More good chi, please!

Aside from the, “hello-I’m-red!” paint on this entry door, the first impression of this home is clean and crisp; DING-DING! Have we talked about feng shui in this blog?  Maybe.  Let’s discuss it again because this photo shows how to put feng shui into practice!  

On the wire… cable railing!

Cable railing began as a solution for exterior deck and stair systems in situations where an uninterrupted view of the landscape was important.   Rather than looking between balusters to see the lake, forest or the backyard, the cables all but disappear. Today we see this system being adapted for interior stair systems.  The overall look […]

Black painted exterior doors… why you shouldn’t.

Most interior designers I know, self included, have a love-hate relationship with trends.  Mainly because trends don’t always apply to the design concept or work within the constraints of our client’s home, site or budget.  We hate to say, “no, that won’t work,” but frankly, sometimes it doesn’t. Black exterior doors are not for every […]

5 things I love about this space!

In a previous blog we talked about the elements and principles of good design.  This morning, while flipping through photos we’ve taken of finished projects, I stopped on this image.  It’s a beautiful space and a gorgeous photo. Like all good design, if we spend just a few minutes thinking about those basic elements and […]

It’s not winter yet! Get outside…

Once considered an impossibility in our buggy, Midwestern climate, outdoor spaces are getting a second round of consideration.  Why subject yourself to one more dreaded mosquito when the sofa lies inside waiting to be visited? There are birds! A good breeze (sometimes)!  A bonfire waiting to happen!  And at dusk…stars!  Add an ice cold beverage […]

This just in: It’s time for a new front door!

When your home improvement budget has a limit, deciding where to invest your dollars can be challenging.  A new bathroom?  A kitchen upgrade?  A finished basement?  Lucky for you, a recent research project has made your home improvement budgeting quandry a little easier. Each year, the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling magazine join forces […]

Columns 101: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian or… tapered?

Even a ten minute run-through of architectural history would include a study of the ancient column orders (or styles).  What’s the big deal about columns, you ask?  They are one of the few, enduring architectural elements utilized in every historical period across the globe since they were established in ancient Greece! There is, quite literally, […]

Hardware; the first and the finishing touch!

If you had to guess, what hardware finish would you guess is the most popular? Satin nickel? Brass? While satin and aged brass finishes are making a slow but steady comeback, our three, most-popular-ordered-every-day-of-the-week finishes are:  oil rubbed bronze, satin nickel and satin brass; in that order.  And you thought I was kidding about brass! […]

The 3 keys to living through a remodeling project: this is happening now.

1. Consider all other options. I type that only partially in jest. While it can be very cost effective to stay in your home during a remodeling project, there are significant trade-offs which might persuade you to re-evaluate you and your family’s happiness vs. monetary savings. The stress of having things un-done and out of […]

Color of the Year – a follow-up!

Last week’s blog included a drum-roll presentation of our #1 most requested color; Custom!  Despite sticking to the facts, many of you didn’t like the answer.  “Custom isn’t a color!” To satisfy our readers, we tabulated the numbers again but this time limited them to the paint and stain categories we offer within our color […]

Lighten UP!

In the Midwest, we are nuts about daylight; literally.  Without it we establish something un-affectionately referred to as “cabin fever.”  Talking to ourselves, becoming short with each other, sleeping for 14 hours because it’s dark at 5pm…these are the maladies of winter; some would say, “a gentle form of torture.”  In just a few weeks, […]

Remember that time we were at Grandma’s?

The holidays are approaching and throughout the United States, uncles will be cracking corny jokes and mothers will be crowding the kitchen.  Families will gather, friends will congregate and inevitably, memories will be recounted over a glass of wine or at the dinner table.  We have a fancy word for this sentimentality for the past; […]

New front door? It’s not too late… yet!

