Factory-Built Housing Can Be Better than You Think

Well Designed Factory-Built Homes

If you are like most Americans, when you hear the term “Factory-Built” or “Modular” housing, you probably think of what you see rolling down the highway with the house-wrap flapping in the breeze and looking like a small step up from a trailer. You think of a “double wide.” Your impression is that a modular…

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Decorative Wood Trim in Latvian Houses

Decprative Latvian Wood Trim

Call it “gingerbread” or call it “frou-frou,” but either way, intricate detail in wood is the signature of Latvian Wooden Architecture from the early part of the last century. This house on the island of Kipsala in the river Daugava across from Riga is a great example. And it’s wonderful to see treasures like this…

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Understand Your House Plans (Karen’s Method)

I think it is always a challenge for my clients to thoroughly understand the architectural drawings, or house plans, for their new house. Floor plansand elevationsare a new language to most people who are not in the building business. It is like hearing a foreign language. You can get some of it, but you probably will miss much of it.…

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Unique and Beautiful Petoskey Stone

Petoskey Stone House Design

If you are building or remodeling, you probably want to include some details that make your house unique and different from most other houses. People building or remodeling in Michigan sometimes use their state stone to distinguish their houses. I doubt that many states actually have a state stone, but Michigan does. It’s the Petoskey Stone, a…

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Latvian Symbols in Art and Architecture

Latvian Symbols Art Architecture

Latvia has a rich cultural heritage of meaningful symbols that are prevalent in their art and architecture. The Latvian wooden houses incorporate a lot of detail in the wood trim. And much of this detail can be traced to symbols that have roots in the Pagan origins of the Latvian culture. Author Dan Brown brought…

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The Traveling Architect in Latvia

Latvia Traveling Architecture

Today, we toured a neighborhood in Riga, Latvia that is full of 100+ year-old wooden houses. These were the homes of the professionals, merchants, and business owners from an era long past. Since the time when these homes were built, Latvia has been overrun and occupied by Russia, Germany, and the Soviet Union from the…

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The Memorial for Deported Children in Riga, Latvia

Latvia Memorial Deported Children

We design and build memorialsto remember important people, places, and events. Things that have been deemed important enough to never be forgotten. Sometimes these are not pleasant memories of happy times. For that reason, it is even more important to remember them and never repeat them. Thus is the case with the memorial seen here. Sitting at the intersection…

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The Dark Time of Latvian Architecture

Dark Age Latvian Architecture

Latvia is a country with an attractive and culturally integrated architectural history. The buildings of the past reflect the true character of the Latvian people, their traditions, and the environment around them. The capital, Riga, contains the largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in the world and has been said to be the largest wooden…

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The Handcrafted Heritage in Latvia

Latvia Shutter Dogs

Have you ever wondered why most people prefer handcraftedthings more than their machine-made counterparts? It does not seem like it should be that way if people were looking for items that were made to a higher level of precision and free from imperfections. Most everything made by machine is going to be closer to perfection than…

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Peteris Blums and the Wooden Architecture of Latvia

Wooden Architecture Latvia

Recently, while in Latvia for a house design project I am beginning, I met an architect who is on a one-man mission to preserve the delightful architectural heritage that exists in Latvia’s capital city, Riga. His name is Peteris Blums. A quiet man with a quiet determination to do an important job for his city,…

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