Charles Named Fixr’s Top 100 Architects 2023

Charles Named Fixr’s Top 100 Architects 2023

Charles Hendricks Named as a Top Architect of 2023 has just unveiled its annual list of 100 Top Architects Influencing the Industry in 2023, celebrating the most influential professionals of the industry today. This exclusive list highlights the architects who have made significant contributions to the industry’s growth as a whole.’s selection process evaluated these experts on their expertise, experience, and the ability to inspire through innovation and growth. These 100 Top Architects have established themselves on both local and national levels with exceptional projects and esteemed reputations. 

Being acknowledged as a top Architect is a validation of each expert’s prestige. According to Cristina Miguelez, home remodeling specialist at, “These experts are creating a collaborative and innovative homebuilding process through their knowledge and dedication. Their work is what’s driving the industry forward today.”

Being featured on’s list affirms Charles’ leadership and expertise in the home building industry. This recognition establishes the fact that Charles is a leading force for innovation, which is vital to the continuous growth of construction practices and trends in 2023.


Headshot of Charles Hendricks


About Charles:


  Charles Hendricks and is an architect, Rotarian, and father living in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. He serves the firm as Principal Architect also focused on business development, marketing, sustainability, and building science. He serves the community through a wide range of organizations including the Rotary Club of Rockingham County, Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Explore More Museum, Park View Mennonite Church, Massanutten Technical Center Foundation, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Design Committee, and through many other volunteer opportunities. His core believe is that through design we can build a stronger and more vibrant future for all.

Read more about Charles and his work here.


About Gaines Group Architects:


Gaines Group Architects is a small firm with a big idea – design can build a better community, enhance livability, reduce construction and operation costs, and protect our environment.

Design matters.

We work hard to understand the best practices in the industry so we can provide our clients with functional, affordable, and beautiful design solutions. We do this through a focus on quality, value, building science, and timeless beauty. Gaines Group Architects is located in Harrisonburg and Charlottesville, Virginia. We serve a wide range of clients from custom homes, renovations, additions, commercial, retail, industrial, ecclesiastical, and non-profits.

Mission statement: Through design we want to build a stronger more vibrant community. We want to design solutions that make positive changes for everyone in our community.

Why we do it: Because we want a better future for our clients, community, and world.


About is a home improvement resource specialist with the mission of helping homeowners make better home remodeling decisions. is unrivaled when it comes to providing unbiased, thorough and updated cost guides, price comparisons, and cheat sheets for hundreds of remodeling, installation, and repair projects. When the homeowner is equipped with the necessary knowledge, connects homeowners with the best matched contractors in their area to begin their home improvement projects.

For the complete list of the 100 Top Architects of 2023, visit:

Architecture Design verses Drafting

Discussing the differences in architecture design verses drafting allow us to share the value an architect brings.

A common question we receive from potential clients is why someone should hire an architect versus a drafting service. We love this question because it gives us the opportunity to share about our training and experience and highlight the value we add to construction projects.

To understand the difference between drafting and architectural design, it is helpful to think about a project as a 3-dimensional complex building system to be approached with a level of expertise that delivers healthy, functional, and sustainable results. Beyond providing construction documents, architects approach a project through a holistic lens that considers building science, budget, flow of space, and aesthetics. As visionaries, architects guide the design process by considering the life clients want to live in a space. We are experts on the entire scope of a construction project and are often involved in all stages from envisioning and planning, design development, construction budgeting, and even observation over construction. 

Charles and Deborah are licensed architect. Caitlin is in the process of gaining her 5 years of experience to be eligible for licensure.

Drafting is the translation of a design to technical drawings. Drafters focus on documentation and the delivery of construction plans. Unlike an architect, drafters are not required to have a specific education background and do not hold a license. All architects are drafters; all drafters are not architects.

Architects lean on their education and years of training to serve as visionaries and provide expert oversight on projects. The journey to becoming a Licensed Architect involves 5-7+ years of higher education, an internship process under a licensed professional, and the successful passing of rigorous licensure examinations. Training covers art, science, math, psychology, sociology, and we infuse this blend of knowledge into each design. Additionally, architects hold a license once they successfully pass a series of exams and therefore hold liability for each of their projects. 

