About rand soellner

Home Architects design custom residences across the USA: small, medium, large and gigantic, all based on what our clients want. We work hard every day, with people just like you, to merge your desired lifestyle and land. If you want a lakeside cottage, a sprawling mountain castle or a suburban compact home, we can do it.

Jan 2018

Hello ArCHmembers,

January 2018 appears to have an increase in construction and design work for Architects in a variety of categories, both commercial & residential.  ArCH hopes that all of our members are enjoying renewed work & income on good, solid projects.  Some firms report continuing work, some report reduced hourly rates, while others report increased rates.


The product page for this newest program is in the making.  In the interim, this information is available:

The CRAfts™ program is directly linked to the ArCHdes™ design awards program, as the current fast-track to obtaining the CRAfts™ designation is by winning 10 ArCHdes™ design awards.  Since a firm may submit up to 5 entries in the ArCHdes™ per year, this means that it may be possible to qualify for the CRAfts™ designation within 2 years, assuming all 5 project are award winners.


2018 ArCHdes™ (Design Excellence Selection) AWARDS TO BE DUE A MONTH AFTER TAXES
Design submittals due 5/18/2018 3PM (NYC USA time). See:


While there always seem to be those who believe there are faster, quicker, more clever ways to design and document an architectural project, it usually simply takes the method of eating an elephant: “one forkful at time.”  In other words, do one useful necessary piece of work, then the next, and the next.  After several days and weeks, you find that you’ve accomplished a lot of important work, necessary to getting the project done.  Solid work ethic  and know-how trumps trickiness every time.  Keep plodding ahead, day by day.  Never stop, never give up.  It’s what you’re being paid to do.  Thomas Edison said that “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”


ArCH wishes all members and future members the best for 2018. Some of the main reasons to join and renew membership in ArCH is:



Contact your Legislators NOW to keep Net Neutrality

Send emails to your state legislators NOW to keep Net Neutrality. You can find them using this service: (see below)
(If you run a small business on the Internet, without Net Neutrality, giant companies with unlimited marketing budgets will grind you down under their boots and your website will become virtually inaccessible to your potential client base. Ask your representatives and senators to vote to KEEP Net Neutrality so that American (and global) small businesses (like yours) will continue to operate on a level playing field. Hey: Do something about it now, so you don’t complain later. Defend your website and your small business’ place in the global marketplace):



New Job Listing in the ArCHjobmart

Hello ArCHmembers,  I think I’ve seen this position advertised several times in the past.  Check it out if you’re looking:



As I recall, I do believe this job is Not what you might call a normal architectural position.  I believe it is a diagnostic and technical problem solving position in the Atlanta area, where you would visit high-rises and other buildings (including sitting in a bosun’s chair and going up and down the exterior face of those buildings) to understand building envelope failures and create solutions for solving those problems.  So if you have no fear of heights, enjoy getting into the nitty gritty of how to keep water out of structures, and aren’t passionate about designing high profile designery projects, this could be some steady & dependable employment.


FAIA Member Joins ArCH

During this last week, Nick Peckham, ArCH/FAIA joined ArCH.  Nick prides his firm on a deep respect for sustainable architecture, hence his coined practice description of “Deep Green.”  He is licensed in multiple states and has his main practice in Missouri.  It speaks well of both ArCH and the AIA that some of the wisest and most honored members of each organization also belong to the other.

Nick is likely going to be chairing one of our ArCH Focus Groups on Green Architecture, when he feels the timing is right for him.  When that happens, no doubt he will address all of ArCH through the ArCHforum, seeking possible other Focus Team members. He also is the proud owner of ArCHsuite™, the largest bundle of ArCHstore products that presently exists.

Nick’s mentor was Buckminster Fuller and he also had direct training from Louis Kahn.

Happy Halloween to all our ArCHmembers.

New ArCHad on EntreArchitect

Starting 10/1/2017 and continuing throughout the remainder of 2017, ArCH will be running a banner ad on Mark LePage’s EntreArchitect website.  This was done to increase ArCH’s exposure to a similar demographic as many ArCHmembers.  Be watching Entrepreneur Architect for the ad.  There will also be a hotlink in the ad to a page on the ArCHwebsite listing many reasons to become an ArCHmember.  Thanks to Mark LePage for working with us on this.


Motivation for an Architect

Motivation is an important part of any Architect’s psyche.  We all have daunting tasks before us, especially after we get the job (obtain a new project).

When the euphoria of business success wanes, we then are faced with the task of actually programming, designing, developing and detailing the project.

This can seem overwhelming.  However:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
—-by the Chinese philosopher Lao (c 604 bc – c 531 bc) in the Tao Te Ching, Chap. 64.

Which of course means: that even the longest and most difficult of tasks has a simple and humble starting point.  For Architects, that may be turning on your computer, booting up your CAD or 3D software and setting up the the computerized files and blanks sheets for the project, then making an appointment with the Client to take Programming notes and see their land.  Then, one things leads to another.

