Gaines Group Architects
Valley Business Keynote

Mark your calendar for Valley Business Keynote – July 18, 2017 – JMU’s Forbes Theater #VBKengage

Mark your calendar for Valley Business Keynote – July 18, 2017 – JMU’s Forbes Theater #VBKengage

Valley Business Keynote facilitates engaging ideas for local leaders to help them fulfill the Valley‘s vast potential by bringing excellent speakers to our area. 

Valley Business Keynote

The premier leadership event in the Valley returns to Harrisonburg on July 18, 2017. Valley Business Keynote is a must attend event. VBK inspires business leaders in the valley from Lexington to Winchester. Steve Rizzo, a former professional comedian and an executive coach will speak about the importance of quality of life for a healthy local economy. Steve is a self-proclaimed “attitude adjuster.” Most of all He provides common sense strategies to harness the power of your “humor being” to make the most out of every day. Steve is a hall of fame comedian turned motivational speaker. In conclusion, you will come away from this keynote with a fire in your belly for making life more enjoyable and productive. 

Valley Business Keynote

VBK organizer Andy Vanhook states “I think Steve brings a message that is important to everyone in the valley. It can tie us all together. There is a lot going on in our world that could pull us apart and divide us. Steve’s humor is one of those things that brings us together and builds community.”

Valley Business Keynote

Jennifer Owen-O’Quill will kick off #VBKengage this year. She will help local business leaders understand how to leverage change and conflict to deliver constructive results. Hence, this power packed duo will inspire, challenge, and invigorate you.

Valley Business Keynote

VBK organizer Cari Orebaugh states “Jennifer is a great fit for VBK. She speaks to how we are trying to help business leaders in the valley find ways to thrive.”

Valley Business Keynote

Finally tickets this year are $25 and sponsorship opportunities are available. Just go to for more information. 

Comments : Off
end polio now

Rotary Club of Rockingham County, come visit!

Rotary Club of Rockingham County – We have bacon!

The Rotary Club of Rockingham County is a group of friends that work together to put service above self. We meet weekly for breakfast and we have bacon!


Rotary Club of Rockingham County rotary out to lunch

Rotary International

Rotary International is a volunteer organization of business and professional leaders. Rotarians provide humanitarian service and help build goodwill and peace in the world.  There are approximately 1.2 million Rotary Club members in over 33,000 Rotary Clubs. Clubs span more than 200 countries and/or geographical areas.

Rotary exists to improve communities through humanitarian, intercultural, and educational activities. This is done especially through the efforts of polio eradication. Rotary also focuses on peace building; international education; literacy; clean water; and other community-based projects.


Rotary Club of Rockingham County Rotary club banners

Rotary Club of Rockingham County

Therefore, The Rotary Club of Rockingham County invests in the continued health and positive growth of our local area through:

We partner with other Clubs on broader initiatives.  We’ve worked with the Albemarle County and Massanutten Clubs on a clean water project in Limpopo Province, South Africa through UVA’s Pure Madi program. We are actively partnering with other clubs to organize the Harrisonburg Strawberry Festival . This festival benefits both City and County public parks.


Rotary Club of Rockingham County Rotary Polio

The Rotary Club of Rockingham County is a mid-sized Club with a big heart.  We routinely see 100% participation of members at projects large and small (and social events dressy and informal!).  We’re a Club that is, by its very nature, easy-going. As a Club past president said, “you have to be laid back if you’re going to meet before work once a week!”  However, we are passionately committed to the ideas and goals of Rotary.  Perhaps more importantly:  we’re a Club where you can make a positive impact in your community while making new friends over coffee, bacon, and a good breakfast.


Rotary Club of Rockingham County rotary soap box derby car

Come for a visit!

We invite you to join us at one of our meetings or events.  (You can find us most Tuesday mornings at 7:00 am at the Golden Pony in Downtown Harrisonburg.)  Explore how accepting the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” will benefit the communities in which you live and work. Also learn more about how it benefits your everyday life.

