Welcome our newest team member – Hannah Jackson, Allied ASID, CSI
Hannah studied at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and received a Bachelors of Science degree in Interior Design. While at UTC, she was involved as a student member in the Interior Design Alliance (IDA), American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). She was active in her sorority, the UTC campus, and the Chattanooga community through philanthropic events. She was drawn to The Gaines Group by their variety of residential and commercial projects, as well as, the small firm atmosphere. She has always had an interest in interior design and architecture, and is excited to start her career at The Gaines Group.
Hannah enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and camping, and she likes to read, paint, and refinish/re-purpose furniture in her spare time. She is glad to finally be in the same city as her family again after being 500 miles away at school for the last four years. She is looking forward to volunteering in the community and getting involved in a church.
Want to touch base with her, give a call or email:
email: hannah (at) thegainesgroup.com
About The Gaines Group, PLC
The Gaines Group, PLC is a Virginia based architecture firm with offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg. Established in 1987, the firm has a dedication to strong ideas, ecological stewardship, and client satisfaction. As an award-winning residential and commercial building design firm, The Gaines Group, PLC has established a strong reputation of sophisticated design through addressing the specific needs and place for which a project is to be built.
The firm’s mission statement:through design we can have a better future. We want to see that our work made a difference and the community is a better place for it.
Why we do it: because we want our clients to have comfortable beautiful healthy spaces to live, play, and work.
The firm offers a comprehensive range of integrated design services including architecture, LEED Consulting, Specification Consulting, Interior Design, Landscape planning, Master Planning, Site Planning, Graphic Design, and Marketing Design.
Charlottesville, VA – The Gaines Group, PLC is pleased to announce the addition of James Halstead, Jr. to our Charlottesville, VA design team. James brings 16 years of experience in Structural Engineering, along with extensive experience in project management and quality control. His work approach is known throughout the industry as being efficient, effective, responsive, and thoughtful.
James grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia and graduated from Piedmont College. His family, wife Lynn and daughter Kendall, live in Fluvanna County. James served on the Fluvanna County Planning Commission from 2008-2012, acting as Chairman in 2012. Before joining The Gaines Group, PLC, he worked for Moler and Associates, Consulting Structural Engineers, and The Earth Technology Group (EarthTech). Founding member of The Gaines Group, PLC, Raymond E. Gaines, FCSI, AIA, CCS says “adding James to our team brings even more depth and understanding to our already talented team. He has extensive knowledge of how we approach a project through our many team projects over the past 16 years. We believe he is going to add tremendously to the value we can deliver to our clients for many years to come.”
With a combined design experience of over 100 years, The Gaines Group, PLC is pleased to add James Halstead, Jr. to our team. The firm’s continued growth during difficult economic conditions can be attributed to a focus on sound design strategies that offer healthy, energy-efficient, and durable solutions for our clients. James’ brings a deep knowledge and understanding of fundamental structural design solutions and technologies that will further our ability to better serve our community.
About The Gaines Group, PLC
The Gaines Group, PLC is a Virginia based architecture firm with offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg. Established in 1987, the firm has a dedication to strong ideas, ecological stewardship, and client satisfaction. As an award winning residential and commercial building design firm, The Gaines Group, PLC has established a strong reputation of sophisticated design through addressing the specific needs and place for which a project is to be built. The firm’s work does not espouse any singular architectural style, but strives to find that which is unique and important within a given project and to express it architecturally. The firm offers a comprehensive range of integrated design services including architecture, LEED Consulting, Specification Consulting, Interior Design, Landscape planning, Master Planning, Site Planning, Graphic Design, and Marketing Design.
Every client makes decisions differently and every project evolves in a unique fashion. However for the design of a home, the big steps are always the same. The initial meeting is a conversation to establish the goals, scope, and budget. The completion of this meeting usually leaves the architect with a really good idea of the direction the project is going. In the case of this particular project, these initial bubble diagrams and resulting sketch is very similar to the end project almost a year later.
