Promoting Wellbeing With Accessible Homes

When envisioning the perfect home for their family, Kiley and Jim agreed that accessibility was paramount—access to the outdoors, and access for their daughters, Langley and Boelyn, who have special needs and rely on their wheelchairs to get around. After purchasing a narrow lot in Downers Grove, Illinois, the couple reached out to Chicago-based firm Kuklinski + Rappe Architects to design a residence that would serve their daughters, their son Huck, and their own various needs. Crafted to adapt to the family’s lifestyle over the years, the home will provide lifelong health and happiness.

It just so happened that the parameters that Kiley and Jim presented resonated with architect Scott Rappe. “They spoke about the future and the uncertainty around how their daughters would develop. So that, right away, keyed into an interest [at our practice] in looking at how homes are used over the long term,” he says. They approached the challenge of the site first: long and compressed, it suggested a floor plan that placed rooms on either side of a corridor in order to create accessible spaces. Rappe, however, discarded this idea: “This conventional approach, while pragmatic, would have produced a dull, lifeless house.”

Instead, Rappe chose to lengthen the plan and carve out outdoor spaces from the home’s footprint, allowing interior spaces to look out onto serene, landscaped areas—hence the name Courtyard Residence. The solution provides privacy and natural light, and facilitates a better relationship with the dwelling. As Rappe explains, “The long, dark corridor of the conventional approach was instead transformed into a ‘cloister’ running along the main courtyard, which offers a contemplative experience, rather than just a distance to be traversed.”

In a home so permeable to the outdoors, the choice of windows and doors carried significant weight. For Rappe, selecting Marvin Windows and Doors was a no-brainer. “They have very high-performing products,” he explains, “and they offered us thin sightlines, high insulation values, and a high degree of predictability and reliability.” Also crucial was the ability to accommodate Langley and Boelyn. “It was really important for us that all of our entrances were accessible,” says Jim. “The low-profile [sills] allowed us to both have great, open windows with terrific views, and wheel the girls in and out very easily across them.”

The placement of the windows takes Langley and Boelyn into account as well. “The girls spend a lot of time on their backs because they can’t sit up naturally,” says Kiley, “so they’ll play on the floor and look up.” Thoughtfully positioned openings ensure that wherever they are, the girls have a view of the outdoors.

While the Courtyard Residence offers communal spaces for the family to gather, it also caters specifically to each member in other moments. An office sequestered near the front entry allows Jim to work without interruption. A centrally placed, professional-grade kitchen avails itself to Kiley, a chef and culinary educator. Huck, who is 13 years old, enjoys a private bedroom that connects to the family room, children’s courtyard, and backyard, and he can invite friends over to shoot hoops in the lower-level game room. Finally, aside from the accessible design of the house overall, Langley and Boelyn have dedicated rooms that facilitate around-the-clock care.

Read the full article: Marvin.com


Union Stables Case Study

Built in 1909, the 63,768-square-foot, four-story heavy-timber and masonry building stood silent for decades, tantalizing Ed Weinstein, FAIA, with a wealth of adaptive reuse possibilities to revive this landmark near Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Over the years, the building had served as a parking garage, auto body shop, and furniture warehouse. Today Union Stables shines as a Class A office center and treasured Seattle landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

35-Year Dream

Weinstein’s initial contact with Union Stables goes back to the early 1980s. Early in his career, Weinstein worked in an office just across the street from the aging stables.

“On a number of occasions the Union Stables owner had me look at different options for the building, including office and multifamily housing.” Then, after three decades of false starts, the stars aligned in 2013 for the long-awaited restoration. “A well-regarded construction company was looking for a new home. They purchased a 50 percent interest in Union Stables, with a plan to renovate it as their headquarters. At that point, we committed to become a tenant and design the facility,” Weinstein says.

Aesthetic Preservation

Weinstein heads Weinstein A+U, a Seattle-based 35-person regional architectural firm that works on “a broad cross-section of project types,” including retail, office, public-sector work, mixed-use, and multifamily. The firm has won about 70 design awards from the American Institute of Architects.

The reinvention of the stables called for a seismic retrofit, façade restoration, new HVAC and plumbing systems, and the addition of a fifth-floor penthouse. Every effort was made to maintain the building’s character, such as preserving the heavy timber columns (right down to the gnaw marks left by restless horses).

