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Gordon Architecture Receives "Best of Houzz" Award for 2016

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Gordon Architecture Receives "Best of Houzz" Award for 2016

Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World

 February 2, 2016 – Gordon Architecture, Inc.of Wheaton, IL has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The ten year old architectural design firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community.

 “All the credit goes to the clients with whom I’ve had the good fortune to work with, and their courage and trust while tackling some rewarding projects .” 

Shawn Gordon, Gordon Architecture, Inc.

“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Gordon Architecture among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

 

Follow Gordon Architecture on Houzz here.

 

About Gordon Architecture, Inc.

Gordon Architecture, Inc. was started by Shawn Gordon in 2005 with a focus on custom residential projects of all sizes and styles, ranging from custom furniture to room remodels and additions to completely new homes.  “I  ask client’s to convey what they would like to achieve with their project in terms of not only function and daily life needs, but also what speaks to them in terms of “feel”, design details, and what most people understand to be “style””, said Shawn Gordon of Gordon Architecture, Inc..  “It’s always my goal to then go back and work towards doing what they want, and doing it well, with an eye on the project budget.”

 

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin and Sydney. For more information, visit www.houzz.com

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Gordon Architecture Receives “Best of Houzz 2015″ Award

Gordon Architecture Receives “Best of Houzz 2015″ Award

January 27, 2015 – Gordon Architecture, Inc.of Wheaton, ILhas been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The nine year old architectural design firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

Gordon Architecture Cited in Home Design Article

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Gordon Architecture Cited in Home Design Article

Gordon Architecture of Wheaton, IL Cited in

Home Design Article:  Secrets of Great Design:

Tips from the pros for making the most

of your new home or remodeling project.

by Lisa Sloan

 

 

Wheaton, IL  —  September 24, 2013 – Gordon Architecture, Inc. of Wheaton, IL has been cited in a home design article published this month in the Home & Garden section of the West Suburban Living Magazine.  The principal of the eight year old architecture and design firm was interviewed by journalist Lisa Sloan for her article on how to make the most of your new home design or remodeling project.

 

To read the online version of the article, please click here.

 

About the Home & Garden Section and the Author

The Home & Garden section of the West Suburban Living Magazine is a monthly section devoted to home design and residential real estate.  Lisa Sloan is a free-lance writer and editor living in the western suburbs of Chicago.  Her work has been published in numerous publications and extensively in West Suburban Living Magazine.

 

About Gordon Architecture, Inc.

Gordon Architecture, Inc. was started by Shawn Gordon in 2005 with a focus on custom residential projects of all sizes and styles, ranging from custom furniture to room remodels and additions to completely new homes.  “I  ask client’s to convey what they would like to achieve with their project in terms of not only function and daily life needs, but also what speaks to them in terms of “feel”, design details, and what most people understand to be “style”, said Shawn Gordon of Gordon Architecture, Inc..  “It’s always my goal to then go back and work towards doing what they want, and doing it well.”

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A Great Tool for Understanding Home Remodeling Costs

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A Great Tool for Understanding Home Remodeling Costs

One of the first, and often the stickiest, question that comes to mind when you’re considering whether to take on any home project is….

littlemoney.jpg

“Will it take a little money or big money!?”

 

As a follow up to the previous post titled, “Kitchen and Bath Remodeling:  What Does it Cost?” I wanted to again point you towards a great tool that the staff at Houzz.com has put together.  In order to see and use the tool, it appears that you must have a Houzz account and be logged in.  At the home page look for the “Try the Real Cost Finder” badge at the top of the page near “What Do You Want to Do on Houzz Today”.  Click on the box and you’ll be directed to the Cost Finder.

The data you’ll find in the Cost Finder is derived from a survey of more than 100,000 members of the Houzz community.  This community includes homeowners, design professionals, and construction professionals.  The costs provided are from actual built projects, not estimated project costs, and if you’ve ever taken on a project – you know the difference.  As an example reported by Liza Hausman at a recent presentation I attended on the survey, 41% of Chicago remodeling projects went over their intended budget!  This is why it’s always good to plan for and set aside a “contingency” in your project budget – save a portion for for changes and surprises along the way.

What Does the Cost Finder Do?

