Thinking outside the (dumpster) box to get the Goods . . . of ReUse.

Good for your Design, Good for the Environment, and Good for the Economy. I love finding synergies between my passions for beautiful design, sustainability and helping people. To this end, today I want to share some ideas that I hope inspire more ReUse in residential architecture. Good...Read More

Beauty. . . The Unquantified Sustainable Design Strategy

With my interest in quantifying “green-ness,” which in part comes with my involvement with MN GreenStar, I find it interesting to explore the sustainable attributes of beauty in architecture. Can beauty be quantified? Most humans are hard wired to cherish and preserve those things...Read More

The Challenge of Keeping Old Cabin Charm When Remodeling

Photographer: Cheryl Koralik Cabin remodels and additions are as varied as the many existing structures at the lake or in the forrest. This creates a  plethora of client goals and constraining budgets. One frequent challenge is what to do with charming old log cabins. These structures...Read More

Minimize Old House Kitchen Costs

Kitchens are generally the most expensive room in any house.  So it may seem a bit surprising that they are typically the most remodeled.  No room has been more affected by changing notions and technology than the kitchen.  And since for most people the kitchen is the center of...Read More

What You May Not Know About Building Or Remodeling On Water Part 2

In the first installment basic information gathering was covered. I want to add a couple of possible setbacks I missed that can come into play such as wetlands, flood planes and easements. Now you are ready to begin thinking about what you can do within your zoning limitations. I thought case studies would be a good way for you to understand how the process can work. Here are two projects on Wisconsin lakes.Read More

How to Give a Brand New Cabin a Weathered 100 Year Old Look

We started with a chunk of Western Red Cedar for a project we were working on starting in 2008. One of the goals for the project was to make the house look 100 years old as soon as it was built. We heard of a product called Lifetime.  We ordered a sample and applied it to a portion of our...Read More

Cabin Colors

I’m in favor of creating a little more color in this world. Nature gives us so many great examples, the intense yellow of an Oriole, the soft pink of the lady Slipper, or the majestic blue of a flax field in bloom. A decade ago a friend asked what color her cabin front door should be as...Read More


We all click on and watch an occasional TED talk now and then. They are like popcorn when you are hungry for little inspiration. I’m most often captured by the talks given by scientists and by teachers, people who are revealing the world as it is and also as they dream it could be. On...Read More

What You May Not Know About Building or Remodeling on Water

How zoning can impact property owners planning to build. A blog series by Wayne Branum, AIA Over many years of practicing architecture in Minnesota and Wisconsin I have been surprised by how many property owners are not fully informed about the issues involved with building new or...Read More

Good Neighbors: Respecting Existing Neighborhoods When Designing Homes

Within the city, opportunities to build a new home face challenges that are often different than building in a suburban area.  The primary challenge is that vacant land is not readily available.  More often than not, a property already has a house on it that requires demolition in...Read More

Name that Style! A Contest on the Homes By Architects Tour!

In a few days I will be struggling to find the right words to explain the style of a home that I designed for an artful couple who have generously allowed us to participate in the Homes by Architects Tour this coming Saturday and Sunday. This tour is an excellent way to share what we have...Read More

Home Convenience and Livability Without Altering Scale or Charm

Sometimes just a little space can make all the difference in the way a home functions and its livability.  That was the case with a home I recently worked on that will be included in the 2013 Remodelers Showcase organized by the Builder's Association of the Twin Cities.  The home...Read More