Contemporary farmhouse update

August 4th, 2017 by Mary Schmelzer
The contemporary farmhouse is sided and waiting for paint. The garage is now built.

The contemporary farmhouse is sided and waiting for paint. The garage is now built.

It’s been several months of construction and things are moving along with the contemporary farmhouse from the earlier post. There are a number of updates:

3 types of insulation

3 types of insulation

Insulation has gone in. Roxul insulation is being used in the walls and fiberglass batt insulation is going in the attic. Spray-foam insulation is applied to the window headers which tend to be places that leak heat.

Custom bookshelves in the living room

Custom bookshelves in the living room

The trim around the windows and doors, the baseboards, and the custom built-ins are being installed. Above you can see the custom bookshelves in the living room, sized to tuck under the windows, are being put to good use by the builder himself. During the design phase it is easy to say, “oh, we can plan that built-in for later, or maybe we can find something ready-made.” My experience has shown that later is often much later (years and years) and rarely can a person find a piece of ready-made furniture to fit and look built in. There are a few key places in a home that it just makes sense in which to include the built-ins right away. Heavy-usage rooms such as living rooms, kitchens and baths just function better right from the beginning if the built-in storage is included during construction. It also helps with flooring, lighting and electrical planning.

Soon to come is interior and exterior painting, cabinetry and flooring. Mark Allor, the builder, has been working with the Owners to keep the project moving along and getting their regular input on decisions that remain. Stay tuned for additional updates.

Posted in All Entries, Materials, Products + Finishes, Portfolio + Projects Comments Off on Contemporary farmhouse update

Contemporary farmhouse underway

April 14th, 2017 by Mary Schmelzer
The farm-style house getting its board-and-batten siding

The farm-style house getting its board-and-batten siding

I’ve been working with an area couple who were ready for a smaller, lower-maintenance and a more- energy-efficient home. We began design work in tandem with their search for a building site. The Owners’ extensive exploration and patience paid off: they found a beautiful rural site that met their needs. In Michigan. Together we designed a home that is an appropriate scale for the site and hearkens to the agricultural area. The Owners themselves did significant research on heating/cooling systems, the building envelope and materials.

QuickTherm radiant floor system

QuickTherm radiant floor system

Part of the house has a full basemennt (for the mechanicals and for some storage) and the remainder is slab-on-grade. The Owners chose an innovative in-floor heat system, QuickTherm radiant installation panels. The panels are insulative foam, shaped with nodes between which the radiant tubes lie. Since the construction of the home began last fall, there was a need to keep the house progressing so it could be “buttoned up” against the winter weather. The ease of installation for the radiant floor system helped with the schedule.

The contemporary farmhouse on its site

The contemporary farmhouse on its site

Mark Allor, the builder, and his team worked steadily through the winter. By late winter, the form was complete. You can see in the photo above the way the house sits on the site and its volume compared to the land around it. Mark Allor Construction is from Dexter, Michigan (810-845-9084).

Now the work has moved to the inside with the heating/cooling, framing the interior walls, the plumbing and the electrical. Compared to exterior walls being set, roofing being completed or the foundation work, this is the point where homeowners may feel construction has almost halted. It is still moving on pace, and there are updates every day, they are just less noticeable than a crane setting trusses!

Stay tuned for more updates and photos as the house progresses.

Posted in All Entries, Materials, Products + Finishes, Portfolio + Projects 2 Comments »

Helping Habitat for Humanity

November 17th, 2014 by Mary Schmelzer
These kids will get their own homes this year through Habitat for Humanity

These kids will get their own homes this year through Habitat for Humanity

It is my honor and privilege to serve on the board for Rice County Habitat for Humanity, our local chapter. Through the work and generosity of many volunteers and donors, the organization has been able to build four new homes in our county this year.

Four new homes is a wonderful accomplishment in itself, but what is underlying is far more important. Four houses equals four homes for four families. Families that will be put on firmer ground for future financial success and stability. The children that live in these four houses now have a place to call their own, and the comfort that it will be theirs for the long haul. Communities also benefit from stable families in many ways.

Part of the mission statement for Habitat for Humanity is that it, “Brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.” What a great mission!

