Gaines Group Architects

Albemarle County Custom House – Update

Work continues on this house designed for a lifetime in Northern Albemarle County just north of Charlottesville. From the no-step entry to the high-performance design elements, careful thought was put into this design solution. 


Careful consideration was made to set this home on the site in a way that it blends with the surroundings. The colors are pulled from nature and the slope of the land dictated the location of the home. Working with the talented Jessica Primm for landscaping solutions and David Collins for grade modifications were key elements to getting it all just right for location, views, and accessibility.

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The exterior materials are intended to be low maintenance to reduce the time needed to maintain this home over the years. From cementitious siding, simulated stone, to the metal roof, this home will not require much work on the weekend.



The interior has framed views throughout including the loft space which has the feeling of being in a tree house.


To see more about his house click here.

SVBA Harrisonburg Home and Garden Show 2013 – new venue, new attitude, you don’t want to miss this!

Construction Experts, Classic Car Show, Bands, Dancing, Kid Zone with HUGE Bouncy House, Taste of Virginia, BEER Garden, SPCA, United Way, MTC, Live Auction, Silent Auction – this is not your everyday HOME and GARDEN Show!

The SVBA Home and Garden Show for 2013 is scheduled for April 12th – 14th at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg. This Building Communities event is at a new venue, has a new attitude, and has new activities.

Friday Night: Invitation only party with music, food, drinks. If you want in to this exclusive preview show of the Home Show, contact an exhibitor today as there will be limited admission. The show is not open to the public on Friday night!

Saturday (10 am – 8 pm) – BBQ Chicken by MTC students, Food Trucks (Moma’s Caboose, Galindez Catering, a donut truck), Classic Car Show, Bands (Soul Transit Authority and Age Before Beauty) Bouncy Houses for the kids, Beer Garden for adults (to benefit the United Way Harrisonburg), SPCA Adoption Center, Construction Industry Experts. Admission is $3 per person or $5 for a family (proceeds from admission benefit MTC). Children under 12 are free.


Sunday (Noon – 5pm) – Food Trucks (Moma’s Caboose, Galindez Catering, a donut truck), Bouncy House for the kids, SPCA Adoption Center, Construction Experts. Admission is $2 per person or $5 for a family (proceeds from admission benefit MTC). Children under 12 are free.


Here is a recap of the show from last year.

Engaging our community in pictures

We believe strongly that it is our ethical duty to serve our local community. Here is a look at some of the ways we put our beliefs in action. How do you serve your community?

Celebrating a ribbon cutting of our rooftop garden

Promoting local events

Hosting local artists

Named the Best Architects in Harrisonburg

Celebrating 25 years in business

Hosting a coloring competition

Being featured in the Daily Progress newspaper

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visiting our design to tell the country this is how it should be done

Being recognized by Governor Kaine for our Green Design Efforts

Leading the Green Innovations Tour

Hosting green builder training sessions with partner Dow

Designing projects that form the backbone of our community

Engaging the next generation

Celebrating the Holidays

Participating in events to benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

Local Architectural Firm Named Best of Houzz 2012

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2012

Press Inquiries:        Charles Hendricks, AIA, CSI, CDT, LEED AP


The Gaines Group, PLC Architecture and Design of Harrisonburg, Virginia Receives

Houzz’s 2012 ‘Best Of Remodeling’ Award


First-Ever Survey & Analysis of More than 1.2 Million Members Reveals Top-Rated Professionals and Current Design Trends from Across the Country

Harrisonburg, VA  —  May 1, 2012 – The Gaines Group, PLC Architecture and Design of Harrisonburg, Va has been awarded  “Best Of Remodeling” 2012 by Houzz, the leading online platform for residential remodeling and design.  The 25 year old Architecture and Interior Design firm was chosen by the more than 1.2 million registered members of the Houzz community.


The Houzz “Best Of Remodeling” award for 2012 is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction award winners are based on homeowner members who rated their experience working with remodeling professionals in 12 categories ranging from architects, and interior designers to contractors and other residential remodeling professionalsDesign award winners’ work was the most popular among the 1.2 million members, also known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 16.5 million professional images to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site and iPad/iPhone app.

The Gaines Group, PLC is thrilled to be included in this elite list of Houzz “Best of Remodeling” 2012 Design Award winners. Principal, Charles Hendricks states: “Our projects are a direct result of working with great clients that want creative, energy efficient, healthy, and durable design solutions.”

“With 3.5 million monthly unique users and 80 million monthly page views, Houzz has rapidly become the largest community of active remodelers, providing homeowners and design enthusiasts with first-hand advice from Houzzers who have been through the renovating and decorating process,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of marketing for Houzz. “This is a real stamp of approval for The Gaines Group, PLC Architecture and Design from the Houzz community and we’re thrilled to welcome them to this elite group of ‘Best Of’ winners.”


With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like The Gaines Group, PLC Architecture and Design, but also those whose work visually aligns with their own design goals. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and evaluating their responses to questions from others in the Houzz 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 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 whithin 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.


About Houzz

Houzz ( is the leading online platform for home remodeling, providing inspiration, information, advice and support for homeowners and home improvement professionals through its website and mobile applications. Houzz features the largest residential design database in the world, articles written by design experts, product recommendations, a vibrant community powered by social tools, and information on more than 1.2 million remodeling and design professionals worldwide who can help turn ideas into reality. @houzz_inc





Pantops Office getting even sweeter!

For those that have visited our Charlottesville office you already know, it is a pretty sweet space. But coming next month it is getting even sweeter! Upstart sweet treat chain Bloop Frozen Yogurt is set to open on the first floor of our building on Pantops.

Pantops Yogurt Shop

The store is scheduled to open May 19 at 1430 Rolkin Court. There grand opening ceremony will begin at 11 a.m, and will give guests a chance to win prizes and enjoy tasty treats.

Bloop is all about making your own custom frozen creation at every visit offering a variety of toppings. They have options that are sweet, tart, fruity, and chocolaty. They offer low-fat, nonfat, sugar-free, gluten-free and non-dairy. The company opened its first store in Lynchburg last year.

Bloop also supports environmentally conscious programs, including in-store recycling and charitable clean water initiatives.

For more information, visit

The Gaines Group, PLC Celebrates 25 years of service to the community!

Charlottesville Architect


The Gaines Group, PLC Architecture and Interior Design is celebrating 25 years of success in creating an energy-efficient, durable, healthy, and well designed portfolio of projects. The firm which began in February 1987 when founding partner, Raymond E. Gaines, AIA, FCSI, CCS emerged from a now defunct design build firm as an expert  in senior care facility design in Central Virginia. The firm quickly grew from their first design project, a horse barn, to add partner Roger Bryant, CSI in 1989 and began developing a long list of satisfied custom residential clients in some of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the area. The Gaines Group’s creativity, technical ability, exceptional service, and business focus have made it the go-to firm for Central Virginia’s developers and builders. “We are dedicated to making our community a better place, one project at a time” says Mr. Gaines, “We understand how to meet a client’s budget, aesthetic goals, and to be stewards of our resources along the way”. The firm’s multiple awards and recognitions demonstrate their importance to the Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley communities.

The Gaines Group, PLC is built on a family history. Mr. Gaines’ Grandfather, Elmer E. Burruss, was also a practicing architect in Virginia, although he was also an active developer, contractor, and building material supplier. His prominent non-residential projects include the Albemarle County Clerk’s office, Monticello Dairy, Hill & Wood Funeral Home, and the IX Complex. This heritage carries on with the firm culture with Ray’s sister in-law working as the administrative assistant in the office and Ray’s daughter Emily working summers as an intern interior designer. Ray does not stop the family definition at blood relatives as Roger has been with the firm for 23 years, Charles for 12, Carla for 12, Paul for 10, Adrienne for 6, and the newest addition, Amy has been with us for 1 year, which he also considers family. This family first approach is seen in the client relationships, the work culture, and the community investment for which the firm is known.

