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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

It’s crazy how it can take half a lifetime sometimes for someone to get a clear understanding of who they are. I’ve often thought of myself to be of a rebellious nature. A reckless of sorts. In reality though, I actually love order. I love for things to be congruent. I think if you boil it down, for me, it’s an appreciation and a deep yearning to see people as who they really are. Who they were uniquely designed to be. Those being true to themselves and not following somebody else’s description of who they should be. (Or it could be, a deep hatred for phonies. I don’t know). Either way, I think it started young. You see, a little claim to fame for our family is that my Mom is/was related to Jim Morrison. (You know, of The Doors). Say what you will, but, there is no denying that he lived a bold, brash, brazen and, yes, in a way, brilliant and beautiful life. Now, I never knew him. He split the scene when I was two and I’m pretty sure that he never bounced me on his knee. However, I guess if you have a smidgen of him stuck down in your bones than you may have a tendency to want to live life your own way.

Maybe I’ve over mystified this, but, probably because of that, I’ve always had this lifelong fascination with people living out authentic, true lives. Great big lives. Ones with a voice. Hell, the last thing that I want to feel at the end of my life is that I lived some quaint little life that didn’t reflect the deepest essence of me. And here is where our Homes step in to tell our story.

Just as we express who we are through our outward appearance, through our sense of style, through the way we carry ourselves. So too, our Homes should be a reflection of our core identity. True representations of what resonates deep down inside each one of us. Making us tick. Making us feel at ease. And that, my friends, is why I love being a builder. When you see that connection being made with your clients, it’s magical. And, it makes all of the blood, sweat and tears worth it every single time.

One of my biggest dreams, and daily prayers, for my life, is that I would one day have the great privilege of building each of my children’s dream homes. We’re already talking about what these will look like. But, to see the beauty that is at the root of their being come into focus through the manifestation of these Homes, Homes that would be an expression of the lives they have created, would not only be a blast but would also be a pure joy to experience. As for everyone else out there, I’d say: Build on. Go out and make your homes your own. An outward expression of your True Beautiful Self. Just as Jim lived his life up front and out loud, go do the same.

Jim Morrison's "Love Street" Home

Jim Morrison’s “Love Street” Home

Dining Room

Dining Room

Patio

Patio

Outdoor Shower ~ You think this saw some activity?

Outdoor Shower ~ Umm…wonder what kind of activity this thing saw?

The Den

The Den

Take care and All my Bests,

Kyle

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Sorry, it’s been so long, but things have really been crazy.

With that said, I want to re-introduce the site. Tweaking and re-vamping it a bit.

Less Words ~ More Photos. Keeping things short and sweet while cutting to the point. Heck, I’m busy, your busy, you don’t want to hear me blab on and on, we just want to look at cool homes, Right?

So what is Well Composed.

It has nothing to do with size or magnitude. Price or zip code.  Nothing to do with complexity. It’s where the elements flow together seamlessly.  Where a personal tapestry is created.  From the outside ~ appearing comfortable and effortless.  In fact, it is in this simplicity that ultimately Elegance is achieved. The common thread running through anything Well Composed is Design. Intentional, thoughtful Design.

I just finished up this home on Lake Lanier and it was a blast to build.

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Our client spent 8 years looking for his perfect lot.  Nearly 3 years designing the home.  And, in the end, he is absolutely overjoyed.

After years of planning, shaping, configuring, integrating ~ all of his wildest dreams have come to fruition.

And his biggest goal, to have as near to Net Zero living as possible, was accomplished.  Through the aid of Solar power, Solar hot water heating and one incredible automation system, we came pretty darn close.

Earning a HERS rating of “9″

A Blower Door test score of 1.7

And a Duct Blaster test score of 2.7  (All of which are personal bests for me).

I’d say we pulled it off.

Special Thx to:

I-Homes Atlanta

Radiance Solar

and of course ~

Carl Seville

For being the technical gurus to guide us through this daunting task.

For me though, my greatest satisfaction came from watching his excitement build and ultimately turn into joy as everything that he had hoped for came into being.  He’s given the home the name “Ventanas al Cielo” which means ~ Windows to Heaven which basically says it all.  Love That.  You can read more about it Here on his personal site.

Next post, we’ll venture back down into Buckhead and uncover some beautiful hidden treasures.

Keep an eye out.

All my Bests,

Kyle

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Hey ~ we’ll get straight to the meat with this one.  It’s Thanksgiving weekend and I’m having a wonderful time down in Macon, GA.  Enjoying the season with the extended family and soaking in the beautiful weather.  As with a lot of family get-togethers though, some of the conversations have settled in around current events.  All the basic junk that you hear over and over.  Kind of a steady drumbeat of a bleak outlook. (more…)

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The other day I wrote a post about an amazing home that we had a chance to explore and about the conversations that subsequently developed surrounding the “Character” of the home.  How it primarily goes back to the level of thought that is put forward into the formation of the project. As I think about it a little bit more though, there is another piece of the puzzle that is worthy of consideration.  You see, after that evening, a friend of mine sent me a link of a North Carolina Architectural firm, who he has been following, showing off some of their spectacular work.

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You know I love architecture.  I live for it.  I suppose that most people get that about me.  (Hopefully, not to the point of bordering on excessive / just to be seen as a genuine passion).  That’s certainly why I do what I do.  Whether restoring an older home back to it’s original beauty or bringing a new one up out of the ground to stand on its own, I love witnessing the nature of the home as it is revealed.  To me, exceptional architecture and design transcends the visual.  It reaches deep down into one’s soul and attaches to the very essence of our being.  It is something that we can connect to and relate to.  It calms us and generates a true heartfelt joy.  When done well, it is something that you feel at the very core of who you are.

That is why when I saw these photos of a project by Castro Design Studio float across Facebook, I knew that I would have to share them.  This Home simply exudes perfection which translates into pure comfort.  I hope you enjoy. (more…)

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Hey Guys ~ I’m back.  Man, has it been crazy over here.  We’ve  just moved into our new home and are  loving every minute of getting adjusted.  There are a lot of great stories here, but, I’m going  to hold onto to those for now.  You see, I’ve got another story that simply needs to be told.  This evening,  I was out for a run when I passed a forgotten development.  The entrance has been chained up for years.  It’s name has been taken down.  I knew what was up in there, but, I didn’t want to see it again.  Basically because things have been going really good lately and this was certainly a reminder of tougher days.  Days that we don’t necessarily want to re-live.  Then something told me that I needed to share “the other side of the story” so I ventured on up.  (more…)

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Yep, that’s me.  I’d be the idiot that you would usually find hanging off the back of a jet ski with a camera in my hand.  In fact, if anyone could draw a caricature of that (Ahem … Kane Hawkins, who happens to be the best illustrator I’ve ever met) I’d love to have one as my new profile pic. 

Anyway, here’s a little randomness from the Lake.

Building ~

Who doesn’t get excited about new construction these days.

Rising Up After the Storm

Yeah, that’s a Harrison Sign!  They’re absolutely everywhere these days.

Really Cool

There was Activity Everywhere

I don’t think that a day went by when I didn’t see a crane or pump truck in full swing.  Love It! 

A Collection of Classic Lake Property ~

Majestic

Prestigious

Stately

I guess I was in a classic white, gracious, state of mind this week.

New Editions ~

Modern Twist

Really Cool Balcony

Spitzmiller and Norris

Local Guys Crushing It! 

Docks that embody the essence of Lake Burton ~ 

Vintage

Quaint

Comfortable

While I Love these quintessential boat houses, this more modern one has recently captured my heart.

Refined

Treasured ~

“Anchorage”

Anchorage Marina

 I think we spend far too much time up here; however, it is one of the best places on earth to waste the day away at.

 Aspirations ~

What a Setting

I would take this one any day of the week.  Pretty awesome how it sits real low on the water in such an unassuming manner.

That’ll Work!

On the other hand, even this one would work just fine.  Anything to get in on the Lake and then transform it into the sweetest cottage on the waters. 

Ruckus

Tearing It Up

Climbing High

Chaos!

Pure Freedom

Until next time…

All my Bests,

Kyle

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Ahh… the waters.  The restoring, regenerating, replenishing power of the waters.  Nothing that I have found can quite renew my spirit the way that Lake Burton can.  I’ve been wanting to write about the lake again for a while now, but, sometimes a post just needs to develop on it’s own.  This has been one of those posts.  You see, it has taken the unfolding of some personal events and a few national news stories for it to finally take shape and gel. 

As you may know, a couple of weeks ago, my entire extended family got together for our annual week up at Lake Burton.  One of my favorite outings of the year.  Since each family seems to be all over the place these days with – commitments, obligations and responsibilities…travel, play and immediate family – it’s hard to find significant time for everyone to come together as a group.  The Lake though.  The Lake has the amazing ability to pull us all up there. 

As long as I can remember, this place has been an absolute favorite of mine.  Going back to my childhood, I have such wonderous and vivid memories of coming up here (occasionally with a good buddy in tow) and stomping through its woods or paddling across her waters for days on end.  Everything was an exploration.  An imaginative expedition.  Now, even though I am older, the adventure still remains.

Let me back up a bit and explain what made this particular year an amazing standout experience.  This time I wanted to try something new.  Typically, we are wide open from sun up to sun down.  12 hours or so on the water, a Fat supper and then finish the evening with some good old fashioned hanging around the fire pit.  We retire to what my wife and I refer to as the cave.  A room with no windows.  A wickedly comfortable bed.  Heavy, heavy drapes over the french doors leading in.  And, Cold, Cold, Cold.  A perfect place to recharge.  A place where I can comfortably sleep in at.  This year though, I chose to make a point to wake up early and hit the water before the rest of the world came to.  And, I was going to take a few kids with me.  I’m so glad that I did.  While the first morning came early, it was really cool to hear my youngest son asking, from the foot of my bed, if we could go yet.  Instantly, I knew that this was going to be fun.  And so we set out.  Grabbed some gear.  Two dogs.  A quick bite and headed out into the dark.

We’re Off

The waters were at peace.  We sliced through them with perfect ease.  Totally invigorating.  Then we slowed to check things out a little closer.  Things neither of us had picked up on before.  I could see him light up, intrigued by the mystery as we poked along, taking in the surroundings. 

The Hut

The Waterwheel

 

A Very Cool Entry

 Such Cool Stuff, but, here’s where the real fun began.  As we began to look at things more closely, we started to talk about dreams.  And it got good.  Over the coarse of our stay, all of the kids would come along.  Sometimes two or three at a time.  Sometimes individually.  We would cruise the shorelines when all was still and study the homes.  By looking at houses (or boat docks, or details) you get a sense of who they are.  Of what they wanted to get out of life.  You could see what excited them.  I would point out a boat dock like this one and talk about the cool features to it.

Lake Living on the Porch

My little one would totally disagree and lead me to the other side of the channel to this one.

Calder’s Choice

“See, this one is much better.  It has more stone, 4 boat slips, a jet ski lift, a jumping platform and a Hot Tub”.  I didn’t even know that he had noticed this one before.

Here’s a house that he loves.  (Yeah, it has 5 stories).

Crazy

He’s kind of eclectic.  We found this one while trolling through an ubscure cove.

Here’s my daughter’s.

Absolutely Stunning

Man, that girl has some style!

My oldest son can’t quite find his on the lake yet.  Maybe that’s because it will more than likely be fashioned after the modest Tony Stark (Ironman) lair.  I’m certainly going to have to hone my skills if I ever want a shot at building that one.

 My wife and I have settled on this one.

What a Setting

Just About Perfect

Here’s the beauty of the story.  As you look into your child’s eyes.  As they scan the horizon.  And you catch that gleam.  That gleam of hope.  Of desire.  You know it.  That “It” is what I am looking for.  And, that “It”  is what I will fight for.  That is what will keep strong men and women, as well as this great nation, moving forward and rising up.  As we appraoch this 4th, if you feel that there is no hope in our nation.  Like this country is falling in a firey wreck.  Look into the eyes of a child.  There is so much hope in there and about these days to come.  When you really think about it, with the degree of advancement that we are experiencing in today’s world, the level of opportunity has never been as high.  We just need to ignore the background noise.  So, when those folks say that the coming generations will never have it as good as their predecessors, don’t buy into it.  The future is still so bright.  You can find it in the eyes of a child.  And, when you do find “It”, do everything in your power to make “It” happen.

What a Discovery

I found it there.  

I found it at the Lake in the early magical hours of the morning. 

All My Bests,

Kyle

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First, to the Home.

McAlpine Home

Living Room

Dining Area

The Kitchen ~ part 1

The Kitchen ~ part 2

The Master

Her Bath, and yes, there was a His

Covered Patio ~ part 1

Covered Patio ~ part 2

The Pool!!!

So Cool!!!