The next phase is where time is spent figuring out the details. For instance, how does one room relate to another, what furniture goes where, who will use that room and for what purpose? The process of design is as much figuring out the right questions as it is providing aesthetic solutions.
Once you have a good idea of the details, then you can focus on the aesthetics of the design. Of course this is not a singular action, as a good designer is thinking about all aspects throughout the design process. This is just the time where you really dive in and find the best solution to achieve the goals.
Then back to the details – making the small parts compliment the large decision.
I always advocate to have the contractor involved early on so that decisions can all be made with budget in mind. As an architect, we have a general understanding of installed costs of materials, but only a contractor can provide detailed costs that are accurate.
The design process will include many conversations about materials, costs, aesthetics, and durability.
Once the decisions are made for design and a construction contract can be executed, let the dirt fly.
Here the footings are being poured.
Now the walls are being constructed.
I cannot wait to show you more as this project progresses. If you have more questions about the design of a home and what your process may look like, please don’t hesitate to ask.
I get asked all the time “how much more does it cost to do all that extra green stuff“? So many people think of going green as an added burden or an option that you add to a design for a home or business. Is this really the case? We are seeing real impacts of climate change (no this is not going to be a post about climate change being a man-made issue). We are seeing energy costs going up and quick. We have an incredible population growth rate worldwide that shows no signs of slowing down. We know that there are limited resources available to all of us including some essentials like water, air, food, and energy. So how could a decision that allows you to use less, be a better steward of what you do have, and save money be an option – this, green design, is needed now and should be seen as a requirement for all of us ethically. So my first answer is no, it does not cost more to go green (or as I like to point out, do it right).
HOWEVER, I know many people don’t share my views on our ethical obligations. So once again, does it cost more to ‘go green’?I still have to say no, it does not add a penny to your budget day one of moving into the home, but it may save you money if done right. Here is a real example. I designed a modest home locally for a young couple that wanted energy efficiency to be part of their project. They had their home priced by a few contractors with a variety of levels of understanding of energy-efficient design. One suggested that they get rid of all that ‘extra stuff’ the architect added to their design to save some money. They did the calculations and the savings on a 30 year mortgage for taking out those extras would cost them an extra $15 per month in energy costs (being very conservative about expected monthly electric bills compared to their current fees in a non-energy efficient home).
The added costs of an energy-efficient home are primarily in the cost of the insulation and the HVAC system. These are both areas that pay back monthly in savings from reduced energy usage. There are other things that you can add to a home to call it ‘green’ which are in fact more expensive than other options, but those decisions should be based on your beliefs in what is important. For instance, it is hard to justify using FSC wood financially here in Central Virginia, but if you think about the rain forests being cut down and the reduced capacity of those forests to offset carbon emissions, then you might make it a priority for your project. A FSC forest is required to meet certain standards and clear cutting is not allowed. The use of low VOC products can sometimes add some costs to a project, but if you think of the reduced risk of cancer for your family (VOC’s are known to off-gas for up to six years after installation and are known carcinogens) then perhaps the reduced stress and hospital bills will be valid motivation to spend a little more. We all have our belief systems that we make decisions and financial is just one of them. I can tell you it does not cost more to build a ‘green’ home that is energy-efficient, you just have to decide what factors you are adding to the equation to determine how much you spend.
For those looking to build a new home, what is your motivation? Do you want a house that is new or do you want a new home that is specific for your needs? A custom home should be designed around the way you live, work, and play. It should work with your site and not simply sit on your site. It should reflect your values, your history, and your future. A house that is built for you should not be a compromise found in a magazine. It should be the idea thought through and developed based on your goals and passions. I am always competing against the $600 plan that we found – we just need to change this, this, and that to make it right. Oh by the way, the structural design is efficient and building this will cost a premium to get it to work. Why not skip this step and simply have someone trained to think through these issues, take your goals, and make a custom house for you that is not just new construction?
For more thoughts on saving money, protecting the environment, and on architectural design visit my websites: