3 11 12 14
On the Cover Feature
When this California kitchen was Back to Basics for Kitchen Makeovers . . 8
remodeled to include a separate small sink Bathroom Space at a Premium. . . . . . 11
for children at one end, the result was a
space that not only functioned better but
was also more inclusive of the youngest
Business Track:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
family members. Photo by Caroline Loisos.
Nowhere to Go but Up
Techno-Log: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Notes A Model of Efficiency
From the Executive
Director’s Desk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 For the Greener Good: . . . . . . . . 12
The Path to Becoming Certifiably Green
Fine Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Designer Houses in Progress
Design Lines text and cover pages are printed using SFI-certified Anthem paper using soy ink.
• SFI-certified products come from North American forests managed to rigorous environmental standards.
• SFI standards conserve biodiversity and protect soil and water quality, as well as wildlife habitats.
• SFI forests are audited by independent experts to ensure proper adherence to the SFI standard.
• SFI participants also plant more than 650 million trees each year to keep these forests thriving.
From the Executive Director’s Desk
Prospering in an
Online Networking Age
Recently, I attended a breakfast hosted by the American Society of
Association Executives, which cited online social networking among
organizations as a trend that is here to stay. Mike Morris, editor-in-
chief of Professional Remodeler magazine, also sees the use of social
networking tools like YouTube on the rise. I mention these two
observations because creative uses of e-media may play a bigger role
The American Institute of Building Design Executive Director
in the prosperity of AIBD and its members than we realize. 7059 Blair Road NW, Suite 201 Steve Mickley
Washington, DC 20012 firstname.lastname@example.org
These are difficult times for designers, as the findings of our latest Fax: 202.249.2473
economic survey reveal (see “Nowhere to Go but Up,” page 3), www.aibd.org
but one figure especially stands out: 51% of AIBD members who
participated in the survey tell us that all of their new contracts in
2009 came from referrals or, to put it another way, networking. Design Lines Editorial Board AIBD Executive Committee
Many designers are attracting clients online by improving their Dan Sater Salvatore “Sam” Liberti, CPBD
websites or participating in a variety of social networking sites. External Vice President
Members Dan F Sater II, CPBD
Networking online makes a lot of sense because we know that the David Harris Secretary/Treasurer
David Pillsbury Viki Wooster, CPBD
Internet is where many clients go to find a stock house plan or a Jim Madsen Central District Director
designer for their remodeling or custom home project. To raise the Tim Bricker Alan Kent, CPBD
profile of our members online, AIBD is in the process of designing Wendi Munsey Eastern District Director
Bob Morales Paul R. Cole, CPBD
a consumer section for its website, where potential clients could be
Immediate Past President
linked with AIBD members. As for you Twitterers, you can follow Gordon N. Hoehle, CPBD
AIBD at www.Twitter.com/AIBD_national or me personally at
www.Twitter.com/stevemickley. Published by
Prosperity for AIBD and its members is really a two-way street. Just The YGS Group
1808 Colonial Village Lane
Advertising Sales Manager
as we can help you attract clients online, you can help refer potential Lancaster, PA 17601 email@example.com
717-399-1900 | www.theYGSgroup.com
new members to us. Over the past nine months, 66% of new members Advertising Sales Representative
Senior Vice President, Advertising Stephanie Bunsick
named other AIBD members as their sponsors. Even though many Susan Steeley Welter firstname.lastname@example.org
of those new recruits were initially contacted through national Editor
Vice President of Creative Services Catherine Siskos
marketing efforts, it took the personal connection and follow-up Jack Davidson email@example.com
from AIBD members locally to turn their inquiries into full-fledged Graphic Designer
General Manager Nancy Fureman
memberships. In addition, we plan to kick off a year-long membership Dana Warfel firstname.lastname@example.org
drive at the 2009 annual convention in Portland, Ore., July 8-11. Marketing Director
I am encouraged that the networking efforts of our members
individually and our organization as a whole will pay dividends
because we are positioning ourselves perfectly for when the economy Design Lines is published quarterly by the American Institute of Building
Design. Opinions expressed are those of the authors or persons quoted and are
improves…and it always does. h not necessarily those of the AIBD.