Careful Selection

As for the windows, that renovation decision to restore, replace, or replicate was easy: They didn’t exist. The windows had been removed about 25 years earlier and replaced with plywood painted to resemble a window, Weinstein reports. To balance the demands of the local landmark preservation board and the U.S. Department of Interior with the project’s budget and aesthetic, Weinstein turned to Marvin aluminum clad windows. “We replaced them with Marvin windows that were close in pattern and profile to what we could determine from old photographs,” he says. With Marvin, Weinstein was able to specify standard size windows while satisfying the need for accurate historic detail, without having to build fully custom.

“The sash and profiles were absolutely perfect,” he says, praising the new windows.

Economy with Accuracy

Marvin was ideal, Weinstein says. “They were simple and direct,” he observes. “We wanted to abstract the divided lite windows that were here before. The new windows are a single large panel of glass with a spacer bar in the cavity and muntin bars affixed on the inside and outside to match the original pattern. We achieve economy with aesthetic accuracy.”

What’s more, he says, “their energy performance met our criteria very well” – so much so, that they helped Union Stables earn LEED Gold certification from the USGBC. The reborn Union Stables delivered in early 2015 was greeted with wide acclaim. Among several distinctions, it won the 2015 Washington state NAIOP Redevelopment/Renovation of the Year Award.

Vision Fulfilled

Weinstein’s persistence of vision yielded an especially sweet reward. “I’m now sitting in my chair, looking out at my old office from 35 years ago. It feels just like yesterday. I’m gratified the firm has grown and stayed in the neighborhood. It’s wonderful to be in a building with a charismatic architectural character and premier office amenities.”

Originally published in Architect Magazine.


Mixing Window Finishes For a Barely-There Look

The new design rules are that there are no rules, even when it comes to painting your window sash and frame in contrasting colors.

Whether you’re going through the window replacement process, remodeling your home or building anew, there are endless options when it comes to how to paint, stain or finish the items in your home. Though you might assume that a monochromatic scheme is the accepted practice for windows and window trim, experimenting with starker contrasts might open up new possibilities.

With the resurgence of industrial-chic aesthetic and black steel factory windows, many are seeking thin, clean lines and the contrast of darker window sashes to frame their view. At the same time, white walls are also gaining popularity to create a sense of simplicity and space.

To maximize views and make a statement with barely-there window sashes, homeowners and designers are turning to a mixed finish paint job to create a classic trompe d’oeil, or trick of the eye, that makes the sash the star and helps the rest of your window fade into the backdrop.

“Black interior window finish is a current spin on a classic look, both contemporary and traditional,” says designer Barbara Bradlee. “Black interiors replicate the feel of a European metal window, and casement windows with horizontal black ‘grids’ feel sleek and stream lined.”

The mixed finish look can be achieved by using a dark paint or stain on the window sash, while the surrounding framing is painted to match the walls around it.

What exactly is a sash? The easiest way to think about a window sash is that it’s the part of the window that houses the glass, and it’s also the part of the window that moves with the glass if the window opens and closes. The casing is the stationary trim that frames the window opening to provide a finished look.

Designer Mary Douglas Drysdale sees the use of contrast as a bold design choice that can help individualize your space. “Color and pattern enliven and actually allow you to see space and its details in new ways,” she says. “This renewed interest in contrast reflects a more daring idea about design.”

Creating contrast with white casing and black sash is something that can be applied using paint after your windows are already installed. Alternately, new Marvin windows and doors can have a mixed finish applied in the factory to avoid at-home painting.

For tips on painting existing windows to achieve the mixed finish look, our friends at This Old House offer a few tips.

Source: Marvin.com


A Contemporary Do-Over for a Rotting Window Replacement Job

In the latest series of videos on Build with Matt Risinger, Austin-based builder Matt Risinger works on a stucco and stone house with a major rot problem. Un-clad wood windows were installed facing West towards storms and an unruly sprinkler system, meaning lots of moisture exposure. When paired with poor installation, constant moisture exposure led to rotting and deterioration of the windows and surrounding walls. Caught early enough to avoid major structural damage, the issue created an opportunity to replace the windows, add proper weatherization and opt for a more modern solution that maintains the luxurious feeling of wood on the interior, but introduces a tough aluminum-clad exterior for no fuss maintenance.