If your Fall To Do List, included replacing the front door, it’s not too late… yet!  Mine will be replaced in the upcoming weeks and I’m looking forward to an updated and fully-functioning front door.  One that doesn’t drag on our tile floor and will keep us cozy, and heat efficient, all winter long. To […]

Tips from a designer: Space Planning

It seems we are often worried about not having enough.  Not enough time and not enough money and never enough space, “could you give me another closet?”  Architect and author Sarah Susanka calls it, “the fear of too smallness.”  Prior to the recession this concept was evident everywhere.  “Why add 10’ when we could add […]

To paint oak or NOT to paint oak… that is the question answered today.

Painted cabinets and millwork is not a new trend.  It gained popularity during the recession because of its very attractive price point.  Plus, there are few things more enjoyable than a clean, bright, spanking-new kitchen in the whitest of whites!  And while trends do come and go, paint is sticking around…at least a little while […]

Houzz…what’s the big deal?

It’s the 21st century and we are gluttons for information.  We seek it out and it finds us immediately via our “smart,” devices in the form of pictures, tweets, videos, blog, posts and pins.  Back in the old days, we read newspapers, magazines and listened to radio shows to be informed and inspired.  Today, the […]

Blue skies and clean air!

How do we keep that sky both blue and clean?  What is environmental stewardship and why do we care?  Just about everything we do as humans contributes something positive or negative to our environment.  Earth is habitable because of two cycles within our ecosystem; the carbon and hydro cycles.  Within this process the earth recycles […]

Manual? What manual, watch my video!

You’ve likely observed that the best way to teach any person born after let’s say…1980, is to set them in front of an instructional video.  Forget about 35-page instruction manuals; watch from your smart phone or your laptop or your iPad and you won’t have to try to figure out what that universal stick person […]

One Step at a Time…

Because staircases are so often centrally located in our homes, they are a natural place to focus on detailing. With a wide variety of newel posts, spindles and handrails, it’s easy to come up with a look that is unique to your home and that carries the architectural details from the exterior of your home into the interior.

What is a Color Trend?

Regardless of the industry we find ourselves working within at some point every day you are exposed to color trends. Found on billboards, next year’s car model or at your local nail salon these palettes are heavily influencing your thought process. They encourage you to feel, buy or connect with someone or something. And those color combinations change every year!

Keeping It All Together

The pressure to have it all together is magnified during the holiday season. Keeping everyone happy, looking their best, getting everyone to behave, the food, the house, the gifts...augh! It can all be so overwhelming. I hate to quote something from Facebook but there was a message floating around that stuck in my head. It went “Don’t compare your behind the scenes life with someone’s highlight reel”.

Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays

The weather is a little more crisp these days and the snow has begun to fall (although thankfully it isn’t sticking around just yet) which means the holiday season is nearly upon us. The weeks from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas seems to flash by faster and faster each year. It is a magical time spent with family and friends so don't spend it stressing, here are some tips to help get your home ready...

Not enough time in the day…

We talk a lot about infusing our homes with character, encouraging everyone to avoid “cookie cutter” and builder grade and finding new life in old spaces or things. Pinterest, while one of the best web sites ever, can overwhelm even the most organized of people. After you’ve pinned your ideas there is not enough time in the day to complete them all. A friend once said to me, “I get depressed when I go home, because my house doesn’t look anything like my Pinterest house.” Projects around the house, whether inspired by a home magazine or your imagination can be overwhelming.

Make Your Home BOOtastic this Fall

There is a chill in the air and frost on the ground which can only mean one thing – Fall is here. And with that it’s time to get your home ready for Halloween. Halloween is one of those holidays for which you should go all at. All the neighborhood kids will be out in their costumes make sure your house is one to remember.

8 Smartphone Apps You Should Check Out

Today’s devices not only make us more accessible, but if used correctly can help to make our work for more efficient as well. With that notion in mind here are 8 smartphone apps (available on both Android and iPhone devices) that we recommend you check out. Some are specifically designed for those in our industry; others will just help you to keep things organized.