  • Allow you to select the project type ranging from Whole House Remodel or Custom Home – to Bath or Kitchen Remodel – to Room Decor and Furnishing.
  • Tailor your cost results to include information from either a city region (and/or zip code) or a larger state region.
  • Gives you a Lower/Middle/Top Third tier of costs for the given project type you’ve selected along with the associated Average Cost.
  • For each project type and location you specify, the Finder also provides some key comparison information on the demographics of those who have completed such projects.  These include:  the percentage who hired a professional for their project, the average home value, and the average household income.
  • An infographic styled map indicating relative costs for the same project at locations across the country.
  • Associated links to design guides and professionals to help you with your considered project.

What Doesn’t the Cost Finder Do?

  • Segregate the cost data relative to design style.
  • Link project costs to particular square foot cost averages for the project type.

These should not be understood as drawbacks to the Cost Finder however.  This tool is an excellent resource and guide used to set preliminary expectations and budgets for any home project you may be considering.  Use this to find a “ballpark” range for your project and discuss it further with your design/building team early in the design process.

It also bears repeating that it’s important to remember that project cost will always be affected by both the project’s quantity and the project’s quality.  In other words, the amount of square feet and the selection of good/better/best materials and finishes will come to bear on the project cost.  Decisions made throughout the design and construction process will need to be made in this light.

Check out this tool!  Thanks to the Houzz team for once again providing indispensable information for those considering home remodeling or a custom designed home…..

Contact gordon architecture when you’re ready to explore options!

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Five Low-Cost / Big Impact Details to Consider for Your Master Closet

Five Low-Cost / Big Impact Details to Consider for Your Master Closet

Five Low-Cost / Big Impact Details to Consider for Your Master Closet

Detail 1:

closetdetail1.jpg

Add a strip of continuous LED lighting to the shelf directly above your hanging clothes for some additional indirect lighting in the space.  If planned for, this is a really easy way to turn your everyday closet into something much more special.  This type of lighting will both help make the room feel bigger as it lights the far reaches of the back walls, and provide some useful light exactly where you need it.  The LED systems are nice also because they are low voltage, use very little energy, and do not get exceedingly hot while on.  Another nice feature is that you can get a dimmer to pair with the transformer powering the lights.  Bear in mind that the transformer(and a power outlet feeding it) will need to be hidden somewhere near the end of the lighting run however.  And be sure to get the “warm white” color temperature option, which will keep the light from looking cold.

Detail 2:

Add a pull-out belt holder to the side of the closet cabinetry stiles where it can inconspicuously pushed back out of site after you get your belt.  This makes good use of the space between the stile and the first hanging clothes item, and keeps your belts off of a wall elsewhere, reducing the visual clutter in your closet.

Detail 3:

Add a pull-out tie holder to the side of the closet cabinetry stiles where it can not so conspicuously be pushed back after you get your tie.  See Detail 2 above for further similar discussion on visual clutter.  This one from Hafele has a nice feature that tilts the tie hangers back such that the ties face out for easy viewing and selection.

Detail 4:

Add a pull-out rod for each member of the family using the closet.  Again, this can be anchored to a cabinetry stile where it wall not be readily visible when not in use.  This is a very helpful item if you like to pick out your outfit for the next morning when you know you won’t get your coffee before getting dressed for the day!

Detail 5:

Have a wall-mounted panel made to match your cabinetry or use the back of a door for mounting a baseball cap storage system.  This one is from “CapRack” and is a system of adjustable clips mounted to a vertical cord.  Each clip can hold two hats and has the added benefits of making it easier to find just the right hat for the occasion while it holds your hats in good shape.

So, what other closet details do you have on your wishlist or in your closet?  Let me know by submitting a comment in the form below.

Gordon Architecture Cited in Chicago Tribune Home Design Article

Gordon Architecture Cited in Chicago Tribune Home Design Article

Gordon Architecture of Wheaton, IL Cited in Home

Design Article:  “Small Space? No Biggie – Smart, efficient

designs make every square inch count” by Kari Richardson

 

 

Wheaton, IL  —  February 1, 2013 – Gordon Architecture, Inc. of Wheaton, IL has been cited in a home design article published today in the Chicago Homes section of the Chicago Tribune.  The principal of the seven year old architecture and design firm was interviewed by journalist Kari Richardson for her article on how to make the most of small spaces in the home.

