Why Choose Terrazzo?

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Terrazzo flooring has been around for hundreds of years.  Created by Venetian construction workers in the 15th century as a way to re-purpose pieces of chipped marble, it became a popular method for finishing the floors of terraces, and hence the name Terrazzo.  Popularity of this material expanded throughout Europe and the North America and the material was used in a wide variety of applications in building design and interiors.  Popular again, terrazzo has been re-discovered by Architects and Designers as a cost effective solution with great design potential.  Its popularity springs from an unlimited palette of color and pattern, long term durability and ease of maintenance.

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Variety & Aesthetics

Terrazzo comes in a variety of colors and textures, and this makes the material a great complement to any style or design concept.  Want a more minimal look?  Use a neutral terrazzo.  Want a modern look?  Pick a terrazzo that is colorful and fun.  Terrazzo can be finished with a shine, or used in a more natural, textural finish as well.  This product can be used for flooring, counters, shower stalls, and furniture, so the world really is your oyster when it comes to using this material in your design.  It’s a great design solution in both residential and commercial environments.


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Terrazzo is one of the strongest materials you can use, and it often outlasts the life of an entire building!  This is why it is commonly used in floors and even in high-traffic areas, terrazzo will withstand wear and tear for years to come.  Installed over a stable substrate, terrazzo can be applied and finished in a layer of just 3/8″ of an inch.

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Eco-Friendly & Clean

Terrazzo is non-porous, so water will not soak into it.  The chance for micro-bacterial growth is slim, so harsh chemicals aren’t required to clean the surface.  This is better for you and for sustainable environments!
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Low Maintenance

Typically sealed with an epoxy layer, the material is completely non-porous.  Grout is not part of the makeup of terrazzo, so there are no cracks for dirt to accumulate in.  Therefore, cleaning this material is easy.  Terrazzo is widely used in airports as a tried and true flooring solution.  At Denver International Airport, the floors of the Great Hall are finished terrazzo, and bronze inlays provide a playful tribute to prehistoric creatures that once roamed that part of the earth.  Choose terrazzo for your next project.

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Hire an Architect and Discover Potential in the World Around You

Hiring an Architect to design your home or business can seem a daunting task, and fearful questions come to mind.  Will they be expensive?  Will they listen to me and understand what I want to accomplish?  Will they design something I can afford?  Will the look and feel be what I like, or will it be what the Architect likes?

Space Programming – The Process of Discovery

Your Architect is a facilitator who will help you determine your goals and needs.

Your Architect will use an information-gathering process which will help you Establish Goals, Organize Facts, Quantify Needs and develop Design Concepts.  The concepts will be unique to you, and not preconceived ideas about your home or business.  Then, the information is tested against your goals for Form, Function, Economy and Time, and that grounds the information in reality, and gives it validity.  As the information is collected and tested, it becomes the Design Program, or “The Road Map” that guides the actual design process.  As road map develops, so does the relationship with your Architect.  Your conversations become comfortable and your relationship is built upon trust.

For a residential project, the Process of Discovery can be a simple conversation with one or two people.  For a large business, it may be a series of work sessions with successive groups of people that lead to consensus-building and a clear direction.  Your architect will organize the program information in story board format which allows the client team to see the big picture and focus on the information.  The completed Road Map will consist of words, statistics, diagrammatic sketches and inspirational photos; and your Architect will prepare a summary report for you to review.  The Road Map sets you on a clear path to the optimal design solution by using a process which is clear and understandable; and not one of trial and error.

Discovering Potential

During the programming phase, your architect will ask thought provoking questions to gain valuable information for the design program.  

The questions will be asked in such a way that ideas flow easily, and most importantly they come from you, and what you want to accomplish.  During the process, your architect will help you discover the unseen potential around you, and be a facilitator who provides a fresh perspective to your life or business.

“To be a good architect, you need to have a deep appreciation of human character and its capacity for transformation.”

Adrian Lahoud, Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art

What kind of potential will you find?  It may be a new way of using an existing space which dramatically improves your home environment, or energizes your business.  Discovered potential may be functional concepts that make you more productive, or help you market your business in a more powerful way.  Or, you may find creative ways of using your budget that allows you to accomplish more of your goals.  And, you may discover a design which can adapt over time, because one thing’s for certain; things always change!

Working Interactively

The most enjoyable aspect of Discovering Potential is working interactively with your Architect and finding that potential together.

 And, with your Architect and Road Map as guide, you’ll follow a clear path to powerful ideas that make you successful; in business and in life.

5 Tips to Make Art Look the Best in Your Home

When you invest in a piece of art, you are investing in making your home portray a certain feeling.  Art accentuates the theme you have in a room, whether it be a lavish bedroom or a farmhouse kitchen, art is the final touch to any space.  Since artworks are an investment, you want to make sure you are displaying them in the best way possible.  Here are a few suggestions that will make your works of art shine.

Location, Location, Location

It is important to assess location before you hang up your favorite piece.  You will want to make sure that any light that hits the piece will be appropriate with the color scheme.  If you have a mostly white piece of art, you’ll want to make sure that wherever you place it won’t whitewash it.  This applies to darker color schemed paintings as well.  Placing it in a dark corner would create too much shadow and would hide the painting.  Don’t forget to asses hallways and smaller areas too! Putting a painting on an unexpected wall can elevate the look and make your space more inviting.