If you would like more information on what Habitat does, how you can volunteer, donate, or get involved in another way, check out the web page or call the office (507-744-2933) for more information. I would be happy to share my experiences too.

Posted in All Entries, Community Comments Off on Helping Habitat for Humanity

Home plans (“blueprints”) now on the menu!

October 29th, 2014 by Mary Schmelzer

Do you need plans (“blueprints”) for your new home?

Are you planning a new home and have a pretty good idea what you want and some ideas of how you want the house to look?

Recognizing that not all people need the same level of design service, VIVUS now offers a plan-creation service for those people who need fewer design options and less-detailed customization.

Your home will be drawn custom for you, with the layout and the look that you want, on your building site. When finished, your plans will allow you to get construction pricing, to secure a building permit, and allow you to make all the selections that will go into the finished project. We work with you to provide a home that is exciting, functional, and attuned to your budget.

Additionally, if there are rooms or details you want to be further customized (built-ins in a great room, or custom-made cabinetry and details in the kitchen) those services can be added to make your new home reflect your style and allow you to get accurate construction pricing including those more-detailed areas.

Find more information here.

Don’t know which level of service you need (home plans vs. highly customized home)? Schedule a meeting and we can help you decide which arrangement better suits your needs.

2014 blueprint graphic

Posted in All Entries, Best Practices, Portfolio + Projects Comments Off on Home plans (“blueprints”) now on the menu!

Northfield: the best US city for well-rounded retirement

October 29th, 2014 by Mary Schmelzer

Northfield has recently been named the best city in the U.S. for a well-rounded retirement, according to MONEY Magazine.

Well, now the secret is out! But what they didn’t say in the article is that it is a great town for those who belong to any age group.

Here is the article and some feedback from our local newspaper.

And here is the original article.

Whether you are contemplating a move to our area or already live here, VIVUS is available to help make your home the best retreat in your corner of the world.

Downtown Northfield's Bridge Square, (Photo courtesy of Northfield News website)

Downtown Northfield’s Bridge Square, (Photo courtesy of Northfield News website)

Posted in All Entries, Community Comments Off on Northfield: the best US city for well-rounded retirement

Laundry: all the cool kids are doing it

June 19th, 2014 by Mary Schmelzer

Have you noticed that laundry rooms are all of a sudden center-stage? There are so many accessories, furnishings and design ideas for the laundry room.

Why? I think the advent of new machines are one of the drivers. Today’s options include front-load, top-load, water-saving, high-efficiency and stackable. You only used to have to worry about selecting by capacity and features. Now too you have more color choices than white (and maybe almond). Race-car red would make wash-day an adventure. How about royal blue to make you feel regal, in command of your loyal sock-subjects?

Maybe laundry domains have become more popular because our clothes-care takes up a significant portion of our daily lives, and an organized, attractive room just takes some of the drudgery out of the chore.

Given a convenient, easy-to-use and attractive space, maybe all the kids (cool or otherwise) will be excited to be doing laundry.

Posted in All Entries, Materials, Products + Finishes Comments Off on Laundry: all the cool kids are doing it

Historic Home Addition in Northfield

November 30th, 2009 by Peter Schmelzer

Historic addition

John Tripp’s work is coming along well on East Fourth Street in Northfield. This project expands the existing kitchen and provides space for an entryway, laundry facilities, and a bathroom. The addition is on the right side, behind the pickup truck.

As with may historic renovation projects, this one had its challenges. Limited space on site, unknown existing structure capacity, existing plumbing and electrical, and the desire to add significant amenities to the home.

The small addition takes its cues from the front porch, staying low and discreet. Details from the existing home are replicated for a good fit. The final shape is the result of multiple study options of smaller additions. Kudos to our client for understanding the interior value a larger exterior addition afforded: ample dining area, efficient kitchen, and reasonable other spaces inside. This decision cost more upfront but will result in more functional space and no future remodeling to this area.

Our architectural design services can help improve your home, whether in Northfield, Lonsdale, Minneapolis, or London!

Posted in All Entries, Portfolio + Projects Comments Off on Historic Home Addition in Northfield