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  Glacier Blue® Architectural Topics & News     
          Monthly Newsletter
April 2016
In This Issue


Topic of the Month: A Beach House in Ponte Vedra, Florida

Architectural Firm of the Month: Balfoort Architecture

Helpful Links for Architects     

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Welcome to the April 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! Your project could be featured 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.

Photograph Courtesy Adam Cohen Photography

Michelle, a native Floridian, graduated from University of Florida in 1992 with a Bachelors Degree in Design and in 1994 with a Master Degree in Architecture. After receiving both her Architect and Interior Design licenses she launched her first firm in 1999 where she and a partner successfully ran a small boutique firm, Balfoort Finnvold Architecture, for over 12 years, working from the Florida Keys to North Carolina. While specializing in high-end residential design, they also worked with commercial projects, neighborhood and town planning, and historic preservation with extensive work in Delray Beach and Boca Raton. Michelle is also a LEED AP and has designed both commercial and residential projects meeting these guidelines. In 2012, Michelle once again branched out to establish a new firm, Balfoort Architecture based in Stuart, Florida.

For more information visit:

Photograph Courtesy Adam Cohen Photography

When architect Michelle Balfoort was hired to design a new home in Ponte Vedra on the northeast coast of Florida, Balfoort created a design that merged elegance, comfort, and style. The home is a unique version of a beach house done in shades of whites, blues, grays and pale browns, with interior and exterior spaces that flow together and embrace the light and airiness of its surroundings. The house is both a peaceful haven for the homeowners and a place that perfectly suits their lifestyle and love of entertaining.
The 7,000 square foot home has six bedrooms and eight bathrooms altogether. There is a guest house with a full kitchen and outdoor areas with covered verandas. Balfoort explains, "The Beach House was designed to capture the essence of its surroundings, enveloping its visitors with a sense of calm, and imposing a relaxed pace that is characteristic of beach living."
Balfoort describes the atmosphere she wanted to evoke with the design of the home by explaining, "Spending time at the water's edge creates indelible memories for each of us; the sound of the waves pounding the beach, the way the light reflects off the water, the feel of shells or driftwood that have been softened by the surf, the grit of sand, or the feel of crisp cool sheets on sun kissed skin after a long day... it was that idea that we wanted the visitors to sense while in this house; those aspects that would make this project unique to its location."
One of the outstanding features of the home is its modern fireplace in the main room and its high vaulted ceilings. When asked about her choice of materials and her inspiration for the design, Balfoort explains, "Throughout the house the finishes and materials were chosen for their textural quality or because of the way they reflect or capture light. The open plan provides ample space for friends and family to gather, while also providing plenty of quiet niches to indulge in private escape. The design of each room takes into account specific views, sun orientation, and surrounding context. Reversing the typical dynamic allowed us to put all the bedrooms on the first floor and the living spaces and kitchen upstairs to take advantage of vaulted ceilings and better views of the ocean."  

The pool and patio areas provide luxurious, comfortable outdoor living spaces. Balfoort explains, "I feel that the most successful designs are ones that incorporate the exterior as an extension of the usable living space, rather than an after-thought. The east and west facades were designed to completely open up to allow prevailing ocean breezes to fill the space and deep southern porches are perfect for filtering light and allowing natural transitions between the interior and exterior. I carved out smaller conversation areas and anchored them at either end of the pool so that the owners would have multiple places to sit and entertain or relax."
"Architecture in its most elegant state reaches beyond the structure to subtly and gracefully affect the surrounding landscape. I view the exterior space as equally important and vibrant as the interior and those projects that embrace this idea are always the most successful."
Balfoort worked with General Contractor Charlie Arnold on the project, which took two years to complete. She adds, "It was an extremely enjoyable process from beginning to end.  I credit that to wonderful clients and being able to design the finishes and the interior space along with the rest of the house."

Photograph Courtesy Adam Cohen Photography
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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