AIBD Executive Director
2 AIBD DESIGN LINES | SUMMER 2009
Nowhere to Go but Up
As designers around the country report slow sales, an old marketing strategy resurfaces with a new twist
By Steve Mickley
Remember the Pet Rock? A hugely successful product, if first quarter and 8% had none at all. In the South and
you want to call it that, invented by a construction worker Northeast, the numbers reporting fewer contracts are
in southern California. His company was appropriately 72% and 57%, respectively.
named Rock Bottom Productions. When you called
The Northeast still leads the nation for getting new
their offices, the perky receptionist answered the phone,
contracts but not nearly as strongly as before. This year,
“Hello, you have reached Rock Bottom!”
18% of the region’s members reported seeing an increase
Too bad the pundits, as of press time, weren’t ready to in contracts during the first quarter compared to 43%
say that about the economy’s housing sector, and as the who said so a year ago. “Business this year is about
results of our latest membership survey reveal, many as bad as I can remember it in the last 40 years,” says
designers would agree. A year ago, the AIBD national AIBD Connecticut Society president Thomas Schmelter.
office surveyed the membership about the effect the “Housing starts in New England are down almost 50%
economy was having on their businesses. This year, I from last year, and that was already a very bad year.”
asked the same questions again along with some new
There are still more new contracts for remodeling projects
ones to discover how members are attracting clients,
and additions than for new custom houses or stock home
and 198 people responded, 18% more than last year. The
plans. Of the survey’s respondents, nearly 20% reported
results indicate, that while we haven’t hit the proverbial
an increase in the number of remodeling contracts
brick wall, there is a sliver of hope. Even Federal Reserve
compared to 15% who saw increased demand for custom
chairman Ben Bernanke sees signs that the economy’s
home designs. Once again, the Northeast posted the best
decline has slowed down and is more optimistic that the results, with 33% of the region’s membership reporting
recession could end as early as this year. Most striking are new contracts for remodeling or additions. Sales of stock
the findings that the marketing methods used by many home plans, however, continue to decline nationally, with
AIBD members for decades are still the most effective 65% of those designers having absolutely no sales in the
way to generate business now.
First, the Figures
Like last year, there are pockets of activity but also
places where the numbers are grim. Nationally, 14% of
the membership saw an increase in the number of new
contracts during the first quarter of this year compared to
the previous quarter; about 15% said sales stayed roughly
the same; 58% got fewer new projects and 12% haven’t
received a new commission for at least three months.
Broken down by region, the Midwest continues to be
the hardest hit, with 76% of its members reporting they
had fewer contracts during the first quarter and an
alarming 17% reporting no contracts whatsoever. But R.
L. Pfotenhauer in Toledo, Ohio, is optimistic and writes,
“I am 68 years old. This is not my first rodeo; patience,
grasshopper!” Designers are also in survival mode in
the West, where 73% had fewer contracts during the Many new contracts are for remodeling projects or additions.
www.aibd.org | An official publication of the American Institute of Building Design 3
first three months of this year. The region hit the worst Three Words: Network, Network, Network
is the West, where 83% of the members said they had not Despite these bleak reports, there are design contracts
sold a stock plan in the first quarter. getting signed, so how are designers attracting clients?
Even though slightly more than half of respondents said
Show Me the Money
they had changed their marketing techniques in the past
When asked how their clients obtained financing for
twelve months, those efforts didn’t yield better results
projects, 39% of the respondents said their clients paid
compared to designers who kept their marketing strategy
cash, borrowed against equity or had private loans. A
the same. In both groups, 15% said they saw an increase in
third reported that some projects were bank-financed
business. That may be because both groups relied heavily
in addition to large down payments of 20% or more.
on the same tried-and-true method for attracting clients:
Almost 8% of respondents reported having projects on
word-of-mouth referrals, which accounted for 51% of the
hold because they were awaiting a lender’s approval, and
respondents’ contracts. As a distant second, 17% used
37% said they don’t poll their clients about financing.
direct marketing and calling contacts to generate business
David DiSpirito in Gloucester, Va., has found a nice niche
while 16% attributed their new contracts to websites, 8% to
and writes: “Most of my clients are retirees or are in a
print advertising and 2% to job site signs. Jennifer Pippin,
financial position where financing is not a problem.”
a designer in Sherrills Ford, N.C., gives talks on green
The most disturbing news coming from the residential building design to attract new clients.
design industry is the reduced number of advance sales.