In the first of two episodes, Risinger addresses the installation mistakes that led to poor protection against water leakage, and walks step-by-step through the proper replacement window installation and moisture barrier technique.

The second episode in the series addresses how Risinger and team utilize Marvin’s Contemporary Studio products in a novel way to minimize the appearance of wood framing between enormous panes of glass. The more minimal look helps achieve the sleek and contemporary aesthetic the homeowner desired, especially in a large opening facing a pool and beautiful canyon. The Marvin dealer helped developed a unique engineering plan involving a 5/8 steel plate to take the place of multiple studs, reframing what was previously nine individual panes of glass down to four for a contemporary look that still flows with the architecture of the home.

The result? A dramatic transformation that not only brings the home up-to-date structurally to protect it against the elements, but also demonstrates the opportunity to change the look and feel of a home through smart window replacement choices.

Full article: Marvin.com


What’s Your Replacement Window Type?

Windows can crank, lift, glide, tilt and turn, move up, down and sideways. For homeowners who need to replace windows in their home, it can seem that options for the look and functionality to replace your old windows are endless. The type of product you choose and how it operates will help you determine the ideal function and look of the windows for your project, so it is important to understand terminology your contractor or building professional might use to describe the options available to you.

Before you begin exploring materials, colors and hardware options, get familiar with five of the most popular window types, what they look like, and how they function.

Double Hung Window

The most popular type of window, the double hung, has previously been associated with more traditional homes, but is making a resurgence in transitional and even modern projects. Two sections of framed glass offer ventilation by sliding bottom up and top down.

Casement Window

This window is hinged on the side, and swings inward or outward like a door, letting air flow freely. You might hear the term “crank-out casement,” which refers to the motion of the hardware when you’re opening and closing the window.

Glider Window

Designed specifically for horizontal operation, gliders have glass-framed panels that slide open on tracks, meaning no lifting is involved.

Awning Window

This type of window is hinged on top and swings outward, so you can leave it open when it rains. Awnings are often placed higher in a home for added privacy and natural light.

Bay and Bow Windows

Bays feature a fixed center window, with venting windows angled on the sides. Bows are made up of a series of windows connected in a gentle curve.

Full article: Marvin.com


A window company’s clear vision

This Labor Day is all about honoring workers — but sometimes a job is more than just a job. When there’s a shared vision, it can make all the difference. Connor Knighton takes us to a manufacturer in Minnesota to see for himself.

The pieces of pine may not be much to look at. But after they’re sliced into different sizes, sorted and stacked, shaped and sanded, they start to transform into something you might look through.

The windows that eventually end up inside of homes are formed inside of a two-million-square-foot factory, the headquarters of the Marvin Window and Door Company. Every product here is made to order, and made in America. Just barely!

Marvin is located six miles away from Canada, in the tiny town of Warroad, Minnesota.

About 2,400 people work Marvin in Warroad — that’s more than the town’s population of about 1,700.

Paul Marvin is the company’s CEO. For the past four generations, his family has been this small town’s largest employer.

“When Great-Grandpa George was starting up Marvin Lumber and Cedar Company in 1912, he went on the record a few years later as saying, ‘You know, the reason I did it is because some of my friends couldn’t find jobs, and if I didn’t find jobs for them, they were gonna leave Warroad,'” Marvin said.

The company moved from lumber into windows, but it never left Warroad. Not when the factory burned to the ground in 1961 … not when the construction business collapsed in 2008.

Marvin’s dedication to the local community has brought it national attention.

In a December 6, 2011 speech, President Barack Obama spoke of the family business in Warroad: “They did not lay off a single one of their 4,000 employees when the recession hit.”

Kermit Jensen has been at Marvin for 32 years. He’s held a variety of titles, but he’d be the first to tell you, they don’t really matter.

“What we do doesn’t define what we are,” Jensen said. “It’s who we are that defines what we do.”

And what Marvin employees did, during the recession, was cut back on hours and perks so that newer employees like Tiffany Runnels could stay on the job. “Working here, you almost feel like it’s a community within a community,” Runnels said.

