Do you save money by hiring an architect?


Hiring an architect should save you time, money, minimize bumps, streamline the building process, and provide an accurate picture of what to expect well before the first shovel of dirt is turned over. I heard it again last week from a friend that decided to cut costs by not hiring an architect: “I wish I…

Custom Green Home built with luxury in mind


Thinking about building an energy efficient home? Want luxury living? They can easily be combined. Green design does not set a particular style, size, or aesthetic, it simply requires an understanding of building science. Here are more pictures of this incredible project built by Trost Custom Homes. Here are the other updates Part 1 Part 2…

Green Term Defined: Detached Garage


It all started so innocently, we became a car based society and wanted to protect our investments. So we went from parking our cars in a driveway to parking them in the carriage house at the end of the driveway. Then came the carport – an attached to your home open air structure that protected…

Get your home ready for an #energy-efficient and #healthy home this fall


Check your door and window weather-stripping. Air leakage is the biggest energy waste that we find in homes. Making sure doors and windows seal tight will make your home more comfortable this fall and winter. Keeping doors and windows locked when closed will increase the performance against winter winds. Make sure heating vents are clear…

Penn Laird Custom Home – project update – Solar Courtyard


We got some new pictures of one of our favorite projects. These show the solar system that was installed by the clients. I hear all the time that solar is ugly. I think this shows how solar can be done to look good, blend into the architecture, and provide clean energy for this home owner….

We are honored to be named the “best small architectural firm” by #USGBC members


The Gaines Group, PLC voted “Best Small Architectural Firm” in the 2014 Best of Building Award by USGBC’s 13,000 member organizations around the world. The inaugural “people’s choice” awards recognize the year’s best products, projects, organizations and individuals making an impact in green building Harrisonburg, Va. – Sept. 17, 2014 – The Gaines Group, PLC…

Solarize Harrisonburg deadline is October 31!


If you’ve ever thought about using solar power for your electricity, here’s your chance! Solarize Harrisonburg is a local, grass-roots cooperative to increase the use of solar power in Harrisonburg/Rockingham County.  Under this program, community members leverage bulk buying power to lower their installation costs.  It began at a June 2 meeting which about 100…

Construct Show Baltimore recap


The Construct Show has come and gone. It was a great event with excellent learning opportunities, networking, conversations, and sight seeing. If you can make it next year, I would encourage you to be in St. Louis! Here are some highlights from my experience this year.  

Does your apartment create a sense of community?


The design of an apartment building is not often discussed in the world of architects. Many developers use cheap materials that will not last very long, amenities are used to attract tenants, and lets face it, usually the rent is the final criteria for those selecting a place to live. However, we take a different…

Custom Home – How to get started (part 7) – Moving the dirt


Thinking of building a custom home, know the steps so you can control the process. The next step in our series is just after you sign the contract with a contractor – what happens. To catch up on this series “Custom Home – how to get started,”, part one is posted here, part two here, part three here,…

Green Term Defined: Indoor Environmental Quality


The average American spends a large amount of their time indoors in our current society (according to an EPA survey, 90% of our time is inside). This makes the Indoor Environmental Quality of your built environment critical. This is the air that you breathe, the type of light, the sounds, and the comfort you feel. Indoor…

Each day we have together is a gift


In looking back through blog posts that I wrote in the past but never posted I found this one. I wrote it to help with my sadness after losing someone in our community. It was a nice reminder to me how much each day means and how we should live life to the fullest everyday….