 

To read the online version of the article, please click here.

 

About the Chicago Homes Section and the Author

The Chicago Homes section of the Chicago Tribune is a weekly section devoted to home design and residential real estate.  Kari Richardson is a free-lance writer and editor living in the western suburbs of Chicago.  Her work has been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Home + Garden, Wisconsin Trails, Working Mother, Chicagoland Gardening, Chicago Parent, Midwest Living, the Chronicle of Higher Education and many other publications.

 

About Gordon Architecture, Inc.

Gordon Architecture, Inc. was started by Shawn Gordon in 2005 with a focus on custom residential projects of all sizes and styles, ranging from custom furniture to room remodels and additions to completely new homes.  “I  ask client’s to convey what they would like to achieve with their project in terms of not only function and daily life needs, but also what speaks to them in terms of “feel”, design details, and what most people understand to be “style””, said Shawn Gordon of Gordon Architecture, Inc..  “It’s always my goal to then go back and work towards doing what they want, and doing it well.”

We Shape our Dwellings...

We Shape our Dwellings...

I stumbled across this quote today – it really resonates with me:

“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.”

-Winston Churchill

So you ask – why do you show a doorknob with this quote from a cultural heavyweight?  I show this because I know this knob was selected by a client in a very meaningful and purposeful way.  The “stuff” around us can resonate with our memory and lives in very intricate ways.  I love this about what I do.

 

What resonates with you in you’re home?

Do I Have Drawings of My House?

Do I Have Drawings of My House?

Do I Have Drawings of My House?

(and…What if I Don’t!)

As you start to think about that transformational remodel or addition to your home, one of the first questions that comes up is:  “Do I have drawings of my house?”  When you bought your house, you probably recall getting a copy of the Plat of Survey as a part of the purchase process.  This is a drawing describing the overall size of your lot, your house, any accessory buildings on your property, etc.- along with a legal description of your property.  This drawing is very helpful and will be needed for a permit submittal package should you plan to do an addition of any kind.  However, this does not provide any information describing the interior layout and construction of the house itself and it’s structure or utility systems.  Fear not – there are options to be considered in order to get you started:

1 –  Think back to when you purchased your house and try to remember if the previous owner provided copies of drawings(blueprints) of the house.  These may have been for the original construction, depending on the age of your home, or for an addition or remodel that a previous owner(s) undertook.  You probably stashed them somewhere in your crawl space storage area thinking you wouldn’t need them – go look for them there.

2-  As the current owner of your home, you can contact your local city or village government to request copies of previous construction permit submittal drawings on file.  In order to initiate and access these, you will likely need to complete a Freedom of Information Act form and submit it to the city clerk(check with your City Hall).  Some local governments even have this form/application available online to be submitted electronically.  You will need to specify that you’d like to locate any submitted drawings and specifications for construction at your home.  You should hear back in about a week.  Expect that there may be some nominal charges for printing/copies of large sheets if they are available.

3-  And finally, if neither of the above “pans out”, all is not lost.  Your architect can measure and draw your house to the extent that is required as a part of the first step of the design process.  With a little sleuthing, exploration, and consideration of the age of your house, the structural bones can be ascertained.  In some cases, the drawings found from options one and two above provide information insufficient to fully document what is needed for your project.  However, any information is helpful and will save some time in putting together these measured drawings.

Now, as you move through designing and building your project, keep a set of the drawings and mark it up showing locations of key utility routes and/or ductwork that will not be visible when the project is done.  Someday you(and your architect) will be very glad you did!

Getting Your Project Designed and Built (Pt. 4)

Getting Your Project Designed and Built (Pt. 4)

Translation: From Drawings to Built Reality

After a contract between the contractor(s) and the owner is penned and the required permits are secured, construction can begin.

At this time, the “reigns” are handed over to the contractors on the job who go to work making the project take shape.  Your architect will be available for you throughout construction in order to aid the contractor in the successful translation of your project from drawings to finished space.  In all projects, there are situations that arise where interpretations of the documents will be required and/or changes may need to be made.  We will recommend and help administer any appropriate adjustments required to maintain the quality, economy, and the design integrity of your project.  We believe it is in the best interest of the construction project to build with the involvement of all parties to the project – owner, architect and contractor.  In every phase of the process, but particularly in this one, the benefits of timely and complete communication between all parties will be exponential.