Some designers are getting word-of-mouth referrals
Only 4% of members nationally reported having enough
using a new twist: technology. Designer Everett Pollard
work for at least the next six months compared to 13%
in Sunapee, N.H., doesn’t wait for former clients to pass
who had that much work lined up last year. An alarming
his name on but instead uses buzz marketing. The catchy
68% stated they currently had less than one month’s work
phrase means getting referrals by having other people talk
sold in advance, a figure that has more than doubled
about your work, usually online. Pollard generates buzz
in the past 12 months. As a result, many design firms
about his business by plugging his design firm’s website
have laid off employees. “I am down from a very busy
office with a staff of eight to working alone,” writes Andy on blogs, social networks like Facebook and YouTube,
Cosgrove in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Currently, I know as press releases and electronic newsletters. He credits the
many unemployed designers as I do employed ones.” idea to two books: Creating Customer Evangelists: How
Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force by Ben
McConnell and Jackie Huba and Buzzmarketing: Get
People to Talk About Your Stuff by Mark Hughes.
In addition, Pollard’s firm raises its profile by performing
volunteer community services such as helping to build
a pedestrian bridge and welcome center, serving on
local planning boards and staying active in community
organizations. Other potential marketing opportunities
include competing in award programs and participating
in your local chapters of the National Association of
Home Builders, the International Code Council and
the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
Lastly, Pollard recommends having your projects
professionally photographed. “It is a must for your office
wall, award submissions, website, brochures and press
Some designers use buzz marketing on social networks like Facebook to
drum up clients releases,” he says. h
4 AIBD DESIGN LINES | SUMMER 2009
A Model of Efficiency
Building information modeling is changing the design business for the better
By Adrian Tait
Designers are adaptive. We adapt to different clients,
sites and builders as well as fluctuating economic
conditions, market trends and climates. Most of all,
as part of the design and construction of any home,
we must keep pace with the steady stream of changes
that multiple parties often bombard us with over a
Increasingly, the way to keep track of all those changes
is to use building information modeling software. BIM
produces a three-dimensional digital representation
of a building from design to construction and beyond.
The software is set up so that everyone involved in
the project—designers, architects, engineers, building
officials and contractors—can share real-time data and
test the design by building or remodeling it in the virtual
world first. As a result, trouble spots are identified long
before the building breaks ground, and better decisions
can be made for maintaining or improving the structure
over its lifetime. The software is considered so efficient
that a 2008 survey by McGraw Hill Construction found Three-dimensional modeling helped designers see how sunlight would move
that more than 50% of building professionals use BIM across this house, which will be built using modified shipping containers.
for many of their projects, with architects the heaviest
users. That number is expected to grow and include productive. If the learning curve gets too steep as
deadlines near, the designer can switch back to more
many designers over time.
It’s not hard to imagine a day when As a design tool, most BIM programs work by creating
one three-dimensional model that is used to generate
homeowners with a malfunctioning floor plans, elevations and schedules. As a result,
furnace pull up the owner’s manual the effects of a single design change—for instance,
substituting a picture window with a casement window—
from the database and use BIM to can be assessed instantly not only on two-dimensional
identify the problem and make repairs. drawings like the elevation and floor plan but in a
three-dimensional virtual tour that clients can take
of the room with the new window.
Tools for Every Project Stage
For design firms of any size, the software has the The software also simplifies the documentation of that
potential to reshape every facet of their business because window so that designers might never again run afoul of
there are BIM tools for a variety of purposes. Designers Murphy’s Law of Building in which the contractor always
can adopt the software in stages, learning as many of looks for more detailed information on the one page of
the tools as they can manage while still remaining the drawings that the designer forgot to change. With
www.aibd.org | An official publication of the American Institute of Building Design 5
BIM, the designer doesn’t have to spend time checking
that a change is shown on all the drawings. Altering the
window’s design on one of the drawings automatically
changes it for all of them.
Because the software acts as a project database, all sorts
of information including construction costs, thermal
performance, manufacturer specifications, building
materials and maintenance schedules are at a designer’s
fingertips. That means BIM can enhance the services
designers provide their clients and streamline the
design process. Along with typical construction
documents, designers can use the software to extract
additional information about finishes, architectural
details or energy efficiency. Built-in data about the
Adrian Tait amount and type of building materials required for
To speed up the design process, clients can tour the house virtually to see
how different finishes, materials or architectural features will look as well
as compare their costs.