In a small community like this, when your co-workers are your neighbors, business is done a little differently.

“Whether we see them in church or at the grocery store or at the hockey rink,” Marvin said, “and we do, we want to be able to look ’em in the eye and say, ‘We did right by you.'”

A quick note about that hockey rink, by the way: It’s huge!  Warroad’s other major export is hockey. Eight Olympians, several NHL stars, and more college players than they can count.

But it’s the work that’s kept people in this town — that, and the views worth building a wall of windows to take in.

“Not everybody’s a friend or neighbor, but there’s a lot of people that treat you as a friend or a neighbor,” said Bob Marvin. When he retired from the family business, he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. He stayed in Warroad to serve as mayor.

The trucks that leave the factory each day are carrying windows destined for homes all across America. But Marvin will always have one home: Hockeytown, USA … Warroad, Minnesota.

Source: CBS News


Integrity Names 2017 Red Diamond Achiever Award Winners

Integrity Windows and Doors has named the winners of its 2017 Red Diamond Achiever Awards, an annual competition that honors exceptional work by licensed builders, remodelers and architects who use Integrity windows and doors in their projects.

“This year’s winning projects ranged from coastal homes to a modern farmhouse and illustrated the wide range of Integrity products’ functional capabilities, but also the diversity of style applications,” said Christine Marvin.

“We congratulate each of the seven winners on their use of Integrity’s superior windows and doors in these outstanding homes designed to outperform the harsh elements of Mother Nature.” Integrity Sliding Patio Doors and a variety of Integrity windows were used exclusively for their ability to stand up to the harsh coastal climate.” Integrity windows and doors were ideal for this project for several reasons, but most importantly to provide the look of a steel-clad window with durability that won’t be damaged by severe storms.” The interior of the home was designed to reflect calmness and minimalism in order to be subservient to art and ocean views, all with the assistance from Integrity windows and doors.” Red Diamond Achiever Award winners will receive a profile on the Integrity website and its social media channels, a VIP trip for two to Minneapolis and Warroad, Minn., for a Marvin Windows and Doors facilities tour and awards ceremony, and a beautiful glass award that features a picture of their project.

To learn more about the Red Diamond Achiever Awards and to view the winning projects, click here.


The Modern Bucolic

A backcountry house gets the modern treatment with bold vistas and exceptional energy efficiency.

Architect Greg Wiedemann, who completed the project with his firm Wiedemann Architects, describes the house as “a modern interpretation of the traditional white clapboard farmhouse and red barn that populate the neighboring countryside.” In his take on the old standard, he proposed an exterior clad with high-performing, insulated glass.

The residence features windows and doors by Marvin, which maximize thermal protection and interior ventilation.

With its many broad windows, the house enjoys views of a rolling meadow and a lake, as well as a shared farmhouse and barn where co-housing residents can get together.

“It’s a bucolic rural community that enjoys the character of the Virginia country side,” Wiedemann says.

The architect designed the house to benefit from the sharp slope, allowing each of the two storeys access to the exterior.

“The front of the house has beautiful views of the meadow, whereas the back of the house has mountain views.”

The house’s tall, slender layout also worked in favor of energy efficiency, a key parameter in the project, says Wiedemann.

“The house has very thick exterior walls that are super insulated.” Wiedemann used materials intelligently, using Marvin’s selection of highly insulated glass French doors and windows.

Wiedemann has worked with Marvin products for over 30 years, and in this case, the company “Provided the best package in terms of cost, materials, hardware options and different operations,” he explains.

The architects were also able to maintain a traditional farmhouse material palette by utilizing two color options from Marvin Windows.

“Particularly, Marvin’s venting picture window afforded us the ability to have cross-ventilation and substantial size.” This effect is further amplified with a ventilation system built into a cupola that tops the house.

For the interior, Wiedemann opted for an open plan, with a flexible space on the lower level that can be transformed to fit multiple uses.

“The client wanted a house where she could age in place,” said Wiedemann.

Ultimately, the task for Wiedemann, as he puts it, was to “Design a modern home on sloped site, and still have it be connected to the natural views.” Rows of large windows and glass doors by Marvin, coupled with its open layout ensured that the house gets plenty of access to the landscape.