The Gaines Group’s survival and even expansion of services to include interior design through the rough economy grows from their family first approach as they forge long-term client relationships. Upon joining the firm in 1999, partner Charles Hendricks’, AIA, CSI, CDT, LEED AP passion for building science helped build the firm’s reputation as a leader in the green movement in Virginia. Named the “best green designers” by the Virginia Sustainable Building Network in 2008 and being presented the Virginia Governor’s Excellence in Environmental Design Gold medal in 2008 and the bronze medal in 2009 are among the many recognitions that have been given for their work. Their design of the First LEED certified project in Central Virginia, the design for the first EarthCraft Light Commercial project outside the state of Georgia, and their dedication to educating the building industry on building science issues has left a lasting mark on the community.


Top 10 Things to do this Spring for your Home and Health

The trees are blooming, the grass is growing, and my allergies are going crazy, Spring has certainly sprung! With our mild winter here in Virginia, Spring has come at least three weeks earlier than normal. This is great news for those looking to get a head start on those annual maintenance items around the house. So where do you get started? Here are the top 10 things to get you off on the right foot!

  1. Toss out your air fresheners and open up the windows. All winter you have had the house sealed up tight and you were forced to breathe in all those household items that off gas chemicals into the air. Worse yet, 75% of all U.S. Homes add chemical air fresheners to make their homes smell nice. Those chemicals have been linked to some nasty stuff if you breathe it often enough. So air out your home and get that fresh grass scent from the real thing. Replace your chemical air fresheners with baking soda or essential oils. Trade in the flowery scented plug-ins for fresh-cut flowers from your garden.
  2. Install a clothes line in your back yard or basement. Consider this, every time you run a load of laundry in the dryer it sucks up five kilowatts of electricity per hour. Think of all the money you can save by letting a newly installed solar-powered air-cooled clothesline do the work for you!
  3. Do a vampire (load) search in your home and free yourself of wasted energy. Most appliances stay plugged in all the time. Cell phone chargers, TV and computers are all in wait for you to need them. They stay in standby mode even when turned off leaking electricity, known as vampire loads. Kill this wastefulness for once and for all, unplug the devices when not in use or put them on a power strip and turn them off.
  4. Need to brighten up a room or touch up a wall. Look for paints that contain No-VOCs. Be careful with the tint though, most add those Cancer causing agents right back into the mix. Household paint contains thousands of chemicals, 300 of which are known to be toxic. The most dangerous are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and release toxins into the air for as many as six years after you paint.
  5. Cut your energy and improve your lighting. I know you don’t want to be forced into buying an expensive bulb for one that is working perfectly well right now. So start with that one that is burnt out and replace it with a LED bulb (don’t buy the cheapest option, do a little research and find one that gets high consumer ratings) to try it out. The long lasting nice color spectrum light option might surprise you. You will not see the energy savings from one bulb on your bill, but over time if you carry on the tradition your electric load from lights will go way down.
  6. Get a jump on your vegetable garden now while the weather is getting warm. Bring in the fresh layer of compost, mix in the manure, pull up the tender young weeds! This is a great chance to get ready for a productive season with lots of fresh vegetables. Spend a little time now getting things ready and in place and you will reduce your maintenance through the hot summer.
  7. Vacuum your clothes dryer vent exhaust duct to make sure it is working effectively after a hard winter work. While you are at it, look in your HVAC ducts and see if they are in need of some loving attention. Change your HVAC filter (should be done every 3 months if you have a thin filter and every 6 months if you have a 2″ filter). If your ducts and dryer vent are more than you can tackle, find a duct cleaning service that can get the job done right. While they are there, get them to check for birds nests in the bathroom vents – tis the time of year for nests popping up everywhere there is a flat surface away from predators.
  8. Do a walk through of the interior of your home. Have you changed your smoke detector batteries? Are there plumbing fixtures that are leaking? Any pipes under cabinets leaking? Is the toilet running all day? Are all the light bulbs working in your home? Do you need to caulk any gaps around electric outlets, plumbing pipes, or light fixtures to reduce air leakage? Is it time to replace that worn out carpet (air filter) with a nice hardwood floor? Are your windows still in good working order or do they need a little attention?
  9. Walk around the exterior of your home and look for signs of future problems. Are the downspouts clear and pushing water away from the foundation of your home? Does the gutter need to be cleaned out? Are there signs of termites working to make your home their home? Do your fences and gates work properly or do they need a little loving attention? Are your vents and exhausts clear of debris? Are your outdoor HVAC units clear of debris? Does the landscaping around your home need a trim to keep the water off the house and enough light coming into the plant to keep it healthy? Did the roof get any damage from storms, wind, or maybe even ice (I don’t remember much of that this year)? Does the foundation have any new cracks? Are the foundation vents solid and free of gaps? Look for wasp nests in play structures.
  10. Last, take a look in your attic and basement at the insulation and air sealing. Now is a great time to get your home running efficient before the heat of summer is upon us. While adding insulation in the right places will save you money, perhaps the more important element is that it will make your home more comfortable. If there is a room in your home that gets too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter – you can fix it!
Garden Prep

