Happy New Year!

December 30th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

--Happy New Year!---

2005 has been good to us, and we thank our clients, consultants, friends, and families for making it so.

VIVUS Architecture + Design is now two! This year we have worked with a variety of clients on a wide range of projects in three states. Our first worship space addition in Brookings, SD has been successfully bid and will be constructed in 2006. Our first office space in an historic building is underway as I type. Residentially, we have collaborated on decks, recoloring, interiors, furniture selection, kitchen remodelings, additions, and new homes. On a larger residential scale, we have been involved in preliminary design discussions for developments in both Iowa and Minnesota.

We have also plunged deeper into making technology work for us and our clients. With the help of Joe O’leary and Michael Blaha, we launched our website. We have learned to blog and use newsreaders, and have engaged the cyberworld in dialogue about sustainable design. This year we also gained the ability to meet online, enabling spontaneous meetings across the miles.

Expanding our professional network has been fun and rewarding this year as well. We have met many good people and have enjoyed countless engaging conversations along the way.

In 2006, we will continue our focus on helping clients improve their world through design. A second goal will be to delve further into sustainable design and alternative power sources, which we believe are here to stay.

May 2006 be a year of happiness and prosperity for you and your family!

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Merry Christmas from VIVUS Architecture + Design

December 22nd, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

--Cub Scout Camp photo of an orange peeled in one piece!--

We came across this photo when we developed that roll of film that was on the counter since July. Our son took it at Cub Scout Camp this summer (Yes, that’s his toe.) Besides being an interesting composition, it holds a great message for the season.

Remember to find joy in simple gifts, which you have already received and surround you constantly. Like my son, recognize and capture special moments with your family.

His excitement with his new camera and my craft at peeling an orange captured a moment of unfettered human joy that otherwise would have been lost in the current of time. As I look into this photo, I feel the heat of the summer that dried the grass; recall the gracious shade of the tree canopy; remember the miles that toe walked; my wonder at why he was taking a picture of that; the smell of the orange; the peace of getting away. It is a gift of unexpected depth.

Blessings to you and yours this season.

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Jose Ortega y Gasset and Order

December 19th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

“Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within.”

Here’s my revision:

“Order is not pressure which is imposed on architecture, but an equilibrium which is set up from within.”

This is timely in my life; we just toured the Hougen-Eitzman residence this weekend with my brother-in-law, John. He is a residential contractor in Brainerd, Minnesota. Over beers Saturday night, we got talking about design and he asked my what I would have done differently on his last house. The primary thing I saw that was lacking was order. While I was explaining it, he said something like “So, you’ve got this box and the question is how are you going to fit everything in in…?” No. The opposite. The question is how will the form and space reflect the realities of the use of the space. In essence, architectural order is defined from the inside and it permeates the whole design. It is the designer’s task to recognize the emerging patterns, relationships, and needs, and to coallesce them into a meaningful composition.

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Gift Certificates

December 14th, 2005 by Mary Schmelzer

Are you looking for a gift that is sure to fit? Consider giving a gift certificate for a design consultation. A gift can be purchased designating a certain number of hours to be used for creating a color scheme, furniture arranging or selection, window treatments or whatever is needed. The consultation takes place on-site at a time that is convenient for the recipient.

Don’t think of Christmas only–consider a gift to reward employees, loyal customers or for a special birthday or other holiday. A gift certificate for design is also a welcome gift for a housewarming or for no reason at all!

Call or e-mail for more details!

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Edmund Burke

December 14th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

“Good order is the foundation of all things.”

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Energy-Efficiency and Mortages

December 14th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

We’ve only been blogging for a little while, but it seems that it’s time to resurrect an old post.

Ray Cox of Northfield Construction recently blogged this:

One of the questions I get a lot from customers is “If we upgrade our (furnace, insulation, doors, etc.) and lower our energy use and energy cost, will our mortgage lender give us credit for that?” I’ve never had a real good answer from any lender on that question. It would seem that if a client can build a home that will use $75 less energy per month, the resulting savings should be reflected in the client budget. Many of the energy saving features add some cost to a home, so the operational savings will pay for the up-front investment if the mortgage company factors in the energy savings.

Well, as this post from our past suggests, clients can get credit for being green.

We’re happy to share this information in the hopes of helping more homeowners become less energy-dependent. Perhaps more will step up to the plate, too.

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Hougen-Eitzman Residence nearing completion

December 9th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

Here are some shots of a recent visit to the Hougen-Eitzman residence in Nerstrand; we were blessed with sunshine and a gorgeous sky, despite the near-zero-degree temperatures. The insulation was done, so very little heat was needed to keep the drywallers warm and happy. It will be a little while until the thermal mass of the slab is warmed through, then the space should stay warm and comfortable with very little fuel.

I’ve shown some images of our computer model to give and idea what the finished house should look like on the interior, for your interest.

--Hardi Panel siding with battens--
East elevation

--Loewen windows with overhangs to let the sunshine in --
View from SW


Model view from Entry to Kitchen


Photo from Entry to Kitchen


Photo down to Great Room


Model view down to Great Room

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