Source: Marvin.com


Windows That Expose Your Bathroom To Light Without Exposing You

Windows offer up a practical and, depending on the size of the project, budget-friendly way to add attractiveness and extra light to your bathroom.

See several window ideas that’ll expose your bathroom to light without exposing you.

Are you ready to install new windows in your bathroom? Contact a pro today and get up to four free quotes from window contractors in your area.

Glass Block Windows

Installing glass block windows in your bathroom is a popular solution because they not only add light, but also security, privacy and style.

Window Film

Window film is a simple, inexpensive and aesthetically appealing window covering that adds privacy and light to your bathroom with little hassle.

Decorative film improves the look and function of your bathroom windows without destroying the glass.

Focus On Design

If you’re building a home or installing new windows in your bathroom, it’s a good idea to consider how the design of the frames can help provide privacy.

Put time into planning the right solution because while windows are nice to have, you don’t want to feel uncomfortable in your own bathroom while you’re getting ready.

Window Treatments

Yes, window treatments are a thing even in the bathroom.

High-Set Windows & Skylights

High-set windows are certain to draw in light without compromising your privacy.

Dress them up without losing the natural light by adding cafe curtains that only cover the lower half of the windows.

Glass Interlayers

If you’re someone who prefers large or lavish windows in their bathroom, then this is the answer for you.

Add A Courtyard

This solution allows you to have large, clear windows without much concern.

Conclusion

The bathroom window ideas above are all excellent choices for exposing the room to light without exposing you.

Source: Improvenet.com


How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Matthew Heimer, senior editor of SmartMoney magazine, explains that energy proofing a house can actually cut annual utility bills in half.

Matthew covers breaking down home energy costs, how to monitor heating and cooling costs, how to reduce heating and cooling costs, how to reduce energy costs when using larger appliances, how landscaping can actually reduce utility bills – and the best simple tips for saving energy and money every day.

Based on national averages from the U.S. Department of Energy, 44 percent of utility bills resulting from energy usage is heating and cooling the home, 33 percent is attributed to lighting, cooking and other appliances, 14 percent is due to water heating, and 9 percent is energy used by the refrigerator alone.

Once you realize how you use energy you can begin to formulate a plan on how to identify places in your home that are losing energy.

Once you assign priorities to your energy needs, you can form a whole house efficiency plan.

An energy audit is a great way to figure out if you need updating or replacing of major heating or cooling systems with the house.

Buying a new heating or cooling system may seem like a huge investment, but overall it will save you money years into the future and even raise the value of the home.

Many utility companies conduct energy audits for free or for a nominal charge, so you can see where your heating or cooling systems may be costing you money.

For a fee, a professional contractor will analyze how your home’s energy systems work together as a system and compare the analysis against your utility bills.

One of the most important systems in your home is the network of ducts that carry the hot and cold air throughout your home.

Another great way to cut energy costs is to take advantage of heat from the sun.

Close these shades when the sun goes down to keep the heat from escaping.

Larger appliances such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, stoves and refrigerators are the most serious offenders when it comes to wasting energy.

When shopping for new appliances, look for the Energy Star label.

These appliances have U.S. EPA and Department of Energy approval for being the most energy efficient products in the class.

A refrigerator with Energy Star label will save you between $35 and $70 a year compared to models designed 15 years ago.

About 80 percent to 85 percent of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water.

There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes use less water and use cooler water.

Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.

Don’t put stoves that produce heat next to refrigerators that produce cold.

Saving energy is cost effective, but also it is environmentally friendly.

What better way to reduce your annual energy cost than to actually use the environment to do this? Carefully positioned trees around the perimeter of a home can actually save up to 25 percent of a typical household’s energy for heating and cooling? This is an annual savings on average between $100 and $250. For example, deciduous trees, or trees that lost their leaves in the fall, when planted on the south and on the west of a home will help keep your house cool in the summer and allow sun to shine in the windows in the winter.

Here are a few tips for energy proofing your home:

Consider switching off your computer monitor during long periods of non-use.

The monitor itself uses more than half the system’s energy and there really is no reason for leaving it on all night if it is not being used.

Chargers for cell phones, laptops, and other wireless devices use lots of energy even when they aren’t charging their devices.

Source: DIYNetwork.com