Once again, the ICAA knocks it out of the park.  This time with a guest lecture (for members only) by McApline Tankersly’s own Bobby McAlpine.  The location was in a Home of one of his few Atlanta projects.  Even though it’s tucked away in the heart of Buckhead, I’ve driven past it many times and always wanted to check it out first hand.  Before actually attending the event though, I had in my mind that this was going to be a piece about architecture and style.  However, afterwards, I think I’ll take it in a little bit of a different direction. 

You see, this was an experience.  Probably because everybody there knew each other and the setting was real comfortable, but, this was no ordinary lecture.  Not in the least.   Bobby’s approach was very candid and he had everybody absolutely captivated.  And that means a lot considering that there were so many talented folks in the room. 

He started out by telling of his childhood.  Born the son of a mill manager in rural Alabama.  Playing in one “dirt lot” after another.  Until one day, when he was still quite young, he looked around and recognized that this was “not his world” … and then he sought out to find it.  

He then relayed an anecdote about how a turn of the century business tycoon was about to make the speech of his career when he was tapped on the shoulder, only to be notified that his long time office manager had passed away.  Afterwards, as the partners tried to come up with a proper eulogy for this lady and everyone was stuck with nothing to say, he announced that “She was born in 1888 in a barn, died in 1932 in a prestigious Manhattan highrise office…She was an astronaut.”

I love that!!!

He then began to take us through a stream of projects.  Typical of presentations like this. Yet, his was full of color.  Kind of the inside story.  But, what caught me was that he was both humble and bold.  What an amazing combination.  Certainly the traits that I would love to develop more of in my own character.

When he wrapped things up, he hung around to greet everyone individually.  Spending a considerable amount of time with anyone and everyone.  A line formed to meet with him.  This to me was the most valuable point of the evening.  I found a few of his past students who were not standing in line like the rest, but, who were recalling stories of spending time in his classroom.  You see, Bobby went back to Auburn University after he had established his own firm and taught for 9 years.  These guys said that he was like no other.  They spoke of the field trips they took to his current projects looking at things from a completely different perspective.  (None of the other professors at the time had their own firm or projects).  They talked about how he would let them try things their own way and then, after they had taken it so far, step in and show them a completely different way of “seeing” things.  They spoke of how he would take to the ones who “truly got it” and commit the time to train them and develop them into a superstar of their own right.  Absolutely cool.  I am such a fan of the whole principle of mentorship and apprenticeship and it appears that he lived it. 

Thanks to all for a wonderful evening,

All my Bests

Kyle

Amazing!

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The craziest thing happened to me the other day.  I was a little early to a committee meeting that was being held in a local architectural firm’s office so I took my seat at the conference room table hoping to catch up on some e-mails when an amazing photograph caught my eye.  You see, this Home has been one of my family’s favorites for years.  It had stood out as a crowning jewel on the waters.  {My wife will tell you that it had been her favorite first and that I just merely stole it ~ but, don’t believe this, it’s completely untrue}. 

Lake Burton Masterpiece

Sorry ~ I took these photos back in 2010 (before I started blogging and before I understood the importance of conveying a story through photography) and I totally missed the boat house. 

Side View!

 Just the other weekend, we were talking about how we wished we knew who had designed such a beautiful Home.  And then, there it was.  Hanging on the wall of Harrison Design Associates.  Turns out, this was a project in which Greg Palmer and Bulent Baydar had worked on together back in the mid ’90s.  Bulent happened to be in the office at the time and so he came up to give me the skinny.  The home was also one of his favorites, but, he shared with me the challenges they faced especially with restoring the existing boat house to conform with current lake regulations.  And, I’m thrilled that they didn’t relinquish the fight one bit.  For most us who frequent the lake, we have come to love the way this beauty stands out proud on the point as you turn the corner to get to Anchorage.

After the Storms

Then the storm of 2011 plowed through.  A miserable tornado, reaping havoc and crushing everything in sight.  Coming up Wildcat and Moccasin Creek jumping over to the open channel, picking up speed, and then pounding the point of these banks head on before tearing all the way down to the marina.  You’ll notice that both of the homes to the left are completely gone as well as the one to the right.

There’s the Boat House

In some unbelievable manner, this home was miraculously saved.  Incredible!  Maybe it was due to superior design.  Maybe it was particularly well-built.  Maybe she was just lucky ~ lucky beyond belief. Or maybe, just possibly, it was spared on pure beauty alone. 

We may never know, I’m just absolutely thrilled she’s still around!

All my Bests,

Kyle

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