horse cottage

Cottage on a horse farm – project update

Cottage on a horse farm – project update

The client asked for a small cottage on their horse farm. The goal was to fit into the landscape, minimize the trees impacted, and tuck it in between the barn and horse rink. There was limited space, but huge opportunities.

horse cottage

horse cottage

On either side of the cottage there are tucked away patio spaces.

horse cottage

The space for the cottage was wedged into the slope next to the barn. This keeps the cottage in close proximity to the other structures protecting the existing views.

horse cottage

horse cottage

When designing a small cottage, the most important thing is to provide an open floor plan to maximize space.

horse cottage

The second floor of the structure provides a covered space for viewing the riding rink.

horse cottage

horse cottage

horse cottage

horse cottage

horse cottage

Now the other opportunity is the amazing views out over the barn from the second floor space.

horse cottage

horse cottage

cyclovia poster

CYCLOVIA Harrisonburg

CYCLOVIA Harrisonburg

We are honored to be part of the first ever Cyclovia Harrisonburg. Please come out and enjoy the fun!

cyclovia poster

April 21, 2018

Park Road, Harrisonburg, VA

11:00 am – 3:00 pm

On Earth Day weekend, come on over to Park View to celebrate biking, walking, skating, and healthy, outdoor recreation with family and friends! Inspired by the weekly Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia, Renew Rocktown is putting on a family-friendly event for all. There will be free music, games, bike races, Zumba, yoga, and more!

Decorate your bike, bring your family, enjoy our delicious food vendors or pack a picnic and experience Harrisonburg’s 1st Annual Cyclovia!

Layout of activities.

cyclovia map

Brent Funkhouser will be playing tunes!


net zero solar pv

Thinking of adding a Solar Array to your home? Get a HELOC!

Thinking of adding a Solar Array to your home? Get a HELOC!

I am asked often about the best investment to make your home more efficient. Well times have changed a bit from years past. Solar is the answer if you have a south-facing unshaded roof. However, most people don’t have an extra bag of cash lying around to pay for their power up front (install solar on the roof). So I asked my friend Duane to tell me about the best way to finance your solar array. Here is his answer:


 net zero solar pv

Have you been considering the addition of solar or other energy-saving modifications to your home?  Are you trying to decide on how best to finance your home improvement projects?  If so, it may be time to consider using the equity in your home to enhance your home.  Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) are a popular and low-cost option for funding special projects.  Most HELOC plans will allow you to borrow up to 90% of your home’s value and provide those funds for you to use however you see fit and because HELOCs are a home loan, the interest you pay on the loan may be tax-deductible.  HELOCs are essentially a 30 year loan with a 10 year draw period.  The payment on the funds borrowed is based on a 20 year amortization so basically, if you borrow the entire limit of the Equity Line on the last day of the 10 year draw period, you still have 20 years to pay it back.

A little about PVFCU

At Park View Federal Credit Union (PVFCU), we are introducing some very special enhancements to our HELOC programs.  First, we are currently paying all closing costs on HELOCs up to $75,000.  Depending on the location of the property, these closing costs usually range from $300.00 to $400.00.  Additionally,  if you decide to use the loan for the addition of Solar to your home, PVFCU will give you a 2% rate discount for the first 2 years on that portion of your HELOC.  Finally, PVFCU also has a title company on site (Member’s Title) which reduces substantially the time between application and closing.

Carbon Neutral Home Harrisonburg

Should you have further questions about the HELOC option or about PVFCU in general please feel free to contact me.  I welcome the opportunity to discuss any ideas you may have.

Duane Shenk

Business Development / HELOC specialist

NMLS# 1724529



Vote for your favorite hat design

Vote for your favorite hat design

We are ordering some hats for our firm. There are two options for design. I like the logo only on the front with name on the back. However, I have heard from most that prefer the name and logo all on the front. Which do you prefer? Comment below or jump to our facebook page and help us make the decision.

Logo and name on front

Logo on front and name on back


Man, that is one good looking hat model!

Friend of the firm Red Root & Co. named Best New Food at 2018 Va Food and Beverage Expo

Friend of the firm Red Root & Co. named Best New Food at 2018 Va Food and Beverage Expo

We are always happy to see friends of our firm doing great things in the community. Seeing a small local business grow and find state-wide fame is even cooler. Check out this announcement:

Red Root & Co.

We recently had the surprise and honor of winning Best New Food at the 2018 Virginia Food & Beverage Expo for our Heirloom Garlic Oxymel. The biannual event held in Richmond was the first ever trade show for Red Root & Co. It was a very business friendly and supportive environment for connecting with Virginia producers and local buyers. We are delighted to be recognized with the award and want everyone to try a taste of our winning Oxymel!

Two questions we often hear are— What inspired the business? What is an Oxymel?

Red Root & Co is the culmination of a lifelong connection with botanicals and creativity in the kitchen.  Being a herbalist, lover of nature, and a gardener, Red Root has grown from a passion to share our learning and experience of plants and food with family, friends, and the community .  We want to make this connection available to you through our hand-crafted creations, which are tasty, life-giving, and satisfying.

