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Schultz Design + Drafting Blog

Schultz Design + Drafting Blog:Residential Architect

Three Considerations to Keep in Mind for Cold-Weather Homes

by Jon Schultz on 10/03/16

If you live in a cold climate, you know how the many trials and tribulations of brutal weather and mounting snow can affect your home and family. If you are designing a new home or are just looking to improve your existing property, there are a few design features that you should keep in mind to keep you warm and cozy during the winter season.

Simplify Your Roof Design

When planning a home in a cold climate, it is important to realize that your roof is one of your best lines of defense. The most obvious design issue is complicated roofs that allow snow and ice to enter invisible tears and crannies. To be safe, keep it simple. Also, avoid having a flat or flaring roof as this can just lead to the snow piling up on top of your home, and this additional weight can stress fixtures along the roof edge or even lead to serious concerns with your roof.

Heat Exterior Walkways

One of the biggest hassles that come along with living in cold and snowy climates is the difficulties of moving along your outdoor walkways and driveways when they are covered in feet of snow. Get ahead of this problem by having snow melting and de-icing systems installed beneath these surfaces to keep the mounting snow at bay. Inside the home, you may also decide to install heated floors so you can make the transition from outdoors to indoors a warm one and make bathroom, living room or kitchen floors more comfortable when you take your shoes off.

Install South-Facing Windows

Another one of the most important features at your disposal is your windows, but they need to be planned with the sun in mind. One trick to beat the cold is to install south-facing windows which will maximize the amount of sunlight that enters your home. Windows in this direction will allow the most warmth into the house – and we can use all the sunlight we get during the coldest months! In addition, limit the number of windows installed on the north side of the home where sunlight is less effective at keeping your house warm.

At Schultz Architecture, we specialize in designing houses and renovations that fit the needs of our customers. We pride ourselves on not only building homes and additions, but designing them in such a way that they are offer warmth, comfort and pleasing aesthetics that you will enjoy for decades to come. We also keep a focus on universal design and aging-in-place, ensuring that your home will be a safe and comfortable haven for many years to come.  

We take our design work very seriously and it shows in the acknowledgments we have received from some of the most distinguished building organizations. We are proud to be a three-time Best of Houzz service award winner, and we have also received the incredibly prestigious Pulse of the City award for excellent customer service for the last two years running.

Give us a call at 269-615-2597 and let’s discuss your next project today.

Aging in Place: Creating Accommodating Renovations and Designs

by Jon Schultz on 06/13/16

A person’s home should be the place they are the most comfortable. That is true whether you’re a young homeowner just getting a place for the first time or a retiree enjoying a slower lifestyle.

As the Baby Boomer generation moves into retirement, more and more older people are looking to make adjustments to their homes to accommodate their lifestyle, notes The Washington Post. Homes with some features that are fine when a person is 30 are not always as accommodating to someone approaching 70.

At Schultz Architecture, we understand these needs. For years, we’ve worked with people to customize their home to fit their each and every need. That is especially true for the older generation, where comfort and safety sometimes go hand in hand.

For example, it’s important that homeowners look ahead. If they are planning renovations, they should look at some features that will accommodate first-floor living. That includes having a full bathroom with reinforced walls on the first floor, along with a room large enough to serve as a bedroom.

Many elderly homeowners prefer to live on the first floor and use other floors either for storage, an office or for guests to minimize the number of stairs they need to take each day. Reinforced walls in the bathroom can help support the installation of wall rails around the bathtub to avoid slips and falls.

Some homeowners also want to remove steps between their garage and the inside of their house, installing small ramps or elevators that will help them make the transition between these spaces more simple and convenient.

With that said, these areas should still be aesthetically pleasing spaces that people will want to live and visit. Homeowners should not sacrifice luxury or lifestyle in making these renovations, but instead make it the home of their dreams while incorporating elements that make day-to-day life more convenient – a practice known most commonly as “aging in place.”

At Schultz Architecture, we aim to incorporate elements of aging-in-place design in each project, including wider doorways and halls and more accessible bathrooms. If you are thinking of making some improvements to your home or want to remodel to make your property more accommodating, contact us today by calling 269-615-2597 and let’s discuss your options.

Using Software to Improve Design

by Jon Schultz on 04/21/16

Mike Brady, the father on “The Brady Bunch,” was the first architect many people got to know. He routinely carried around long tubes filled with blue prints and could be often found in his den sitting aside a drafting table.

If “The Brady Bunch” was remade today, Mike wouldn’t be at that table, but instead at a computer using computer-assisted design software, better known as CAD. While CAD applications date back to the 1960s, they did not become mainstream in the architecture business until the 1980s when more organizations began investing computers.