While the scope of many residential projects may not warrant them, an architect can perform the following services throughout the construction phase of the project as required or needed:  periodically observe the progress and quality of the work, determine in general if the work is being performed in a manner that will be in accordance with the construction drawings when complete, respond to questions by phone or fax from the contractor, provide supplemental drawings as required, review shop drawings of project details submitted by the contractor, generate and distribute clarifications and minor changes to the construction drawings, assist consultants with construction administration duties, keep records of communications, review proposed changes to the construction drawings, coordinate owner provided items with construction, and generate project closeout documentation.  A menu of construction administration services will be reviewed with you at the beginning of the project to determine what is right for you and your project.

The truth is, that the construction process can bring moments of anxiety as well as excitement and exhilaration.  Your architect and builder have been through the process many times before and can help you manage it from start to finish.  The ultimate goal at gordon architecture inc. is to make the entire design and construction process a smooth one for you, which results in a project that is tailored specifically to you.

For a collection of video interviews that provide another take on this phase and the design process as a whole, check out the American Institute of Architects(AIA) page on How Design Works for You.

Getting Your Project Designed and Built (Pt. 3)

Getting Your Project Designed and Built (Pt. 3)

Preparing for Permit Review, Final Pricing and Construction

The next step in the process is to move the drawings to state of detail sufficient to both gain a building permit and get it built….while meeting your expectations in terms of level of finish.

Sample construction drawing plan.

In this phase, decisions made in the previous phase are further refined, coordinated and detailed in the drawings by your architect.  All final decisions regarding interior and exterior finishes, structural systems, means of keeping the water out, insulation systems, heating/ventilation/cooling systems, window types and finishes, lighting systems, electrical layout, etc. will be determined in this phase.  This phase is primarily worked through by your architect who may need occasional input from you and your builder to confirm coordination of the specific items.

Construction Drawings include all the drawings and specifications that describe your project as we have envisioned it, and depending on the scope of your project will likely include plans, elevations, sections, material specifications, and detail drawings.  These documents are a detailed culmination of all of the decisions made prior in the process and will serve as our tools to communicate your project to the contractors and local plan review authorities.

The drawings and specifications aim for efficiency in communication, comprehensiveness, and quality.  All of these goals lead us to fewer construction issues and delays, no key aspects of your project being left unaddressed, as well as a guard against inflated construction costs due to lack of information on the drawings during final pricing.

Sample construction drawing elevation.

While the construction documents will describe your finished project in a detailed manner, it is important to also understand that they are not intended to be a complete set of instructions on how to construct your project.  Construction means, methods, techniques, sequences, procedures, and site safety precautions are responsibilities of the contractor doing the construction work.  Further, construction drawings are human artifice.  As such, a perfect set of construction drawings has not ever been produced, and some changes during construction should reasonably be expected.

With the completed Construction Drawings, your contractor can confirm project pricing previously provided and local authorities can review it for a building permit.  With both of these reviews secured, it’s on to the task of getting your project built.

For a collection of video interviews that provide another take on this phase and the design process as a whole, check out the American Institute of Architects(AIA) page on How Design Works for You.

Getting Your Project Designed and Built (Pt. 2)

Getting Your Project Designed and Built (Pt. 2)

Exploring Ideas on Paper Through Drawing

Sample plan sketch drawing.

After the project is defined as thoroughly as possible in Programming, various options can be generated and explored.  This is typically done through rough sketch drawings and then preliminary measured drawings called schematic design drawings.  For most projects, more than one option will be available and pursued with you in order to determine the merits and challenges posed by each.  And in most cases, after review and continued dialogue, aspects of each option will be melded into a new one that balances trade-offs presented with each design option.

The schematic drawings can include plan drawings, elevation drawings and three-dimensional sketch studies(either drawings or model) that show site relationships, spatial/functional relationships, form/light relationships, and the overall design intent for your review and response.  In this Phase, there is typically two meetings required:  one for a preliminary review and discussion, and then another to review the revised final scheme with discussion on more details.  It’s important to understand that this process is most efficient when it work from the general and towards the specific.  Big moves and changes should be determined early on, as changes further along the design process tend to impact a larger number of details.

