Month: December 2018

'Pirate House' Lures

'Pirate House' Lures

Builder Steve Kuhl sat with his 6-year-old nephew Zack and advised him, “We could do anything we want to your room. You can take a spaceship, a battleship, a castle, a racecar, a pirate boat … ” Swashbuckling Zack stopped him right there, offered on the pirate boat.

Kuhl was building for the majority of his lifetime, and involving his abilities and creativity, he knew he could make anything happen. His creativity flowed out of a (fake) jail cell, across a bridge, over to a boat’s hull, up a crow’s nest, down a secret passage into the cupboard and lasted throughout the house all the way down to a spiral slide into the basement.

Have a chair and prepare for a fun ride through a house filled with fun, joy and whimsy.

in a Glance
Location: Medina, Minnesota
Size: Approximately 6,800 square feet; 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
Who lives here: In the time it had been created, a household including two young children. The dad is Steve Kuhl’s brother. The house has since been marketed (more on this later).

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Since you approach Zack’s room, a peek around the corner lets you know this is no ordinary bedroom; the very first thing you encounter is a rock jail “for locking up bad guys, and possibly small sisters,” says Kuhl.

From the jail, a bridge extends across the room to a pirate’s ship. The hull hangs out of a loft area that was fresh before Kuhl and Zack decided to transform it. The bridge can manage the weight of four adults.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

I had been convinced Kuhl must have employed some sort of Pirates of Penzance set-designing genius, however he designed and constructed the entire thing himself. “I’ve never dropped my inner child … I only really got to that location and said, ‘Let’s just have fun’ once I dreamt up this,” he says. “I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said a few people die at 25 and are not buried until 75. I will never let this happen; I am still a child at heart”

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl constructed the boat’s hull much like you would on a classic seaworthy boat, with ribs, in this case made from laminated plywood. “This was a fantastic excuse to use the CNC (computer numerical control) for something apart from cupboards,” says Kuhl. To put it differently, you feed a computer the measurements you desire and it cuts the boards for you. The hull material is ⅜-inch Masonite, which can be high density and flexible.

The square openings beneath the primary deck open to a small storage area.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl Design Build LLC

The next challenge was the way to coat the hull. “We wanted something that would look like old-world planking that may stand up to kids’ fingernails,” Kuhl says. “We worked like mad scientists in the shop, combining epoxy and varnish chemical with brownish colorant to discover the perfect mix. After we applied it we combed it to give it a rough texture.”

A crow’s nest tops the boat. A mural of sea and skies completes the seafaring vibe.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl is about to escape from beneath the wheelhouse.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

“This gap provides a fast escape to the cupboard beneath the boat for emergency apparel changes,” Kuhl says.

“We worked together with the local building department to make certain all safety concerns were addressed. For instance, the walls of this pirate boat are standard rail-height high”

Approximate budget for a pirate room such as this: $40,000

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Downstairs in the mudroom, the first three wooden doors provide storage area, but if you start the fourth door, you get quite a surprise. “It is three lockers plus a ‘whoa!'” Describes Kuhl.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Kuhl Design Build LLC

The hole that looks like some sort of really weird front-loading washing machine in the previous picture is in fact an alternate approach to make it to the basement.

Kuhl calls for the slide “severe tubular craziness.”

Kuhl Design Build LLC

The twisted journey ends in the climbing cave, and this is part of a greater “sports court”

Approximate slide budget: $2,500 to $5,000 for the components

Kuhl Design Build LLC

“I’ve been climbing my entire life; I am a fighter,” says Kuhl. He designed himself with the aid of 3-D modeling.

Approximate rising wall budget: $15,000

Watch more scaling walls

Kuhl Design Build LLC

The floor underneath the climbing wall has been covered with a custom crash mat that is 26 inches thick. On the right is the golf simulator.

At this point, I am sure a few of you are freaking out at the notion of resale value. Kuhl’s philosophy is, “If you plan on being at a house for some time, build yourself. These children have so many joyful memories from this house that will endure the remainder of their lives” Additionally, he told me that the whimsy of this house ruled seven 10 “vanilla” buyers, but the remainder said, “I’ve never noticed that before. I must get this!” They got into a bidding war, along with his brother got more than his asking price.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

“I am not into golf, but this got me into it,” says Kuhl. You push a true golf ball right onto the display (do not worry, it simply drops), and a military-grade software program figures out the twist, angle and speed, projecting its trajectory on the monitor. “You are able to watch the Masters Tournament on TV whilst playing the Masters class about the simulator,” says Kuhl.

Approximate budget for the golf simulator: The program was about $18,000 as it was purchased; Kuhl is not certain how much it costs today.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Ultimately, there is another enjoyable surprise for the adults; this bookcase off the primary entry swings open into a secret stairs that serves as the only entry to a key library upstairs.

Kuhl Design Build LLC

Here’s the key library.