Fall Checklist

The leaves are starting to change and fall is coming, which means it is time to think about fall home maintenance. A little checkup now can make a big difference over the winter, so take the long weekend and make sure that your house is ready for the change of seasons.

The Benefits of Green Building

Last week we talked about going green and some ways for you to easily do your part. Many homes, and business are working to go green on a daily basis. And with the building industry striving to established competitive difference and long-term benefits, green building is taking hold in many facets.

Green It Is

Even if you don’t buy in to “green practices” or sustainability, the concept of green should just be about common sense. Shouldn’t we want to use less natural resources? Don’t we want to have cars that are more efficient? If I am able shouldn’t I use my bike to go three blocks to a farmers market to buy jam


Do you ever notice the occasional, “slow-down and drive-by,” in your neighborhood? Whether it’s a visitor looking for house numbers or a leisurely onlooker, deep down we are all voyeurs. It’s unavoidable. Look at the quantity of home shows and tours from spring through fall if you don’t believe me. We absolutely love to know what the insides of each other’s homes look like.

Outdoor Spaces: Upgrade Your Deck

One of the best trends in home design is the development of the outdoor living space. If your dining room is too small for your extended family or you don’t have a good reading nook in the house, what better way to add value to your home than to create these spaces in your yard. Pulling these spaces together often requires a good deal of planning, a lot of muscle and vision. The big payoff is entertaining and relaxing in your own backyard oasis.

Exterior Columns

Exterior details - columns, mouldings, deck rails, rooflines, eaves, porches - should all include characteristics that mirror the foundational architectural details on your home. From Craftsman to Traditional styles, exterior columns provide architectural character and style to any home. At a glance, many exterior columns may seem similar. However, there are big differences in the design, size, design, and construction of most exterior columns.

Add a Little Color to Your World

The paint trend for 2012 seems to be bedded in earthtones, but with all the colors to choose from it’s nearly impossible to choose just one. Well if you are looking for a little help getting started here are our favorite colors for 2012 from Sherwin Williams.

Architectural Details

At the turn of the century, when immigrants were quickly moving west to stake their claims on rich farmland and an opportunity to make a new life in America, Minnesota lumber mills were working around the clock to produce timbers needed for new homes, big and small. The bankers, lawyers, iron, lumber and railroad barons whose travels had taken them to Europe and beyond built homes in the prevailing styles of the day.

Traditional vs. Contemporary Mouldings (Part 1)

Last week we talked about the various parts and pieces called mouldings. This week we’re going to look more closely at the profile or cut of each of those pieces to determine what style home they’d look best within. To illustrate the detail we’re going to compare two drastically different rooms and the mouldings that have been used to provide such different effects.

Behind Closed Doors

At the end of any organizing job, the last step is to close it up. You might close the lid, or the drawer or a pair of solid, wood doors. And with that final step your eyes no longer see clutter. Better yet, your brain doesn’t think mess. Because behind those doors is an organized haven. You can relax and move on to more enjoyable tasks. Your room has a fresh, new feel to it and you might feel compelled to repeat the process in another space.

What’s Your Resolution?

Once again, it is January; the month when many of us make a resolution to accomplish any number of things which would make us a better person. When February is knocking at the door will we still be standing in the same habits, our lofty aspirations a silly, convoluted idea?

New Year, New Home

During the cold winter months we tend to spend most of our time indoors, looking at the same drab walls, same timeworn furniture, and same cluttered mess day after day. With the start of the new year right around the corner it is the perfect time to think about how you can freshen up and upgrade your home to make it more inviting and exciting.

Fill ‘er up!

‘Tis the season when we open our homes, condos, apartments, cabins, and certainly our hearts to a “little extra.” Boxes of holiday decorations appear from out of our attics. Strands of twinkle lights, half working-half not, make their way out of the garage. Recipes reserved for a few nights of the year are unearthed from the back of the cupboard and we begin preparations for celebrations.