So, should you hire an architect or a drafter for your project? If you want a fully custom design that is uniquely tailored to your vision and is healthy, functional, and efficient, an architect is the best option. If you want to know more about the process and how an architect can support your project, visit our previous posts here, here, and here.

If you already have a design and need to make a few simple changes, a drafter might be an appropriate option. Either way, feel free to reach out and discuss your project. We are happy to answer questions and help you understand the value we bring to a project.

Decision Overload: How to avoid decision-fatigue in your project.

If there is one thing we can all count on, it’s the inevitability of the numerous decisions we will navigate daily. From the moment we decide when to get out of bed, the average person will make thousands of decisions throughout the span of their day. Most of us love having options, but we commonly make our best decisions earlier in the day when we haven’t been inundated with countless, weighted choices. The same logic is applied to a custom home or renovation project and avoiding decision-making fatigue is achievable. Our team has collectively designed over 1,500 projects and we are here to offer guidance on how to avoid the inevitable creep of anxiety caused by making too many decisions. 

First, it’s important to create a plan with a solid vision and commit to it (this might be a collective commitment if you are designing with a spouse or partner). This process of working out the plan to fit your vision for your dream house is the foundation of why you hire an architect. Our team has a process of asking questions to figure out the solutions to bring your dreams to reality.

One of the most important components in creating a plan is to develop a realistic budget. Often in the planning stage, the average homeowner doesn’t always know the cost of their design selections. This is where our experienced team brings huge value to your process. We can help guide you towards your budget and help you pick out the special elements in just the right places and elements to conserve on budget in others.

Your ability to make decisions can directly influence the length of time it takes to complete your project and therefore, the budget! During the design process testing options early on is relatively inexpensive, but simple changes made late take a lot of coordination and budget. In the same line, testing out design options on paper is way less expensive that doing it during the construction process. 

Time is valuable; therefore, we recommend trusting an expert who has already put in the time and has up-to-date knowledge on the best and most efficient selections. Professional designers and architects are trained to focus on the details and guide you in the decision-making process. Experts will also often utilize industry-specific software that will allow you to see renderings of your space with your design selections. The ability to visualize a space can greatly help you make decisions and ease worries over how a project will turn out.  

There are thousands of decisions involved in creating a dream design. Planning ahead, prioritizing decisions that emphasize function, and seeking guidance from a professional are critical in avoiding decision burn-out and completing a successful project.

Petro 2 Addition and Renovation

We highly recommend travelers who frequent Interstate 81 to check out the new Petro Truck stop in Raphine! The expansion and improvements being made here are impressive. This facility will be one of the largest truck stops on the East coast and houses a wide variety of food and shopping options. We teamed up with Nielsen Builders to design the latest renovation and addition which will provide 27,160 square feet of additional retail space.

The existing Iron Skillet restaurant at Petro is being converted into a convenience-type store that will have the largest drink cooler we have ever seen. This destination is the perfect stop for rest and relaxation for travelers, especially for big rig drivers as there will be many options available to customize your truck, take a break, and eat.

The Petro project is being done using a design-build model in partnership with the property owner and Nielsen Builders as the primary contract holder. This construction contract type has many advantages for a complex, industrial-type renovation project, where the facility needs to stay operational during construction. This project requires a high level of coordination between contributors to ensure the unified goals are met. We deliver high levels of coordination through numerous design meetings that bring together civil, electrical, plumbing, architecture, HVAC, and general contractors. The results are a testament to our focus on collaboration from initial concept to completion!

Blue Ridge Mountain Home

The Blue Ridge Mountain Home, which backs up to the parkway, is now framed, and the roof trusses were being installed when we last visited. This single-level home has a detached garage, bonus room over the garage, and an open floor plan, making sure there is plenty of space for our clients to stretch out. Aside from the Blue Ridge Mountain home we have, we have a few other projects in the works, check out our blogs or Facebook to keep an eye out for updates!

The crawl space in this home features a concrete slab to keep the space easy to maintain, dry, and clean. This space will be conditioned and sealed to keep the HVAC systems working efficiently. Sealing a crawl space is an effective way to manage your thermal envelope, keep the critters out, and to control your indoor environmental quality.

The bonus room over the garage adds to the flexibility of the floorplan and captures the additional space needed to make the house just right. As you can see from the photos, the views are breathtaking on top of Afton mountain, and the house is situated perfectly to take advantage of the breathtaking views.