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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
August 2013
In This Issue


Design Firm of the Month: Botanical Decorators

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Devonian Stone patio crop Welcome to the August issue of our newsletter! In each issue we present you with interesting and informative articles about the various projects architects and designers are working on around the country. If there is a project you would like to share with us, please feel free to contact us and tell us about it. We might feature your project in one of our upcoming issues of this newsletter. To learn more about our "high-end" cut-to-size Glacier Blue® Devonian Sandstone products, please click here to visit our website.
Architectural Firm of the Month: Botanical Decorators

Established over thirty years ago, Botanical Decorators is a Maryland landscaping firm serving the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. We specialize in the development of fine residential properties.    
Each year, Botanical Decorators earns awards for its services, gaining recognition for the design of arbors; decks; fencing; fireplaces; outdoor kitchens; pathways; patios; pergolas; custom pools; ponds; porches; pool houses; railings; rooftop gardens; walkways; walls; and other outdoor components that can reinforce an incredibly beautiful outdoor landscape. We work as a team with the common goal of creating landscapes that are refined, aesthetic, practical, and functional and that enhance the lives of our valued clientele.
For more Information:

According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, a recent trend among homeowners is to add outdoor living spaces to their properties. This includes patios, decks, outdoor kitchens, entertainment areas with fireplaces and fire pits, dining areas, and sitting areas, all accented with creative outdoor lighting. Landscape architect Steven Wlodarczyk of Botanical Decorators spoke with us about a couple of his projects that included these kinds of outdoor elements.

"It's very popular to have cozy gathering spaces that invite architectural detail into the landscape," Wlodarczyk explains. Outdoor fire pits and fireplaces are very popular and are most heavily used in autumn. One project that features an elegant fireplace and seating area is the Lloyd's Lane project, which was done in collaboration with the architect and the builder of the newly constructed home. Aside from a fireplace, the clients wanted to also add a covered patio, grilling area, level lawn, custom swimming pool, and sustainable landscape elements. There is a walkway that leads from a large oval lawn panel and garden area to the outdoor fireplace and covered patio. The entire space measures 115 feet by 75 feet.

Outdoor fireplaces are built the same way as interior fireplaces, minus the damper.  Wlodarczyk explains, "If the fireplace is going to be in a covered space, it's critically important that the opening of the fireplace is sized correctly. There is a mathematical formula that calculates the proper sizes of the opening of the fireplace, the size of the flue, and the height of the chimney. All of those things need to have the proper dimensions for the fire to draft correctly."

As far as design, Wlodarczyk explains, "What we found to work the best for our clients is to keep things very simple and elegant so that areas like this do not become the focal point of the exterior space. We want the kitchen to be functional and serve its purpose, but it's not going to be the star of the show. We want the landscape and the overall composition of the project to really shine as a whole as opposed to one element standing out above the others."

In the Waverly Way project, the team at Botanical Decorators was invited to work on the exterior space shortly after construction of the house began. The client enjoys entertaining and requested that the entire landscape be used for elements such as outdoor water features, an outdoor fireplace, a custom arbor, an outdoor kitchen, grilling area and dining patio. 

The outdoor kitchen and dining area is particularly charming, with its red upholstered seats and rounded tables on a patio at the end of a long manicured lawn and garden.

One of the main components in an outdoor kitchen is the grill, and Wlodarczyk recommends a really high quality professional grill such as those made by Twin Eagles or Bull BBQ. Occasionally a client wants to have an actual oven in their outdoor kitchen space, in which case Wlodarczyk recommends one by Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.

"There are some warming drawers and storage. The important thing in any outdoor kitchen is the service area, which means having ample counter space where you can put out serving trays. With medium to large size parties, most people are having that catered anyway, so the kitchen itself just needs to be functional so the catering team can utilize it and have everything set up."

"There are a lot of options and a lot of different components that you can put into an outdoor kitchen, but you have to think about maintenance and longevity. The more components there are, the more upkeep and follow-up service you're going to need down the line, so we try to keep it pretty simple." 

Outdoor entertainment areas can either be open or covered. "Generally speaking, putting some kind of a pergola structure or pavilion does finish off the space and gives it a nice feeling of scale and proportion. What we find is that the space becomes more of a conversation space if it is designed around some deep-seating type furniture, such as a sofa, two chairs and some ottomans with a coffee table in the middle of it to make the space a little bit flexible."

Outdoor lighting with low voltage LED lighting fixtures completes the setting and adds mood and atmosphere to a space after dark. This is a big trend, according to Wlodarczyk. "The LED lighting is definitely up and coming. They've done a good job of getting the LED lights to be consistent in terms of their color and they're definitely great in terms of energy efficiency."

Creatively designed outdoor living areas transform the exterior of a home into a kind of private retreat space, offering an opportunity for homeowners to fully enjoy the outdoors with the comforts of interior elements. These areas connect the indoors with the out, making it easier to really live outdoors no matter what the season. 
Helpful Links for Architects

AIA Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) 
The Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN), a Knowledge Community of The American Institute of Architects, is committed to the promotion of all residential architecture based on architectural content irrespective of style. For more information visit:  

AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community

The AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community provides leadership and expertise to practitioners of interior architecture and design, working cooperatively with its members and other interiors organizations to address relevant, timely practice issues, markets, and trends, such as licensing, liability, environmental, and technological considerations. Through the Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, important links are maintained with allied professionals, service providers, and manufacturers. If you wish to become a member of the AIA Interior Architecture Knowledge Community, call AIA Member Services at 800-242-3837, or visit: 


Architect Online's Continuing Education Center
Architect Online's Online Continuing Education Center gives professionals a convenient way to earn necessary continuing education credits without having to set foot in a classroom. The courses listed, sponsored by the companies noted, are accessible from anywhere you can establish an online connection. Just register, read the required material, and then take the test, either through a downloadable mail-in form, or free via a secure online connection, depending on the course. You'll be able to maintain your professional credentials, at your pace, and at a location that works for you. Visit:


Architectural Record Continuing Education Center
Architectural Record magazine has a free Continuing Education Center where architects can earn AIA Continuing Education Credits online. Visit:

Architectural Record Discussion Forums
The McGraw Hill Construction Community, publisher of Architectural Record, has provided architects with a forum to express ideas, opinions, suggestions, and gripes. The discussion forums are open to all, and include topics such as Green Building Projects, Virtual Design, Practice Matters and a forum for younger architects. Visit:

CORA - Congress of Residential Architecture 
CORA is a grass root organization that encourages our members to participate in the dialog of improving residential architecture in a way that suits them best. The purpose of the CORA is to provide a continuing forum for advocating and enhancing residential architecture by all individuals, both professionals and non-professionals, that share a common interest in improving the quality of the homes and communities we live in. Visit: 

The Green Meeting Industry Council
The Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) is a non profit 501(c)(6) membership-based organization. Their goal is to encourage collaboration within the meetings industry toward the development of green standards that will improve the environmental performance of meetings and events on a global basis. The GMIC is the only professional green meetings organization that is a member of the Convention Industry Council. For more information visit: 

The World Architecture Community
The World Architecture Community invites all architects to create a free profile on their website. The World Architecture Portal is a unique comprehensive international directory and catalog of contemporary architecture where all architects, scholars and institutions may submit their work and links to share with colleagues from around the world.
For more information visit:

We hope you enjoyed our informative monthly e-newsletter. For questions, comments or more information, please e-mail or call us today.





Liz Benton, Editor 
Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News
Devonian Stone of New York, Inc.

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