6 AIBD DESIGN LINES | SUMMER 2009
the design make it easier to calculate costs and give
accurate estimates without having to manually count
items or enter data on a spreadsheet. So if a window
style is changed, designers and their clients can evaluate
the effects on the bottom line instantly by factoring in Everything Design Professionals need
potential energy savings to overall construction costs.
in Building Information Modeling
Eventually, BIM has the potential to affect users who
aren’t even building professionals. It isn’t hard to
imagine a day, for instance, when homeowners with a
malfunctioning furnace pull up the owner’s manual from 3D Presentations
the database and use BIM to identify the problem and
make repairs. The software could even help save lives by
enabling firefighters to locate hydrants and entrances of Material Takeoffs
a burning house before arriving on the scene. Interior Design
The Software in Action Landscape and Terrain
My own firm, GreenMan Studios, specializes in And more!
affordable green design and used BIM recently to design
a three-bedroom contemporary mountain home using
modified shipping containers known as intermodal steel
building units. The house will be built according to the
American National Standards Institute’s new guidelines
for green building.
Because the standards are new, BIM helped keep 30-DAY FREE TRIAL
everyone on the team clear about how to design the Experience the power of
house so that it would meet the institute’s requirements Envisioneer with our free
for certification. Early on, the three-dimensional trial download at:
modeling showed us how sunlight will move across www.cadsoft.com
the building, penetrate interior spaces and overheat
unprotected window areas, a problem we were able
to address straight away thanks to the software. Later,
we used BIM to track and evaluate multiple bids
from subcontractors and suppliers to keep the project
on budget. When I met with my client, the three-
dimensional model helped us resolve design changes
in one meeting, a process that ordinarily takes weeks.
As for my client, she was thrilled to walk through the
virtual house and see how her new green home will
look when it is built. h
Adrian Tait owns GreenMan Studios, a green design firm
in Boone, N.C., and recently passed his LEED AP exam.
He is currently at work designing carbon neutral homes email@example.com | 1.888.CADSOFT
www.aibd.org | An official publication of the American Institute of Building Design 7
The worst housing market
since the Great Depression
has an upside for designers:
Homeowners are more inclined
to stay put and improve what
they already have. Often, that
means updating an old kitchen
to make it more attractive
Even in these tough times, homeowners are
amply rewarded for those efforts. A 2008
study by Remodeling magazine found that
homeowners were able to recoup 76% of the
cost (about $56,600 on average) of a major
kitchen renovation and 71% of an upscale
kitchen makeover that cost nearly $111,000
on average to redo.
Despite those returns, many consumers are
scaling back their remodeling plans, but they’re
looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing
“the bones of the kitchen, which remain the
same,” says AIBD designer Jim Madsen of Design
Classics in Turlock, Calif., who is also certified by
the National Kitchen & Bath Association. That
skeleton typically consists of a more open floor
plan with better lighting, multiple work zones
and a kitchen island that keeps children and
guests out of the way. Homeowners, though, are
rethinking high-end appliances and countertops
and whenever possible prefer to work within the
kitchen’s existing footprint rather than pursue
costly structural changes. Because the recession
Above right: This kid-friendly kitchen has a separate sink for
children and an island that keeps them out of harm’s way.
Right: When the kitchen expanded outward eight feet, the sink,
which never moved, went from an outside wall to an island
with countertops made of closely fitted tiles, an affordable
alternative to granite.
8 AIBD DESIGN LINES | SUMMER 2009
Back to Basics for
In hard times, high-end kitchens are giving way to clever, cost-cutting designs
By Catherine Siskos
is altering the way people shop, storage space is changing
to include supplies bought in bulk. Mostly, homeowners
want to resolve the existing kitchen’s most vexing
constraints with clever innovative approaches tailored
for their family’s needs.
A creative individualized approach was critical in two
remodeling projects where the sink’s placement was
pivotal to the design. When Caroline Loisos was asked
to update a 1960s kitchen for her clients last year, the
problem wasn’t a lack of space but the need to reconfigure
it. With three young children and two full-time jobs outside
the home, “the clients wanted a kitchen where the kids
could be part of the activity but stay out of harm’s way,”
says Loisos of Loisos Design in Encinitas, Calif.
So Loisos designed a U-shaped kitchen and added a long
central island as a protective barrier. To the left of the
upside-down U was the kitchen’s main work zone with a
sink for the adults to use, and to the right was a clear path
to a small kid-size sink where the children could wash
their hands, rinse fruit or get a drink. They could also help
their parents by fetching ingredients from the fridge fitted
into a wall of cabinets on the children’s side of the island.