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Pair with Contrasting Walls

Don’t be afraid of  wall colors when choosing art to go in a certain room.  Contrasting walls can accentuate the art and make the overall room pop.  Look at basic color theory for help if you feel unsure of what colors work well together.  Analogous and complimentary colors will be your best bet to success!

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Hang art properly

Nothing ruins a beautiful picture like a hanging job done poorly.  Whether it be with command strips or a monkey hook, you have tons of options to choose from, but you should do some research.  The way you hang up your painting or print will increase or decrease the longevity of your piece, so you will want to make sure that what you are choosing is appropriate for the piece and wall type you have.  Once you have your tools and are ready to hang, make sure you judge the location.  You don’t want to hang a piece where potential furniture will cover a part of it, which could potentially make it look awkward.  A simple solution to this is to check your height and centering before you hang.  Nothing is worse than a crooked painting!

Mix and Match

While you may have a certain theme you are going for in your space, don’t be shy to mix and match pieces.  You can use different styles next to one another and still make it look cohesive.  On top of that, you’ll create more visual interest than having everything match perfectly.  Likewise, mixing mediums of art will make your room look more visually enticing.

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Think outside of the box with frames

There are so many frame options out there now, that you don’t have to feel like you only have to choose the traditional ones.  With sites like Framebridge and Artifact Uprising, you can customize your frames to your liking.  Especially when creating gallery walls, using a mix of frames will make your space look and feel unique.






Green Architecture: Trends in Sustainable Building

The Earth is a precious resource, and that awareness has made sustainable design more prevalent in recent years.  Studies have shown that employees working for companies who practice sustainability, are happier and more productive in the workplace.  Sustainable workplace design techniques, such as daylight harvesting, low VOC materials and efficient mechanical systems have made the work place a healthier place.  As awareness and demand have increased for sustainable design, technology has improved to meet the demand with new materials and systems that impact living environments in positive ways.  We at McPherson Architecture are Green Building certified and believe that spaces can be both sustainable and functional environments for people to live happier, productive lives. New techniques in sustainability help to reduce our carbon footprint, save water and improve health through the use of sustainable materials.

Cooling Roofs

Cool Roofs are made out of either a highly reflective type of paint, special shingles, or sheet covering. The roof does what the name says, it reflects heat and cools your home. While the cool roof isn’t necessarily more expensive than a non-cool roof to install, you have to gauge whether it is worth it for you. Benefits of the cool roof are the fact that it stays 50 degrees cooler than a normal roof. During the summer months, this would be energy saving and would save you money on your bill.

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Storm Water Management 

Storm water management helps areas with heavy rainfall and potential floods.  One of the methods user green infrastructure along with plants.  It helps soak up the water, when heavy rainfall has occurred and prevents houses from flooding.  There are also porous pavements that prevents roads from flooding.  This is more cost effective and prevents damages in the long haul.

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Zero Energy Buildings

A combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy, Zero Energy buildings are ambitious, but gaining more traction as the years pass.  The buildings come with energy efficient appliances, operation and maintenance and efficient building construction.  The rest of the needs of the building are only made with renewable energy source such as solar or wind power.  This type of building is great for large cities, who have a lot of commercial buildings that would benefit from being zero energy.

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Lumniventt Technology

This new technology came out of  DMCI Homes, a company who is engineering skyscrapers and buildings in a whole new light in the Philippines.  Lumniventt Technology allows wind and light to permeate throughout the building.  It allows the building to be completely energy efficient and in cities, where the technology is predominantly found, it saves money for the city and allows for a healthier lifestyle.

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Sustainable Construction Materials

Encompassing a wide array of possibilities, sustainable construction materials have been used for some time and are only getting better. In industrial interiors, you will often notice steel beams. Steel beams are sturdier against weather and can be made from recycled materials. This also prevents trees from being cut down. Natural paints are also really great for protecting Mother Nature. They can eliminate indoor pollution and can naturally decompose. If you are building your house from scratch, many of these features can be decided upon before your house is even up!

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Have you ever thought about making your house more green? What sustainable technologies did you find most interesting? Comment below to let us know!



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Brand Design: Creating an Iconic Brand for a Fashion Start-Up

