Levels of Security: Clem, Cletus & James Bond

April 11th, 2017

Levels of Security: Clem, Cletus & James Bond is about how this Architect of custom houses adjusts the level of security to suit the intrusion risk.

security precautions

(C)Copyright 2017, Home Architect, PLLC. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

For instance, the custom designed gated entrance (above) was designed by the Architect to handle low to medium level security on a large estate in the country.  And it will likely keep out Clem, Cletus and other casual thieves.  Why?   (see below)












1.  GATE: There is a gate, which causes you to stop and consider.
2.  FENCE: There is a fence attached to the gate portal, which means you can’t just easily go around the gate.
3.  HEIGHT: both the fence & gate at 6′ tall.  In order to get over it, you’re going to have some means that’s going to attract attention.
4.  DETECTORS: there’s a motion detector light on the protected side of the fence on both sides.
5.  CAMERA: there’s a real-time video camera on the protected side, looking toward the entrance gate, that ties into the owner’s TV channels in a closed circuit.
6.  GATE OPERATION: the gate does not part in the middle (like most residential gates).  Which are fairly easy to open using a nasty old truck and brute force forward, which damages the beater truck, the gates and the operating mechanisms.  No.  This gate is a horizontal rolling type, which means its much stronger.  Will it resist a 20 year old F-150 ramming it at 80 miles an hour?  Probably not.  But that may take out the radiator and engine of the truck, make a very loud noise and could possibly bend hard and heavy debris in the exit portal.  Not a wise thing for a thief to do.  But the horizontal rolling gate could probably resist other, less aggressive attempts, depending on the thickness of its members.
7.  DOGS: there also just might be some mean dogs running around on the property looking for trouble.


In other words, this is a much stronger level of resistance for the casual druggie looking to score something quickly from the house and grounds.  Not a casual break & enter here. And would definitely be a B&E, which raises the bar for the crime and the time someone would do for that.  Clem & Cletus would probably glance at this above arrangement and keep stumbling down the road in their old truck, looking for easier pickings.












How about James Bond?  Is this going to keep him out?  No, it won’t.  Any sort of sophisticated higher level jewel thief or NSA, CIA, Seal Team 6 sort of person will be able to get in just about anywhere, with enough planning, budget, equipment and thought.  But why would they want to do that?  It would probably cost them more time and money than it’s worth. 


So what do we do?  We plan and design to keep out Clem & Cletus (and maybe their buddies from the local tavern), but not James Bond.  However, we actually had one billionaire Client for whom we were planning a permanent rocket launcher and a 3,000 round per minute military grade Gatling gun on the top of his house, if there was ever a concentrated armed assault from the property perimeter, along with various cameras, motion sensors and other detection devices, electric inner fence, along with armed guards, attack dogs and a Medieval siege trench with sharpened spears in the dead-man fall.  But your average country estate owner isn’t going to want to pay for all that (or try to acquire the permits for them, or have all of those dangerous things around on their property).


All we’ve touched on here, in this simple initial article is the gated entranceway.  There are other aspects of perimeter security, involved other fencing types, landscaping and other aspects.  Those are subjects for a future article or two. 
















tags: levels of security, residential, cashiers, highlands, lake toxaway, glenville, sapphire, sevierville, aspen, boulder, post and beam,



Decrease Construction Risk with Good House Design

March 30th, 2017

Decreasing residential construction risk with good house design is about how soon-to-be house owners can lower or eliminate many of the risks of residential construction by engaging a real Architect to design their project.


Decrease Construction Risk

(C)Copyright 2005-2017 Home Architect PLLC.














Have you ever taken a risk by selecting a cheap option, then later wished you hadn’t done that, when problems develop?  HOME ARCHITECTS = the no risk option. 


Let’s consider a guy named Bob and his decision-making process.  He considers himself to be a thrifty person.  Someone who likes saving a buck.  Hey, who doesn’t?  There Bob is, at the local automotive dealer, making choices for his family’s next vehicle.  He’s decided to get a mini-van this time, as many people with growing families these days do.  However, Bob has decided to save about $10,000 by Not taking the options for posi-traction (a locking rear differential) and 4-wheel drive.   And Bob decided he doesn’t need leather; he’s going with the fabric seats.  Hey: he’s saving around $13,000. Bob’s a savvy buyer, isn’t he?


Fast forward to winter and the first blizzard of the year.  Wait for it…let’s see: 12″ of snow and ice, which is turning the roads in Hickory Hollow (Bob’s neighborhood) into a dangerous mess of mud and snow drifts.  Bob fires up his new van and heads out to pick up his kids from their after-school girl scout and cub scout meetings at the school cafeteria meeting rooms.  On the way down the hill to the main highway, Bob presses the brakes, but his van continues sliding straight, on a glaze of ice, off the road and into a ditch.  Fortunately the ditch is rather shallow.  Bob looks on his dashboard for his locking rear differential button.  Damn.  Bob didn’t pay for that option, did he?  He next looks for the 4-wheel drive button. Double damn!  He didn’t pay for that option either!  Those were easy decisions, when it was summer and the last thing Bob was thinking about was snow.


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Bob opens the door to his van and steps out.  Zip!  The first thing that happens: his feet slide out from under him and Slap!  Bob lands in an icy mass of mud in the drainage ditch there.  Jeez!  Bob has got to get his kids!  He decides perhaps he needs to get back into the van and try to rock the vehicle back and forth, to hopefully get some traction.  Bob hops back inside.  Slosh.  Looking down at  his seat, he realizes that he has just slopped all that mud from his backside onto his seats.  Well, he can just wash off the leather…Triple damn!  Bob didn’t pay for the leather!  He only has fabric.  That means his seats will never look clean again.  And his kids are still out there, waiting…


Get it?  When we are penny-wise, we can simultaneously be pound foolish.  In other words, while we may think of ourselves as “savers” and “thrifty,” we actually are being poor planners for our future selves and for the well-being of our family.  Our over-thriftiness early in a house project could well result in impossible and damaging situations later that can cause us and our families real harm and result in tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted money on a house, that will need to be corrected.


What does this have to do with Residential Construction?

A lot.

When Contractors build without detailed documents several things happen:
1.  Mistakes are made.
2.  Unpleasant things occur, requiring influx of brainpower and cash to resolve.

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3.  Materials that you “thought” would “of course” be included in the project are, to your horror, Not included and cheap materials are being installed that will rot, leak, fall down and look terrible.
4.  Cheap HVAC (Heating, Ventilating & Air-Conditioning) systems are used that may not adequately heat or cool your new home, and materials are being used in a way that could aggravate COPD (and even cause Legionnaire’s Disease).
5.  Lower amounts of insulation are being used and in a way that allows outdoor air to breeze into your walls, ceiling and floors, increasing your monthly power bills and making your family uncomfortable.
6.  Your outdoor decks are being built improperly, which means that it is likely that they could fail and fall in the future, just when you have a large party on them, injuring and possibly killing your family and guests.  Google “deck fails” to see for yourself.
7.  And, the Contractor is going to demand Change Orders for all of those things you thought you were going to get in your house.  Why?  Because all those preferences were not listed in the Construction Documents.  Why?  Because you didn’t want to pay for a real Architect to design your next house.  You had someone who didn’t even have an architectural degree or license to practice.  Just someone who “draws plans.”  Hey: they aren’t worried.  Why?  Because they don’t have to do anything!  No laws govern what they do.  They may not even have a high school education. 

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So: being penny-wise and pound foolish with obtaining cheap design services will probably not serve you well.  You get what you pay for (and Don’t get what you don’t pay for).  Better to get a real Architect to design your project. Someone with a Masters Degree in Architectural Design from a major accredited university (that you have heard of), decades of specialized experience in your project type (custom houses), and a license to practice architecture.   And it’s more than just pieces of paper: a real, Licensed Architect is required by law to protect the Health, Safety and Welfare of the public.  Those whom do not have such a license have no such legal duty.   And real Architects are trained in college & graduate school (often for longer than Attorneys, Doctors, Engineers or CPAs) then must earn a professional degree, then must work diligently under the strict documented apprenticeship of other licensed Architects to properly practice architecture (often for 10 years), then pass a very difficult and several day’s long complex test to then earn a professional license (with the considered recommendations of multiple other licensed Architects whom have seen evidence of their abilities and who vouch for them, in writing), along with yearly CEU (Continuing Education Units) to stay current.  People who are not licensed have no such obligations (and probably nowhere near the experience or training of a real Architect).  Let’s put it this way: life is hectic.  If you don’t have to do something, are you going to do it?   And those who have documentation (a license) proving they’ve earned the right to practice are more qualified.  It’s documented: College.  Graduate School.  Degree.  Apprenticeship.  Experience.  Test.  License.   Experience.  CEUs.  And more Experience.


Consider your medical care.  Would you let some guy with a tool box perform your next heart surgery?  No. Ridiculous.  Same thing with your house.  Only your house is going to cost you $400,000 to a million or over!  Probably the biggest single investment of your life!  And a house is among the most complex project types an Architect can undertake (see Project Complexity).  Better get a specialist. A professional who spends their entire lives preparing to design houses like yours: a real Licensed Architect. 


Interior Renovations to Older House Look New

March 16th, 2017

Interior Renovations to Older House Look New: is about how this architectural firm programmed, planned, designed, documented and managed improvements to an aging house to make it vital, interesting and functional to its new owners.

interior renovations

Click image above to see the interior 3D video of this project.















The images you see on the online article give an idea about the renovations and additions that are presently designed and that will soon begin construction, on this Glenville, NC house.  This house was originally built in 1981 (not designed by this Architect) and it has always been rather plain in appearance.  This Architect points out that they enjoy making “plain” houses into something more than that.  They said that they find it is easy for them to add features to a plain house to make it more appealing.  Like the large new stair and elevator tower on the rear of this house, facing a large portion of the 50+ acre grounds of this estate.


In the interior, there are numerous updates involved, most of them functional, as well as aesthetic.  For instance, the existing main level “fireplace” at present isn’t a real fireplace at all, but rather, a metal stove jammed into a brick wall.  This is being replaced with a widened opening and a 2-way see through fireplace. 

interior renovations













And the existing 1st Floor storage room is being converted into a new guest bathroom (which there never has been any to this date).  This new sink and many of them in the house are being installed as accessible.  New vanity tops and shower walls are to be Carrerra marble (white with gray streaks). However, marble is too slippery for floors, so shower floors will be flat cut river rock pebbles and the main bathroom floors will be gray slate with accent tiles of flamed granite (the torching renders the granite more resistance to slipping, which is always a safety concern in bathrooms).


The new Elevator will facilitate movement up and down inside the house for one of the new occupants, who is in a wheelchair.  The elevator can be seen below: it’s the beige colored object with a person inside it where you can see 3 vertical glass windows into the elevator shaft. 

interior renovations

The Architect has space planned the furniture arrangements so that there is typically a “missing” chair. 












This fills the function of having a space available for the person in the wheelchair being able to roll into and join in the group activities.  Something not seen before, but a good idea.  For instance, look at the image above. See the young man in the dark shirt with the dark hair facing the camera?  Looks like he’s part of the furniture conversation grouping doesn’t he?  He is.  Because he’s in a wheelchair (there’s no conventional chair in his position there), and he can be part of that conversation grouping because there is no fixed chair there.  Simple.  Smart. 


interior renovations

Above is a view from inside the elevator looking out a window in the elevator through the vertical panes of glass in the elevator shaft, at the vertical space connecting the Terrace Level (Basement) and 1st Floor.  This was done to help remove the feeling of “basement” from the lower floor level.  How basements have you ever seen that have a large space connecting up for about 30′ in height?  None, right?  Until now.   And how many home elevators have windows?  Not too many.  Perhaps there should be more.













interior renovations

Above is another view of the Terrace Level Living Room, illustrating just how creative a ceiling can be by HOME ARCHITECTS ®.  The Project Architect wanted to literally fragment the ceiling in the lower level, so that there was no hard flat surface, as there is at most basement ceilings.  He researched, specified and combined some commercial ceiling panels in an unusual and artistic manner, then spaced them apart to give a lighter, more open feeling.  He designed lighting between the panels to illuminate them indirectly, resulting in a feeling like clouds in a sky. They even appear to be moving, although they are fixed into place.  Also, note the door between the home office and the living room: it uses seeded glass, to give more light into both spaces, while still obscuring direct viewing.  And the tall (8′ high) SGD (Sliding Glass Doors) that have been introduced into the lower level provide natural light and commanding views over the 50 acres of woods, ponds and pastures, along with the even higher windows above, that also serve the 1st floor Dining area.  No dark basement feeling here!



interior renovations

Here (above), a home Library was planned and detailed, as part of the Terrace Level Living- Dining open space planned area.  The elevator is to the right.



interior renovations

The basement master bedroom has a pop-up flat screen TV that comes up out of a foot locker at the base of the king-sized bed.  Doors to the large adjacent bathroom have wood frames with seeded glass to admit light, but not direct views into the bathroom.



interior renovations

The palatial terrace level bathroom (above).   No doors are necessary, due to the distances involved and the Architect designed clear tempered glass partial partitions with marble bases to keep the water and warm air inside the shower area.  Note the artistic coordination of bronze tile accents in the marble tile work and the bronze towel racks, even the towels themselves.  This Architect also plans recessed niches into the wall tile work for shower accessories like shampoo, body wash, and other personal items.  Note the accessible marble sink to the left, and flat cut river rock pebble stones on the shower floor.



interior renovations

And here is the Home Office (above), also on the Terrace Level.  New windows were cut into the basement wall to provide direct views to the outside and natural light from the inside. 






tags: interior renovations, cashiers nc, lake toxaway, highlands, sevierville, tn, mountain, custom, timber fram, post and beam, hendersonville, aspen, telluride, lake tahoe




Grand Architectural Multiverse Concept

February 25th, 2017

Grand Architectural Multiverse Concept (GrAMcon ™) is about the inspired idea an Architect had about the structure (or architecture) of our Universe and on a grander scale, multiple unified universes linking the whole of creation, everywhere and everywhen.

Grand Architectural Multiverse Concept

Grand Architectural Multiverse Concept. This image courtesy of NASA/ESA Hubble telescope 3 billion years after Big Bang.











This online article is conjecture (however, some theoretical physicists might think otherwise).  It has, as yet, no basis in proven theory (although, once again, some physicists would say pieces of it do make sense).  It is therefore a “concept.”  It is a big stretch from normal architecture, involving the entire Universe’s organization and beyond. 

When Rand Soellner was 7 years old, he was playing outside with friends in his Midwestern neighborhood.  It was a splendid fall day, with tall clear blue skies bright with sunshine, cool breezes and lush backyard grass that had not yet turned for the upcoming winter.  He suddenly stopped in his tracks.  He had an overwhelming feeling that some basic large Truth of the Universe was being made known to his subconscious.  He looked about him, wondering what this was.  He had the feeling that if he ever did figure out this Truth, that everything, everywhere would stop.  Big thoughts in such a little, growing boy’s head.  His brain filed this away, possibly to be pondered in the future.  He mentioned his experience to one of his friends, Jimmy, who thought about it for a couple of seconds.  Then Jimmy shrugged his shoulders, tagged Rand and said “You’re It!” while laughing and running away.  Rand went back to playing, enjoying the day…

grand multiverse architectural concept

continued, below:










Fast forward more than a decade, to college at a major university in the SE USA.  Rand was on his way to becoming an Architect and as part of the required courses, also was taking Physics.  Here, there was discussion about the nature of the Universe, black holes and the Big Bang theory, which was well-supported with known evidence from cosmological data observed in our Universe. Even though he had previously taken calculus and other advanced mathematics, Rand understood that he would never have the skills or knowledge necessary in math to advance and discover the hard-core research required to support any concepts, much less well-researched theories about the nature of the Universe.  However, he did learn more about what other skilled Physicists thought about where we came from and how things work. 


Fast forward decades, to early 2017.  Rand has been an Architect of billions of dollars of projects over his lifetime and after designing hundreds of complex airport projects, educational facilities, fire stations, major theme park venues and award-winning houses, he has settled in mainly now designing custom mountain homes, from his location in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the USA.  He is the Senior Staff Architect of HOME ARCHITECTS, who specializes in designing custom mountain houses across the USA.  It’s a great life in these beautiful mountains.  It’s been a long time since that day, decades ago, when he was a little boy, wondering what this information was that was bestowed upon him, resting there in his subconscious all these years and never having come to his forebrain.  Tonight would be different. When some people work, they may play music or have other environmental displays to entertain themselves. 

continued, below:












When Rand works, designing custom homes, particularly at night, he often puts on NOVA and YouTube, having videos about the nature of the Universe, where we may have come from and where we are headed.  He’s not sure why he enjoys this; something from his childhood that compels him.  Different strokes for different folks. Well, for this evening, after his wife had gone to bed, Rand was working on a renovation project for a Client who was a quadriplegic, modifying an existing older home, redesigning it to add an elevator, new stairway, large glass walls, a nearby helipad and other features to better enjoy the house and its mountain location. 


This particular evening, for entertainment, Rand put on a connected series of YouTube videos about the Big Bang and about where we may have come from and the theory that some Physicists have about possible “Multiverses” or parallel Universes, outside of our own Universe.  (Yes: not something most people would do for entertainment, we understand, and to understand what is about to be discussed, you will need to have some basic familiarity of what black holes and white holes are in an astronomical and cosmological context ).  Rand was designing some interior elevations, detailed wall sections and detailed plans of his Client’s renovation.  Rand noticed, out of the corner of his eye that none of the Physicists had a solid idea as to what existed Before our Universe.  Where did the matter come from that burst through the Singularity from which expanded all matter, time and space that we now enjoy in “our (Humanity’s) Universe”?  Some of these Physicists shrugged their shoulders.  This is understandable.  You don’t get very far in theoretical Physics by making grandiose claims without having compelling evidence, normally in the form of mathematical formulas that model the theory and connect to the reality around us.

continued below:













Also, from earlier NOVA and other YouTube videos about Dark Matter, no Physicist understands where it comes from, nor why it comprises the majority of mass in our Universe.  Big questions, not connected yet, even in terms of a Concept (idea), much less a documented theory.


Suddenly, lights went on inside his head, like control panels in his brain that had been lying dormant there for decades, quietly gathering information, putting it together behind the scenes of everyday life.  Rand, for the 2nd time in his life, had a mega-burst of intuition and understanding, well beyond his focused architectural education and experience.  Architects of buildings and houses are trained to have this type of insight: to see the Big Picture; it’s how they operate, based on as much information they can obtain at the early stages of an architectural project.  Then they make a subconscious leap, connecting the dots and create a concept that then guides the rest of the project. 

grand multiverse architectural concept

Fortunately for him and all of Humanity and our entire Universe, everything did not stop, as he had thought would happen when he was a little boy, when he first experienced this awe-inspiring sensation of Knowing.  Thank God, he thought to himself, running a hand over his brow.  For now, after decades of reviewing Physicist’s and Cosmologist’s theories, he felt he had just made a conceptual link, tying it all together: where we came from, how that linkage works, and where it’s all headed.  No: no math to back it up.  That’s the job of learned Physicists.  But: here is the concept (which is an idea that forms a basis for further investigation).  Without a concept, it becomes difficult to pursue any line of research, which could turn the concept into a validated theory, full of facts, which may one day become proven Truth.  We just don’t know at this point and may never know.  Oh… so what’s the concept?  Put on Alice’s bonnet, because you’re about to go down the rabbit hole:


GrAMcon (Grand Architectural Multiverse Concept):

This is the Grand Architectural Multiverse Concept, created 2/25/2017 by Rand Soellner, ArCH/NCARB, Architect, © Copyright 2017, Rand Soellner, All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Grand Architectural Multiverse concept


In the beginning of everything, there was a 1st Universe.  In this first Universe, there developed black holes due to stars collapsing, after billions of years.  When these black holes developed, untold huge quantities of matter collapsed to an ultra-compressed state of subatomic particles and were accelerated inward to the black hole at possibly beyond the speed of light. 


When this occurred, the imploding first black hole in the 1st Universe tore a hole in space-time, ejecting this ultra-compressed material into a new place outside of this first Universe.  This became a White Hole in a newly formed 2nd Universe, the singularity in this new Universe. 


Over billions of years, the matter, time and space expanded in this 2nd Universe, eventually leading to the development of collapsing suns, which led to the creation of black holes in this 2nd Universe.  When this happened, a repeat of what led to the creation of the 2nd Universe developed:


The black holes from the 2nd Universe then tore holes in the fabric of space-time in the 2nd Universe, which created super-energy focused pinpoints, which created white holes in a multitude of new Universes, creating new space-time in these new places, making a 3rd, 4th, 5th and Nth Universes.


This process continues, from billions of black holes in billions of Universes, ejecting their highly compressed matter through torn white holes into an infinity of new Universes, perhaps forever (or for so long it seems like forever).


Because the 1st Universe tore a hole in space-time and ejected matter into the 2nd Universe, does not mean that there is no longer a connection between the 1st and 2nd Universes.  On the contrary, for as long as that original black hole exists in its Original (or 1st) Universe, then there is a link between that black hole and the 2nd Universe that it spawned.  Furthermore, Physicists seem to be at a loss to explain where all the Dark Matter in our Universe came from.  While the following is an intuitive leap of faith, its about the only concept so far on this subject.  Here it is: because the black hole from the original Universe is still linked to our Universe, at the point of singularity (point of all creation in our Universe), it would seem logical to assume that all additional matter compressed into the original black hole ejects through the tear in space-time and continues to appear in the 2nd Universe.  Could it be that Dark Matter is in fact the continued ejecta from the black hole in the 1st Universe?  And applying that concept in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and nth Universes, would it not follow that Dark Matter continues to be fed into the connected Universes from the black holes in their parent universes?   

This then creates questions about laws of conservation of mass, energy and the like in the original Universe, from where all this dark matter is coming, which is a subject for cosmological physicists to ponder.  It could mean that the original Universe eventually becomes depleted of matter?  And if so, this could spell doom for subsequent universes whose dark matter in turn is bled to their linked and subsequent “child” universes.  And that could be a real problem, which this concept does not have the background to further review.  And this could mean that each universe does not last forever, unless there is sufficient rate of expansion that makes it impossible for a Big Crunch to occur, in which evidently Dark Matter and Dark Energy is a factor. Once again: subjects for learned Physicists to consider. 


In which Universe of the infinite number of multiverses are we?  Does it really matter?  And how would we ever map such a location in space-time?   But why is Dark Matter, if it is leakage from a black hole from a parent universe “different” matter than visible matter?  Why does the matter we see around us in the visible universe vary from that mysterious Dark Matter?  Perhaps a matter of maturing?  Unknown. 


However, it may be that ALL Universes from all time, may be connected through tears in space-time.  And the process would logically appear to continue forever, making interconnected universes into a grand “Multi-verse”.  Some Physicists today, do believe that there may well be a Multiverse, composed of multiple universes, so there is some basis for this concept.  Unfortunately, until this GrAMcon ™, there has been no concept tying it all together.


Would beings, such as humans ever be able to cross from one universe into another through such tears?  Probably not, as the forces involved inside a black hole would so compress the matter in a person and their spacecraft, that they would become like incredibly thin strands of spaghetti, due to tidal forces, compacting them down to subatomic particles.  And once ejected through the conceived-of hole through the other universe’s white hole, they would emerge as so much smashed matter on a sub-atomic scale and no longer be a person.  This is based on what just about any of today’s theoretical Physicists would espouse. 


No doubt many Physicists are scratching their heads about now saying that this entire GrAMcon is fatally flawed, in that it reaches a point where there is insufficient matter coming from the earlier universes to continuing providing enough matter for all of the “child” universes to continue this universe birthing phenomenon forever.  At some point, the model breaks, because there is not enough matter and energy in the linked multiverses to continue powering the model in a sustainable manner.

So what now?


This means that if there is a supreme being with the ability to create energized matter out of nothing within the Original Universe, then through the various black hole-white hole connections, there could be fed enormous amounts of dark matter, energy and other matter to continue creating new universes forever.


in which every offspring universe continues to have a linkage or linkages back to the original universe, so that the energy and matter put out from the original universe is at least partially returned to it, so that there will always be matter and energy to continue powering the GrAMcon model.


some version of the other 2 above, but with the understanding that each subsequent universe does not have as much energy or matter in it as the original universe.  In other words, each subsequent universe is smaller and not as energized as the original universe or previous universes.  This would account for energy and matter dispersal among subsequent universes.  Nothing, so far in cosmological physics states that if there is such a thing as a multiverse, that they all must have the same amount of matter or energy. 


In this scenario, a supreme being supplies additional energy and matter to each new offspring universe as a new super-massive black hole punches through space-time and creates a new white hole that expands to create a new universe.  God “makes up” the deficit that would otherwise exist in the matter and energy needs of each new child universe.  Or, there could be a linkage to the original God Universe to each new child universe that makes up the deficit required to form the new universe that wasn’t supplied through the super-massive black hole/white hole.


This really wasn’t intended as a religious proof.  However, one does seem to come to that conclusion.  No matter how sophisticated the mathematics, eventually the universes and multiverse will have to run down to “0”.  It basically runs out of gas, unless it were a perfect “machine” that super-efficiently recycled every erg of energy so that nothing was ever wasted anywhere and that’s not the case.  For instance, the heat energy blasted off every sun, everywhere wastes untold gajillions of units of energy every second in every universe of the multiverse.  Unless there is some new, outside source of new energy (God), then the multiverse has to at some future point, die a heat-death of entropy.  Therefore, either the multiverse is a grossly inefficient thing that will eventually die of its own ambitious continual creation of new offspring universes (each of which is smaller and less energetic than its predecessor), or there is a supernatural source of power (energy and matter) that is and will continue to supply the multiverse with new power and matter. We suspect that Einstein and every enlighted physicist who has spent a lifetime “running the numbers” eventually reaches a similar conclusion.  In the end the multiverse dies, or God continues to supply it with resources. 



Okay, now Rand’s going to get back to work on that renovation project, having done his duty to get this GrAMcon™ idea out there (having been “programmed” to do so from the age of 7 by a higher power, for whatever reason, he does not know, having that data gathering search effort working in the background of his brain for most of his life).    Now it becomes the task of Michio Kaku , Neil deGrasse Tyson , Alan Guth and Lawrence Krauss to see if there’s any validity to this concept, worthy of future investigation.  Michio, Neil, Alan, Lawrence and the other Physicists will probably laugh and scoff at these ideas and send a polite email (if anything) to Rand telling him (as politely as possible) to mind his own beeswax and to not quit his day job.   Time will tell.  They are gifted Physicists and also are outstanding public presenters and are in the vanguard of today’s theoretical Physics and Cosmology.  Who knows what they and others might do with the GrAMcon™ ?  If history is any indication, the GrAMcon will probably be ignored for several decades, until, perhaps one Physicist from decades in the future, evolves some mathematics that suddenly appears to support the concept.  That will be the point where future serious research may occur.  But then again, perhaps there are other explanations for our Universe that will one day be understood.  We will see, if we’re still here when that happens.


Alright then: back to the kitchen elevation wall in the basement…







tags: Gran Architectural Multiverse Concept, mountain, Cashiers, Lake Toxaway, Highlands, post and beam, timber frame residential design

Installing a Prefab Shed

February 21st, 2017

Installing a Prefab Shed is about the process starting from virgin wilderness to site preparation to placing the shed to constructing a ramp.


Installing a Prefab Shed (C) Copyright 2017, Home Architect, PLLC, All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

This company doesn’t do this very often: talk about prefabricated structures.  But they recently went through this process and thought they would share their experience & knowledge with others.   If you plan well, it will still be a strenuous effort, but planning (and perhaps an Architect) and managing the process will help keep it on track for a successful result.