When we, as Architects, find ourselves in Construction Drawings and are faced with creating all the detail necessary to properly explain and specify the project to Contractors, my technique has always been to at least do one thing; anything, that advances the project forward, before leaving my chair.  Draw one line.  Install one dimension, copy one detail.  Edit a paragraph of specifications.  Anything that gets the project further along than when you sat down to work on it.  You will find that your natural ability and curiosity will take that one thing and it will lead you to other details, specifications and dimensions. You will end up doing much more than the single thing you were thinking of.  And when you finally leave your work station, you will have accomplished more than you anticipated.

And then you will have moments of sheer inspiration that bless your work, during which hours can pass and you are so engrossed with designing or developing the work that you will see the sun going down and think: “Hey, I just sat down this morning, how did it get to be so late?”  Your motivation will be supplied by your own internal abilities, once you get started.

The main point is: BEGIN.  Each day.  That’s what our Oriental fried was encouraging us to do more than 2,500 years ago.  And your experience, creativity and work ethic will take over and help you advance the project.

Peer Advice & Counsel in ArCH

When you are a member of ArCH, you are able to access experienced peers, who are also Licensed Architects.  About what?  Just about anything you can imagine as an important issue involving the business, marketing, design or documentation of residential architecture.

For instance: this last week, there was a lively series of email discussions about the best software for architectural invoicing and time-keeping.  James Spencer, ArCH, Arlington, VA and Amy Patterson, ArCH, Arden, NC exchanged valuable experience with other members: Bennett Sabatier, ArCH, Lafayette, LA, Rod Kazenske, ArCH, Denver, CO.  Members reviewed various benefits of QuickBooks, BillQuick, QBProContractor, ArCH’s own ArCHbill (under development), Preasto and others.  This benefit alone, makes the low yearly membership fee of ArCH (currently $159/year) an amazing bargain. Where else can you receive such pointed counsel, strictly focused on residential architecture?

Join ArCH here.  Enjoy peer counsel.

Backups Save the Day

Important advice here: backup all the work you do during a day, at the end of that day (at the very least).  And require that any staff you may have do the same.

Why: because the amount of work you can lose when you are working on AutoCad or Revit or SoftPlan or ArchiCad can be enormous.  If you have ever had a file become corrupt or a hard drive go bad while you’re working on a project (haven’t we all?) you’ll understand the subject of this online article.  The sinking feeling is devastating: the sense of loss is immeasurable.

How to do this: suggest that you have multiple backup locations:
1.  Your main hard drive, of course.  Save your file by naming/numbering it slightly differently every 10 minutes to 30 minutes.  For instance, you may call your project: 7-17-2016-Smith-156 (for the date, the project name and the iteration of the file.  The SaveAs name in about 15 minutes might be: 7-17-2016-Smith-157.  And the next day: 7-18-2016-Smith-158.  In this manner, you are constantly replacing the current file with a new file.  So: if your current file becomes corrupt, you will have the file immediately preceding it to use.

2.  A flash drive.  You can obtain “thumb drives” or “flash drives” that fit easily in your pocket that can hold 256GB and more, for not much cash, and you can take this with you whenever you leave your office, home or other location. In other words: if your house or office burn down or other disaster occurs, you will have that little flash drive in your pocket with your last 10 year’s worth of projects. What a relief you will feel to have that!

3.  External hard drive.  This is a hard drive that is external to your main computer, about the size of a thick paperback novel.  It can hold as much as your main computer hard drive, perhaps more, depending on how large an external drive you purchase.

Therefore: you should have, at a minimum: your latest files in at least 3 different locations.  If the file you are working on right now goes bad, you have all of those others to fall back on.  The worst case should be you would lose the work you’ve been developing during the present day, if your file goes bad during any given day.  This scenario would happen if your computer’s main hard drive went bad during any normal work day, before you have backed up for the evening.  If you want to become even more obsessive, you can perform your end of day backup at noon as well.

If you adhere to the above, and have your staff do the same, your catastrophic losses due to crashed hard drives should be minimized.  This policy has been in effect with the Home Architects for the last decade, and the most lost has been a single day’s work in that time.

Now then, if you want to get really concerned and have the financial capability, you might want to also consider obtaining a backup server and/or backup computer for your main computer(s) that you and your critical staff use.  Treat the secondary machines like additional drives on your main machine.  In that way, if your main computer(s) crash, you should hopefully have the backup computer(s) still functional.

One last thing: if you don’t use a sine-wave UPS (Uninterruptible Power System) device for  your main computer(s), you are playing with fire.  A quality UPS for each important computer in your office will save you not only lost time rebooting when there are power failures, you just might save your computers themselves from frying in the event of severe storms in your vicinity.  However, if you enjoy replacing damaged computers frequently, you may ignore this advice.

Happy computing!