The result was a kitchen that functioned better and was
also more inclusive of the youngest family members.
For one of Madsen’s clients, the sink was the problem
not the solution. Because of the septic tank’s location,
moving the sink was prohibitively expensive, so Madsen
designed the kitchen’s expansion around it—literally.
Even though the outside wall where the kitchen sink once
was had moved about eight feet to expand the space,
www.aibd.org | An official publication of the American Institute of Building Design 9
sometimes introduces a tube skylight to flood the space
with natural light, a strategy that works well for small
kitchens with no floor above them or room to grow.
The plexiglass skylight is connected to a metal cylinder,
which resembles a heating duct, and sends outside light
down the tube’s reflective lining to the space below.
“Oftentimes, you can bend the tubes to get around a truss
or attic, and they’ll go quite a distance,” says Madsen.
Some homeowners are also reconsidering high-end
professional appliances like Viking and Sub Zero in
favor of new lower-priced professional lines from
manufacturers like Kenmore and Kitchen-Aid. Madsen
reports that many clients are also selecting standard
30-inch-deep fridges instead of the pricey but shallower
cabinet-depth size. To maintain the look of fitted
Because his clients were self-proclaimed chefs who liked to entertain,
designer Marc O’Grady created a kitchen fit for a restaurant with two
appliances, he brings out the adjacent cabinetry so that
dishwashers and a Viking stove, but increasingly, many clients are the deeper fridge looks built-in.
sacrificing expensive appliances.
The Costco Effect
the sink stayed put. “It just went from the wall to an As more homeowners buy supplies in bulk to save
island,” says Madsen. The T-shaped workspace was money, the nature of kitchen storage is changing, but
not ideal because it placed the sink in the path of foot walk-in pantries aren’t always possible in older kitchens,
traffic from adjoining rooms. Because his clients had no where space is usually at a premium. Instead, “we’re
children, Madsen could make the design work by allowing doing a lot of built-in pantry cabinets that give you more
extra room for people to get by. storage but take up less floor space,” says Marc O’Grady,
Masters of Illusion a designer and project manager with Grossmuellers
Sometimes, the most cost-effective kitchen renovations Design Consultants in Washington, D.C. These floor-to-
require fooling the eye. For instance, when the clients ceiling pantry cabinets can take up an entire wall and
with the T-shaped kitchen winced at the cost of granite even be in another room. For one of O’Grady’s clients,
counters, Madsen substituted 12-by-12-inch tiles set that wall of cupboards was just off the kitchen in a
closely together with no grout lines to give the impression hallway to the dining room and served as an appliance
of granite slab. Increasingly, cost-conscious consumers garage, housing a variety of kitchen gadgets and gizmos
are considering other materials, he says. “I’ve had clients that the owners didn’t want crowding counters in their
willing to look at laminate, with Corian the lowest they’re spacious remodeled kitchen.
willing to go.” Even laminate manufacturers are stepping
Storage is so important that Loisos spends a great deal
up to meet the demand by introducing counters with
of time determining her client’s cooking habits and the
edge detail or that can incorporate an under-mounted
amount of shopping they regularly do before sketching
sink, an option that the material didn’t permit before.
her designs, which include detailed descriptions of the
Because poor natural lighting is a frequent complaint contents for drawers, shelves and cupboards. Even
of homeowners wanting to remodel, designers are also before we ordered the cabinets, “we knew where the oils
finding subtle ways to brighten kitchens. Loisos uses and cereals would go and where the Ziploc bags and
fewer cabinets above the counters on walls with windows Handi-Wraps would go,” she says. “That way homeowners
to allow as much daylight to penetrate the room. Madsen know exactly what to do with their cabinets.” h
10 AIBD DESIGN LINES | SUMMER 2009
at a Premium Some of the cost-cutting features in kitchens have yet to
reach master bathrooms, which continue to borrow lavish
design elements from other parts of the house. Crown
moldings and tray ceilings deep enough to allow for a
chandelier are just some of the ways designer builder
George VanDusen of Phoenix Construction in Orangevale,
Unique Angles Photography
Calif., transforms ho-hum master bathrooms into grand
elegant spaces. As with kitchens, remodeled bathrooms
today are brighter with multiple levels of light, including
canned, task and mood lighting. “We like to drop the
crown molding and put lighting behind it so that it
reflects onto the recessed ceilings,” says VanDusen.