Disclaimer: this architectural firm is not responsible for anyone’s lack of engineering, improper site planning, coordination with local building departments, footings, tie-downs and any other items that could result in loss of property, problems and bodily injury.  This online article is simply the sharing of personal experiences and in no way is intended to be the one and only method by which you will obtain your prefabricated building in your location.  You are totally responsible for following a method that will have the best results for you in your Country, State and County.  Always check with your local Building Department to determine what requirements there may be in your location before doing anything.


First, you will need an Architect, or someone who can give you educated, wise counsel on where and how to locate your shed.  For instance, in the HA (Home Architects) example, the Project Architect coordinated the shed placement with the rest of the master site plan, which adopted a radial organizational geometry and placed the shed in the NE (NorthEast) corner area of the acreage, out of the way and out of the view of the proposed main house and future studio. 


Do your future self a favor and hire a professional (Architect) to locate your shed.  There is more to this than  you might think, when you stand there and look at your land.  You might think: “Hey, I have all this space.  I can just throw this shed over there, right next to my fence.”  Think again.  A shed is a building and will be subject to building setbacks.  In other words, in the HA example illustrated herein, there were 25′ building setbacks, which the Architect’s planning took into account and respected. 













Also, there can be site drainage issues. For example: this particular location is in a mountainous region with land north of this property that drains down toward it.  You will want your land level for the shed.  Therefore, you may end up with a situation where large amounts of water from rain falling on the ground on land around you dumps that water down onto your land.  You don’t want that happening around and under your shed.  So, in this circumstance, the Project Architect directed the excavator to dig a rather large drainage ditch around the northern and eastern edge of the leveled earth pad for the shed.  This ditch will forever catch and redirect the large amounts of water coming from the north down and around the leveled pad for the shed. 


Also, there may be site utilities in the vicinity of the proposed shed location.  You may need site utilities located by a Land Surveyor (and you will need to twist their arms to do so).  Even with all of this planning, the excavator still tore into and jerked up an old steel water pipe, that appeared to have been there for decades.  There was water in the pipe, but it was not pressurized.  In the Architect’s subsequent investigation with the former land owner, this was the remains of an old water well connection, unexpectedly coming from the southern edge of the land, up through wilderness. 


And the Architect can help plan a ramp.  Because if you want to drive any equipment (like a riding lawnmower) into the shed, it’s not going to just hop up in there.  And an Architect can help design the slope of the ramp in AutoCad or Revit, modeling the riding lawnmower and its attachments precisely.  You’d be amazed at how detailed of an analysis this can become. For instance, a John Deere x570 with a front motorized shovel and rear frame weights. 












That results in about 8′ of machine, weighing about 1,200 pounds with rider, with some very close tolerances to the ground, ramp and door threshold, any of which can be a show-stopper.  You don’t just build a 4′ long ramp and think it’s going to work.  Check out YouTube Shed Ramp Fails and you’ll see what we’re talking about.  The planning of the ramp (which you can see later in this article) explains in greater detail, just how careful you must be to successfully pull this off. 


If you’re truly in virgin wilderness, you’re very likely going to need to remove some trees and stumps.  The firm HA contracted with had to rent a large Bobcat with a thumb-bucket backhoe arrangement.  Perhaps a dozen trees of various sizes and about another 10 old stumps had to be removed.  The large excavator equipment worked perfectly.  In this example, the trees, brush and old stumps were taken into the middle of a large meadow, where the owner obtained a legal State burn permit to dispose of all the vegetative debris, after touching base with the closest staffed County fire station.   The photo above and below depicts the excavator removing the trees and stumps from the virgin land.

installing prefab shed










This is not something to be taken lightly.  Stump removal is nearly effortless when you have a professional land clearing company do that with the proper large equipment.  Trying to do that sort of thing by yourself is dangerous and could maim or kill you.  Hire a pro.  This should take about one full day (clearing and initial site preparation).  Cost: around $1,500.



This takes place immediately after all the vegetative matter is removed.  Unless you are in a very flat place, you may have some site slope to level.  Keep in mind that that rain water melts newly arranged land, unless you do something to stabilize the slopes.  Make a 12″x12″x12″ hunk of sand next to a beach somewhere and watch what happens to it when the tide comes in.  It melts.  So: you not only want to make the ground level, you want to reinforce this new earth pad with something to make it resist erosion.  Someone with experience and big machine can level the ground fairly quickly and easily.  But you might want an Architect to help determine the level of this shed pad in relationship to the ground around it.  In this particular situation, the pad could be leveled about its center area.  In other words, the land of the level pad to the north was cut down and into the earth about 18″ and the earth from this was moved to the southern end of the pad and deposited there, resulting in an 18″ tall embankment.  But it was not quite that easy.  Because now, the large off-site forested area to the north will have large sheets of rain water roaring down onto this newly made level shed pad.  Hmm.  What to do?  The Project Architect thought for a few seconds, and realized that the southern edge of the pad could use some more fill.  So, he directed the excavator to dig an “L” drainage ditch, about 3′ deep and 3′ wide around the north and eastern edges of the newly made level shed pad.  This ditch connected into a natural “dry wash” that was there on the eastern edge of the shed pad, where water collected in the ditch will naturally pour, thereby protecting the shed pad. 

installing a prefab shed


Brilliant!  Easy to understand and obvious, once you see it, but this sort of fast-on-your-feet thinking comes from an Architect’s decades of experience dealing with situations like this.  And the extra fill earth helped to build up the shed pad, because the Architect directed the excavator to drive his very heavy Bobcat rig over the flattened pad area, 2x in each main direction.  This compacted the earth, starting the hardening process for the shed pad. 