“Designing and constructing this house filled me with creativity and joy,” says Kuhl. “What is cool is attempting to bring that exact same creative spirit to a regular kitchen renovation, whether it’s through sudden features like concealed storage or pop-up TVs that make it enjoyable.” I can not think of a better attitude for a designer or a builder to get.

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Bonnet Roof

Bonnet Roof

A bonnet roof is a type of hip roof, often with a sharp incline at the summit and a gentle slope at the bottom, but its defining characteristic is that it extends past the vertical walls, making a covered space for porches or patios, like a bonnet.

LDa Architecture & Interiors

The eaves extending from this bonnet roof create the colour to get a poolside patio.

Architecture in Formation

This bonnet roof is supported by timbers on the gable end.

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10 Outdoor Ability to Turn Over

10 Outdoor Ability to Turn Over

Memorial Day is about honoring the lives of men and women who died protecting and serving our nation. Many homeowners will lift a glass and celebrate the holiday the unofficial beginning of summer — about a tablescape of Americana decoration, chilled peas, cold beer and a homemade dessert. However you choose to celebrate Memorial Day, let’s appreciate the spirit of freedom and also the beginning of warmer days with thoughts from these inspiring outdoor kitchens.

Urrutia Design

Don’t we all want to dine al fresco in this homeowner’s timber- and stone-clad garden? The built-in grill is near the table, which makes it the ideal setup for a small number of guests; the one manning the grill will always feel a part of this group.

Chicago Green Design Inc..

Everything concerning this rooftop shouts summer. In the lounge chairs that face stunning city views, to the bright chartreuse colour of these planters and cabinets to the minifridge and grill pair — that really is the place to sip a cold beer while the bunch flips burgers.

AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc..

This barside grill’s backdrop is just magnificent, which makes it the ideal place to enjoy the stunning California sunset along with a glass of chilled chardonnay.

McClellan Architects

My favorite part of the summer barbecue is the transition from dusk to nighttime, right once the temperature cools and beers are substituted with steaming mugs of hot cocoa or coffee. This contemporary outdoor area lets guests create the easy change from outside dining chairs to more comfy all-weather armchairs around the fire pit, which can only mean 1 thing: It’s time to roast s’mores.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

Following is a more traditional version of a space that allows guests transition from the dining table to a more casual seating arrangement. This enclosed porch homes an outdoor kitchen that’s excellent for homes that have really hot summer weather. Roof care, ventilation and plenty of ceiling fans ensure a cool area throughout the day.

Display the eponymous for Longer Living Room (Nearly) All Year

It’s tough to get the modern rustic appearance right, but this covered outside kitchen hits the mark perfectly. Citrine banquettes, beam ceilings and timber used throughout the decoration offers comparison to the stainless steel kitchen appliances. Sliding glass doors to the right show the outside kitchen’s proximity to the indoor living space, which makes it a great spot for both postdinner sitting and mingling.

The pièce de résistance of the outdoor kitchen is your wood-burning oven, which means pizza and roasted bread might be on this homeowner’s Memorial Day menu. Another draw is the kitchen’s gorgeous backdrop — Oregon’s verdant environment.

Randy Thueme Design Inc. – Landscape Architecture

This outdoor kitchen has a cast-in-place concrete countertop, which continues the overall industrial and modern feel of the home in Aptos, California.

AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc..

There is a lot to appreciate about this outdoor living area, which looks like a resort bar and pool couch. Equipped with a pizza oven, a swim-up pool a mounted patio heater, ceiling fans, plus a full kitchen and grill (not pictured), this outdoor kitchen is just plain dreamy.

The Fantastic Poolside Landscape

Witt Construction

Although this stone and stucco built-in grill is part of a much grand European-California house, the midcentury modern Tolix chairs with two cold beer bottles on the round table give off a feeling of simplicity — and summer.

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Classic Color Duo: Blue and White

Classic Color Duo: Blue and White

White and Blue is a color strategy steeped in history. This classic color palette dates back to the ninth century, when cobalt-blue pigments were used to create themes on white pottery and porcelain in China. Throughout the 18th century blue and white printed cloths started popping up in France.

Blue and white is an attractive combination because it’s a very serene palette that looks natural to most people. In design it creates a sense of elegance and simplicity that is unparalleled.

StarrMiller Interior Design, Inc..

A dim denim-blue accent wall puts off the white and blue furnishings in this living area. The deep color of blue also causes this spacious area look and feel cozier.

Suggested paint selection: Luxe Blue, Sherwin-Williams

Wm Ohs Inc..

A blue ceiling imitates the skies and never seems out of place — particularly in a white and blue area. Within this area the oversize upholstered chairs organize with all the ceiling shade and also help to define the general palette.

Suggested paint selection: Cosmos, Sherwin-Williams

Nina Jizhar

Because of the strong comparison, just one or two white and blue accessories can make a massive impact in a room.