Barbara Gallagher’s business career has spanned multiple industries from Health Care to Manufacturing, and been fueled by a lifetime commitment to learning; and a mid-career MBA.  Always the organizer and people person, she’s taken start-up companies from zero to fully operational business units with systems for finance, staffing, and marketing.  But, throughout her life, her secret passion has always been Fashion Design.
Recently, Barbara was confronted with a diagnosis of breast cancer, and she tackled it as she does all things; head on, and like another project.  But, the experience caused her to reconsider life, and she realized that it was time to pursue the career she had long imagined for herself; Fashion Designer.
Armed with talent, ambition, and the passion of an artisan, Barbara realized that she needed a brand; one that could become an iconic statement about her company.  She asked McPherson Architecture to help and the process began with a conversation about her business, of which Barbara writes,
“In our modern world of mass production, we’re all meant to look alike; and the art, passion and care that goes into creating luxurious, fine women’s clothing has often been lost.  And with that, we also lost a significant piece of what is meaningful about the way we express ourselves.  Our experiences, relationships, and approach to life all contribute to the outcome of who we are.  Each interaction represents its own color, weave, and pattern, and contributes collectively to the essence of who we are.  When my garments are worn, I want them to be seen as an extension of the woman wearing them, and the essence of her true potential.”
With that inspiration, the McPherson Architecture team looked to Barb’s designs and saw garments which were both classic and forward thinking, and most significantly, they had a sense of movement.  Then the brand came to life with classic colors and an arc that glides through the logo to convey movement.  A favorite shade of red became the centerpiece of the logo, and warm greys form an elegant background.  But, the real test of a brand comes when it’s applied to a variety of media; business cards, marketing materials, website, and in this case, garment labels.
A successful brand looks comfortable and not forced, regardless of application and reinforces the business concept.  Whether printed, online or embroidered on garment tags, the BGM Couture logo holds its own because of its simplicity and style.  “I love my logo and it definitely describes who I am and what the brand is about,” relates Barbara.  “It has been well received by a clientele that desires and appreciates one-of-a-kind design, quality workmanship and the finest fabrics.”


Visit Barbara’s website at bgmcouture.com


Lobby Design: Transforming a Liability into an Asset

When Vector Properties’ Wendy Williams, General Manager of 1001 17th Street, contacted McPherson Architecture, she said, “The building owner wants to activate the Lobby.”
Nick Pavlakovich, leasing broker for the building, described the request in more emotional terms, “Potential tenants think the lobby is cold, sterile and out-of-date.”  Although beautifully designed, the lobby was from a time when large oil companies dominated the tenant market.  It didn’t connect with the growth tenants of today’s market, the entrepreneurs in technology and services who are inventing the products of the internet age.  Those tenants seek amenity rich buildings where the lobby is an extension of their own office space, and a marketing tool to help attract the workforce of the millennial age.
Franklin Street Properties, the building owner, wanted to make changes but also wanted to be smart about their investment.  Working interactively with Wendy and Nick, the McPherson team took stock of what existed and developed a design that turned negatives into positives.
Color was added to existing architectural features, and lighting was used to brighten the elevator lobbies.  Area rugs were added and expansive circular seating units designed to bring warmth to the expanse of existing granite.  Plants were added and a TV monitor to help activate the space with a view to the outside world.

The end result is an energetic, engaging space that is warm and friendly.  The budget was modest when compared to most “lobby renovations,” and best of all, the tenants have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.  “Adding color to a space can be an emotional thing for people, but we worked with Wendy and chose colors that were crowd-pleasers,” said Mark McPherson.
What did Wendy Williams appreciate most about the process?  “We all appreciated the collaborative approach with the McPherson team, and best of all they stuck with it and helped us get the project done.  When the seating unit installation didn’t go as expected, Mark appeared, took charge and got everyone organized,” remarked Wendy.  “I really appreciated that!”
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Discover Potential: Marketing Slogan or Belief?


“We help people to discover the untapped potential that exists in every home, business or organization, and use it to create designs which energize people, places and life”. That’s what we say in our marketing, and it’s a statement which resonates with me, and with people who know me well, particularly clients. However, a recent acquaintance and prospective client asked me if that was just a catchy marketing slogan or something that I really believed in.
It’s been a decades-long road to finding a simple way of communicating my design process, and the phenomenon we use to accomplish great things for our clients. Past attempts were wordy or had complicated explanations that never really connected with people. Often, these marketing explanations did more harm than good. But, what we do is more powerful than just conjuring up designs for people, because it comes from a place that’s unique and at the heart of each client. Yes, we design tangible things like, buildings, interiors and brands, but the process is the thing, and that differentiates us from many architects.
I’ve always avoided being labeled with a particular style or brand of design because our work is as varied as our clients. They are all unique individuals or organizations, and our design work reflects that. Early in my career I learned that the most successful designs and rewarding experiences came from a process of client interaction and information-gathering which uncovers the unique goals and needs of each client.
Do our photos of nicely designed projects look that much better than another firm’s photos of nicely designed projects? No, not really, but it’s the spirit that’s infused in them which makes them great, and the effect that it has upon the people is evident. It’s rewarding for me to see a company energized by their new headquarters, or individuals happy and comfortable in a home which truly reflects their personality and lifestyle. So, how do I clearly explain our process of design in a single sentence?
One day two years ago, I was talking with a long-time friend about my inability to express what I do for people. She looked me squarely in the eye and abruptly said, “Well you’re an architect and designer, so that’s fairly clear isn’t it?” That must have been the jolt I needed because suddenly the words just rolled out of my mouth, “I help people to discover potential”. My friend looked a bit startled at first, but paused thoughtfully and continued to stare at me. Then, with a reassuring smile she said, “You know…that’s exactly what you do, and that’s why you’re successful”.
We help people to discover potential, and that’s what we believe in!