Note: in a commercial effort using normal construction techniques, the top 12″ to 18″ of soil is normally removed and stockpiled elsewhere for a future garden, because you really don’t want to be using humus and forest detritus (rotting organic matter) under buildings, because this can result in unbalanced settling, over the years, as the rotting material compacts under structural loads.  However, in this particular circumstance, the owner was dealing with a 10’x12′ prefab shed that was well-built and bearing on wide foundation blocks and gravel, so this step was not taken in this situation.  However, be advised that such shortcuts could result in future settling problems and is not advised.


This next step is crucial, if you’d like to keep the investment you’re making.  If you skip this step, you’re going to have devastating erosion that will ruin the entire effort.  So: do yourself a favor and do the following:
Harden/reinforce the drainage ditch, if your project has one.  In this particular setting, the entire ditch was dampened with an adjustable spray nozzle attached to a garden hose and lightly sprayed to dampen all of the ditch surfaces (do NOT use a strong jet of water, but rather a soft haze of water).  This becomes the “glue” that will help hold onto rye seed or other grass (it was winter), including on nearly vertical ditch surfaces.  The grass seed was deposited through the entire ditch, using a hand-held seed spreader with a hand crank.  Took about 30 minutes, going over it about 4x.  The idea is that when the seed grows, all of the microscopic roots from the grass will help hold the earth in place and resist erosion from future water sluicing down into the ditch from the north.

intalling a prefab shed


However, marauding gangs of thug wild turkeys became interested in the newly deposited seeds.  Therefore, a straw germination blanket was suggested by the Architect, on at least the vertical wall of the ditch. (see above photo).  Not only does this help resist local fowl pecking, it helps secure the seed in place until it has a chance to start growing.


Now you’re going to need to have a some gravel delivered.  The Architect could have seen larger size gravel up to 3″ diameter, but knew that this size is very difficult to move and impossible to hand-shovel.  Therefore, he ordered #57 gravel (around 3/4″ to 1″+/-).

installing a prefab shed

This is the gravel, after flattening by the Owner using his John Deere riding lawnmower with front shovel attachment.  The Architect’s knowledge about movement of gravel size facilitated this operation.   What you can’t see in this photo is the hand-shoveled gravel the Owner threw into the drainage ditch, to further harden it, particularly along the bottom and the side of the ditch sloping up to the shed pad.  Then the Owner used his 1,200 pound rig to drive over the gravel about 4x each direction (including diagonally) to compact the gravel down into the earth.


Can you believe all this effort just to get a hardened pad on which to put a shed?  Not simple or easy, is it?  You have to think of everything that could happen to prevent future problems.


Also what you’re not seeing: the John Deere front shovel was used to gather and transport heavy, larger rocks (field stone) from another location on the land and dump them along the taller sloping faces of the sloping embankments around the pad.  This, over the gravel and compacted earth, gives the Owner a fighting chance to help resist erosion.


If you have a long driveway with overhanging trees, you’re going to need to trim those limbs.  A prefabricated building of any kind, including a shed, rides high on a trailer, when it is moving along  your driveway and you want your building to avoid scratches, if not outright inability to move on the way to the dropoff point.  This particular Owner had to stand on the back and roof of his F150 with a hand saw and pruning shears for 3 days, clearing the old growth limbs and branches from his entry drive, along with widening the narrow earth and gravel driveway (which involved in part, having the excavator remove some more old stumps).  Once again: better to hire these things out.  The Owner had at least one bad fall from the top of his truck, but was lucky, he bounced, rather than broke.  Don’t think he’ll be doing this type of work again. 


installing a prefab shed

And here’s the delivery truck, trailer and shed!  Yay! 
There is a slope of about 6′ vertically, over a distance of about 75′ that the driver needs to backup over to position the shed on the shed pad area.  Fortunately, this delivery rig was amazing. It has 2 “mules”.  Both are gas engine driven and both have 4 tires.  One mule is built-in under the trailer itself, and was started by remote control and jacked up the entire trailer, then moved it sideways.  The other mule was a remote unit, driven by the driver-operator.


installing a prefab shed

Here’s the shed being off-loaded from the trailer.  Once again: this is not an ordinary trailer.  It’s a $50,000 rig with moving tracks that allow the shed to be placed anywhere this experienced driver wanted it to go.


installing a prefab shed

Here is the operator using his portable mule to do the final positioning of the shed.  He also uses the mule to pick up first one end, and then the other, to allow the 4″ cap blocks to be placed over the gravel (to support the main pressure treated skids of the shed), and to facilitate leveling.   Note: the Owner’s compaction of earth and the gravel obviously worked, otherwise this heavy mule and shed placement operation would have been problematic.  See other YouTube videos about shed installation fails where the Owner did not compact the earth or gravel and the mule and shed sank down into the gravel, making a mess of this step.


Note: using solid cap block like this is normal, within the prefab shed business.  However, this is not how normal foundations are engineered for normal structures (like a house) and you should consult with your local building department to verify what is allowed in your jurisdiction.


installing a prefab shed

Here is a detail shot of one of the cap blocks.  This particular assembly involved a 4″ (nominal) solid concrete cap block, a 2″ cap block and a p.t. wood shim, to level the shed.  Note that the Owner had used Contractor’s orange marker spray paint to precisely show where the rectangular outline and centerline of the shed was to be placed (per Architect’s Site Plan).  This made it easy for the driver with the mule to place the shed in the correct position. 



Installing a prefab shed

Okay.  Good job. Now how is that John Deere going to get up in that new shed?


This is a big deal that can make or break the entire project.  If you get the entry angle or breakover angle wrong, the mower will catch on the lower ramp or on the door threshold. You may want an Architect to plan/design this for you. 

installing a prefab shed

(C)Copyright 2017, Home Architect, PLLC

It takes an experienced, detail-oriented design professional with a special graphic modeling program, like AutoCad.



installing a prefab shed
You should check with your local Architect and Engineer to avoid problems.  This particular solution involved use of p.t. 2×12 ramp stringers bearing on cap blocks (once again, not the normal “permanent” type of construction for a house, but keep in mind: this is for a detached shed and a lawnmower).


