1805 Brook Road
Abington, PA 19001


1636 Brisbane Road
Silver Spring, MD 20902
215-886-6916 (universal)



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Home Current Projects and Advice

Current Projects and Advice

Low-impact garage and room addition

This wonderful old early-20th century house is typical of the historicist and eclectic designs found all over the Main Line, indeed all over Montco, Philadelphia and Bucks. The new owners are bringing it up from the 60's and wanted to add a garage. To blend it with the house (being a good neighbor and maintaining the house's character) we looked at various options and finally decided to simply extend the roof line, put the new door next to the existing garages, and create new bedroom above. Tight construction and good insulation makes this more than 20% more efficient than code, while the extended dormer and large windows gather the southwest light and give them a cozy but comfortable new guest room. These are rough images from the design process, but get the point across.

Highland Addition finished!

View from the back yardMany of you have seen my sign up along Highland Avenue, and the addition is finally finished! and, if I say so myself, looks great. Lew Hollish did a terrific and careful job building it and the owners were very patient during a difficult process. Especially in this case which involved reworking several existing rooms including the kitchen, dining and living rooms and two of the bedrooms and the bathroom!

To remind us all, we put a 14' deep addition on the back for a new kitchen and eat in area, and a mud room, as well as better access to a terrific back yard. This let us take out the old kitchen, enlarge the dining room, create a hobby area and a powder room, and renovate the living room.  Upstairs we made a new master bedroom with a wonderful window seat bump-out and large bath, a new skylight for the old bath, and a new dormer for better light and room in the old master bedroom, now a kids den. Whew!
And they built the small pergolas over the back doors I had designed! Often these small by character-giving details go by the wayside by the end of a project. These pictures are from Lew Hollish, the builder, as they finished up. Since it was the holidays, we stayed out of the way as they settled in!

Time to plan!

It is almost that time of the year again! Fall has us looking back a bit, but also looking forward in anticipation. Family, friends, what to get Uncle Bob, when do we travel, remember family and friends we haven't seen for a while, and eating too much. I prefer to think it is biological, the urge to put on a few pounds to keep the cold out. Yeah, sure. It is really the 3 cups of sugar in that pound cake! Besides, wine is good for you.

No time to think about a project! Actually, it's a great time. We are moving indoors, no urgency to build or plant so time to put some thought into it. And to get feedback from the visiting friends and family (You're doing what?!? You really oughta... We did....) It can become inclusive design process that could lead to a pretty neat design and a fun holiday experience.  And it lets the documentation and permit process be ready for spring. 

Which reminds me, a hint as you look ahead:

Hint: Improper planning. The finished project will only be as good as the design and plan. Without proper planning, unexpected problems could cause additional costs.This means planning from the start, before anything is built, not starting a project and then trying to figure it out along the way. There are too many variables involved to just “wing it”.

Call me to get together to talk about your ideas and lets put this holiday season to good use!

Cool Pneumatic Elevator

In a project a while back I spec'ed thais elevator but never got to see it. At the AIA convention earlier this year I took a ride. Very cool! (simple things please simple minds...).

It's ideal for non-wheelchair handicap access, a multi-floor row house, the 2nd level of an office etc. It only needs space for a 36" diameter tube and is less expensive than a standard elevator. This example is Signature Elevators.



Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator abutting flying bridge

Barefoot Designer

From the recent newsletter from Lisa Furey, “The Barefoot Designer", a terrific interior designer. Many of the items are better suited to high end kitchens, but can be adapted to different budgets:


My Top Ten favorite things for a kitchen...!

1. Natural light – maximize light – eliminate wall cabinets next to windows – incorporate transparent or reflective materials like glass and stainless steel into your kitchen design;

2. Comfort – soft seating, a tv, a fireplace – these all work to make your kitchen the coziest place in the house;

3. Visual texture – mix woods, countertop materials (stone, glass, recycled paper), and finishes (copper, polished nickel, crystal) to create warmth, personality and mood;

4. Stainless steel – the consummate neutral - it looks good with everything – it's never out of style – it is organic and develops a patina over the course of time;

5. Island – if your space allows, this is essential – the island will quickly become the social center of your kitchen;

6. Great sink - farm sink, trough sink or even a stone sink - add an integrated colander or sliding cutting board to increase efficiency;

7. Integrated/built-in refrigerator – these allow for tremendous design freedom when they are "dressed up" with cabinet door panels – the kitchen instantly becomes more room-like when that boxy fridge is eliminated;

8. High performance appliances – high efficiency burners and ovens with convection and self cleaning features are indispensible, as are steam ovens, built in coffeemakers and microwave drawers;

9. Hooks – over a sink (pendant light) or over an island (pot rack) – you only need one cool thing hanging from that hook to draw you into the kitchen;

10. Interior or Kitchen designer – kitchen design is complicated and constantly evolving – hiring a pro is the most valuable investment you will make!



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