Rotary Club of Rockingham County end polio now


Comments : Off

Harrisonburg Construction at the SVBA Home and Living Expo

Harrisonburg Construction at the SVBA Home and Living Expo

Harrisonburg Canstruction is scheduled for April 8th at the annual SVBA Home and Living Expo at the Rockingham County Fair Grounds in Harrisonburg. This food fundraiser benefits the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. This year there will be teams from Blue Ridge Architects and the JMU Engineering school.  Last year this event produced over 6,000 pounds of food for the food bank.

Here are creations from the Lynchburg Canstruction event.



Canstruction is an international charity competition where architects, engineers, contractors, and students they mentor, compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. At the close of the competition all of the food is donated to local food banks where the competitions are held.

For a preview of what you will find at the SVBA Home and Living Expo, Blue Ridge Architects have created their structure in advance at the Harrisonburg Municipal building. Stop by and see the chick emerging from an egg.


Plan to stop by both the municipal building and the Home and Living Expo to see these creations and don’t foget to bring your own food donation. There is a huge need in our community where there are families that are going hungry. This local food bank serves an average of 114,400 people per month. Last year they distributed 24.6 million pounds or 20.5 million meals.

Custom Home contemporary cottage

Check Out This Contemporary Cottage – Project Update

Custom Home contemporary cottageThis contemporary cottage, designed by Ray Gaines in the Charlottesville office, features bold colors, careful details, beautiful tile, classic hardwoods, large screen porch, and lots of natural light. The clerestory windows and vaulted ceiling provide beautiful gathering spaces inside with connection to the outside. The large basement offers plenty of storage and expansion for the future. The railing detail creates interesting shadow lines while maintaining an open view.

Read about another cottage by the Gaines Group here.

construction speech and language center

Speech and Language Center Construction update

Speech and Language Center Construction update

Read past posts about this project HERE and HERE.

The new building is taking shape at the Speech and Language Center in Harrisonburg. I have heard from many in the community that they like the new aesthetic. What do you think?


As with many of our projects, we selected Marvin Integrity windows for their performance, but also for being a local window manufactured just outside of Roanoke, Va.

The siding materials and colors were selected to offer a modern, clean, and welcoming finish. The tower on the corner marks the entrance while also offering a well-lit interior space.


Gone but not forgotten

Mom, I will see you soon, but not soon enough.

Mom, I will see you soon, but not soon enough.

My Mom

October 7, 1950 – February 15, 2017

According to her facebook profile:

I am an artist! I draw with DMC threads, do mixed media art, working with papers and findings, make beaded jewelry working with beautiful colorful beads. I have created a mixed media dollhouse and lots of painted and decorated birdhouses. I love books – all types of books! The most important and loved the absolutely best is my Ray, our sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. All this is, of course, is given to me by my God.

Patricia Ann Hendricks





A coal miner’s daughter, from a holler in West Virginia. She was the first-born of maybe the strongest woman to ever live, Mamaw. Patsy, Mom played next to coal trains and dump trucks surrounded by dirt roads and black dust. She grew up quick in a tough environment from birth. Finding her teddy bear to save her, she married Ray, Dad at 16 years old.


Where do you start when talking about someone who is such a part of you that it is hard to separate what is her and what is me?


From my earliest memories, I was momma’s boy. We looked alike. Acted alike. Both loved to shop. Both expressed our emotions loudly or passive aggressively depending on how happy or mad you made us. We could talk about anything and I mean anything – she knew all my secrets. For hours on end we could debate anything – we loved to debate with each other – on any topic.


I remember one time I convinced her that the chickens we noticed behind Hardees were there because Hardees had fresh chicken and that is why it was so fresh. It took a long time of debating, but I won in the end and she believed me – at least that is what she told me to end the debate.


Most often Daddy would leave the room if we started debating because he did not like to hear us argue, but to us it was fun (most of the time).

She was fierce about the people and things she loved. Family always came first. Ray, daddy, Papa, was the center of her life. Her husband of 49 years. They both taught me that no matter what, you take care of family first. They have never let anything stay in their way even when times were tough, they were always there for one another in the end. Married before either of them had experienced the world, they overcame all obstacles and lived out the vow of to death do us part.


