April 26th, 2013
When man first sought shelter from the elements, the idea of a dwelling, a home, was born. Since that time, the idea of what a home should be and how it is used has certainly changed just as the way our lives have changed. In our present state, it seems that technology has its grip on how we live, and with technology changing at an accelerating pace, we have learned to adapt our lives at a similarly changing pace. As we discard our cellphones before we even learn how to use each feature in order to get the next “hot” phone, we should stop and think about how this same phenomenon relates to the way we live.
Quite often, what we find desirable for our current situations may not work as well for our lifestyle in the future, and in some instances that future is not too distant. This leads me to the discussion of what we have found to be an increasingly common factor in designing new homes and home renovations for our clients. Flexibility.
Life is full of phases and changes; families grow, kids grow up, kids move out, or sometimes back in, among many other things. So when the time comes to work with an architect to design your new home or renovation/addition to your existing home, there are a few important questions to ask yourself that you may, or may not be thinking about: Read the rest of this entry »
January 15th, 2013
Finding the right property wasn’t an easy process, but good things don’t always come easy. After a year of searching Central Illinois, the perfect property was found. A nearly 100 acre parcel that includes 60 wooded acres, two streams, a former camp ground, and functioning farmland; the owners now have numerous options on where to locate their new home. The connection between the home and the outdoors is extremely important to the owners, so the first step was to get out to the site and view it all on foot. SWA Architects’ Tom Fend took to the road with the homeowners to visit the property and spend part of a day walking the site and taking it all in.
The property itself is rectangular in shape, and the existing access is located on the western edge adjacent to the existing farm field. Read the rest of this entry »
January 2nd, 2013
SWA Architects would like to wish all a Happy New Year and let’s hope that 2013 brings good health and prosperity to all. With a new year comes a new building code, and we would like to remind everyone that the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code is now in effect throughout Illinois. This new code has been put into affect as of January 1, 2013 and all counties and communities are to adhere to this code without exemption.
With that said, it is important to understand the differences between the new 2012 IECC and it’s predecessor the 2009 version and how it can affect your future home construction or remodel. Certain updates to the code will directly affect the way homes are constructed such as; added insulation in the attic, required mechanical ventilation, and more energy efficient windows. There are other items which general contractors must be aware of during the building process such as; mandated blower door testing, and sizing of the heating and cooling equipment and ductwork to the standards of the Manuals S, J & D.
Being aware of these updates during the design process can avoid potential headaches down the road. For a more detailed look at some important updates of this code click here to read a piece we wrote in April of last year when the 2012 IECC was released to the public.
December 6th, 2012
In January of 2011, a west suburban couple came to SWA Architects with the idea of building a new home in a wooded, rural setting in central Illinois. After months of searching for the ideal property, the couple settled on a 20 acre parcel of farmland with a small wooded area overlooking a stream. The preliminary design process focused heavily on creating views to the stream and the sun shading of the rear patio. SWA Architects took careful consideration of the sun angles by creating time lapse models of the sun’s daily movement during each month of the year Read the rest of this entry »
July 9th, 2012
SWA Architects recently designed a new home for Jim Ludden and Jana Svec in LaGrange, Illinois. The home was designed to meet their specific family needs, based on an initial floor plan sketch and a list of priorities. “Define Your Own Sense of Home”, the SWA Architects design motto, was reinforced by the great synergy between the client & architect during the design process. Design priorities included a custom home with budget limitations, minimizing water issues from potential local neighborhood flooding, and including some of the features they enjoyed in their current home.
One of the reasons SWA was selected as the architects to design the home is our hands on knowledge of construction and green building techniques. The home is currently under construction by Streamline Construction and Development and is projected to be Gold Level certified in the NAHB Green Building Program. SWA is the third party verifier for the green building program.