I’m an architect with a decade of professional experience working in both new construction and remodeling, always with sustainability in mind. I have practiced in both rural (La Crosse, WI) and urban (Chicago, IL) environments. I’m also a first-time homeowner of a 1952 Ranch in Madison, Wisconsin working to restore my home to more than all its original glory.
One thing I’ve always found to be true is that good design is specific, thoughtful and deeply rooted in the place it is built and the needs of the people who will use it.
This blog tells the story of how I succumbed to that most basic of architects’ urges: to get a house of my own and fix it up for myself with no need to transfer my ideas through a client and contractor in order to make them real.
I didn’t always love ranches. While growing up in the north suburbs of Chicago, I conflated them with the builder contemporary and mcMansion filled developments that surrounded me in every former cornfield and rejected them all as “ticky-tacky and all look[ing] just the same.” With time, however, I’ve come to see them as right-sized, well-placed and customizable. The Ranch Neighborhoods of the 50’s and 60’s are filled with walkable sidewalks, DIY home maintenance projects and mid century functionality and flair. Want to read more about why I love the style: do it here!
My previous design work has run the gammut of eco-friendly options from remote rural natural building to chic urban sustainable architecture. (Here’s a little essay on the difference between green building and sustainable architecture.)
When I worked for Whole Trees Architecture in La Crosse I practiced at the natural building end of the spectrum. At my reclaimed slab wood desk in a straw bale, off-grid office, heated by wood stove, I designed projects like these:
Later, for moss design, in Chicago, I worked in the sustainable architecture direction. At my reclaimed slab wood desk in a re-purposed urban utilities building in the North Side Ravenswood neighborhood, I collaborated on these projects and more:
Check out what I’m up to these days here on the blog!