As a part of the review and analysis of the schematic drawings, a preliminary analysis of probable costs will be developed.  The probable cost can initially be very general and based on gross areas of new work and/or remodeled areas.  However, as soon as possible, it’s best to have the contractor(s) review the schematic drawings for preliminary pricing after a drawing “walk-through” meeting.  With the preliminary pricing information in hand, adjustments can(and in most cases will) be made to the project drawings while they are still not fully detailed.  It’s also always a good idea to include a contingency line item in the pricing.  A contingency sets aside a certain percentage of the project cost to cover changes made further along in the process as a result of any change made- ranging from changing a sub-contractor, to changing a tile selection, to uncovering an unknown layer of floor tile that must be removed during construction, etc.

Sample measured schematic plan – in progress.

It’s worth repeating, if there are large-scale changes to be made, the Schematic Design Phase is the time to do it.  The architect and the owner must make every effort to assure that the schematic drawings capture the design intent of the project.  It is much easier to change lines on a preliminary drawing than it is to change a detailed drawing or a poured concrete foundation.  That said, real life happens, and changes will and can occur throughout the design process.  However, it is much more cost efficient to minimize changes late in the design and construction process.

At the end of the Schematic Design Phase, we should have measured and scalable drawings that capture the scope of the project and reflect real world pricing that fits the project budget.  Now it’s time to get down to “brass tacks”.

For a collection of video interviews that provide another take on this phase and the design process as a whole, check out the American Institute of Architects(AIA) page on How Design Works for You.

Getting Your Project Designed and Built(Pt. 1 of 4)

Getting Your Project Designed and Built(Pt. 1 of 4)

Defining the project’s facts, needs, wants, and wishes.

The first phase is primarily a task of information gathering, list making, and schedule sketching, all sprinkled with a little “soul searching”.  The biggest opportunity this phase presents is to have your needs and dreams explored.  Accordingly, it is critical that you communicate as much as you can about your preferences, dislikes, tastes, wishes and vitally important design concepts as they relate to your project.

This task can be approached in various ways.  One method is to gather images from magazines and books describing the character envisioned for the project.  Other methods include: making lists, writing a “daily diary” for a week noting positives and negatives about current spaces you live in or have seen, writing an honest assessment of your current space use, writing a list of specific daily activities noting where your current surroundings may or may not meet your needs, and describing an ideal image of your desired home/space.  As the saying goes, “an image is worth a thousand words”, and any collection of images that help you communicate what you would like to see in your project is priceless.

The more you can tell your architect about what you must have or need, what you’d really like and what you would classify as a wish, the better your architect can translate these to a successful solution(that meet’s your budget).  Beyond listing spaces, features, schedule, budget, energy efficiency or other goals, it’s important to gain an understanding of why these aspects and details have been listed.  We can help you in this process with questions, but primarily we will focus on listening to you and returning a summary to be sure “we’re on the same page”.

Working in parallel to the above, we will also be reviewing and determining the following(each with respect given to the other):  the suitability of the site/site constraints, a local building code review, the project schedule, and the project budget.

Additional tasks may be required of you(the owner) and others in this phase depending on the scope of your project(ie. room addition or new home).  These tasks may include the generation of a site/topographical plat of survey with legal description and a soils report, each as they may be required.  Your architect can help you determine what will be required and help you engage a surveying company or engineer.  A soils report will provide the specific data required to design any proposed new foundation as well as note the presence of unknown underground water conditions.

Finally, if your project is an addition or remodel, your architect will need to document your existing home to the extent required by the project.  Documentation includes taking photographs and measurements as required for generating measured drawings of existing construction from which to work from in the following design phases.

So by now your probably thinking to yourself “Wow – sounds like a lot of work – do we really need to do all that?!”  For most residential projects, the Programming process typically occurs quickly as most clients have been thinking about a project for quite some time and have often settled into some preliminary inclinations on needs, wants, wishes.  With that said, it’s important not to diminish the weight of this opportunity to set your project on the right trajectory.

A little time spent upfront planning and communicating always pays off down the road when the project is set in stone, concrete, and wood.  Next step in the process – exploring options on paper.

For a collection of video interviews that provide another take on this phase and the design process as a whole, check out the American Institute of Architects(AIA) page on How Design Works for You.