This four-foot-deep Japanese Full-length glass shower doors are another way to let in more light, with some walk-
soaking tub takes up less space
than a conventional bathtub, in showers deep enough to forfeit doors altogether. More controversial is whether to
freeing up room for additional eliminate a tub to create space for larger showers and vanities. Although Jeff Doyle,
storage and a larger shower.
a designer with Kaufman Homes in Salem, Ore, promotes that solution, many of his
clients aren’t ready to jettison their bathtubs, but one client came up with an inventive
compromise: a Japanese soaking tub. Although the tub only takes up four square feet of
floor space, its depth allows the bather to soak in water up to the neck while seated.
Master bathrooms are also becoming more segmented with a separate water closet for the
toilet. “We try to make them about four feet wide so people don’t feel like they’re trapped in
this little room,” says Doyle. Where possible, he’ll add a small window or use only a half wall
as a partition so that the space is private but not claustrophobic.
Doyle’s clients with the soaking tub enlarged the
bathroom by eight feet to allow for more built-in
cabinets, but they are the exception. “Most of the
work we do is within the original footprint, just
rearranging or updating the fixtures,” he says. One
way those fixtures are getting updated is with a
vanity that resembles furniture, an old-fashioned
look inspired by country-style kitchens with unfitted
cabinetry. The vanities do away with toe kicks and
sit up off the floor on legs. Sometimes, they really
are furniture, just dressers with the tops cut out
to make room for a double sink. VanDusen even
constructed one vanity for a client so that it matched
the detailed woodwork of her grandmother’s
Bathroom vanities are made to look like
antique armoire in the master bedroom, proof that furniture by eliminating toe kicks and
eventually everything old becomes new again. h sitting up off the floor on legs instead.
www.aibd.org | An official publication of the American Institute of Building Design 11
For the Greener Good
The Path to Becoming Certifiably Green
The differences between two programs offering green building credentials are weighed
By Heather Attardo
Whether you believe green building is a passing fad or a year, the Green Building Certification Institute took
growing trend, one thing is clear: Designers with green over administering the credentialing requirements and
credentials can expand the range of projects they are able recently restructured the program to offer a three-
to do. The difficulty is determining which accreditation is part series of graduated credentials—green associate,
worth pursuing. accredited professional and fellow. Courses are offered
through workshops and online seminars.
While the two leading standard bearers—the Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design and the National While green associates develop a general overview of
Association of Home Builders—both offer worthwhile green building practices, the accredited professional or
green certification programs for building professionals, AP credential offers the option of specializing in one of
there are subtle differences of emphasis in the curriculum five new areas, including a home specialty beginning
and requirements. For instance, designers who don’t this summer. That specialty teaches professionals about
like hitting the books may prefer the NAHB program, designing and building healthful, comfortable homes
which requires fewer continuing education credits. On that create less waste while conserving energy, water and
the other hand, for designers who like learning from the other natural resources. Additional new areas of specialty
comforts of home or work, only the LEED program offers include operations and maintenance, high-rise building
the option of taking classes online. The two programs are design and construction for commercial and residential
described in more detail below. projects, interior design and construction and, starting
next year, neighborhood development.
The U.S. Green Building Council oversees LEED and To become LEED certified, designers must pass a
has certified more than 100,000 building professionals two-part exam covering the green associate criteria
since the accreditation program began in 2001. Last as well as an AP specialty. There are no prerequisites
for taking the exam, but candidates should have
experience with green building and familiarity with
LEED standards. Study guides are available through
the Green Building Certification Institute (www.GBCI.
org). After passing the exam, designers must take 30
hours of continuing education credits every two years
to maintain certification. Although members of the U.S.
Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org) are eligible
for discounts, nonmembers can expect to pay $600 in
application, exam and maintenance fees versus $450 for
nonmembers to be certified for the first two years. The
requirements and curriculum for the highest level—that
of fellow—are still being determined.
Last year, as part of an overall effort to promote green
building, NAHB unveiled its own program for certifying
green building professionals, including designers. Offered
Designers must pass an exam to become LEED or NAHB certified. through NAHB’s University of Housing, the program
12 AIBD DESIGN LINES | SUMMER 2009
For the Greener Good
emphasizes economics by focusing on building homes designation for master’s certified professional next year,
with reduced energy costs or implementing green building but it would only be available to builders and remodelers.
practices that won’t drive up the price of construction.
Additional topics include improving indoor air quality as Like the LEED program, NAHB also gives discounts to
well as remodeling using green building objectives. members so that the total cost of the two required courses
plus graduation fees is $735 for members and $935 for
To earn NAHB’s designation of certified green nonmembers when the classes are taken at national
professional, designers must acquire 24 hours of NAHB events. But workshops are also offered around
specified training, including a two-day course on green the country through local homebuilder associations
building and a one-day class in business management where the course fees can vary sharply. For instance,
for building professionals. In addition, designers must the same required class on green building costs $225 for
pass an exam, which is given at the end of each class, nonmembers in Grand Rapids, Mich., versus $625 for
and have at least two years of industry experience. The nonmembers in Clyde, N.C. No classes are offered online.
business management course requirement is waived For a complete list of courses, including their dates and
for building professionals who have another current fees, visit www.nahb.org/courses. h
NAHB professional designation, such as graduate master
builder or certified graduate remodeler. Twelve hours Heather Attardo is a designer with 3 Trees Design &
of continuing education are required every three years Drafting in Castle Rock, Colo., and plans to enroll in the
to maintain certification. NAHB plans to introduce a LEED certification program.
www.aibd.org | An official publication of the American Institute of Building Design 13
Designer Houses in Progress
The houses designers create for themselves have a way of evolving over time
By Catherine Siskos
Like the proverbial kid in a candy store, designers who designed in the past decade, vary in style—from a green-
design their own homes get to indulge their appetite constructed bachelor’s cabin to a lodge-inspired lake
for architecture in ways they never fully can with their house to a Mediterranean-style luxury home—and range
clients. In fact, when it comes to their own homes, dramatically in size from less than 1,000 to about 7,000
designers are remodeling addicts. They keep tinkering square feet. Not surprisingly, the designers’ own homes
with the design long after the house has been built and are often extensions of themselves, reflecting not just
well past the point that most people would have been their professional skills but also their individual ideals,
perfectly happy with the result. Some designers even tastes and interests.
refine their dream home by selling the old house and
building a new one—multiple times. The Only Cabin with Space for an RV
There are condominium apartments bigger than David
This tendency for serial remodeling comes from a Fisse’s green-constructed home in Ashland, Ore. Just
designer’s constant exposure to new building products, 960 square feet, the one-bedroom cabin plus loft sits on
materials and ideas. Designers’ homes are also a visible a wooded eight acres and was constructed in 2002. An
testament to their abilities, a kind of billboard for their open kitchen and living area with 20-foot-high ceilings
business. Some designers’ houses even do double duty and Douglas fir wood floors make the place seem airy
as model homes for clients to look at. What follows and cozy at the same time, and no square inch of space
are profiles of three houses that designers created for is wasted. The house has no hallways, and along one wall
themselves and their families. The houses, which were all are built-in shelves and a library ladder to access the loft.
The house reflects Fisse’s environmental consciousness
as well as his passion for restoring Victorian-era houses.
The two interests dovetail nicely; his Ashland home has
balloon framing, a 19th-century style of construction
that has been rediscovered today for its efficient use of
building materials. Other green features include concrete
fiber siding, recycled windows and doors and a passive
solar design that has the majority of the home’s windows
facing south. A cupola with powered windows acts as
a cooling tower, while a wood stove and radiant floors
supply heat on chilly days.
But the piece de resistance may just be the garage,
where the mechanically minded Fisse often spends time.
Radiant-heated floors ensure that Fisse gets into a car
with warm seats on even the chilliest mornings, and the
garage’s ingenious design includes doors directly opposite
Above: This one-bedroom house one another for vehicles to exit onto the circular driveway
plus loft has a covered space next
to the garage to accommodate
without ever reversing. Alongside the garage, which is
an RV. Left: Only 960 square tucked under the house, is a long narrow carport with
feet, the house has no staircase;
instead, the loft is reached using
hookups and space for an RV that Fisse never got around
a library ladder. to buying.
14 AIBD DESIGN LINES | SUMMER 2009
Right: The award-winning addition over the garage
Roger Wade Studio
serves as a cozy hideaway ideal for watching winter
snowstorms at Harbor Haven. Below: An admirer of
the great lodges of the Adirondacks, designer Everett
Pollard created a timber-framed house in a lodge style
that is a marvel of exposed beams and framework.
