another important aspect to consider is scheduling. Coordinating tradespeople and communication between all is tricky. The DIY client is at a disadvantage and has less leverage in scheduling or in price negotiations. They don’t know if they are getting a good deal or not. A professional has a reliable team in place making them first priority in scheduling and pricing knowing that future business is at stake.
Will the dream be a beautiful oasis or a regret that a professional should have been hired? Flaws will annoy you, be noticed by everyone, and lower the value of your home if you need to resell. Decorating is easy to redo. Fixing building mistakes are costly and time-consuming.
Stanton Architects, Inc. provides both design and build for the utmost in service. Contact the office at 815-741-0510 to get started on your dream build.
Do you ever wonder where architects and designers get their inspiration, continuing education, and knowledge on whats’s “New and Next”?
Every June for the past 49 years, over 50,000 design professionals have gathered in Chicago to attend one of the largest trade shows in the design industry. This year NeoCon was held at the iconic Merchandise Mart building. Neocon mainly targets commercial design but there is plenty of information and inspiration for architects and designers in the residential industry too.
During the three-day event, new products are launched including wall coverings, tile, plumbing fixtures, floor coverings, lighting, furniture, textiles, and outdoor products. This is also a good time to learn about advancements in technology that can make our clients’ lives easier.
Home office products focusing heavily on healthy living continue to advance are are well represented at NeoCon including exercise equipment such as the Fit Desk and Wurf boards.