Today you would be hard-pressed to find an architectural organization that does not use them. While there are many iterations and CAD products, the majority of them assist designers in creating three-dimensional models or two-dimensional drawings of physical components. The most advanced software programs can also help in engineering the designs, ensuring that the structure can physically withstand not only its own weight, but the weight of future furnishings and residents.

The use of these technologies allows designers more freedom, too. Architects can test out different designs and see how they look in a virtual world before construction starts. That allows them to be more innovative and adventurous in what they come up with opposed to the cookie-cutter-style homes of years past.

CAD is also an incredibly valuable tool for renovating homes. Designers can look at the structural bones already in place and build off that to give homeowners what they are looking for. It can often be easier for homeowners to add elements to an existing structure that they want instead of trying to find them in a new home or build an entirely new structure. CAD can also help see if the designs they want are able to be built without damaging the existing home, and also take into consideration the aesthetic value of any renovated or expanded space.

Architecture has come a long way since the days of Mike Brady. With the help of CAD, designers like those at Schultz Architecture can help turn your architecture dreams into reality. Let’s get started making your dreams into realities. Give us a call at 269-615-2597 to schedule a consultation today. 

CFLs Phasing Out in Favor of LEDs

by Jon Schultz on 02/16/16

Architecture is beautiful, but only if you can see it.

As the cost of LED bulbs has dropped, more and more companies are using them in interior lighting projects. Schultz Architecture has been taking advantage of this, working to design targeted lighting to provide the greatest effect in kitchens and living rooms, as well as when used with dimmer switches or even colored LEDs to improve the overall ambiance and mood of a given space.

LED bulbs last longer, are not as susceptible to the burning out on dimmer switches and come in vibrant colors, making them a superior option to compact florescent light bulbs that had been used heavily in recent years after 100-watt incandescent bulbs no longer reached government standards.

CFL bulbs were the primary alternative to traditional incandescents mainly because of their low price point compared to LED bulbs that have typically cost between $40 and $50 each. CFLs, though, gave off an unnatural light that drove customers away and required a longer “warm up” period before achieving peak brightness. As LED bulbs have come down in price, they’ve quickly become the best option for home and business owners alike.

GE recently announced that it will discontinue sales of CFL bulbs and increase its efforts with LEDs. This is a major sign of the shifting market, and with this evolution in lighting, we can take into account the growing availability of LED lighting to design a wider variety of lighting elements that help improve the overall experience of your living space and highlight architectural features and elements.

If you are remodeling or renovating your home, including the right lighting should be one key factor in determining the best design. Even if you just want to simply improve your home, adding specialty lighting in the right places can bring a different look to your home’s interior without a big budget.

To learn more or to discuss your planned project with the experts at Schultz Architects, call us today at 269-615-2597 to see LED lights can improve your home.

Building in 2016: What Are the Latest Trends?

by Jon Schultz on 01/05/16

Now that 2015 has come to a close, designers and architects are beginning to predict the biggest building trends we will see this year. In addition to staying as eco-friendly as possible, these ideas are topping the charts.

Room Definition


According to, we might see a change back to floor plans including more walls this year. Although open concept living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens have become very popular in recent years, the idea of segmenting spaces might be reinvented again in 2016. With many people choosing to live smaller and with fewer belongings cluttering up the home, room definition could become the new normal.

Double Islands


With the kitchen being the heart of the home, we are constantly looking at new ways to make it more fresh and inviting. Double islands are the perfect remedy! Traditional islands offer a convenient place to prepare food or serve snacks, but putting in a second island adds a whole new space to gather around. It can also serve as a transition space, leading from the kitchen on one side to a dining space or living room on the other. This innovative idea is perfect for the entertainer or anyone who has a large family.

Indoor-Outdoor Living


If you aren’t a big fan of room definition, you will love this trend. This home design incorporates a seamless flow from an indoor space – often a dining area or living room – into an outdoor space, like a patio or fireplace. These open and inclusive designs have been growing in popularity in recent years, according to several of the experts polled in Architectural Digest’s look ahead to this year’s trends, and this open space concept will be a favorite for those who just can’t get enough of nature. No matter if you live in an urban environment or a country landscape, inviting a little more Mother Earth into your home design will freshen up your home.

At Schultz Architecture, we are ready to take on new projects based on your dreams. Whether you are designing a new vacation lake home or primary residence or if you are looking to expand or renovate, we provide outstanding architectural design to meet your needs. Love one of these trends or have a few ideas of your own? Call us at 269-615-2597 to schedule a planning consultation and let us help you make your dreams a reality.