Kim Armstrong

Navy blue walls make a stunning backdrop for a white, upholstered headboard in this bedroom. With the existence of white and blue textiles, the area boasts a lot of comfort and classic style.

Suggested paint selection: Blue, Benjamin Moore

Kendall Wilkinson Design

Monochromatic doesn’t always mean beige. This space features many distinct versions of blue and just a touch of white for a harmonious, tone-on-tone appearance. What a wonderful setting for your river views outside.

Suggested paint selection: Anemone, Behr

Sroka Design, Inc..

Chinese blue and white products are traditional accessories which fit into a room of almost any style and color.

Envision living

Make a bold statement with a dark blue foyer flanked with white furnishings. It is possible to find elaborate wood pieces at flea markets which you may then transform with a can of white spray paint.

Suggested paint selection: Flying Fish, Behr


Toile is a printed fabric which features a story style, frequently portraying the French countryside. Using white and blue toile fabrics and wall coverings is a more complex means to bring a traditional feel to any area.

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Energy-Efficient Windows: Know the Parts

Energy-Efficient Windows: Know the Parts

Windows would be a house’s charmer. They add that touch of character that completes the house’s style, particularly if they’re windows.

But if your windows are a little gray around the edges, and it’s not possible to update them for efficiency, then it’s time to select new windows. And as you’re already replacing them you may as well choose energy-efficient ones that will help save you money.

The very first step is trapping all of the acronyms regarding energy-efficient windows. The second step is knowing how they contribute to the efficiency of a window — and the parts of a window — frame, operation and glazing.

Window Frames

A window frame can be made from aluminum or another alloy, composite, fiberglass, vinyl or wood.

All have their advantages and disadvantages, but the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends wood, vinyl, fiberglass or combination. (Aluminum is easily heated, therefore it isn’t a great insulator.) Wood has efficiency issues due to expansion and contraction, so contemplate aluminum- or vinyl-clad windows. But if you select vinyl, then consider a insulated version, based on your climate and home requirements, for greater thermal insulation.

Our acronym manual did not inform you about all the parts of a window. Here’s a diagram in the DOE.

Tracy Stone AIA

Window Glazing

You will find a variety of options for your window glass, also: gasoline matches, heat-absorbing tints, insulated (double- or triple-glazed), low-E coatings, reflective coatings and spectrally selective coatings.

Gas fills. The most common gasses utilized are argon, which is comparatively less expensive, and krypton, which is more expensive but has a much better ability at reducing a window U-factor.

Heat-absorbing tints. All these come in colours like blue, black, green, gray, black or bronze. Tint does not lower a window U-factor, but inner glass layers or spectrally sensitive coatings can be added to assist with this. Gray and bronze decrease light and heat; blue and green allow more visible transmittance (VT) but just slightly reduced heat transport.

Resolution: 4 Architecture

Insulated. Double-glazed, triple-glazed, or storm windows allow distance and air between panes (see the above mentioned.) This enhances the U-factor in addition to the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). In addition to air, space can also be added to lower the U-factor more.

Gas fills or low-E coatings can also be inserted to insulated windows to additional increase efficiency.

Low-E coatings. These coatings raise a window’s price by 10 to 15 percentage, the DOE says, but they can decrease energy reduction by about 30 to 50 percent. The coatings reduce the U-factor but can also decrease visible transmittance unless it’s spectrally selective. For hot climates or windows that get a great deal of sunlight, the low-E coating should be on the exterior of the glass. For keeping heat in the home in the winter, the coat should be on the inside of the glass.


Reflective coatings. These coatings block solar radiation but additionally VT and warmth. They do decrease SHGC, however, which is a plus. The DOE says that this type of glazing works better in warm climates, but since it does raise the need for indoor lighting, the energy savings can be minimal. This type of coating is good for applications.

Spectrally selective coatings. These coatings are excellent because they cut out 40 to 70 percent of their heat but still allow the light through. This means a low U-factor and SHGC but high VT.. Spectrally selective coatings can be utilized to decrease the electric-based heating needs of new houses in hot climates by over 40%, the DOE says.

Window Types

Last, consider the type of window you want in terms of how it operates, as some window types allow more air leakage than others.

Awnings, casement and hopper windows have lower air leakage than sliding windows. Fixed windows don’t have any air passage in any way, which isn’t good if you occasionally want venting.

And for the future, keep your eye out for windows that pop from the wall entirely. I recently talked to Denis Hayes, among the organizers of the first Earth Day, and he has discovered that windows that pop out have the smallest air leakage, particularly because the seal will not wear down over time like the other windows. He worked with a window manufacturer to produce a few of these windows on a one-off basis, but they might be on shop shelves in a few years.

When you have made it through studying all the window jargon, you can go out and select the style of your new windows to match the type of your house. Every one these explanations will not make you a professional, but they should give you.

Neuhaus Design Architecture, P.C.

Are you replacing or repairing your old windows? Please inform us.

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