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  • Shaw Design Associates

Designing a home is a daunting task. No question about it. When the process begins, the information collected is very similar to 1,200 puzzle pieces that just got dumped out of the box. The individual pieces are small, and each have a specific role to play.


The key to a completed puzzle is having all of the pieces on the table when you start. We usually begin by getting all the pieces upright so we can see the side with the image. Then of course, it’s finding and connecting all of those elusive side pieces.



Once this task is complete we move on to sorting the pieces that are similar in pattern and color. This method creates mini-puzzles which are much easier to assemble.


The main difference between completing the puzzle on my parent’s dining room table each Christmas and creating a home from a "pile" of words and pictures on my desk is; a puzzle has a picture on the cover of the box when you start and a home does not!


We will explore our design approach in our next blog post. “Puzzled about designing a home?? #2”


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  • Shaw Design Associates

As the main level of the home design began to come together, the deck shape varied along with each of the progressive versions of the plan. When it was decided to add a corner window in the Living Room that directed its view towards the pond, the deck naturally began to take a shape by reflecting the expansion of this corner outward.



Now that we had a shape, we had to break the news to our structural engineer, Ken Theisen of Engineering Tech, PA. Our interesting conversation went something like this. “Hi Ken, how’d you like to do a deck with no columns?” A long period of silence followed my question and then a response of “sure, send me something so I can start thinking about it.”


Stay tuned to see the model image sent to Ken and just how his office came up with a solution that meets all of our design expectations and more!


Up next “Forks + Toothpick + Glass = Steel + Wood + Concrete”

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  • Shaw Design Associates

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

When a client states, “I don’t like columns” during a discussion of their future deck, a thought came to mind about something we used to do in our college cafeteria when we had too much time on our hands.  All we needed for this Center of Mass experiment was a glass, a toothpick, and two forks.  



Utilizing this concept as a deck has always intrigued me and now an opportunity arose to make it happen.  Once the clients retrieved the necessary items from their kitchen, the stage was set to present this simple experiment as a way to accomplish their desire for no columns.  The show was a hit and there was no question that this was the solution for them! 


Follow us TODAY to witness how this concept is becoming a reality. 


Up next, “A plan comes together.


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