An Oxymel is an infusion of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar steeped with fruits, vegetables and herbs, and lightly sweetened with honey. In addition to our Oxymel varieties, we also handcraft a number of other herbal infusions, including Shrubs, Bitters, Tonics, and Syrups.  Our products highlight unique flavors, qualities, and nutrients.  All of our offerings incorporate high-quality, whole botanicals, and we source local ingredients whenever possible.

Our products have culinary, cocktail, and wellness applications. For example, our Heirloom Garlic Oxymel can be used both as a health tonic and in the kitchen – take a little sip in the morning for a quick nutritional boost, or add a tablespoon to warm water, or a savory tea.  In the kitchen, Oxymel works as a culinary ingredient and condiment, and can be added to brighten the flavor of most any savory food.  It is especially delicious on sautéed greens and roasted potatoes!

Through meeting customers at markets and talking with local buyers, we are encouraged by everyone’s support and enthusiasm for delicious products that are fresh and inspiring. Our community is seeking playful and nourishing foods—which makes us smile! You can find our products in Harrisonburg at Friendly City Food Co-op and Lineage, while Food.Bar.Food and Jack’s Hideaway use our products on their menu. Please connect with us at or come visit us at a market. We would love to meet you and introduce you to our products!

Old Town Harrisonburg

Old Town Harrisonburg Renovation

Old Town Harrisonburg Renovation

We are thrilled to be part of the team on this Old Town Harrisonburg renovation being done by Herr and Co. We are working for the builder that is doing a design-build solution for the clients.

Old Town Harrisonburg

What is Design-Build?

Design-build is a project delivery system used in the construction industry where the design and construction services are done by a single entity. In this case we work for the builder that works for the home owner.

Why bring in an architect?

The home owner wanted a more functional kitchen. The space available for the kitchen rework was a former porch that had been enclosed as a sun room. The floors were not at the same level and the framing was done for a porch, not a kitchen. The best solution for the home was to take down the existing framing and add the additional space with new construction.

Old Town Harrisonburg

With any renovation project there is the possibility of surprises. In this project we expected to find a load bearing wall. Instead the framing was running in the opposite direction and once demo took place we were able to remove a planned beam. You never know what surprises you will run into when taking down plaster and drywall. In this case it was a happy surprise. We have had other projects with unhappy surprises…

I will keep you updated on this project as it moves forward. I have to admit I am jealous of the location and the proximity these folks have to downtown. I love their house and backyard as well. This is going to be a fun project to watch!

Old Town Harrisonburg


The Great Community Give

Join the Great Community Give

April 18, 2018

Support A Local Nonprofit
Of Your Choice. It‘s Easy.

What Is The Great Community Give?

The Great Community Give is a powerful online giving event designed to inspire and grow philanthropy in our community. It is a single-day fundraising celebration from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday April 18th. This event is centered on community nonprofits in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Using a single online donation platform,, our community can be connected with local nonprofits. This is an initiative of The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County.

Give $10 or give more, Give to one non profit or give to many….its up to you.


The goal is to engage 3,000 donors and to generate $70,000 in donations from the public in a one day period. Many of our favorite non-profits are participating in this event:

Arts Council of the Valley

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

Build our Downtown Park Harrisonburg

Collins Center & Child Advocacy Center

Explore More Discovery Museum

First Step

Friendship Industries

Generations Crossing

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance

H-R Free Clinic

Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society

Highland Retreat

Northeast Neighborhood Association

On the Road Collaborative

Our Community Place

Rockingham Education Foundation

Spitzer Art Center

The Universal Design Project

United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham


Great Community Give

Build or Park power hour is 7 am – 8am. If they raise the most that hour they win an extra $2,000.

Arts Council of the Valley is trying to raise $1,250 between 9 am and 10 am and they have a donor lined up to match.

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank power hour is 9am – 10am. If they raise the most that hour they win an extra $2,000.

Explore More Discovery Museum has a goal of raising $5K by 5pm. If that achieve that goal, they have a donor lined up to match. Their Power Hour is between 11 – noon.

Big Brothers Big Sisters power hour is noon – 1pm. If they raise the most that hour they win an extra $2,000. BBBS is offering prizes if you donate between noon and 1pm including a $100 Visa gift card, local business gift cards, and the largest gift that hour gets a $100 gift card to Local Chop and Grill.

United Way needs 200 donors between 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. If they achieve that goal, Laura gets a pie in the face.

Highland Retreat power hour is 1 pm – 2pm. If they raise the most that hour they win an extra $2,000.

