Growing Pains

May 4, 2014


As a project progresses, my desk piles with sketches, redlines and other reference material.  It almost always becomes an archaeological dig as the deeper in the pile I dig the older the drawing.  This time the pile was a little deeper to dig through as since the beginning of the year we have been working with four different clients on different types of projects ranging from a simple kitchen remodel to a whole house renovation and addition project.  For a small office like ours, that is still working on a part time basis, this is a large increase in work load making for late nights and early mornings to get the job done as we typically are only working on one project at a time.

The past few months have been stressful and tiring, however with three of the four projects out the door, each project brings us closer to taking Sym-Home full time.  With each project we pay ourselves a fair wage and the rest goes to pay for business expenses. We are following the philosophy of Entrepreneur Architect and building a debt free practice.  This means purchasing the tools we need as we can afford them and building the nest egg for when that day comes to take the practice full time, to ensure we have the cushion to pay the bills as we grow even more.

We are excited for the future as our projects are getting larger and we are receiving referrals from past clients.  As well as new ones finding us online either from our website or social media sites like Houzz.  So continue to follow us as we grow.

Greenbuild 2013

November 24, 2013

Last week we had the chance to attend the United State Green Building Council (USGBC) Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Philadelphia.  Let me tell you, it was a physically and mentally draining week, yet we return rejuvenated and inspired to continue on our path.  Attending a conference like this always lifts your spirits as you are surrounded by 30,000 like minded professionals.

GreenbuildNation Read the rest of this entry »

Sym-Home Brings On A New Partner

August 11, 2013

I would like to officially welcome Amy Lloyd to the Sym-Home team.  Amy will be taking on a full time role of business development and managing the daily operations as we look to expand our services offered at Sym-Home.

Amy Lloyd HeadshotAmy has over 13 years of experience in the design and construction industry with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Kent State University.  She has worked for Architecture Firms in Cleveland, Columbus and Washington D.C. with project experience in industrial, municipal, mixed-use retail and multi-family housing.  For the last several years, she has been working with the State of Ohio as an Owner’s Representative for K-12 new construction and renovation projects in Ohio where she managed project teams for a total of 25 schools buildings translating to over $420 million in construction.  As a part of these school projects, Amy has been directly involved in 2.5 million Square Feet of LEED Registered or Certified buildings.

Amy’s experience working both as a Project Manager and as an Owner’s Representatives makes her a valuable team member understanding what it takes for a great project using experience from both sides of the table.

Building Science Sunday – Knowledge & Practice

February 17, 2013

I recently read an article (here) from Dr. Joseph Lstiburek.  It wasn’t his overly technical type of writing diving deep into building science, it was more of his personal story of how he began his career and some of the great building science minds of the 60’s & 70’s that he had the pleasure of meeting and learning from.  Yes I did write the 60’s & 70’s.  Building Science is not a new thing, the topics Joe has been presenting have been done before, but no one was doing it and to this day building science is still a mystery to most of the design and construction industry.

Now what I took from that article is not the name dropping of who he met early in his career, but more of what he did with those connections and new found knowledge.  He applied it, he took what he learned from those individuals and put it into his then home building practice.  And to this day he is still refining some of those early construction practices. Read the rest of this entry »

Goals for 2013

January 6, 2013

We are a week into the New Year and it is time to set some goals for 2013, both professionally and personally.  If you read my last post, I have accepted a new full time job designing affordable housing, so there is some new direction for myself and Sym-Home.  So here are a few goals I am setting for 2013.

  • Finish my Architectural Registration Exams (ARE):  This is by far the most important goal of the year.  I have four of the seven exams to finish and the 5 year rolling clock is quickly approaching.  So it is time to pull the study materials out and hit the books hard for the next few months.  I am considering doing it like the old days and just finish them in one week time.  I have a few friends from architecture school that did this and was successful with this strategy.
  • Obtain the LEED for Homes Credential:  This is a certification that I have personally wanted to obtain for a few years now, but was unable to justify the cost of the exam since I was not doing much in terms of residential design work and not in the architecture field full time.  However my new employer is pushing me to obtain  credential within a year.  So no better excuse than that now.  I do have the LEED AP BD&C credential due to my past work experience and since I have been a LEED AP since 2004, I may pursue the LEED Fellow now that I qualify.
  • Publish a blog post at least once a month:  If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that I can be pretty active some months with posts, and then the blog could sit dormant for a few months.  So now that I will have some more free time in the evenings with the new job, I am going to push myself to publish at least one article per month. (Sweet, guess I have January taken care of now.)
  • Get better organized:  How many of us have set this one before.  Well this is the first time for me, and well is appears to be a pretty important one this coming year.  My wife and I have a lot of ambitious goals for ourselves both personally and professionally.  After many discussions with her, I just lack organization to accomplish them all.  Therefore I am going to start listing my goals and activities and prioritizing them to make sure that tasks get done in a more timely and productive fashion.  Here is a great article just published on the Entrepreneur Architect website on this very matter.  So I am going to start using Evernote to help organize myself.  So if anyone has suggestions on the best way to use this program, I would greatly appreciate it.
  • Start a regular exercise routine:  2012 was a horrible year with friends, family and even myself at the end of the year in terms of health and body issues.  So with that, I am going to try my best to stay physically fit with a regular exercise routine to keep myself healthy.  Thanks to my lovely wife we already eat very healthy.  Actually in 2012 we challenged ourselves as a family not to eat any fast food.  With the exception of a couple of times due to me being out of town for my job and not being able to prepare my lunch for the day, we were successful.
  • Cut out the TV:  Well not completely.  Until 2012 I use to watch a lot of television in the evening.  2012 there was a significant cut in television watching just due to my previous job and the work that I needed to do each evening.  However I was probably watching shows 3 or 4 nights a week, for 2 or more hours.  But I would like to cut out all TV shows Monday-Thursday.  There are so many more productive things that I could be doing with my time such as studying or writing articles instead of watching TV.  Fridays I don’t want to give up because that is my one night of the week where I stay up late watching movies.  As I explain to my wife, that is my decompression time.  My brain shuts down and recharges.
  • Get involved:  Before working as an energy auditor, I was highly involved in my local and state AIA Chapter as well as the green building community.  So with the more flexible time working in an office again, I look forward to renewing my membership with the AIA and local USGBC chapter.

So those are the big goals for the year.  There are many more that I would like to accomplish such as revamp the Sym-Home website, renovate our kitchen, learn to play guitar, become a HERS Rater, learn Manual J, and the list goes on.  However those are not high on the priority list, and remember I am going to prioritize my tasks now.  Thus hopefully I will become more efficient and will accomplish more of my goals in 2013.  So here is to a good, healthy and productive 2013, and I would love to hear what some of your goals are for the New Year.