Roger Wade Studio
bar at the house’s center. “We liked that feature in the
last house so much that we wanted it in this one,” says
Robin, who along with Everett likes to entertain guests
frequently. Their home also serves as a model for clients
Recently, however, Fisse put up the cabin for sale because to see different finishes and materials.
he’s moving into a second home that he also designed. While the smooth-flowing layout owes much to Robin’s
The new three-story house, which was built on the same sensibilities, the house’s rustic grandeur is all Everett.
hillside as the cabin, offers similar views and a lot more A designer who started out as a carpenter, Everett loves
space, with one other added bonus. It’s Victorian. wood, so when he began sketching Harbor Haven, it was
A Timber-Framed Haven the great lodges of the Adirondacks that inspired him,
Everett Pollard likes to say that the homes he designs for even though he had never designed anything like them
himself always have an important client: his wife Robin. before. The lodge influence is visible throughout the
The couple live in a 4,500-square-foot, lodge-inspired house’s large windows, open spaces and exposed wood
timber frame home in Sunapee, N.H., that Everett beams and ceilings. The gallery especially is a marvel of
designed and built about 10 years ago. intersecting framework all along its telescopic view of
adjoining rooms. The timber framing throughout the
Harbor Haven—so named because it’s tucked away from house didn’t come cheap; it raised construction costs
the hubbub of nearby Lake Sunapee—is the third house 30%. “I totally blew the budget, and my wife aided and
that the Pollards have designed for their own use, though abetted me in every way possible,” says Everett.
it’s a far cry from the combination saltbox and Cape Cod
they first built 30 years ago. The Pollards, though, aren’t content resting on their
laurels because they continue to refine, redo and reshape
With each house, the Pollards have learned things that parts of the house. The master bathroom, which they felt
helped them design the next home better. For instance, was too plain, was remodeled around teal glass accent
Harbor Haven offers multiple ways of getting to the main tiles that Robin found at a local fair. After touring Nappa
rooms, including access around the kitchen, pantry and Valley wineries four years ago, Everett annexed space
www.aibd.org | An official publication of the American Institute of Building Design 15
from his workshop to create a wine cellar, which he built floor and the staircase are much less elaborate versions
right down to the room’s 500 wooden slots for bottles. of those Heinz has seen at the Monte Carlo resort and
But the couple’s piece de resistance was an award-winning casino in Las Vegas. But even scaled down and simplified,
upstairs hideaway, added over the garage several years the pinwheel with the staircase wrapped around it didn’t
ago and used as a private living room. “In winter, we look complete, so Heinz added a dome directly overhead.
turn on the outside lights to see the snowstorm coming “It took the attention from the detail of the floor on up to
down through the picture window,” says Everett. Is there the ceiling,” he says.
anything else about the house he would change? “I would
Built in 2007, the house is the latest version of a floor
love to have a second chance to do the lower walkout
plan that Heinz first drew 25 years ago. Since then, he has
level and open it up more to the outdoors,” he replies.
varied, enlarged and perfected it over hundreds of homes
There may be more remodeling in the Pollards’ future.
designed in different styles for clients and his own family
Las Vegas Comes to Idaho in three states. “I just liked the flow and the arrangement of
The first thing visitors notice when they enter Michael the entry,” he says. The original design called for just 1,800
Heinz’s Mediterranean-style home in Meridien, Idaho, square feet of living space, but with each version the houses
is the circular staircase. The scrolled iron railing begins grew before maxing out at his home’s current size of 7,000
its sweeping curve along the second-floor gallery, which square feet. This latest version has fewer rooms—four
protrudes in a semicircle, and then winds its way down bedrooms and two home offices—that Heinz made larger,
to a pinwheel-patterned floor nestled in the stairwell. The along with a game room and a laundry room big enough
to dance in. Other changes to the floor plan include an
exercise room that migrated from another level to just off
the master bedroom suite.
But the most significant change involves the circular
staircase, which left a cozy enclosed space below that was
perfect for a playroom. In addition to kid-size doorways,
the walls have a castle-themed mural complete with a
friendly green dragon. The playroom gets a thumbs up
from Heinz’s toughest clients: his grandkids. h
Above:The pinwheel-patterned floor
and curving staircase were inspired
by more elaborate versions that the
designer first saw in a Las Vegas
casino. Right: This Mediterranean
house, home to designer Michael
Heinz, has a floor plan he first drew
25 years ago and has been tinkering
with ever since.
16 AIBD DESIGN LINES | SUMMER 2009
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An official publication of the American Institute of Building Design