On the Road Collaborative is giving SWAG away if you give in the amounts of $25, $50, or $100+. Check out their facebook page and follow along!



duck race

Lucky Duck Race to benefit The Office of Children and Youth in the Shenandoah Valley

Lucky Duck Race

10th Annual Lucky Duck Race

Saturday, April 14 | At 4 pm | At the Massanutten Indoor WaterPark
$5 per Duck | $13 for Family of 3 | $25 for Flock of 6

Huge Prizes
  • 1st & 2nd Place | 3 day / 2 night stay at Massanutten Resort & WaterPark tickets for four OR $500 cash
  • 3rd Place | $250 cash

No need to be present to win.

duck race

This is a fundraiser to benefit Office on Children and Youth programs that serve youth in our community. This is a fun event with great prizes and you don’t have to be present to win! AND local folks who want to come to the WaterPark on 4/14 will receive $15 off admission for each duck ticket purchased. Tickets are each to purchase through Massanutten’s website at:

100% of the proceeds from the 10th annual Lucky Duck Race will benefit the Office on Children and Youth and provide operating support for these valuable outreach, prevention, and youth development efforts.The Office on Children and Youth is a grant funded organization at James Madison University’s Institute for Innovation in Health & Human Services that works to promote positive youth development in Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Page and beyond. The Office coordinates direct service outreach programs that serve youth and families throughout the Shenandoah Valley, including: the Reading Road Show-Gus Bus, Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Youth Council, and Shenandoah Valley Migrant Education.

aaron zook

First Friday Art Opening – This Friday w/ Aaron Zook

First Friday Art Opening – This Friday w/ Aaron Zook

Aaron Zook is a Harrisonburg native and self-taught photographer.


April 6, 2018, 5pm – 8pm.


Gaines Group Architects features an artist each month at the Depot in Harrisonburg. This is our chance to support the local art community and Arts Council of the Valley by allowing them a no cost place to show their work and for you to spend money showing them your love of their work. Come to see, buy, talk, and enjoy some of our food and drink while you are here. The Chesapeake Western Depot at 141 W. Bruce St. on the second floor has a history display of the CW line that is deep with stories – just ask Charles. Artwork is displayed in the gallery (hallway back to Herr and Co.). Food and drink are available along with lots of conversation and networking in the Gaines Group offices. Want to visit other galleries, here is a list.

What Aaron Zook does:

He draws inspiration from the hard-working people that make everyday life happen behind the scenes. He is a bartender, mountain guide, and perpetually sleep deprived.

aaron zook

“Here’s the thing. It doesn’t get any easier out there darlin, I’d be lying if I said it did. But give in to the depravity of the soul for just one moment, and you’ll discover that there isn’t much difference in all of us. We all have that moment where we sit and breathe. We shake our heads and slap ourselves around. Then we walk out into that big bright world. Don’t forget your shades.”

About the show:

This project was hard for me to put my finger on at first. It was born out of frustration really.  When I was a kid, I could never quite decide what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” In my more recent life, I’ve listened to my fair share of “when are you going to get a real job..?” and “are you ever planning on using your degree?” Finally, an older gentleman went so far as to ask me what it was exactly that my peers and I did with their time. When I stopped to think about it, my answer was…everything. People like me do literally everything. So, this show is for the people that aren’t where they want to be yet, but where they need to be for now. It’s for the late nights of wondering where we’re headed. For the moments of pure joy when we figure out where we’re supposed to be. For the passion projects and side hustles. For the empty shows, struggling to make progress, and wondering when it will all finally click.

Look me in the eye.

It will.

Valley Business Keynote announces Kim Scott as speaker, author of Radical Candor

Valley Business Keynote announces Kim Scott as speaker, author of Radical Candor

Last night at the Harrisonburg branch of Bank of the James, Valley Business Keynote announced their 2018 speaker line up. This annual event has become a must attend for all the business leaders and future leaders in the Shenandoah Valley.

Valley Business Keynote

About Valley Business Keynote

Valley Business Keynote is a gathering of local leaders around an engaging idea for one dynamic presentation. We believe that with the right speakers, this forum can add real value to business leaders and community members in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.  Of paramount interest is the speaker’s ability to help business leaders discover ways to fulfill the vast potential of the Shenandoah Valley, and take advantage of its attractive assets. 

This year’s Keynote Speaker is KIM SCOTT!!!

Kim Scott is the author of the NYT & WSJ bestseller Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss without Losing your Humanity. Kim led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google and then joined Apple to develop and teach a leadership seminar. Kim has been a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other tech companies.

Kim Scott

Previously, Kim was the co-founder and CEO of Juice Software, a collaboration start-up, and led business development at Delta Three and Capital Thinking. Earlier in her career, she worked as a senior policy advisor at the FCC, managed a pediatric clinic in Kosovo, started a diamond cutting factory in Moscow, and was an analyst on the Soviet Companies Fund. Kim received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Princeton University. She is the author of three novels; she and her husband Andy Scott are parents of twins and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This year’s opening speaker is Dave Urso

Dave Urso has been teaching seminars and developing leaders for almost 18 years. In that time, he’s developed an approach that sets him apart. His naturally energetic and interactive style carries over into his sessions and makes listening to him a pleasure. No matter the context of your interaction, two things are pretty much guaranteed – he’s going to talk really fast and he’s going to do something unexpected! His mission is to serve as a catalyst of change by engaging others in inspired leadership.

Dave urso