Next, the cut members were assembled, using quality outdoor 3″ deck screws (#9) with star bit drive recessed heads.  With the DeWalt cordless 20v drill, these went into the p.t. wood like a hot knife through butter.  A pleasure to use and much stronger than nails.

installing prefab shed

Note that the Architect recommended cross blocking between the stringers to prevent the heavy load of the riding lawnmower from causing rotation of the members and keep them in position.  The top cross nailer board was also screwed into the shed floor edge just below the doorway to secure the ramp to the shed.  However, note how the nailer board and all stringers are actually directly bearing on the cap blocks, which bear on the gravel.  So while this is an unconventional method of support, it should be strong.  P.t. shims were used to level the bottom of the ramp stringers.  Before securing ends of the lower ramp to the cap blocks with tapcons, Owner checked the squareness of the ramp framing by taking a diagonal measurement with a tape measure. In this case, it was exactly 119″ for both diagonals, which meant the ramp framing was perfectly square.


Note that the shed doors have a 1-1/2″ vertical overlap (lower than the door threshold opening at the floor).  Therefore, the Architect’s ramp had to take into account two important facts: the door overlap and the vertical distance the front shovel was in its highest position (to miss the door opening threshold).  Lots of things to think about when designing this ramp.  Not what most people are used to doing.


And at last the ramp deck boards are being screwed down. Note that a 1/4″ piece of corrugated cardboard was used to make a slight gap between the boards, which allows for drainage and makes the ramp have more friction.  All the deck boards where placed into position before screwing began, to insure squareness.   Then one board, next to the bottom was removed, to allow for working space. Note that the Architect designed the ramp boards to overhang the side stringer by an inch, to help avoid splitting of the deck boards when screws penetrate them at the side stringers (the farther the screws are from the ends, the better). 

installing a prefab shed

The double row of 4″ cap block at the bottom of the ramp functions as a heavy curb to contain the gravel there, and helps to stabilize the position of the lighter wood ramp.  When thinking of driving a thousand+ pound machine over this for years, stability is important.


The ramp stringers were designed as 1-1/2″ tall at the bottom.  This allows for screws to attach the deck boards.  Also, this dimension allows for a p.t. 2×4 at the bottom to help secure the lower ramp assembly to cap block supports with tapcons.  The lower ramp screws were 1-3/4″ long near the end, then after about a foot of length, 2-1/2″ long decking screws were used, then at about 18″ or so from the bottom the main 3″ long deck screws were used.  This variation in screw length allows for the fact that the ramp stringers don’t have as much height near the lower end.


installing a prefab shed

And so here we have the completed ramp.  Note the precise step up at the shed threshold, accounting for the door bottom vertical overlap and the minimum necessary to still allow the front shovel on the John Deere to clear the shed entrance.


installing a prefab shed

And here we have the proof: the John Deere successfully climbed the ramp, cleared the door threshold and drove into the shed. Success!  At long last!  The proof of good planning and hard work.


And the closed door view of the final result.

installing a prefab shed

Whew!  Lots to think about when planning and installing a prefab shed.






tags: installing a prefab shed, timber frame, Cashiers, NC, highlands, glenville, sevierville, post and beam, residential, alabama, lake tahoe


Technical & Artistic = Architecture

February 11th, 2017

Technical & Artistic = Architecture is about the combination of skills and expertise it takes to become and practice as an Architect.

Thomas Edison: “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”  

And while Mr. Edison was not an Architect, he was a very accomplished inventor.  And Architecture = inventing.  In other words, dedicated creative people who are successful, get a great idea, then are compelled to work very hard to bring the idea into physical reality.  It doesn’t come easy.  And so is the nature of Architecture: Architects get great ideas for the design of a project, then have to work very hard to create the documents to provide building Contractors the information to properly build it.  Therefore: when an Architect designs your house, he or she is combining both Technical & Artistic skills.











Various physiological and psychological studies appear to imply that perhaps only 20% of the human population process language functions in both brain hemispheres (ambidextrous) while 19% of people have left brain primary functionality, which leaves about 61% at right brain dominant.  Studies have found that right brain dominance is more mathematical and logical, while left brain functions tend to be more intuitive and artistic.  This is no hard and fast rule and doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone everywhere.  However, what this tends to imply is that there are only perhaps about 20% of the people on earth that appear to more equally process information in both brain hemispheres.  In other words, one of the reasons there are so few Architects in the world is a result of functional need for their work in the marketplace and also the availability of people that are able to process both logical (technical) and artistic concepts simultaneously (the premise of this article).  MRI imaging in the 1990s appears to support the theory of left and right brain activity.


The main point is that having both technical and artistic skills functioning simultaneously is a necessary ability for great architecture and great Architects.  For instance: the Sydney Opera House (by Jorn Utson, Architect) is a great artistic triumph in that it was intended to symbolize the tall sailed vessels on the ocean/bay nearby.  However, to realize this form in a physical world required extraordinary engineering skills. 

technical & artistic = architecture









Which underscores the concept that technical & artistic = Architectural.  There are many other examples with other Architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Ghery, Le Cobusier and many others, during the last century and dating back centuries (pyramids, Biltmore, and countless others).  Architecture = technical & artistic.


In the context of residential architecture, HOME ARCHITECTS ® uses similar symbolism.  For instance, in some of their mountain projects, they use roof slopes that echo the shapes of the mountains around them, making the symbolism be: MOUNTAINS.

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tags: architecture = technical & artistic, post and beam, cashiers, nc, sevierville, tn, timber frame, hendersonville, asheville, mountain, custom


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