She gave me a note not long ago. It said “tell him I truly love him. He is the best husband any woman could have.”

She was so proud of her boys. Chris and Charles were her angels – if you ever talked to her you know there was little we could do wrong in her eyes. If you dared say something about us, you were on the “LIST.” And yes, she kept a list and if you got put on the list you probably did not get taken off the LIST. She was very proud of both of us for all that we have done and all that we will do in the future. She was the ultimate cheerleader / supporter / mom. I could ask her any question on any topic and she would give me a boost in the right direction – sometimes literally “so go do it” sometimes with a question like “so why are you not doing it yet” and sometime with encouragement like “you can do anything you put your mind to.” She had faith that if Chris or Charles wanted something they could and probably would achieve it.




There was nothing more important to her than her grandbabies. They will always be her grandbabies no matter how big they get. Jared was the first and made her Granny. She loved him so much. Just a few days ago, she told me how proud she was of how he was doing in college and at work. She always wanted to tell me how amazing Zachary was doing at school, sports, and of course how he is sooooo good-looking. Hannah was her first granddaughter, my how she wanted daughters and she finally got one. She tried to take her home every time we got together. She always gushed over Hannah being beautiful and smart. Then came Sophia. A grand-daughter that loved makeup, jewelry, shopping, clothes, dressing up, and I am not sure how this happened, but they even shared the same packing skills – in other words if you own it pack it. She loved that all her grandbabies enjoyed reading like her. She loved making art for you and with you. She wanted you to be with her all the time. She was very proud of all of you for what you have done and she had high expectations of what you will do with your lives. I can tell you, just like Granny Moore has always been with me, Granny will always be with you, watching over you, protecting you, and guiding you. Listen and you will hear her love all the way from heaven.


Outside of her immediate family few others were as close to her heart. However, there are a few that I know deserve mention.  Mamaw, Tonya, Janie, Debbie, Martha, Bill, Blake, Karol, Kelly, Jon, Carter, Henry, Kayla, Elly, and Randy. She loved her family.

Other than family she loved to travel – mainly to the beach. She loved her crafts – all of them – no really, if you could make it she was probably working on it. She loved Elvis, country music, electronics – although they never worked for her, reading, playing games, flowers, and of course her dogs. She faced life with a fierce love that is rare to see. From driving down sidewalks to burning dinner to decorating for Christmas, Halloween, valentine’s day, and any other holiday where she could make or buy decorations, to painting walls, to dreaming of the future she lived life as fully as her body would allow. She tolerated pain like I hope none of us can imagine or must face ourselves. She was and is my hero.


Granny, Patsy, Mom you will be missed. You were the glue that held us all together and somehow always knew where that thing was in your system of organization. You will live on through all of us here and all those that you touched with your kind heart. I hope you found the heaven we talked about. I hope Debbie and Granny Moore were both there waiting on you as you arrived. I know you found Gunner, Yogi, and Mickey as soon as you arrived. I will see you soon, but not soon enough.

insulate attic access

Air Leaks in Your Home on a Windy Day – Seal Them Up and Save Money

Air leaksIt is supposed to be windy later today. The wind blowing on one side of your home will create a positive pressure on that side. The other side of the house will form a negative pressure. This causes your home to expand and contract – hopefully and not likely enough to see it, but you will be able to feel air moving. Use the wind today to find the air leaks in your thermal envelope (wall system) and seal them up. If the leaks are around doors and windows, you can add weather-stripping to stop the leaks. Also check around the electrical outlets and light switches in the walls. The attic access is another place I often find air leaks. You can use a candle or just put your hand next to the suspect place. Caulking the gaps around penetrations – medicine cabinets, recessed can lights, electric outlets (behind the covers) will reduce your energy usage and make your home more comfortable. If you want me to help find the leaks, call us for an energy-audit.

The Lofts

The LOFTS at 83 South Main are ready for move in

The LOFTS at 83 South Main are ready for move in

To read previous blogs about this project, click here.

The LOFTS at 83 South Main are ready for move in after months of work.