For more thoughts on saving money, protecting the environment, and on architectural design visit my websites:



Charlottesville Home Show – Blue Ridge Home and Garden Festival

The Blue Ridge Home and Garden Show is just around the corner. This will be our first year at the event and we are hoping for plenty of attendance and lots of familiar faces coming out to visit us. As usual the home show is hosting educational workshops at the event on topics ranging from Energy Assessment, water conservation, to composting, and Geothermal systems. Home Shows are a great opportunity to meet the leading experts in the residential construction industry. From windows and doors to architectural design, there will be plenty of information to gain from attending. If you have any questions about building science, design, or construction, stop by our booth and we are sure to have answers that will help you! See you at the show.

Charlottesville Architect

Friday, April 20

2-3pm – New Construction: What to Ask Your Builder

3:30-4-30pm – Home Energy Assessment 101

5-6pm – It’s Time to Think About the Water


Saturday, April 21

11-12pm – Composting

12:30-1:30pm – Cash for Comfort- How to Pay for Energy Improvements

2-3pm – Reducing Your Carbon Footprint with Geothermal

3:30-4:30pm – New Construction: How to Save 30-50% on Energy Bills


Sunday, April 22

1:30-2:30pm – Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Improvements

3-4pm – Home Energy Assessments: Get Information for Big Savings

Smart Solutions for your Home – Guest Post by Todd Hawkins

Guest Post from Todd Hawkins of Builder Fish. BuilderFish™ specializes in Universal Design (UD) to help everyone, particularly older Americans and people with disabilities, enjoy independence, comfort, ease and longevity in their homes. Class A general contractor Jonathan Fishbeck is designated Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist by the AARP® and NAHB. They define “recycle your house” as going beyond “green” building to include preparing the house to accommodate multiple life stages and unforeseen circumstances so the home is convenient and safe for people of all ages and abilities. Energy conservation is an important component of Universal Design because features which conserve energy, prevent waste and save money contribute to core principles of UD promoting efficiency and safety.

Smart Solutions

Recently we were asked about a tub-to-shower conversion. Typically we recommend an all tile solution using linear drains (Drains don’t always have to be in the middle of the floor. QuickDrain USA’s brochure shows numerous solutions worth reviewing.)

Concerned about cost, the owner asked about ADA compliant shower inserts, also known as curb-less, roll-in or flush threshold showers. I’ll emphasize that custom tile work isn’t necessarily a budget buster, depends on what you select, but there are alternatives including this shower base from Delta with a built-in trench drain.

Why is it important to avoid a curbed (standard) shower? Even a half inch rise poses a significant obstacle to someone with impaired mobility. The safest bet is a roll-in shower with water directed to an edge.

Before leaving this topic, I want to point out something about the fixtures Delta has branded as Smart Solutions. What they’re labeling “smart features”, like touch and motion activated faucets and multi-flow, trigger activated wands are universally designed. Since the mention of UD usually results in a blank stare, companies are trying new ways to describe and promote to consumers.

In fact, I’m now using “lifetime design” more instead of Universal Design. Do you think that makes more sense? Please reply to this blog entry to give me your opinion about what “lifetime design” means to you. Regardless of what we call it, UD is already becoming the standard in new and remodeled homes because it’s simpler and convenient. Who doesn’t prefer easier?

Todd Hawkins
Director of Client Happiness
Preacher of Universal Design
434-299-8633 (must dial area code)