Category Archives : Advice


Design Here & Build Anywhere

Design Here & Build Anywhere!

If you are you considering building a second home, lake home, cabin, or retirement home in location other than where you currently live then this is the article for you. There are several things you will need to consider before you can determine what the right approach is for you. You will need to consider with whom you want to design your home, how you will take into account all of the factors related to

Doehrmann Architectural Design

manning renovation exterior

How to Avoid Renovation Mistakes: Part 1

How to Avoid Renovation Mistakes: Part 1


Over the years, I have seen a lot of renovation mistakes homeowners have made and for the most part those mistakes were avoidable, but costly. People can spend thousands of dollars more than they need, not get what they want, and then what they end up with doesn’t really add value to their homes or the quality of their lives. With the right information, homeowners can avoid those mistakes and save thousands of dollars. The bottom line is your home is the most important investment you will ever make. Make sure …


Is My Project Too Small For An Architect?

Is my project too small for an architect?

The Monday after a home show always feels like I’ve run a marathon. In actuality I’ve spent three days sitting and walking around a ten by twenty foot booth. But during those three days I listen, answer questions, and explain what architects do. After answering the same questions and explaining the same process hundreds of times, my brain turns to mush!

Arden Avenue Addition Exterior

Smart Downsizing

Smart Downsizing


Your kids have graduated from college and the last of the boomerangs has found a job and finally moved into an apartment of their own. After the celebration is over you may contemplate a radical downsizing so that none of your children will attempt to reenter the womb again. But is this reaction a good idea?


Is Building Smaller Just a Matter of Preference?

Is building smaller a matter of preference or a benefit to all?


A reader recently asked if the not so big concept is just a preference or is it a real benefit to everyone who is planning to build a home. For those not familiar with this concept, it is described by author and architect Sarah Susanka in her book, The Not So Big House. “Not So Big doesn’t mean small. It means not as big as you thought you needed. But as a rule of thumb, a Not So Big House is approximately a third smaller than your original goal but about the same price as your original budget. The magic is that although the house is smaller in square footage, it actually feels much bigger.”


Is It Time To Build?

Is it time to build?


As a residential architect, people often ask what types of projects interest my clients as an indicator of the overall economy. With record number of home foreclosures and short sales, most assume any movement in the residential architecture business would be in the area of additions and renovations. However, that assumption has proven false. In a housing market that has been at its lowest in decades, interest in custom designed homes is out pacing that of additions and renovations.


Is a House a Home or an Investment?

Is a house a home or an investment?


Recently I reviewed the latest data on the rate of return for money spent on remodeling projects and began to wonder when we started to think of our homes as investments? Growing up in the 60’s I don’t remember my parents talking about the current market value of our house. In fact, if they did it was because property taxes were increasing. They never planned to sell, so current market value wasn’t something they contemplated.


How do I choose an architect?

How do I choose an architect?


When choosing an architect it is important to look at their experience, the kind of work they do, their services and fee structure. But one thing that most people don’t consider when selecting an architect is the X-factor, the personal connection.Designing a home is a very personal experience. Not only will you spend a great deal of time with your architect, you will also share the intimate details your life: how you eat, sleep, entertain, relax, and play. Yes, your architect needs to know those things to make sure your home is designed to help you live the way you want. So add some questions like these to your architectural selection criteria. Does he relate to me? Can he communicate? Does he listen? Does he hear what I am saying? Will I enjoy working with him?


Why do I need an architect?

Why do I need an architect?


As I prepare for the Midwest Home Show (Nov. 19 – 21), I wonder who will be the first to ask me, “Why do I need an architect to design my home?” It’s almost like a challenge or a dare. People walk by my booth and see photos of well designed homes. They know there is something different about these homes than most of the homes they encounter. They can’t say what it is, but they see it just the same. So they comment on how nice the homes look and then ask the question.