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I’ve been asked to write a monthly column for the Observer-Eccentric newspapers. Here’s a link to the first one. If you have any questions about remodeling homes that you’d like me to address in future columns, post them in the comments.


We are looking for an enthusiastic architect or designer with residential architecture experience who loves to help make homeowners’ homes fit who they are. Please see job description below.

Studio Z Architecture’s work will be on HGTV tomorrow.

We’re celebrating our part in the recent renovation of an Ann Arbor home which will be featured on HGTV’s Urban Oasis tomorrow!

The one-hour Urban Oasis special will air tomorrow (Wednesday, October 5) at 11:00 PM eastern time on HGTV.

The word is out! I am excited to share the news that Studio Z Architecture is the architect for ‪HGTVUrbanOasis‬ 2016. From day one, the project has been a rewarding and successful collaboration with the entire ‪#‎HGTV‬ team and Maven Development. Stay tuned for more details on the project in the near future!‬


I’ve been featured on Designer Insights!

I recently visited with a client whose home is under construction. She and her husband and their two young daughters had lived in their home for about 10 years before they contacted me a year ago to begin planning a major renovation to their first floor. They wanted to build an addition to house a new, larger kitchen and eating area and to expand their existing family room by a few feet. The existing kitchen and laundry/mud room would be used to create a new mud room, a bathroom with large shower, and a dedicated laundry room. Finally, they wanted to change their existing formal dining room into a first floor bedroom in case an ailing parent needed to move in with them.

Their design goals meant that almost every square inch of the first floor of their home would be torn up. The only room that would be left untouched was their living room. Luckily my clients were happy with the second floor of their home, which contains 3 bedrooms and two full bathrooms, so other than a change to a bedroom window to accommodate the roof over the addition and some new insulation, the upstairs would be mostly left alone.

Many clients choose to move out during the construction of such a major addition/renovation project. Moving out often means that the project can progress more quickly because the contractor doesn’t have to clean up so carefully at the end of each workday. Whether to move out during construction is often a difficult decision, though, because most people decide to renovate their existing home rather than move to a new home because they love their existing location or neighborhood. Also, remodeling is so expensive that it’s hard to find the additional thousands of dollars that it might cost to rent a place to live on a short-term basis while the contractors do their work, plus the funds to move their furniture and other essentials back and forth.

On my recent site visit, I was interested to see how my client’s family had adapted to living in one room (click on a photo to enlarge it):


My client’s temporary kitchen includes cabinets and a countertop from their original kitchen, their old fridge, a hotplate, and a microwave.


Opposite the temporary kitchen, my clients have a slow cooker that they use frequently.


The family’s couch faces the fireplace. The children’s craft table is on the right, in front of the sealed archway to the family room.


The family eats their meals at the round dining table. The room is accessed via the zipper door on the right side of this photo.


Yesterday I met with clients in their home in Plymouth, Michigan, while they were in Cincinnati.

Not only was this my very first virtual client meeting, it was the first time I’ve ever had a meeting where I was in the clients’ home but my clients were somewhere else. They had planned to drive up to meet with me but their daughter was sick, so they decided not to make the trip. Since they want to get moving on their project quickly, we met anyway.

When I arrived at the clients’ home, I sent a text message to let them know that I was there. They used a mobile phone app to open their garage door from Cincinnati, and I let myself in. Once inside, I was able to access the homeowners’ Wi-Fi network and I fired up my iPad to connect with them via FaceTime. I walked around their home with my iPad while my clients explained the work they had already done to the home and their goals for the next phase of the project. Then I sat at their kitchen table and took notes as we discussed their project in greater detail, just like I would have done had they been in the same room with me.

It was so helpful to be able to see their facial expressions as we talked, to be able to hold up sketches to see if we were on the same page with our ideas, and to walk around and see their home with them as we spoke.

The only drawback to this method was that I was unable to hear what the clients were saying if I was speaking at the same time, so I quickly learned to nod rather than say “um-hm” or “yeah” when I was listening.

Isn’t technology amazing?