Planning for performance and aesthetics will save you money


I work with a variety of builders here in the valley. One of the builders has built homes from plans from magazines, drafters, and renovations by home owner sketches. The other has built designs by multiple architects, drafters, and magazines. Each has told our clients that using designs and specifications developed by Gaines Group Architects saves…

16 years later, the internet has made hiring an architect easier


Over my 16 years in the industry the way we communicate and interview with clients has drastically changed. It used to be a phone call, face to face meeting, and hundreds of pictures from magazines kicked off each project interview. Now it usually starts with an online request for a meeting, an email or two to coordinate…

Want to change the future? Mentor those that will be the change.


On the Road Collaborative has kicked off YEAR 2 of the program. This year they welcomed 87 Skyline Middle School youth to their day 1 event. This organization, founded by Brent Holsinger, creates an entire pathway of opportunity and support for young people from middle school through high school graduation. Our connection to On the…

Best value found in higher quality not low price


It keeps coming back to me time and time again – the best value is found in higher quality solutions not in low price. It seems to be true in every aspect of life – the best quality solution is almost never the lowest price. I am certainly not advocating for the highest price solution…

Sustainable home sets new standard for the Classic Farmhouse


Sustainable home sets new standard for the Classic Farmhouse The classic farmhouse has a strong tradition here in the valley. The big front porch, gathering space for the family, large kitchen to host friends and neighbors, and of course an incredible view. This time honored traditional design has a place in our hearts. We see…

8 Steps to an energy-efficient home


8 Steps to an Energy-Efficient House Insulate and air seal the attic / roof – there should be a minimum of 12″ of insulation in your attic and all penetrations should be sealed to the conditioned space in your home Air Seal walls – stop losing energy through your walls and ducts, seal all cracks…

Gaines Group Architects in Harrisonburg


We have been building our firm here in the valley for a little more than 8 years. I opened our branch office in Harrisonburg in July 2008 in the basement of my Timberville home. Most of my jobs were still in the Central Virginia area at the time. There was a lot of driving over the…

Low price often does not lead to a happy client in the future


We are all on a budget – no matter how big or small the project, there is ALWAYS a budget. This budget is always a discussion point during design and usually becomes a point of restriction in the project at some point. Clients often face conflict between what they want and what they want to spend….

Harrisonburg Sustainable Farmhouse project update 3


Beck Builders has finished the Sustainable Farm House we designed just north of Harrisonburg.  Click here to see more from past posts. Click here to see more from past posts. The deep front porch provides plenty of space for seating. The rear deck has incredible views. The open floor plan features high ceilings and lots…

The Gaines Group Harrisonburg office is taking shape.


Our new office is open and getting into shape. The interior brick walls along the stair that were once covered in black char from the 80’s fire have been scraped. The stairs have been rebuilt leading to the second floor. Heading into the second floor, the window and door opening from the fire was preserved…

Check out this cool find inside a wall on a renovation project


You never know what to expect in the walls of a renovation project. There are always things hiding from construction of the past. From coke bottles to beer bottles things get tossed inside of walls and sit there for years waiting to be exposed again. On a recent project in downtown Harrisonburg, this cool find…

Thinking about the future, I see hope.


As I return to blogging, I am going to take a less technical approach to my writings. I will still include projects we are working on, technical posts, but also just thoughts from an architect trying to figure out life. I have been thinking a lot about the state of our nation as we move…