Before and After

The “grand reveal” is a pivotal part of every successful make-over television show. There are emotions, the quick views of before and after photos, and the glory of a completed project. The reality of any project is often more difficult. The behind the scene footage is far less glamorous.

Winterize Your Home Before the Temperature Drops

While we can all hope that the snow and below zero temperatures hold off for as long as possible, there is no denying that before we know it there will be icicles hanging from the our rooftops. Now, while the weather is still somewhat mild, is the perfect time to winterize your home and make preparations for the harsh temperatures and winter snowstorms. Here are 5 things you’ll want to make sure you do to prepare for your home of winter.

Stylish & Reliable – Z-Series Walnut Sills

You take careful care and consideration to choose woods and finish colors that reflect the architectural style and character of your home, but it is also important to consider some of the components of your doors and millwork package that can also affect those selections. As such Bayer Built has been busy updating our selection of hardware components to bring you a wider selection of options in order to make your entry system the perfect match for you.

What a Marvelous Pair

As a person begins specifying millwork for their home, it’s a common misconception that the wood species throughout the home should match. However, a great deal of interest can be gained by combining wood species within your millwork package.

Presidents and Roadtrips

Instead of a mind numbing trip east to the water parks of yesteryear, why not hop in the car for a long weekend to see what you can see? The Midwest in the summer is beautiful; great grassy fields that stretch on forever, fire flies and incredible sunsets. Combine that with a slice of homemade pie from a local greasy spoon and you’re well on your way to inexpensive good times with your family. Of course, along the route, I hope you’ll stop in at one of the many historic homes that dot our landscape.

DIY or Hire a Pro?

Ready to for a little home maintenance project put not sure if it pays to hire the work out to a professional? Consider how much time and effort you are willing to put into the project (as well as your skills) and assess whether it may pay off to hire the job out.

2011 To Bring Smaller More Traditional Homes

Consumers continue to see the value of owning a home - according to the Pew Research Center 81% of adults agree that buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make, they just want to ensure that they are getting the best value for their investment. Low maintenance, cost-effective, complete packages will lead the market, as most homeowners will be willing to spend money on an upgrade if they see the value but are carefully evaluating their options.

Designing for the Long Haul

There is substantial research to support an on-going trend in our society which impacts the design of homes across our country. Despite the continued battles Americans face with obesity, heart disease and cancer, we are living longer, healthier lives! According to the United States Census, the ratio of persons over 65 will more than double by the middle of this century to 80 million. More shocking, while in 1994 just 1 in 8 Americans were elderly, in the year 2030 that number will have become 1 in 5.

Outdoor Rooms

Once disregarded as impossibility in our buggy Midwestern atmosphere, outdoor spaces are getting a second round of consideration. Why, you might ask, would one subject herself to one more dreaded mosquito when she could be indoors on the sofa? Because a big part of life is missed from the sofa. Haven’t you heard?

Spring Care and Maintenance in 10 Easy Steps

Spring is the perfect opportunity for quality home maintenance. Annual care and maintenance will increase not only the longevity and beauty of your home but the value as well. You should perform repairs as the need arises but also try each year to add a little to the home’s attractiveness on the outside. Here are 10 easy repairs and maintenance projects to get you started this Spring.

How Many Doors Are In Your House?

How many doors are in your house? Which of them lock and which do not? Do they have pivot, ball bearing or pin hinges? Seldom do we think about the hardware in our homes, life is too busy to notice unless a handle is loose or not working. And yet, hardware helps us to secure our homes and pass from one room to the next.

Decking In Demand

As summer approaches much of our attention turns to outdoor living, specifically to enjoying the warm weather. A beautiful deck is the perfect upgrade to a home, it adds value and beauty – and is the perfect place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the summer heat.

Looking Forward

Some in our industry would consider it foolish to get excited about trends while the economy is still trying desperately to recover. I agree. Looking forward isn’t as exciting or as breathtaking as it was five years ago when budgets were healthy and homes were being built regularly.