It takes a special person to see potential in a building that has been neglected for so long. Fortunately our client was such a person. The LOFTS located in the heart of historic downtown Harrisonburg are now available for rent. Built in the 1880’s this South Main Street building has seen a massive revitalization. The exterior retains the historic character, but the interior of this building has been completely reconstructed and updated.




The exposed brick walls, large windows, and modern amenities will make these units some of the most desirable for local professionals. Located less than a block from court square and right across the street from Jack Brown’s these units will not stay available for long.





When we started the project there were considerable challenges. The floors sloped, there was fire damage, the windows were falling apart, and the plumbing / electrical / heating / cooling systems were a wreck. The previous building owner had not maintained the structure for many years. Once construction started we found even more structural issues that were hidden inside the floor systems and behind the plaster. This building needed a LOT of care to bring it back to a safe and comfortable dwelling. 





Once Bryan Nesselrodt Construction completed their work you can see the beauty has been restored. The units are simple, but offer all the amenities you could want in a downtown LOFT. For more information on leasing, visit For questions about your next renovation project, just give me a call – we love saving old buildings and showing them love again.







The Lofts Harrisonburg

Listening is important, but telling your story comes first for good design

Listening is important, but telling your story comes first for good design

The process of design is emotional. It takes a lot of vulnerability, patience, and openness to get it right. I have spent the last 17 years working on being able to hear my clients. I hope each day and each project I get better at this skill.


I think the most important skill for a designer is to be able to HEAR a client. I listen for clues in what you say and how you say it. I watch your expressions and actions as you talk. I listen as you lay out your goals, frustrations, joys, pains, and aspirations. This is how I can design for you. It takes time to really hear you. This is done through pictures, words, sketches – but all require conversation.

harrisonburg farmhouse

When I design I am not imposing my likes on your design solution, I am trying to translate what you have told me into the design you really want. It may not look like the picture we both had in mind before the conversation. It may look completely different from what you expected, but if I am able to really hear you, it will be what you love. I will bring my experience and understanding of design to the solution. I will push you to decide what you like and don’t like in the design options. I will challenge you to make sure we have the design just right before we settle on a solution. This is what we do.


The only way I can HEAR however is for you to be able to tell your story openly and as vulnerable as possible. You have to share open and honestly with me what you want. You have to be able to say yes and no to various options. Your job as the client is to tell your story and my job is to translate that into design. This is how custom design is different from purchasing an existing home. This is what sets apart your business interior from others. This is how you create a sense of place that is just right for you.


Carbon Neutral Construction

The more you know – things you should know about your custom home design

things you should know about your custom home design

There are a lot of questions in the construction industry when you set out to build a new house. The biggest and first question in my mind – Do you want a custom home or just a new home? If you want a new home, why not buy one that already exists? You will get more for your money over building new as existing homes prices are still deflated, yes even after the “recovery.” If you want custom – meaning you want a home that is exactly what you want, healthy, energy-efficient, durable, functional kitchen, open floor plan – whatever it may be, then you need to pick an architect, not a drafter, an architect to do your design.  You need to decide what kind of architect you want to hire. We come with specific knowledge and preference. You should pick an architect not just on experience, but also on personality – do you get along with us? Will we listen to you? Will we HEAR you?


So why hire an architect instead of a drafter for a custom home? There are several reasons – first an architect is licensed with the state to do design and holds liability for the work they produce. Architects are trained to design, that means at least 3 1/2 years of school, but likely 5 or more years of school, 3+ years training under another licensed architect, passing multiple exams that take hours each, 3 letters of recommendation from other architects, and annual education maintenance. This compared to the drafters training requirement – a business license. There are drafters with more experience than others, but none have gone through all the steps of a licensed architect – OR they would be a licensed architect.

So why is this step so important for a custom home? It is simple, design up front saves you money during construction, creates a home that is specific for you, reduces your energy use and maintenance to operate your home, and work with me here – creates a better end product. So if you plan to spend money to build – why not get the best product possible.


If you want to learn more about building a custom home, here is a link for a LOT of information on the steps, questions, and concerns. Feel free to call or email me as well.